Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously in Life
A long time ago, I was told to not take myself or things happening around you too seriously. If I did so, I would miss the humour in life amidst the chaos. I can’t remember who said it, or if it was just an amusing thought I had one day. However, it allowed me to be able to laugh at the silly things that happen to us all.
Now don’t get me wrong. Often while I’m driving either to the office or to an appointment, I have things pop into my mind that make me snicker. I still recall my very first listing appointment that took place in 1979 – the year I became a licensed real estate agent. It was a stressful time as I was new in the business and had no money in the bank. After getting a call for an market evaluation of a mobile home, I found myself outside the home discussing the value with the owner. The owner’s dog, who had followed us outside, sauntered up beside me without warning, lifted his leg and peed all over my new suit pants. It was the best suit that I owned at the time and likely could not even afford dry cleaning costs. I stood there with my mouth open and tried to quickly process what had just happened to me. The owner, while holding back laughter, apologized and tried to tell me that Barney, the bladder-challenged canine didn’t like very many people. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the listing, but the experience taught me humility and a new sense of composure under stress – which you need in this business.
Another time, later in my career, I met with clients to show them a house that they were interested in buying to fix up and flip. When we got to the house, located in an older neighborhood, I decided to avoid the driveway as it was extremely steep with a raging fire half on the driveway and half on the lawn. When we got to the front door, I introduced myself to the occupant who was wearing more leather than a cow, and his response was “whatever fill your boots”. As we stepped inside this welcoming home, another shady character who apparently lived in the home escorted two muscular pit bulls into another bedroom. The dogs watched us with eyes as unfriendly as the seller as they were led away. I looked around in horror as I realized that they weren’t being fed, as they had eaten the corners off most doors, baseboards and furniture! It was also evident that the dogs preferred doing there business inside rather than the chilly outdoors, as we navigated the brown landmines from room to room.
How could things get worse? Well, as we carefully made our way to the basement, two “gentlemen” were drinking at a makeshift bar with a female guest who appeared to be a bit sleep-deprived. As we entered another bedroom, I heard “I wouldn’t go in there if I were you” from one of the helpful residents at the same time the beast (which sounded like an enraged elephant), that was situated behind the door started heaving itself against the door and barking uncontrollably. As we backed away, my client stated that I should watch out where I was going as I was about to step on some dog droppings. I looked at him, eyes wide open and sheepishly said, “I think that’s from me”.
After we raced to the car and started to drive away, my client turned to me and announced that he wanted to make an offer. Slamming on the brakes and pulling over, I told him in no uncertain terms that he was NOT going to do so. He was persistent, but I continued to point out the cost of completely gutting the house, landscaping the yard, and how he possibly thought that he would be able to get the “residents” out. His wife turned to him and said, “I agree with Brian and I think you better listen to him on this one. He’s never steered us wrong after all these years and selling us so many properties”. We all had a good laugh and agreed to let this deal of the century pass by.
Over the years I started to realize that some days may end well and others not, but the main thing was how you looked at the overall picture. Life is a long journey and there will be ups and downs, but if you can laugh at yourself you can make it through all these things. If any of you have humorous stories to share we would love to hear them!