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Do the BAD Thing…

The Unexpected Hanging Paradox:

A judge tells a condemned prisoner that he will be hanged at noon on one weekday in the following week but that the execution will be a surprise to the prisoner. He will not know the day of the hanging until the executioner knocks on his cell door at noon that day.

Having reflected on his sentence, the prisoner draws the conclusion that he will escape from the hanging. His reasoning is in several parts. He begins by concluding that the “surprise hanging” can’t be on a Friday, as if he hasn’t been hanged by Thursday, there is only one day left – and so it won’t be a surprise if he’s hanged on a Friday. Since the judge’s sentence stipulated that the hanging would be a surprise to him, he concludes it cannot occur on Friday.

He then reasons that the surprise hanging cannot be on Thursday either, because Friday has already been eliminated and if he hasn’t been hanged by Wednesday night, the hanging must occur on Thursday, making a Thursday hanging not a surprise either. By similar reasoning he concludes that the hanging can also not occur on Wednesday, Tuesday or Monday. Joyfully he retires to his cell confident that the hanging will not occur at all.

The next week, the prisoner is hanged anyway, despite all the above. That’s the surprise…

The lesson I draw from this is that things are not always what we think they are. The world is full of paradox and real estate is certainly no exception. On the one hand it’s a profession with tremendous freedom of time, yet to be proficient (never mind truly successful) you must become a master of time management. The field of real estate is over-flowing with practitioners and competition can be fierce, yet the key to a smooth transaction is the ultimate cooperation between two “competing” agents. Almost every day as a real estate professional feels like a sprint to put out multiple fires, yet ultimate success depends on the realization that real estate is an endurance event comprised of doing small things right on a continuous basis. Maybe the biggest paradox of all: a main objective for any agent in any transaction is to create peace of mind and comfort for their client, yet the most important thing we can do to become great is stay out of our own comfort zone!

Have you ever been faced with a tough choice and had someone say to you: “Better the devil you know.”? It may be a common bit of advice but it’s also quite possibly the greatest lie ever told. Hang the devil you know! That’s the voice inside telling you, “It’s comfortable here, doing what we’re doing.” “This isn’t bad.” “Don’t try that new thing; it requires more effort and energy than we have available with our busy lives.” “Be careful, we don’t want to fail. That’s the worst thing that could ever happen” And, maybe the most powerful line of all: “Hey, if we do that, others might laugh at us.” Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Terrible advice.

We base most of our decision making on minimizing fear rather than maximizing splendor.

Here’s the Unexpected Hanging Paradox in real estate: The devil you know is going to hang you next week! That’s the surprise. Hang ‘em first. Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t let that voice inside lead you to the professional gallows. Today’s message: Damn your devil and get BAD!

Be Act Do

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  • 6 comments

    6 Comments so far

    1. Greg Swann September 17th, 2010 7:47 am

      Excellent. That was fun. Just what I needed to hear this morning.

    2. Teri Lussier September 17th, 2010 9:48 am

      What Greg said.

      Although, when I saw that Sean Purcell had written a post about doing the bad thing… Well, Sean, I do apologize for my assumptions. ;)

    3. Don Reedy September 17th, 2010 12:13 pm

      Sean, I’m going to show up next week and give you a big hug. It’s going to be a surprise, however. You won’t know which day of the week it is unless I show up.

      Oh, and perhaps we can “do the bad thing” and send a video to Teri. This knocking on doors thing she’s doing has her making a lot of new assumptions…….

      It’s a brave new world. You can hang you hat on that.

    4. Tom Johnson September 17th, 2010 7:37 pm

      Wow! Sean you sure dragged the T-Bone through the kennel with this one. Thanks.

    5. Teri Lussier September 18th, 2010 3:12 pm

      >has her making a lot of new assumptions…….

      Yes, well.
      Actually, (more true confessions I’m afraid) they are rather old assumptions. :-D

    6. Sean Purcell September 19th, 2010 8:48 am

      Greg – Thank you. Your comment has more impact than you imagine.

      Teri- My saying to do the BAD thing had you assuming something other than good, wholesome real estate success? I absolutely resemble that remark…

      Don – Now that’s a surprise I can live with, though I’m not sure about sending a video to Teri… you know, we’ve got to be careful who we choose to associate with and she sounds a bit like a bad girl.

      Tom – love the mental picture.