There’s always something to howl about

The Power of Not Knowing… and Other Meaningful Ideas

Over the past couple of articles from the POPs Program for Agents, the emphasis has been on the first, key step in creating a balanced, successful life as a real estate agent: staying in the present.  The article on Temporal Awareness showed us that the past (guilt) and the future (fear) don’t actually exist.  It also discussed the emotional response we have over words that don’t exist.  And in The Mirror Effect, one of the most powerful concepts for creating true and lasting happiness, we learn that even someone being hurtful, doesn’t exist.  Are you starting to recognize a pattern here?

Nothing Exists!
No, no, that’s not what I’m suggesting.  The pattern is this: We Don’t Know The Meaning… of Anything.  As a matter of fact, I will take it one step further: We Assign Meaning… to Everything.  This is especially prevalent in the Sales and Services professions, where interaction with others is so integral to what we do.  We think we know what we’re seeing; possibly a “hot” new client, for instance:


Only to discover later how child-like are their expectations and decisions:


Time to Celebrate
At first, this idea that we don’t know the meaning of anything may seem a bit scary, but I suggest to you quite the opposite; this is actually cause for celebration!  Two reasons:

  • Not Knowing the Meaning = Freedom
  • Assigning Meaning = Power

When we admit, especially to ourselves, that we don’t know the meaning of events in our world, we become free to stop labeling those events as “good” and “bad”.  There’s a terrific line in the poem IF, by Rudyard Kipling:

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
and treat those two Impostors just the same; 

Realizing we don’t know, means freedom from all kinds of pressure.  The pressure to be disappointed, fearful, regretful and yes, even happy.  Sometimes the greatest pressure we know, is to put a happy face on something labeled “good” when in our hearts, we’re not feeling it at all.

As great as the freedom of not knowing is, it pales in comparison to the power of assigning meaning.  Think about how often this power can affect your life, and how much more success you can generate with it.  When you’ve spent weeks taking a client out to look at homes – every Sunday for 3-4 hours – and they suddenly decide not to buy a home… we already know that we don’t know what this event means.  Is it “bad”? (I’m sure that’s how most of us would label it.)  What about the fact that you’re now free to attend your neighbor’s bbq this Sunday?  What about the home buyer who is going to be there; the one who has already found the home they want to buy, but doesn’t feel comfortable using the listing agent?  What about the rave recommendation your neighbor is going to give you as he personally refers his friend, the buyer, to you?  Tell me again, was it “bad” that you lost the client who was wasting your time?  Was it “good”?  You assign the meaning; why not assign one that benefits you!

In Stephen Covey’s fabulous book: The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, one of the traits he finds common to successful people is this belief: “everything happens for a reason… and it benefits me.” Well of course it does!  We assign the meaning!  Remember, in The Mirror Effect, when we find ourselves having an emotional reaction to something someone has said – we realize they’ve actually held up a mirror for us to look into and discover an incongruity that is causing us pain.  We stop right then, and instead of getting mad at the person who has done us this favor, we thank them.  What did we do there?  We assigned a new meaning, that’s all!  What an amazing power this is.

Final Thought
Imagine what you can accomplish today, in the next few moments even, by possessing the power to give everything in your world its meaning.  Take a moment to go through that massive catalog of recent events and upcoming activities sitting heavily in your mind, already labeled, right now.  Pick a few to start with and rip the labels off.  Give ’em a new meaning and see what happens.  I bet you’ll be amazed how deeply happy you can be, and maybe even surprised by your new levels of success…

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