Category Archives: Relationships

Nonviolent Communication

I want to give a shout out to Michael Collins for sharing this content with me. It has already impacted my life in a hugely positive way in less than 2 weeks time!

I recently watched this 3 hour workshop on nonviolent communication and, wow, what insights have been had through this way of communicating with people. It basically boils things down to all humans have feelings and needs and are simply trying to get them fulfilled. All human beings are ever saying is “please” and “thank you”. Our language and way of thinking has distorted this simple concept in a twisted way. Everyday we could be playing a game called “make life wonderful”, but instead we are taught to play “who is right”. We value being right over being happy and that can be seen in the way we judge others and in our system of rewards and punishments. We reward those who are “right” and punish those who are “wrong”. This is the most ridiculous way of expressing and fulfilling our needs, yet we play this game every single day.

NVC is based on the assumption that people naturally like to give because it makes them feel good. I tend to believe this is true, although in extreme cases like with a psychopath it may not be so. When our needs are fulfilled, there is nothing more that we enjoy than giving freely. The reality is that most people are not getting all or even most of their needs fulfilled and it goes back to playing the game of “who is right” instead of “make life wonderful”.

If I’m being honest, pretty much all of my needs are being fulfilled at the moment. All I can think about is how I want to help others in some way. Whenever I see people lash out or act “negatively” in some manner, all I can see is that their needs aren’t being fulfilled in some way. Anytime you have a conflict or argument with someone, ask yourself if you are playing the game “who is right” instead of “make life wonderful”. More often than not, we evaluate and judge every situation we are in instead of simply observing. We place our moralistic judgments above our needs and the needs of those around us. Every single interaction you have with any person each and every day is a chance to “make life wonderful” for both parties. Every single small interaction you have with strangers or loved ones is a chance to make a difference in their lives. Every interaction is a huge opportunity to be able to get both needs fulfilled in some way. It’s not guaranteed, and in fact, the way we are taught it’s usually win-lose or even lose-lose; but every single interaction with another human is a chance for it to be win-win in some way, even if you are unable to fulfill that person’s need, even helping them see what their need is and that you can empathize with them is a huge win.

I’m going to go off on a tangent, but NVC has helped me see some of these issues more clearly when focusing on feelings and needs. I used to have really bad anger issues. I can now see a huge part of this was having an inflated ego, but also placing being right above all else. I wanted to be right more than I wanted to be happy and only now can I see how miserable I really was. When people would cut me off in traffic I would get hugely offended and pissed off and take it personally. The thing is, humans are imperfect. We all make mistakes, small and big. When you can see each situation for what it really is, it takes out the anger and negative emotion and being personally hurt. The person cut me off for whatever reason, whether they misjudged, are in a hurry, are a bad driver, or countless other reasons – it doesn’t really matter. The situation happened and passed and there is nothing I can do to change what happened. That is fact. All that’s left is how I react. And now, instead of reacting with anger or getting hurt, I say to myself, “that happened (for whatever reason), but it’s ok”. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the nonviolent communication, but it has helped me to see situations for what they truly are and to boil everything down to feelings and needs.

Another thing it has helped me to see clearly is how every single human interaction we have with others is really a reflection on us. Our actions show us what kind of person we truly are. I used to be “a person who gets angry when getting cut off in traffic”. I have made a conscious decision to no longer identify as that person. How often do people get upset or feel the need to be right or place their ego above all else? How many times have you seen a person get mad at a fast food worker when their order is wrong or at a customer service rep on the phone? You are essentially saying “I am a person who gets mad at low level employees and things out of my control”. I can think of countless situations where people make a choice to act a certain way, but it really is a reflection of themselves.

This used to be who I identified as:

  • I am a person who gets mad or upset when others are wrong and I am right
  • I am a person who gets mad or upset when others don’t agree with me
  • I am a person who gets mad or upset when things don’t go MY way
  • I am a person who places being right over being happy

Notice all of these identities are through my own thoughts and actions. My choices make up who I am as a person. Every single day I have a choice to identify as the above person but instead I have chosen to shift my identity to:

  • I am a person who places the happiness and needs of myself and others above all else
  • I am a person who doesn’t judge others, even if I don’t agree with them
  • I am a person who doesn’t react to “bad” situations or when things don’t go my way because I will eventually find a way to get my needs fulfilled
  • I am a person who is not dependent on a single outcome and can see the bigger picture

Keep in mind again, WE decide and identify with the kind of person we truly are. Not other people. I don’t care if someone spits in your face (Atticus Finch is a fucking bad ass!) or wrongs you in some way, how you react to the situation is still up to you and you are choosing to identify with the person you are. Here are some examples maybe some people can relate to:

  • I am a person who yells at their kids or gets upset when they don’t do what I want.
  • I am a person who argues with other people (or even partner!) because I think will be able to change them
  • I am a person who takes things personally when someone else judges or criticizes me
  • I am a person who judges and criticizes others

We choose to be the people we identify as through our thoughts and actions. Things will happen to us both good and bad, and there will be nothing we can do to change what happened. All we can control is how we will react to what happened and that will determine the kind of person we are.

Went off on a bit of a tangent, but NVC has helped me to see the world and people for what they truly are. We all have feelings and needs and are just trying to get them fulfilled. When you simplify things in such a manner, it makes getting everyone’s needs fulfilled so much easier. Everyday we have the power to “make life wonderful” and I hope we all will choose to do so.

It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Why Relationships are the Key to Success

key to success
Image courtesy of nongpimmy. Freedigitalphotos.net

Read time: 2 minutes

I wanted to stress the importance of relationships and having a “team” when it comes to success in any field. Working in real estate, I have connections with bankers, title companies, appraisers, inspectors, other realtors, investors, landlords, construction workers, electricians, HVAC guys, and more. Still looking for a god damn reliable and reasonably priced plumber in this town though! Without these people, it would be very difficult to achieve success in this field alone; the same goes for other fields as well.

One big issue when it comes to real estate is CASH CASH CASH. I have several people I could turn to right now who have 6 figures they’d be willing to invest/partner in the right deal. I also have a reliable banker where I get my loans. So far, I am still a “small-timer” dealing with houses with purchase prices less than 50k. I am eventually looking to move up to bigger deals and commercial real estate as my portfolio grows. Without capital to fund my deals, I wouldn’t have most of the houses I have.

Another person who has been a huge impact in my life is my mentor. He is actually an old Boy Scout leader of mine, and we reconnected after I “stole” a house from him we both made offers on. This man literally saved me from making a $70,000 mistake. I owe him a lot and he keeps me grounded from making rash decisions. I was even moved up to “partner” after going in on a deal with him recently.

Do you have a mentor or someone you can go to for advice? Do you have a “team” of people helping you to achieve success in your field? While you can grind your way to the “top”, it is much, much easier to have a support system and connections in your journey to success.

TAN: There are many ways to connect with people who can help you achieve success.

  • One of the best ways is to take successful people out to lunch. While Ramit talks in regard to entrepreneurship, the same could apply to successful people in your field or higher ups. If you are a SUPER CHEAPSKATE like me, just take them out to coffee and pick their brains. Definitely be prepared with relevant, insightful questions and don’t waste their time and DON’T ARGUE WITH ANYTHING THEY SAY, EVEN IF YOU DISAGREE.
  • I have a good friend who is working for FREE for a very successful entrepreneur and gaining INVALUABLE information and skills that I know will make him successful. Look for ways you can “intern”, moonlight, apprentice, or even volunteer to achieve valuable skills and connections in relevant fields.
  • Check out www.meetup.com for relevant interest or networking groups. Similarly, you could become active in your local chamber of commerce and network, although I haven’t had much luck personally.

 

Results of the “Not-so” Haunted House

Read time: 2 minutes

For the last month and a half or so, I have been putting my blood, sweat, and tears into fixing up this house. Here are the results of my efforts:

Photos: Before and After

Here’s a spreadsheet of every cost I have incurred.

All this info will be in the left sidebar for future reference. Since this was my first “major” rehab, I learned a lot during the process of fixing this house up as compared to the first two, which were relatively easier. Besides new skills such as laying laminate flooring and tile work (and dealing with mold!), I learned a lot about the management side of this business. I know I can’t do all the work myself, and shouldn’t. Ideally, I would do very little of the work, and hire most of it out and still be in the green. Eventually I am going to want my properties to be managed to make this whole thing even more passive.

Besides stuff related to construction and business, I learned a lot about relationships as well. A friend who has been helping me had to suddenly cut back on his hours due to his significant other and personal situation. It helped me realize that I am in an amazing relationship with an amazing woman and have it way better than most married guys. Heck I’m even going back to Vegas in December without her. Whether you’re married or not, enjoy the personal freedoms you’ve been given and appreciate the time you have with your loved ones. Being away from my wife for nearly 2 months has helped me learn to appreciate the time we have together even more.

Kind of went off on a tangent there, but I have learned a lot about many different aspects of business and life through this house. I am hoping it goes well with renting it out and I’m ready to move on to the next adventure. Every house has been a unique experience and I look forward to what the future holds! 🙂

Forbidden Fruit Status

Read time: 100 seconds

On the topics of classroom management, priests, parenting, or even Adam and Eve, I would like to talk about how suppression and prohibition consistently fail as a tactic of control.

Let’s say you are a substitute teacher, do you think threats and telling the kids to shut up is an effective form of classroom management? Do you think forbidding priests to marry and have sex is helping to prevent them from pornography addictions or “interactions” with altar boys? As a parent, do threats and very restrictive boundaries prevent your children from getting into mischief or make them more inclined to do those things? Did Adam and Eve eat the apple or not?

Folks, I’d like to talk about something I like to refer to as “forbidden fruit status.” When you elevate something to FFS, do you think people are more or less likely to do that thing? If you’re like me, then you believe in expressing the truth in all things. If you educate people and show them the truth in whatever topic you’re discussing, I think most people can make an educated decision themselves. Even if they do decide to do the thing you don’t want them to do, they will experience it, and learn from their choices, and the consequences will most likely be less than learning “the hard way.” The hard way being without any education in the matter.

An example would be talking to my future daughter about sex. Ideally, I wouldn’t want her having sex until marriage, but I know that is extremely unlikely. The way I would go about getting as close to this goal as possible is simply educating her on all the different aspects of sex. I would talk about the benefits and the potential consequences, which can be extreme indeed. Tell her straight up about STD’s, pregnancy, birth control, love, infatuation, relationships, social issues, emotional and physical benefits and consequences. I would tell her what I want ideally, but that the choice is hers and I support her decision and the lessons learned. Do you think she will be more or less likely to have sex? If she does choose to have sex, do you think she will be more or less likely to plan ahead, use birth control, etc? How effective would this be compared to flat out saying, no sex until you’re 18, period?

Take action now: If you’re a parent, think about all the ways you are elevating certain things to FFS. Do you forbid your children from doing certain things? How effective is it, really? I would encourage you to talk to your children about anything and everything that requires boundaries, and set them accordingly. Truth and education is your strongest tool. Use it to your advantage!

If you have read my other articles, you should be hesitant to take my advice without question…especially since I am not a parent!  Here are a couple studies which support my post 😉

LongTerm Behavioral Effects of Cognitive Dissonance. JONATHAN L. FREEDMAN. Stanford University

Forbidden Fruit: When Prohibition Increases the Harm It Is Supposed to Reduce. Dwight Filley

Tying the Knot

Read time: 90 seconds

I said my vows just over a week ago and I’d like to share a little insight on this thing called marriage. Before getting married and up until now, I have been bombarded with any and all advice relating to marriage. I’ve had people telling me “how it’s gonna be” and what to expect and on and on.

I just want to say right now that a lot of it is crap. If you can recall from my article on congruency, I have been getting a lot of advice from people who are not married, or even in a relationship. I have received advice from people who have been divorced and are not in happy marriages/relationships. You think I’m going to take their advice on how to have a successful marriage or what I “need to do” to make a marriage successful?

Hell no.

Cheap advice is the most abundant thing on the planet. I am going to say right now that this is not going to be your typical co-dependent, need the other person to be there every waking moment, marriage. Apparently it’s taboo to hang out with single people of the opposite sex if you’re married. I am still going to hang out with single friends of either sex unlike what typically happens once you join the marriage club and I expect DW to do the same. I expect generally the same level of freedom and will give DW hers as well.

I started a site called socialunconditioning.com and want to use it to help troubled teens, those with low self esteem, those who have been bullied, ridiculed, etc. and need to know that we have all been conditioned to believe what we do and it’s all a load of crap.

Basically, you don’t have to fall in line and believe what everyone else does. You don’t have to accept what is “cool” and “politically correct” or any other dogma out there. You don’t have to be the person that people will try and make you conform to. Just like the so called expectations in my marriage.

If my marriage doesn’t stand the test of time then you can call me out on my own incongruency 😉

PS: Here is a link to the awesome slideshow I made for the wedding.  Not too bad for my first time I’d say!