Sunday, November 18, 2007

Religious fervor.

One of my neighbors has it, and has it bad.

I'm not talking about loud prayer, daily church attendance and passing out pamphlets to acquaint the heathen with the Lord's Message. Not at all.

He is busy praying to the Real-Estate Gods.

Some time back, he began a series of online seminars to get wealthy with real estate. You know the drill: "Using [insert name here]'s Become a Real-Estate Millionaire course, I have gone from a pathetic life of poverty to untold wealth, and in only six months!" He also went to a few presentations, and spent untold hours doing "homework" online.

And now he is a Believer in a System. Not that anything has happened yet, but he knows the lingo of Big Deals and can talk about nothing else. He occasionally gets dressed up and trots off to seminars; the latest, if I remember right, was a "Millionaires' Retreat" at some hotel function room. He has his C-Corp (or is it S-Corp?), his LLC, and has printed out lists of properties being sold for unpaid taxes and who-knows-what other distressing circumstances, on which he intends to bid.

He is convinced he will be rolling in the ol' mazooma in a very short time. He is Motivated.

Will anything come of this? I don't know, but my instincts say "no."

Those who become zealots are also often called "suckers." Their energy is tapped by the self-help gurus, the Tony Robbins-type "motivators," the sellers of "You Too Can Become A Billionaire" books.

Would you, if you had a sure system to get wealthy, go around teaching it to others? I think not. You would use it yourself, keep it quiet so as not to have more competition. The mindset of these people is that they have a lot of money, but can't rest until they have all of it.

Maybe this cynicism on my part is why I am an abject failure. I've never felt that blinding fervor, even on a couple of occasions when I really gave it my all. I've wanted to, but life has told me nothing comes easily, and little is gained by learning the Secrets of the Rich.

I think it's because I'm certain there is always one secret they don't tell you, and that's the one that worked for them. If, that is, they had any other secret than understanding how to exploit the greed locked in the heart of the average citizen.

For me, the only time that urge to devote every part of my being to an objective has struck involved people. I have wasted the energy that could have made me the biggest property owner in California on love.

And from that, I have gotten the result I fear my neighbor will soon experience: nice try, but no success.

I hope I'm wrong about him. I hope he grabs the golden ring and gets all the subsequent free rides he dreams of. He's a nice guy.

Hell, I wish I was wrong about what I have reaped from my efforts.

He's happy and optimistic right now. I am not.

He has farther to fall, I think. In a way, it's better to be at the bottom, knowing things can hardly get worse, than to believe you have the world by the tail and find out that you've been suckered.


Birdie said...

there are so many scams using the "pyramid" principle... you have to invest lots, and also get new people to join up (competition!). I was invited to a seminar for alarm systems once... I didn't all for it... it was the same ole stradegy with LOTS of phony hype!
I feel sorry for your neighbor... yet I hope he manages to succeed.

lowandslow said...

The "seminar giver" makes the money through your fees and "how-to" CD sales, guaranteed, up front, regardless of whether you succeed or not, with virtually no risk. The "seminar attendee" has to go out and put his name on the dotted line, take all the risk, and if all the planets align just right, he/she might make money. It's a long shot at best.

John said...

It is an interesting analogy between the magical thinking of get rich like me schemes, and love. I tend to think that perhaps the approach and beliefs regarding love and how to go about it , as sold to many people, may be as flawed as the seminar promises. A lot of misguided views have been pushed in that realm. You cannot live on love, and love, as painted in films and literature, does not cure all. I suckered for those lies, and it didn't really pan out. It wasn't likely to, if one really looked at the situation.

MrScribbler said...

John -- The "love" course is far more expensive and time-consuming than any of the "be a millionaire" come-ons I've seen....

It's a kind of pyramid scheme, too. We're told that Great Love, like the Great Fortune, is out there waiting for us. If you don't make it today, than surely tomorrow will be the Big Day.

Anonymous said...

the secret? oh that is easy - they convince ppl to give them money for seminars.

benb said...

I've always thought the same thing about these real-estate kazillionaires "sharing their secrets". Why? Why would you want a kazillion other people invading your "territory" by doing what you are doing to - get rich? Perhaps more likely, the scheme worked for a short period of time, and then, zap, the market didn't work for them, and then zap, they conjured up this idea to get a lot of people to PAY to listen to them speak, read their books and listen to their monologues on how to get rich.
Though, to be honest, I do believe that people can make some dough on getting some of those properties on "tax-sale", but really, a person needs to be very savvy about what is worth salvaging versus what is a piece of junk that will cost more in the end than the entire deal is worth.
Whatever, the age-old adage seems to always hold true: if it looks to good to be true, it probably is!

Anonymous said...

When I was in life coaching they made sure to C their A's by saying that if your "intention" didn't happen there was a deeper intention at work...a conflicting one. Hmmm..

justfly said...

I would agree with the "sucker" term.
Besides, real estate? This is not a good time. I have never seen so many houses for sale, that are not selling.