Brandon Turner achieved financial independence in his late 20s. For most people, this would be the end of working, investing, or trying to better themselves. But for Brandon, this was only the start. Now a decade later, Brandon is managing close to one billion dollars in real estate, running numerous companies, and dedicating his efforts to eradicating human trafficking while simultaneously setting millions of Americans financially free. Brandon has, in almost every way, won the game of life, and he has five crucial tips to share with us today.
Back in the Sea Shed are long-time co-hosts Brandon and David as they travel back in time and revisit the five most important lessons learned on this podcast. These lessons aren’t just crucial in achieving financial independence. When taken to heart and implemented correctly, they will allow you to level up your life, relationships, friendships, and businesses. They will also set you apart from the 99% of people who want success but refuse to go out and get it.
From lessons about spilled sewage to podcast recordings gone wrong, designing the life you want to live, and taking ownership when everything starts falling apart, this is an episode you cannot afford to miss. If you want to achieve financial freedom, start living your dream life, and live a life like Brandon, you’ll have to tune in.
David:This is the BiggerPockets Podcast. Show 787.
Brandon:There’s a quote Gary Keller uses in The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, and it says that financial freedom is the unearned income to finance your life’s mission without having to work. I’m a big fan of that idea. I often say financial freedom is doing what you want, where you want, when you want, how you want it with whoever you-
David:But that can lead to slavery.
Brandon:That can lead to slavery. But instead, the idea of the unearned income, meaning money’s coming in despite the hours you work to finance your life mission without having to work. If you don’t have a life mission, maybe that’s a good place to start. Why are you here? What are you doing this for? Otherwise, you end up making a lot of money and not having any freedom.
David:What’s going on, everyone? It’s David Greene, your host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, here today with another episode with Brandon Turner. Today’s show, we talk about the five podcasts that had the biggest impact on both of us: the lessons that we learned, how they helped them with our business, and how they shaped our views on life. This is a wild ride full of tons of information. If you’ve never heard Brandon talk, you want to buckle your seatbelt because the guy goes a million miles an hour. I’ve been told that I can do the same thing.We’ll be coming to you live from Hawaii, where we had this conversation that ranged from Jocko Willink to artificial intelligence to holding toilets full of feces on purpose to save a couple of bucks in real estate. It’s a blast. I’m sure you’re going to love it. If you are struggling with this very tough real estate market and you’re thinking about giving up, don’t. We’ve been through changes like this before. There’s an adjusting period. What worked yesterday isn’t working today as rates have gone up, but prices have not come down. But that is okay. There’s still ways to win in today’s market. In today’s show, we are trying to mold your mind so you can see some of the same angles that Brandon and I see that help us succeed in life, in business, and with finances. All right. Let’s get into it.
Brandon:I know Eric, who’s a wonderful, amazing, good-looking producer for the show. Hi, Eric. He pitched me on this idea of the five things because they’re all revolving around this idea of financial freedom. Being that this episode’s coming out on the 4th of July, I think all five lessons should be somewhere in the vicinity of freedom. What do you think?
David:Yeah. Well, that’s what we do. It’s all for some form of freedom, whether it’s freedom from things that enslave you, freedom from poverty, freedom from not hitting your potential in life, freedom from bad relationships, freedom from not hitting your potential. I mean, all knowledge, when used correctly, should be for the purpose of some type of freedom. Wouldn’t you agree?
Brandon:I would. I would love to know… I’m going to take over the host seat and ask you a question. How do you define financial freedom?
David:We made it about three minutes into this thing before we got there, didn’t we?
Brandon:How do you define financial freedom, man?
David:To me, financial freedom is not having to sell out your values in order to pay the bills.
Brandon:Ooh. Not having to sell your values in order to pay your bills.
David:If you’re working at a company that you don’t feel good about working, or you don’t like the things that they’re doing, but you have to, to make the bills… There’s people that can’t get around that. I don’t criticize someone like that. In fact, most of the time the world’s been spinning, that’s where human beings found themselves. Survival is much more difficult for most of the time the world’s been around than what it is for us. We’re very, very privileged to live in a time where we don’t spend very much time worrying about surviving. I mean, we spend more time, at least me, worrying about not eating too much versus not having enough to eat, which is a very unusual thing for a human being.
Brandon:A strange thing.
David:We have food everywhere that’s screaming, “Come eat me,” where, for most of the time-
David:…the world’s been around, it’s been, “What am I going to eat?” That’s all you could think about. Financial freedom wasn’t a thing. The ability to-
Brandon:Here’s a deep thought.
Brandon:This is going to sound dumb. But interesting enough, we have the freedom to eat whatever we want, and then we get overweight and unhealthy. We end up dying earlier.
David:You’re a slave.
Brandon:Yeah. Freedom actually leads to slavery at a certain point. There’s an interesting dichotomy there between freedom and slavery or misery that-
David:That’s exactly right, speaking of the word dichotomy, which is a Jocko Willink word. He actually has a concept of discipline equals freedom. If you are not disciplined enough to handle the freedom that you get, it will absolutely lead to enslavement.
Brandon:There’s a quote Gary Keller uses in The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, and it says that financial freedom is the unearned income to finance your life’s mission without having to work. I’m a big fan of that idea. I often say financial freedom is doing what you want, where you want, when you want, how you want with whoever you want.
David:But that can lead to slavery.
Brandon:That can lead to slavery. But instead, the idea of the unearned income, meaning money’s coming in despite the hours you work to finance your life mission without having to work. If you don’t have a life mission, maybe that’s a good place to start. Why are you here? What are you doing this for? Otherwise, you end up making a lot of money and not having any freedom.
David:Which is how you end up in slavery.
Brandon:Which is how you end up in slavery.
David:Because you start looking through things like food for comfort or, I mean, gratuitous, hedonism for comfort. There’s a lot of things out there when you don’t have a purpose and you don’t know what you’re going for/what you’re going to. That’s when the billboards on the side of the freeway that say, “Pull over here,” become much more enticing if you don’t have the end destination in mind.
Brandon:Ooh, look at that. That was an analogy. That was good, man.
David:Yeah. Thank you.
Brandon:Do you still do those?
David:Every once in a while, we do them. I mean, I don’t like to go overboard with it. I like to be known for more than just analogies. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve been able to pull that off. Not like you, who’s known for many, many, many things.
Brandon:No, I’m known for one thing, acronyms.
David:Making me look… You are good with acronyms. You are great. In fact, my entire BRRRR book, and the salary that’s provided me, thank you for coming up with that acronym.
Brandon:People like acronyms, man. There’s this idea of life mission like, “What are you doing it for?” What’s cool about that also is it keeps you motivated along the journey to financial freedom. I mean, we ask people all the time, “Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you pursuing real estate investing?” They’re like, “For financial freedom.” It’s like, “Okay. Well, why?” “For freedom?” You’re like, “Okay, well, why?” “Well, for freedom.”
David:It’s all right. You’re so true.
Brandon:Then, some people will go into, “I want to spend more time with my family.” That was my mission for years, more time with my family. Then, I did it. When I left the BiggerPockets Podcast to go spend time with my family and build Open Door Capital, I went and traveled the country for four and a half/five months. Went around, went to Europe, went around the country, did all this amazing stuff with my family. I was with them 24/7. Then, I realized that freedom doesn’t necessarily mean spending 24/7 with my family either. It was like I needed something more than that. That’s a huge piece of it, was being able to choose to spend time with my family. But that just alone, spending time with my family, was not my life’s mission.
David:Do you know why that happens?
Brandon:Why is that?
David:Because most of us only look at one step ahead of where we are. We know, “I don’t want to be here.” “What do you want?” “I don’t know.” Ever ask someone, “What do you want to eat for dinner tonight?” They always don’t know. But when you propose something, what do they say?
David:“I don’t want that.”
Brandon:Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. I don’t want that.
David:They don’t say okay. I wish it was that easy. People know what they don’t want. But they don’t know what they want. Sometimes you have to start with eliminating what you don’t want and moving forward. As you take that journey, what you want becomes clear, and you get a better understanding. Now, you also have tools like the Vivid Vision that you come up with that force your brain to figure out, “What do I really want?” But it’s much easier to know what you don’t want. You knew that I don’t want to miss out on my kids’ childhood. I don’t want to miss out on my family, so you made choices. But then you get there, and you’re like, “Well, this is great. But I know there’s other people in the world other than my family that need help.” The human trafficking thing, which we can get into later, is something that you’ve become really passionate about. But you probably wouldn’t have been exposed to that if you didn’t start the journey somewhere else, not knowing where you were going to be heading.
Brandon:Oh, man. That’s so good. It leads into the idea that’s been… I’ve been talking about it a lot lately. In fact, just the speech I gave at the Real Estate BetterLife thing the other day. I talked about how when your mind… Your mind is actually a piece of real estate. I love this concept. Your mind is a piece of real estate. It is a finite piece of real estate. There’s only so much land in there that can be used. When 70% of your mind/80% of your mind/90% of your mind is consumed with survival, which is what most of the world is, you do not have the land needed to cultivate the better crops. It’s just consumed with paying the bills.When I say survival mode, I’m not talking about where’s the food. But in a way, it is. That’s what our cave manny brains are like. “We got to get money so we can pay the bills.” Once you take that off the table, once you are set for life, to quote Scott Trench’s amazing book, now you can actually plant better crops. But people are in survival mode 24/7. They can’t think the next step.I’ll give a very tangible example of that. When I was 21, I got into real estate. A lot of people have heard my story. If not, I think it was episode 92, maybe, somewhere around there, my original episode, which would’ve been 10 years ago, nine years ago. But when I got into real estate, the first six/seven years was like, “Build real estate. Build rentals. Build cashflow. I need it, need it, need it, need it.” But when I hit 27, I had enough cash flow. I had $3,000 to $4,000 a month coming in. I lived in a cheap area with a cheap house. I could do this. I quit my job. All of a sudden, I had level one financial freedom.Now, did that make me super happy all the time? No, not really. I mean, it was fine. But it was nice not having that crappy job I had. But what it did is it gave me the opportunity to start volunteering my time for this little blog that existed back then, a little blog and forum. I started just volunteering my time editing blog posts and writing blog posts. It was run by this guy, Josh Dorkin. It was a weird named blog called BiggerPockets. I started just writing for him because I had free time to do that.Josh and I started talking more. It was like, “Hey, why don’t we start a podcast?” I had the ability to do that. I was able to plant those better crops. I was able to take advantage of incredible opportunities because I was no longer in survival mode. That is, right there, a picture. Now, I’m not saying everyone has to go to start a podcast. But you will likely not see the opportunities that are in the world if you are consumed with the thought of, “How do I survive?” You cannot live a better life.
David:Because you have to figure out, “What do I don’t want? I don’t want to be hungry. I have to go work for food.” That’s the idea of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. You don’t hit the self-actualization-
Brandon:It’s all [inaudible 00:09:47].
David:…until you know your immediate needs are going to be met.
Brandon:Yeah. This goes back to the very beginning, and then I’ll shut up, but this idea of once you have a life’s mission, and you take care of the bottom levels of the pyramid… You have financial freedom. You don’t worry about survival mode. You have a mission in life. Now, all of a sudden, you can move.My mission back then, a large piece of it, was also to educate people in real estate. I had the basic bills paid for, and I wanted to educate. I could put a lot of time and effort and money and intention into that. That’s one of the reasons why BiggerPockets blew up because I was putting in 100 hours a week doing something I loved, so was Josh, and so were you when you get in.Financial freedom… If you’re not sure why you want it, maybe just think about it that way, is you have a life’s mission. There’s something you want. Let’s solve the financial freedom level one. Let’s get you financial freedom on this episode. I want every person by the time we’re done talking today to go, “I know why I want it, how I want it, and I’m working towards it.” Five years from now, if you’re not financial free, then we didn’t do our job today.
David:Yeah. Because money can solve a lot of those immediate problems. I need something to eat. Well, if I have money, that’s going to be solved. I need somewhere to live. If I have money, that’s going to be solved. I need to have a little bit of money left in the bank, or I need to have less pressure on me so I can think about other people in my life.We’ve all heard that example of the drowning man in the ocean that can’t save anybody else if he’s drowning. If you’re in that point of, “I have to solve this problem,” there’s nothing left over, like you said. I don’t think a lot of people realize that when they get those immediate problems solved, they think that was the goal of life. That was just the goal of what they could see from that position.It gets more complicated. It gets more difficult. You start to feel pressure and responsibility. You start to realize you have influence, and people are watching what you do. You can easily lead other people into the same vices that you’re in when you’re in a bigger influential position. I’d like to talk about that with you more because you’ve got more influence now than ever before. But before we do, on our harrowing path of financial freedom, we wanted to share some of the most impactful moments or lessons that helped us along the way and will help you move along your path as well as you listen to this, a couple of stories from the podcast that were particularly impactful that you and I went through. The first one is my favorite one.
Brandon:That’s the name of a book right there, Particularly Impactful by David Greene, coming out in 2025.
David:Is that what you think of when you think of me, particularly impactful? I don’t know that anyone else would.
Brandon:Particularly. I feel like you should do that with a British accent.
David:I’ve got different accents. I’ve got a Scottish one if you like to hear it.
Brandon:Oh, I like that one. That’s good.
David:All right. The first story… This is one of my favorite ones. We call this the toilet story.
David:Can you share the abridged version and how that impacted assigning value to your time?
Brandon:Geez. Okay. It starts with four friends of mine… Well, one friend of mine and three of his buddies. Young 20s, living in my apartment complex back in Grace Harbor. I was 25 years old-ish. They texted me and said, “Hey.” One of my buddies texted me and said, “Hey, the toilet’s not working.” I said, “Okay, I’ll take care of it.” Then, I just forgot because it wasn’t in my system. I had a system for calling for repairs. It wasn’t texting me. But he texted me and said, “It wasn’t working.” “I’ll take care of it.” What I should have said is, “Sure, can you call my maintenance person?” or whatever. I didn’t. “I’ll take care of it.” I forgot. A week later, he texted me back and said, “Hey, man, it’s getting real bad. It’s about to overflow.”
David:It’s really crappy.
Brandon:Yeah. It’s really crappy. He’s like, “It’s getting real bad. You really should come take care of this,” because they had continued to use the toilet for a solid week-
David:Of course. Of course.
Brandon:…because they’re 21-year-old kids. That’s what they do. They continued to use the toilet. They had all had the flu during that period. The toilet was completely full. I go there. This is the era of how-not-who. Not who-not-how. I said, “How am I going to fix this? I’m not going to call a plumber. Plumbers are $50 an hour.” Of course, today, they’re much more. I’m not going to pay $50 an hour. I try to plunge it. It doesn’t work. I try to snake it with one of those little hand snakes. It doesn’t work. I try plunging again. It doesn’t work. I get the brilliant idea. I’m going to unbolt it from the floor, and so I unbolt it from the floor. I pick it up. I’m doing a squat. I’m carrying it across the bathroom. I heave it up into the bathtub, and it covers me in everything that was in the toilet.
David:Were you trying to put it in the bathtub? [inaudible 00:13:51].
Brandon:Yeah. I was trying to get it in the bathtub.
David:You’re hoping it would just go down the drain.
Brandon:Yeah. Because I wanted to flip it upside down to figure out what was blocking it.
David:Okay. You needed a place to put.
Brandon:I dumped it upside down in the toilet or in the bathtub in the meantime. It covers me. I found a little contact lens solution bottle thing in the bottom of the toilet. I fixed it. But then, I got dreadfully sick the next week. That was the last time really that I did any plumbing on any real estate property I ever did.
David:Did any of it hit that one area of your back that you can’t get?
Brandon:It’s still there, man. It’s still there. Here’s the lesson, It took that to get me to go, “A plumber would’ve been $100.” A plumber would’ve had a powered router… rooter that they would’ve… Yeah, rooter. Router is what you make wood out of or make cool designs. A rooter to router it out. It would’ve been done in 20 minutes, would’ve cost me a couple of hundred bucks probably. I wouldn’t have had that problem. I would’ve gotten sick.But I value that lesson because it taught me the who not… Sometimes I would be much better off. In fact, this is a much broader topic. If you want financial freedom, the lesson here is a who-not-how lesson. But it’s not a how entirely. It’s not sit-on-the-beach-and-do-nothing. It is everything you do has a dollar per hour attached to it. If you want to hear a great podcast about this, we interviewed Perry Marshall, the guy who wrote the book 80/20 Sales and Marketing. He talked a lot about everything you do has a dollar per hour attached to it. If you’re mowing the lawn, you could attach a $20 an hour to that ’cause you could find somebody to mow your lawn for $20 an hour. If you are changing the oil in your car, that’s probably a $40-an-hour task. Everything you do has a dollar per hour attached to it.
Perry Marshall:80/20 is driven by power laws. It says that everything is exponential. It’s not addition. It’s multiplication. The value of your time is not $10/20/30/40 an hour. It’s 10/100/1,000/10,000.
Brandon:The fact is, if you’re negotiating a real estate deal, if you are sending out direct mail letters, that is likely more like $1,000-per-hour task. If you work 10 hours at lead generation in your business and you land a deal that ends up netting you $30,000, how much money per hour did you just make? A lot.What I was doing… and I was trying to do everything. I was sacrificing the great for the good. I was stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. That’s really what I’ve learned in this who-not-how idea: is find my value. What is the most valuable thing I can possibly do? I’m going to do as much of that as humanly possible.Now, in the beginning, you have no money, fine. You might have to do more. But as fast as you can. Even the idea of like, “Okay, let’s bring back ChatGPT.” If there’s things that ChatGPT can help you do that’s a dollar an hour, great. You start doing the $2-an-hour stuff. Then, as soon as you’re going to afford the $2-an-hour or $5-an-hour VA, hire them to do some of the $5-an-hour stuff. Stop mowing your lawn. Hire the kid next door to do that. There are things you can afford. In fact, I would say sell your car, downgrade your house, house tag. Do whatever you can to free up as much money as possible and then use that money to buy back your time so you can dedicate your time to doing the higher dollar-per-hour tasks. If you don’t know what those higher dollar-per-hour tasks are, listen to any podcast episode of BiggerPockets, and you’ll hear people talking about what those things are.
David:Just like you didn’t walk into the first jiu-jitsu gym and immediately start training. The first VA you hire-
Brandon:It’s going to be terrible.
David:The first assistant may not be the one that you run with for the entire time. It is okay if it takes a couple of tries to get that right.
Brandon:My first assistant I hired… ’cause I needed an assistant to help me with digital stuff like BiggerPockets stuff and show notes and all that good stuff, my email and all that. She’s going to be my digital assistant. Maybe edit some blog posts, maybe edit photos, upload the social media, all that. I hired this woman that I know ’cause she applied. That was the only criteria: a woman I know, and she applied.
Brandon:It was such terrible criteria. But I hired her. First day, I buy her a brand new Mac computer. I rent her an office. I go, and I set her up in the office. I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to train you today on how to do this stuff that I need you to do. I sat down. I’m like, “Okay, so go to your desktop.” She said the words, “What’s the desktop?” I was like, “It’s the screen. It’s everything. That’s your desktop.” I was like, “So click on my computer,” or whatever it was. She goes, “What’s that?” I was like, “Oh, geez.” Then, I asked the question that I maybe should’ve asked earlier, “Have you ever used a computer before?” The answer was, “Well, I have a phone. I realized that day I hired a digital assistant who had never used a computer in her life.” You know what? I learned that I was sitting on the bench. I was sitting on the little kid bench that day.
David:That’s so good.
Brandon:I found a new spot for her. She was amazing in that new role. It worked out. The next assistant… little better.
David:Little bit better.
David:Next one? Little bit better.
David:They’re still getting a little bit better.
Brandon:They’re still getting… My assistant right now, Kat, is the best assistant I ever had. It’s just taken me 10 years. They’ve been getting better every time.
David:Even Brandon Turner has failed and failed and failed and failed. I think the difference is you just keep going. See, when we don’t share this, people hire an assistant maybe, too, it doesn’t work. “I just must not be good at this.” I just suck at jiu-jitsu. It’s not for me. Let me go find something else.”
Brandon:Oh, dude. Anytime people say, “I tried that. It didn’t work,” that drives me nuts. I’m like, “No, you didn’t try every way to do that thing.” “Oh, yeah. I tried sending direct mail. It didn’t work.” “How many did you send?” “A couple of hundred.” “A couple of hundred a day? A couple of hundred a week?” “No, a couple of hundred.” “Why would that work?”
David:I tried exercising. It didn’t work.
Brandon:Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we don’t go, “I went to the gym today.” I actually left the gym the other day. I made a video, and then it didn’t turn out well, so I didn’t post it. But maybe I still will. “David, gyms are scams. Completely scams. They don’t work. I went to the gym the other day. I went in there. I worked out for almost an hour. I walked out, and I’m still fat. They’re completely scams. They say if you go to the gym, you’re going to lose weight.
David:“I did everything they said to do.”
Brandon:“I did everything they said. I even did the ab machine for 20 minutes. I went on the elliptical machine. I didn’t lose weight that day. I am never going back to a gym again.” Complete ridiculous.
David:“Everywhere I go, I’m going to tell everybody else that gyms don’t work.”
Brandon:“Yeah, I’m going to go tell everyone that the gyms don’t work.”
David:“I’m going to go on Reddit and start a forum just to bring up this topic.”
Brandon:That’s it. Oh, geez. It’s-
David:That’s a great point. I mean, that is a great point. What’s funny is that in certain areas of life, we understand you are not going to get into your first relationship and crush it right away. You’re not going to go on a diet for a day and crush it. You’re not going to go in the gym and crush it. You’re not going to ride a bike the first time. You’re not going to snowboard. You’re not going to surf. None of that’s going to happen the first couple of times you do it. Yet, with money, we have this completely different expectation for how it’s supposed to work.
Brandon:Yeah. I met Heather in college. I fell just head over heels in love with her. One day, I took her out for a walk. I said, “Can we go for a walk?” I went out there, and I poured my heart out. I’m like, “I really like you a lot. I can’t stop. I really like you. I want to get closer to you.” She said, “Oh, that’s nice.” That’s nice.
David:Oh my god.
Brandon:Oh, I’m like, “Oh!” She’s like, “I like you too. You’re a good friend.” Oh!
David:Gives you a little back pat, buddy.
Brandon:Yeah. But you know what I did a week later? I took her out again. I was like, “No, you don’t understand. I really like you, and I need this. I need more.”
David:That’s good, man. How many people have reached out to a mentor, shot their shot, poured their heart out, got rejected, and just said, “I can’t ever do that again.”
Brandon:Yep. So many.
David:Do you think there’s a correlation between how much rejection a person is willing to go through and how successful they’re going to be?
Brandon:Yep. Very much. That’s why the best salespeople are just the best at taking rejection. The best door-to-door salespeople… I know some really great salespeople. The best ones are the ones that it doesn’t phase them to get rejected. It took me four tries to ask Heather out before she finally said yes. I basically had to give her an ultimatum. I was like, “I can’t be your friend anymore.” I was like, “I love you too much.” I don’t think I said the love, but I was like, “I am so obsessed with you. It hurts every second of every day.” She’s like, “Well, then…” I was like, “I can’t be friends. I’m done. I’m breaking this up. I’m no longer a friend.” She goes… I think her words were, “Fine. Ask me out like a real man,” or something like that ’cause she’s like, “You never actually asked me out. You did it in this round-
David:You’re like, “This whole time-”
Brandon:Yeah. She like…
David:“…pain and personal anguish for nothing.”
Brandon:Yep. She’s like, “You didn’t ever ask me out.” I’m like, “Of course, I did. I did it four times.” She’s like, “No, you didn’t.” I’m like, “Yes, I did.” I said, “I really like you. I don’t know what to do with this.” She’s like, “That’s not asking me out.”
David:It’s funny. I know exactly what that means. That person doesn’t hear it at all.
Brandon:Yeah, yeah. She was just like, “You were just telling me you liked me.” I’m like, “Oh!”
David:Bro, my first experience telling a girl I liked her was almost the exact same thing. It was the hardest thing, at that time, I’d ever done in my life. I think this was before cell phones. I remember taking the phone off of the receiver and calling her. It was that same feeling of I have this ache in my soul that’s making me sick. I did not want to tell them how I felt. I did not want the rejection. I was pretty sure she didn’t feel the same way. But it was killing me. I finally did. I think I said it along the lines of, “I just think you’re really, really special, more special than I’ve ever seen in another person. I like being around you all the time. I think about everything I do. I want you there.” She started crying.She still didn’t understand. I was saying I like her, bro. She cried on the phone and was like, “That’s the nicest thing anyone-
David:“…said this thing.” Yes. Thank you so much. Then, I was like, “Well, how do you feel?” She’s like, “I don’t know. I need to think about it.” I thought, “Oh god. I don’t want to push her. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. She’s probably feeling the same thing. Let me give her time.” I said, “Okay. Well, why don’t you think about it and call me back?” She goes, “Okay.” I’m holding my breath the… I’m expecting in the next five minutes/the next morning/the next day. Five days go by. She forgot about it.
David:All day long, dude, this is all I’m thinking about the entire time. She forgets we had the conversation. She gets in a car accident. I’m like, “I want to call to check on her,” but I’m afraid at the time… I know women listening to this probably… They just think we’re stupid, and we are. We don’t understand. I was thinking it would be taken advantage of her vulnerability now that she’s been in an accident to go and ask this question or go talk to her when she hasn’t had time to come back to me.Finally, I just called to check on her. At the end of it, when I realized she’s okay, I was like, “So what do you think about what we talked?” She’s like, “Oh, yeah. I forgot all about that.” It’s so weird how that can happen. I just wonder how many people who have a goal, whether it’s real estate investing or anything, that are trying to make connections, trying to make mentors, they want to sell more houses. They want to connect with the broker, whatever it is, that are in there in their own head beating themselves up, having no idea the other person doesn’t even realize it’s happening.
Brandon:Yeah. The question is for people to think, where are you being too vague? Where are you not being direct enough in your life? Are you actually asking to buy that person’s house? Or are you beating around the bush?
David:I love this house.
Brandon:Yeah. It’s great.
David:I wish I could own one just like this someday.
Brandon:Right. Same with business partners. “Oh, man. We’d be great together. It’d be great,” instead of, “What do you want?” This is like… Is it Jerry McGuire? Is that the one where he’s like, “What do you…” No, this is Ryan Gosling on the Notebook. He’s screaming at Rachel McAdams. “What do you want? What do you want?” She’s like, “I don’t know.” He’s like, “What do you want?” That’s what I’m asking people right now. I was like, “What do you want? You want to buy that house? You want to work with that partner. You want to borrow that money. You want to raise that capital.” Go ask for what you want. You get what you ask for not what you implied.
David:But what stops us from doing it is the rejection.
Brandon:The rejection/the fear.
David:We don’t want the rejection.
Brandon:I’m afraid to.
David:It’s not worth it.
David:There’s a scene in Rocky Balboa where he is talking to his son, and his son’s lost his path in life. You know that scene I’m talking about?
David:Sylvester Stallone’s character, Rocky, is telling him, “You need to go after what you want. You’re making excuses. Winners don’t do that. You’re better than that.” He says, “In life, it’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how many times you can get hit and keep going.” I get tingles every time I think about that. I wonder if you could measure someone’s resilience with rejection if there’s a clear connection between how successful they are. How many times can life punch you? Can you stand in there and get punched over and over and over to learn the pattern of what punches look like before you start slipping them? Then, eventually, the other person gets tired, and you can knock them out pretty easy. We have this fantasy that we want to walk in there. “I hit so hard in one punch. It’s easy. I never break a sweat. I’m amazing.” That’s the person that we’re trying to model ourselves after. When it doesn’t work out like that, we go, “Oh, I guess I just wasn’t good at it. I tried it, and it didn’t work.”
David:There’s people that do jiu-jitsu that are incredibly good at it, that are walking around complete nerds. You would never know. But I think it’s the other thing. There’s some kids in the class I go to that started when they were five. They’re teenagers, and they’re just assassins. But nothing else in life they like that they’ve just done it so many times. Their brain has seen the patterns. They know the movements. They see angles that someone like me, that thinks about it all the time, I don’t even pick up on. If you commit to real estate investing like that, anything like that, you’re going to be successful. Thank you for sharing that story.
Brandon:Could I throw one more piece in there in a related way? I don’t know how this connects to the actual toilet story that we started this conversation with. But I will say this. When it talks about asking for what you want and being direct, that means you need to get clarity on what it is you want in real estate. Let’s talk real estate specifically here. There’s something in Multifamily Millionaire, Volume I, that I talked about. I call it the crystal clear criteria. Oftentimes, in commercial real estate, we call it the buy box. But crystal clear criteria is what exactly do you want to buy next?If you’re listening to the show right now, grab a pen and paper. Write these five words down or five phrases down. Number one: location. Where do you want to invest? Be specific. You can have multiple locations if you want, but just where do you want to invest? Know exactly where you want to invest. Number two: property type. What type of property do you want to buy? Number three: price range. Where do you want to buy in? What’s your max? What’s your min? Number four is condition. Condition. Do you want ugly, nasty, gross, tear down? You want just land you want to build on? You want a nice property that’s A class. What do you want? Condition? The last one would be what I call profitability. What makes it a good deal?Once you know that, it’s like, “Hey, David, I’m looking for some real estate. Can you help me find some?” You’re like, “Yeah, whatever.” Imagine me as a client of-
David:I want a good deal?
Brandon:Yeah, I want a good deal. Yeah. No. “David, what I’m looking for is I want something in the Bay Area, preferably the East Bay Area. I want something between 400,000 and $800,000. I’d love it to have an extra unit. I want it to be something a little bit of a fixer-upper because I really like that idea. Again, a house with an extra unit somewhere or the ability to add an extra unit. I just need this thing to break even on cash flow. That’s what I’m looking for.” Are you going to take me more seriously now?
David:Oh, yeah. Of course.
David:You know why people don’t do that?
David:They are subconsciously putting the burden of solving the problem on the person they’re talking to.
David:What you had done with Heather was you, by saying, “I’m a good friend. I like you. I like to be around you,” but you never asked her out is you wanted her to figure out-
Brandon:I wanted her to say. Yep.
David:“Well, then we should go out sometime,” so you didn’t have to fill that rejection. I’m not criticizing you for that because I think I do it all the time. I think a lot of people do it all the time. But that’s where that comes from.
Brandon:Oh, dude. I’m going to take this to a PG-13 level real quick. If you got kids listening to this, maybe skip the next 30 seconds. But men do this all the time in regards to sex with their wives or their girls. They imply what they want. They would love to have more sex. They’re like, “Oh, what a great night tonight. We got some time. The kids are in bed. I wonder what we should do tonight.”
David:She’s like, “We could have strawberries.”
David:We could get caught up on The Bachelor.
Brandon:Yeah. Yeah. It’s like what if I was just more direct? I don’t mean that in a mean way. Just saying, “I would like to do this tonight.”
David:Yeah, I bet you they would love that.
Brandon:Oh, I bet you they would love it because people want to be-
David:The more direct and the more descriptive, probably the more they would like that.
Brandon:Think a lot of people would love that. I’m committing to that in all areas of my life, just being a little more direct. I’m going to have everyone do me a favor right now. We’re going to do a little practice here. I want everyone to pause this podcast who’s listening to it. Pause it right now. I want you to text one person in your world what you want. Now, not talking about the bedroom but real estate-wise. Text someone-
David:Unless you’re married, and that is what you want.
Brandon:Unless that’s what you want, that’s fine. Right now, pause it and go text somebody what you want. Then, I want you to do that again tomorrow and then the next day. I want you to get crystal clear on what it is you want. If you don’t know what you want, make it up. I don’t care. It’s more important that you decide than what you decide.
David:Good stuff. All right. Moving on to number two. You and I interviewed Steven Pressfield, the author of The War of Art, one of your favorite books. Stephen has a very no-nonsense approach to winning in life. He often talks about you have to treat your goals like a business. You want to buy another property, but we get stuck in analysis paralysis. Or you get scared off by some new type of financing. Or you say, “I’m not in the mood to take on another rehab. I don’t feel like it right now.” Professionals don’t let their environment or their own mind tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. They don’t follow their feelings. Professionals do what has to be done. How did that show change your life?
Brandon:Dude, Steven Pressfield’s one of my favorite people on the planet. The War of Art is one… I mean, literally, we send a copy of the War of Art to every single person who joins the BetterLife Tribe. Every person gets that book. Somebody asked me yesterday, “Why that book? Why’d you choose that?” I said, “If you can master that concept in The War of Art, you can master anything.” That’s the idea is that there are amateurs, and there are professionals. Amateurs do things when they want to. Professionals do things because they need to get done. A great quote from that book… He’s actually in that book quoting somebody else. But I love this line. I love it so much I might tattoo it on my body someday. The idea is this.
Steven Pressfield:The Creative Habit is the name of the book. She just talks about how there’s a famous story in… I cite this in the War of Art where somebody asked the great writer Somerset Maugham if he wrote when inspiration struck him or if he wrote on a schedule. He said, “I write only when inspiration strikes me.” He says, “Fortunately, it strikes me every morning at 9:30 sharp.”
Brandon:The idea being I show up, and the magic happens. The muse is what he called it. It’s a metaphor for this magic, this action, the results that result from you showing up and doing the work. That’s why it’s called the War of Art. People might have misheard that and thought we were talking about the Art of War. We’re not talking about the Chinese Sun Tzu, whatever. War of Art. Art of War.
David:Art of war.
Brandon:We’re talking about the war inside you. This idea of resistance. Resistance is a force of nature like gravity, like anything else. Pressfield nails this. He says resistance is what causes us to lie in bed and scroll TikTok instead of analyzing that deal. It’s the thing that makes us lie in bed watching TV instead of wooing our wife. It’s the thing that stops us from doing the things we actually want to do. It holds us back. It’s like a self-limiting belief, in a way. But it’s a real force. It’s very powerful.
David:The Bible talks a lot about how broad is the wrong road, and many people take it. But narrow is the righteous road, and few people take it. There is never a point in the journey of success where you don’t feel that resistance. There is always the temptation to scroll through social media or sleep in a little bit longer. Jocko takes this on when he wakes up every single day at 4:30.I’ve noticed that the more I eat of certain foods, the more I want to eat those foods. If I eat more vegetables and steak, the more I want that. If I eat more noodles and carbs, the more I want it. Our brain and our body is programmed to do more of what we already did. Oftentimes, when you wake up and you get yourself to the keyboard at 9:00 AM, it’s much easier to write when you’ve been writing. It can go the opposite. You and I are going to go lift weights when we get done with this. The more you lift weights, the more your body starts to want to lift weights, the more you start to feel wrong if you don’t exercise, the more momentum you get. When you’re not doing it, you never feel like doing it.
Brandon:Yeah. Yeah. It’s so true. There’s an identity component to this as well. You are somebody who works out. I’m not right now. I’ve been going to the gym, I’ve gone to the gym quite a bit in the last few months. But I still don’t have the identity yet of a gym rat.
David:Of a weightlifter.
Brandon:Of weightlifter. Now, I definitely-
David:You like to run. You like to swim. You like to surf.
Brandon:I like to do that stuff. Yeah. I have that identity somewhat. I’ve lost it with running and jiu-jitsu lately and surfing ’cause I haven’t done as much of it. I’m actually trying to change my identity to be somebody who goes to the gym. How do you do that? How does that become just who I am? At some level, it’s a chicken or the egg problem. My identity doesn’t say go, “I go to the gym every day,” yet. I have to force myself manually to do it. But if you force yourself manually to do something long enough, it becomes habit/becomes routine. Habit turns into routine. Routine turns into identity.What I’m trying to do is I’m trying to craft my identity. I call it identity theft. I’m trying to steal an identity that I want. I don’t have that. I want that identity because I know with that identity comes a better life, the life that I want. What do I have to do in order to get that identity over the long haul? How do we stick with something, though, for the long haul? How do I stick with the gym?Let me show you exactly what I’m doing. I even brought this in the room ’cause I carry this with me almost everywhere. I actually track this. If you have the Intention Journal from BiggerPockets, you can do it right inside there. Intention Journal. We have a section in there called the habit tracker. Inside the habit tracker. I also have this inside the BetterLife Tribe and make everybody do this. This is literally what we do in the tribe is we report back every week on this thing. But I’ve got this habit tracker.Here’s what my habits that I’m currently tracking. These are things that don’t come naturally to me that I have to force myself to do on a regular basis so that I can create a new identity. Number one, screen time under two and a half hours. Did I do it or not? I check it off every morning. Did I do that yesterday or not? 10,000 steps. Did I get it? In fact, today I’m already got it ’cause I went for a long walk earlier. Did I enter in a win as my food? There’s an app called My Body Tutor. It’s a few hundred bucks a month. I’ve got a one-on-one coach that checks my food every single day. Did I enter my food in, and can I call it a win? If I can, I give it a check mark.Did I pray with Heather before going to bed? Did I have a date or some no-kid time with Heather? Did I do morning reading devotions, Bible, whatever with the kids? Did I have dinner at the table? There’s these amazing studies that show when you have dinner at the table with your family, it solves almost every problem that a kid has. It’s probably the number one predictor of a good kid is the amount of dinner you have at the table with them.Then, the next one, this is why I bring it up, gym session. Did I get to the gym? It’s not natural for me right now. I have to force myself to do it. But by tracking it, I’m instantly better. Check this out. This is my week right now. I know you guys can’t see this. But gym session… My goal is three times this week. Nope, nope, nope, nope. I only have three days left in the week. But I’m going to report back to my pod, my accountability group, on Tuesday. I’m going to have to tell them that either I didn’t or I didn’t do it. Guess what we’re doing after this podcast recording?
David:We’re lifting weights.
Brandon:We’re lifting weights. Guess what we’re doing tomorrow? We’re lifting weights because we’re doing Saturday. I only got three days left. I’m going to get it. I am forcing myself through a combination of habit tracking and accountability to get the habit so I can turn it into a routine so I can change my identity so I can change my life. That’s what you have to do if you want your life to change. That is what a professional does. That is why the War of Art changed my life.
David:It’s a good thing I came to Hawaii.
Brandon:It’s a good thing.
David:Helping change your identity.
Brandon:Changing my identity.
David:You wouldn’t be a weightlifter it wasn’t for me.
Brandon:You have the identity of a guy who lifts weights. I’m trying to [inaudible 00:37:06]-
David:Yeah. When I don’t do it, I don’t like how I feel. I have this natural thing that makes it easier to go to the gym because if I’m not going, I feel bad. Versus when it’s not natural for you/it’s not your identity, you can skip it. It doesn’t bother you.
Brandon:For those who are not understanding the connection to real estate here, there’s a lot of things you have to do in real estate on a regular basis: analyzing deals, getting leads, somehow, maybe calling brokers, making an offer. There’s actions you can do on a regular basis. If that is not natural for you right now-
Brandon:…define what those are, track them, get accountability on them, and do them. Let me add one more point, and then we’ll move on. Why did I suddenly start going to the gym again? Why did I add that as a habit on here? I, one, identified what it was, but, two, Alex Felice. Alex Felice is a buddy of mine. He’s been around the BiggerPockets forever. He just came on full-time to be the creative director of the whole BetterLife Movement/Tribe, whatever. He is… Video. He’s the one that set up all our cameras here. He’s doing all that stuff. Alex is a gym rat. He loves it. goes every single day. You can tell by looking at him. He’s a gym guy. You know how much easier it is for me right now to go to the gym. If Alex goes there-
David:‘Cause you’re in a community people that are doing it.
Brandon:A community of people who go to the gym. Every day, Alex is like, “Hey, I’m going to the gym.” I’m like, “Yeah, let’s go.” It’s a whole lot easier to get to the gym because of Alex. Who is Alex in your life that will drag you with? Alex didn’t even have to do it. Just by him going/by osmosis, I am more of a gym person because of Alex. Who is that Alex in your life that you need to get around? You will naturally become a better real estate investor or a better husband or a better father or a better mother, kid, wife, whatever it is, role you play. If you get around somebody who has that identity right now, you will start to steal their identity. It’ll change your life.
David:That’s great. Number three episode had to do with Cameron Herold and the Vivid Vision. That was episode 447. I don’t even know we need to cover this because I think you already covered it in previous ones. We talking-
Brandon:We talked about it.
David:…about crystal clear criteria. Deciding is more important than what you decide. You mentioned that. We’ve already gone into the importance of having clarity. But what else was in your vision when you got clarity that made a big difference in where you are now?
Brandon:Yeah, let me tell the quick story. I went to Best Ever Conference. It’s a real estate conference put on by Joe Fairless in Denver. This is like five years ago. I was on stage, and I was like, “Man, I don’t deserve to be here.” I had 30 rental units, and these guys have hundreds, sometimes thousands. There’s some people in that room that had 1,000 more or more units, 2000/3000. They’re big syndicators and whatever. I was like, “The only reason I’m here is because I have a big mouth, and I can sell tickets.” I don’t want to be that guy that’s on stage, and I don’t deserve it. I want to earn my spot here. I left there, and I read a book. I read it then. I was like, “Oh my gosh. This is so good.”
Cameron Herold:The Vivid Vision is a description of what it looks like in the future. The team then figures out the plan to make that come true.
Brandon:I had such a clear picture of where I wanted to go in life. The idea is very simple. Don’t just write out a basic premise of… I want this many units and this much money. But craft that into a vision, a story, or a picture, something that’s a little bit maybe artistic. What I did… It’s actually on the wall right behind you. I know it’s all probably out of focus in the video. But it’s called The $50 million Surfers. It’s a four-foot poster from My Wall. It’s a newspaper article written three years in the future; how a small team of adventure seekers built a real estate empire, helped millions achieve financial independence, and kept their humanity intact.It begins, “December 31st, 2021, Maui, Hawaii. Open Door Capital, a Maui-based investment firm is an investment firm unlike anything you’ve seen. Instead of suits and ties, you’ll find the small team wearing board shorts and flip-flops.” It goes on from there. In fact, I read the entire Vivid Vision at the end of that episode if you want to go back and listen to it. I think I did, anyway. I think the whole thing I read. You can hear what my vision was.Now, have I hit every one of those perfectly? Not perfectly. But I said we bought 50 million of real estate. On December 31st, 2021, we had closed over 300 million of real estate. That is powerful in itself: is having a vision for where you’re headed. It’s equally powerful, if not more, for getting people on your side.Remember we talked about clarity? Oh, there’s so much that this ties in. When you have clarity… Like I said earlier, if I were to tell you I want a house in East Bay that’s a duplex, blah, blah, blah, I now have clarity. People want leadership. People want clarity. People around you want somebody who knows where they’re going and what they’re doing. As soon as I made that, all of a sudden, everyone’s like, “Yeah, let’s do it. That sounds good.” Everyone followed me. I was like, “I don’t really know what I’m doing here, but this is great.” I just made up a vision for my future.A buddy of mine, Chris Wood, the other day, sent me a message that said, “Hey, I got a really cool idea. You can use ChatGPT to create your Vivid Vision.” I was like, “Oh, no way. That’s a good idea.” He was showing me. You just write a couple of the points that you want. I want this. I want this. I want this and say, “Write that in a newspaper article three years in the future, and it’ll write it.” It’s amazing. If you’re not an artistic writer, you can still create a Vivid Vision off of that. Where are you headed, realistically? But also make it a little bit of a challenge, and then show that to everybody. Tell everybody.In fact, I took that vision, and I showed Ryan Murdoch. I said, “This is what I want.” He said, “Let’s go.” Ryan led the charge to get there until we brought in Walker, who now runs the company. Now, like I said, we’re closing up not 50 million. We’re closing on billion dollars of real estate. In the next 10 years, we’re going to buy 10 billion of real estate. We’re going to give away a billion dollars.In fact, let me tell you the mission of the BetterLife Tribe. It’s very clear. We’re going to have 10,000 members paying an average of $500 a month in the next three years. For that, they’re all going to change their lives. But that’s going to produce 50 million a year. We’re going to give 100% of that profit away to fight human trafficking. That’s a mission people can get behind. Not only are you making your life better and getting financial freedom yourself. We are going to make sure everybody in there gets financial freedom. We’re going to free millions of people from the horrors of slavery. That’s a mission people can get behind. That’s why people are following me and volunteering and helping. We’re getting celebrities on board. We’re getting all this cool stuff because I have a vision. People crave vision. That’s the lesson there: is get a compelling vision for your life.
David:Get clarity. It’s okay if what you pick adjusts and shifts.
Brandon:Adjust. Yeah, sure.
David:I think a lot of people are afraid to put that down ’cause I don’t know for sure. Well, is it more clear than where you were before? You’re moving in the right direction.
Brandon:Yeah. Positive direction. Just every step forward gives you a better life.
David:Yes. That’s good. Number four episode was number 365, where we interviewed Jocko Willink. We also touched on this one a little bit already because we can’t help ourselves but just share information and dump value every single chance that we get. We’ve already described how that led to jiu-jitsu and extreme ownerships, but for people who haven’t heard of the concept of extreme ownership, can you just share briefly what that is?
Jocko Willink:It’s really straightforward. Mistakes are going to happen. Your life is going to happen. Your life is going to unfold. The longer you sit around and blame other people, other things, other circumstances for the situation that you’re in, the longer you’re going to be in that bad situation. The minute that you say, “Okay, this is what’s going on. This is on me, and I’m going to do what it takes to get it fixed…” If you take that attitude, I’m telling you right now, that will turn your life around.
Brandon:Yeah. It means that everything in my life is my wife’s fault. Moving on. I’m just kidding. But that’s how people react. It’s like, “Oh, I didn’t get laid, so it must be my wife’s fault. I didn’t get that real estate deal. It must be my agent’s fault. I didn’t get in shape. Must be the gym’s fault. Extreme ownership says, “No, it’s yours. Everything is your fault. Everything’s your fault. Everything’s your responsibility. Everything is your ability to change.” You get to control your life. Now, it’s true. There are bad things that happen to people. It’s not saying, “Hey, that person that was mean to you, it’s not your fault that they’re mean to you. But you chose to be in that setting oftentimes.
David:Yeah. That’s right.
Brandon:Again, not always. I don’t want to make it sound like… especially people who’ve had traumatic experiences.
David:You chose to be the kind of person they’d be comfortable being mean to.
David:In some way.
Brandon:Yep. Even in the random case where it is completely… an asteroid from space comes down and annihilates your house, you still buy your house. It’s still your responsibility.
David:Did you have a plan in place for what you’re going to do if an asteroid-
Brandon:Yeah. What are you going to do if an asteroid hits your house? What are you going to do-
David:Did you have enough insurance to cover you?
Brandon:Yes. It’s a mindset shift that says, “I take 100% ownership of all things in my life. Because of that mindset, I will never play the victim. I will never play this idea of I’m just waiting on another person. No. I will direct everything. I will control where my life goes. As the world hits it and it moves, I’m just going to move it right back because I know where I’m going ’cause I take ownership of it.”
David:Can I share what I love about this approach to life-
David:…with you? When there is a problem, whoever takes ownership of the problem has the bigger burden. Is that fair? That’s why most of us don’t like ownership. We don’t really naturally like responsibility. People want leadership because they see the perks of it. They don’t understand the responsibility that comes with it. This is why there’s not as many leaders. People don’t even want to take responsibility for getting clarity of what they want in their own life. It is not natural to be responsible because we don’t want the burden. When your mindset in life is, how do I avoid burden? How do I make it as easy on myself as possible? It’s not natural. Let’s equate a burden to lifting the weight, picking up the 20-pound rock, and moving it. If you are consistently the person in every scenario that takes responsibility for the outcome and you are the one consistently moving the rock, do you get stronger, or do the people get stronger who shirk the responsibility?
David:If you take a lifestyle of every time you walk by that rock pile, every time there’s any problem, you lift the weight, you lift the weight, you lift the weight-
Brandon:You get stronger and better.
David:When you get stronger and better, things just happen to work for you better in life. Opportunities come along that you can take down that somebody else can’t take down. The people who are not stronger don’t understand it’s because you’ve been taking responsibility your whole life. That’s where you get the must be nice to be strong. Must be nice to be big enough to move that rock.
Brandon:Here in Hawaii, we love to do what we call whale hunting. It’s actually just get on paddleboards and paddle out into the middle of the ocean. Try to find whales. What we’ll do is we’ll wake up early. It’ll be 6:00 AM. We’ll walk outside. I’ll look on my porch, and I’m looking out… or my lanai, and we’ll look out on the ocean. We’ll look for the spouts of the whale.
David:You ever say, “There she blows”?
Brandon:We do every time. You look for the mist ’cause the whale’s out there. We like, “Okay, there’s whales out there. Let’s go.” We load up our boards. We drive down the beach. We run down the beach. We put our boards in the water, and then we paddle out. The whole time we’re looking. Where are the spouts? Where are they at? Where are they at? We see them in the very distance. But we don’t paddle to them because you’ll miss them. They’re moving. We paddle in front of them. We paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle.Then, the whale dives down when we’re halfway there. We paddled for an hour. We’re tired. We’re miserable ’cause it’s just paddle, paddle against the waves and the wind. Get out there, and we dive down, and he’s gone. We’re like, “We don’t see it anymore.” We’re sitting there looking for 20 minutes. The whale’s just gone. But then, on the horizon, we see another one. Smoke goes up. The mist goes up. We paddle over that way. Then, the whale goes down, and we lose it. Then, all of a sudden, we see one that’s a hundred feet away right next to us. I mean, just… of the water. It’s like, “Whoa!” It’s like, “There’s a whale right there.” In fact, the last time I went out with Alex. Me and Alex went out together. We were out there for an hour/hour and a half. Saw nothing. I turned to Alex, and I go, “Yeah, dude. It’s just a dud today. We’re not going to see…” And as I said, we’re not going to see one, not 10 feet away a gigantic whale is when… right next to us. I mean, what are the odds of that?Now, nine times out of 10 when I go whale hunting, when I go out there in the water, we get a hundred yards from a whale. If not, sometimes they pop up right next to us. It’s nine times out of 10. Is that luck? Is that luck? No. I mean, yes. Completely lucky. But I got up at 6:00. I watched the water. I went down to the water. I paddled for an hour. I paddled for another hour. I went around, and then I got lucky. But what do the people on the beach say? Lucky. Must be nice to have the whale pop up right next to you. They don’t see that.Extreme ownership is saying, “I’m going to paddle until I get what I want.” It’s saying, “I’m going to get the best board I can.” It’s saying, “I’m going to wake up early. I’m going to watch the horizon.” When you do those things and you take ownership of the little things, you get the results of the big things.
David:There’s a belief of people that are usually not successful at something that the thing just happens or it doesn’t happen. The whale just showed up, or it didn’t show up. The people that become successful start to recognize that it was actually incredibly predictable that it would happen for that person. You could either look at life, looking forward, saying, “I’m going to take that journey. I hope that on that journey success finds me.” Or you can look from the end, looking backwards, and say, “Life wants to give me an opportunity. Responsibility needs to find a home.” There is a lack of leadership. There is a huge void where, like you said, people want to follow leaders. They can’t find anyone to find. If I become that, there will be an abundance of opportunity. I’ll get to pick whichever one I want.If I become able and capable of bearing the weight of that responsibility, if I am strong enough to carry that weight, there’s probably 100 people out there like, “Oh my god. We have a strong person. Give them an opportunity. Give them a raise. Give them a job. Give them a position.” When you have the skills, the stuff finds you. At this point in your life, you don’t have to go out there hunting for opportunity. There is opportunity everywhere because you have skills that can capitalize on it.The people without the skills don’t focus on becoming who they need to be to get what they want. They wait until the thing happens and say, “Can I do it or not? Am I ready or not? Can I do that job or not?” not “Who do I have to become to have that job?” I’m only saying this because once you get there and you look back, you realize it was very predictable that I would be in this position. There’s a lack of good real estate agents, a lack of good brokers, a lack of good podcast hosts, a lack of people that can articulate themselves, a lack of trustworthy people that give financial advice that aren’t just trying to steal your money and get rich off of your nativity. Do you agree, in general, that if you focus on getting stronger, the opportunities will find you?
Brandon:100%. If you look at my real estate business, who runs the whole thing? COO Walker Meadows. Walker was a freaking intern. He was an intern.
David:You were raving about that guy from the minute you met him. Yeah.
Brandon:Because he took ownership. He came in as an intern. He was like, “Hey, you guys, the spreadsheet sucks. Let me redo this.” Our underwriting model-
David:Oh, he didn’t just sit there and criticize.
Brandon:I know. Yeah.
David:The spreadsheet sucks. That’s why I don’t have the work-
Brandon:I don’t have-
David:…because you gave me a bad spreadsheet.
Brandon:Yeah. He was like, “I’m going to redo this whole thing.” He took ownership of everything. Over time, he went from intern to acquisitions to VP of acquisitions to COO over a two-year period. You know what? The BetterLife Tribe, which is arguably a $50 million company in the last six months in terms of valuation… I mean, it’s a nonprofit. We’re not going to sell it. It’s a massively successful operation run by Matt Buck. Who’s Matt Buck? My intern. My two companies that are insanely profitable and successful are both run by interns. Why did I put Matt Buck in charge? ‘Cause he took ownership.You know what? I mentioned Alex Felice, who runs the whole creative side of everything we do with the BetterLife Tribe. He came in the first day and was like, “You’re an idiot, Brandon. That video… Let me just take over this for you.” I mean, he’s fairly nice about it. But if you know Alex, that’s his personality. He’s like, “No, let me take over.” He just takes ownership of it. Guess what? He’s in charge of a whole lot of stuff today. There is a disease of mediocrity in America today.
David:There you go.
Brandon:Of people saying, “I’m going to do just enough to not get fired,” versus I’m going to be the best and take ownership of it. I don’t care if you’re trying to build a real estate business, trying to build your own business, or you work a W-2 job, take ownership, and opportunities will explode.
David:It’s because extreme ownership is so rare.
David:That’s where mediocrity comes from. When you show up at a job and you don’t give your best, what you’re really saying is it’s someone else’s responsibility to fix that problem. I wonder if you looked at Matt and Alex, and Walker… I’m almost positive you would find a pattern or a common theme of areas where they showed up for you. They took responsibility. They fixed other problems, and they did that enough times that you felt comfortable putting them in the COO-
David:But what everyone does is they say, “I want to be the COO BetterLife. Just put me in there. If you’re not going to put me in there, why am I going to try?” You’re actually putting the responsibility on somebody else to give you the opportunity that you say that you want.
Brandon:Yeah. This also goes back to when people always ask, “Hey, I want to provide value. How can I provide value for you?” Matt Buck never asked me, “How can I provide value for you?” Alex never asked, “How can I provide value?” They got in there and provided value. They just did it. They solved problems. They took ownership of little things. I gave him more. It’s like the biblical thing. What is it? Who’s faithful is a little-
David:Will be given more.
Brandon:Will be given more. Alex, in the beginning, was faithful. Well, actually, literally, what I did is Alex was a photographer. He worked very hard for three/four years at every BiggerPockets conference. He’d be there filming, taking video, making good content. He made a bunch of video series for BiggerPockets. He did an amazing job. He worked, worked, worked, worked, worked. He had to push his way in to get those videos on BiggerPockets. He wasn’t an employee. He just was like, “I’m going to make you videos. You’re going to use them.” We’re like, “Okay, I guess we’ll use them.”
David:It makes me think of the woman who complains about the guy who says, “You want to go out?” “Yeah.” He says, “Where do you want to go?” It drives him nuts. Plan a date. Take me there. I want to see what you’re like. I want to see what a leader you are. When you show up to the mentor, and you’re like, “I want to be in your world. Tell me what I can do to get there,” it’s that same feeling.
Brandon:Yeah. Ryan Murdoch did the same thing. I showed him my Vivid Vision for where we’re going in the company. He was like, “All right. Let’s go.” Then, he went and worked on it. He just built the thing until he gets to the point where he’d hand it off to the rest of the team. Really had a whole bunch of VPs, like Walker and the others. Now, Ryan’s still around. He’s on the board of directors. We have me, Brian Murray, Ryan, and Walker sitting on the board. Things move because that’s ownership. Take ownership of everything in your life.
David:Be grateful for the fact that no one else is because that’s when I saw the opportunities out there.
Brandon:Yeah. It’s shocking.
David:No one wants to touch the weights, bro.
Brandon:Yep. That’s true, man.
David:But when you’re the strong person, there’s a huge need for you. Look for those barriers to entry. All right.
Brandon:Well, dude, yeah.
David:Number five, episode 457, where you and I interviewed Patrick Bet-David here in this very sea shed. I remember that episode.
Patrick Bet-David:Everything in life, to me, is about your next five moves. I came up with the title originally, 15 Moves, because I was watching a documentary by Magnus Carlson. They were talking about how the Grand Master knows 10 or 15 moves. Masters know five to 10 moves. Pros know three to five moves. The amateur-only knows his next move when he plays chess.
David:What are your thoughts when it comes to strategically planning the direction that you want your life to take?
Brandon:That’s a great question. Let me start it in a story. I think it’s called a cook tree. C-O-O-K. Have you heard of that? A cook tree?
Brandon:It’s the thing here in Hawaii. There’s these really, really tall pine trees, very straight tall pine trees. The reason they’re called cook trees is because when… Was it Captain Cook? The guy who came and discovered the… not discovered but came to the Hawaiian Islands. They used to plant these trees back then. They would plant them as soon as they landed on any island around the world, really. But I hear it here in Hawaii. They plant these trees. We have them all over the island now. These really tall, big wooden pine trees because they planted them knowing that it would take 50 to 70 years to grow to the size that they could use for a mast. What the empires did back in the day is they’d go around. They’d plant these trees all over the world-
Brandon:…on all the islands they went to. They’d keep the little seedlings in their boat. They’d plant them so that 50 to 75 years in the future-
David:Talk about delayed gratification.
Brandon:…They would have a mast that they could use if one broke ’cause if you have a mast that broke and there’s no trees around, you are stranded there for life. The forward-thinking there. The question is, in your business, where are you planting some cooked trees that your family’s going to take advantage of? That’s the delayed gratification that gets you financial freedom.Now, yes, you can get it earlier than that. But what Patrick was talking about there was this idea of thinking way ahead, thinking five moves ahead, 10 moves ahead. I’m not just trying to get into survival mode. Masters think way, way, way ahead. They plan for generations. That was the idea with Rosie’s fourplex.Let me explain that story for those who haven’t heard it. A very simple process or a very simple piece of real estate… I bought a four-unit property. The price doesn’t really matter. But I bought it really cheap. It was a nasty, nasty property. I spent one year fixing it up. But I bought it the week she was born. It was actually the first outing Rosie had the week she was born. By the time we were all done with it, it was about… call it $150,000 into it, meaning the loan and everything, about 150 grand. We put it on an 18-year mortgage. It’s actually a 30-year mortgage that has set up the payment plan to pay off in 18 years. Because 18 years after Rosie was born, she’s going to be going off to college.You can even go back and listen because, I mean, I was doing the podcast around the time that this happened, that I bought it. But at the time, I said that in 15 years from now/18 years from now, the property should be worth between two and $300,000. I thought it might double over the next 18 years. The property today is worth closer to a half a million dollars. We still owe about a hundred grand on it. Maybe a little bit more than a hundred grand on it. But already, Rosie’s entire college is paid for. Now, I’ve been making cash flow on the-
David:Probably more than her college. Probably worth a car.
David:Down payment on her first house.
Brandon:Correct. All from one deal that I BRRRRed. I did the BRRRR strategy so I don’t have to use a lot of cash. I get cash flow. But imagine this. Even more simple. Imagine you buy any house in America that breaks… let’s call it a break even if you don’t want to lose money. Let’s say you make no cash flow on that property whatsoever. You just break even. Let’s say you get no tax benefits, even though you would. But you’re not going to any tax benefits at all. All you did was bought a property anywhere in the US and put it on a 15-year mortgage. You broke even on that strategy. At the end of 15 years, even if the property never went up in value/didn’t go up a dime, you’ve still paid off the mortgage from let’s say $300,000 house you bought. It’s now paid off the zero. Worst case, you have a $300,000 house. You owe nothing on it. Boom. Kids’ college education paid for. That’s with Rosie.Now with Wilder, I did something different. Wilder… I took $50,000. I said, “This is your college education.” I put it into open door capital. I just put it into my own fund ’cause what I wanted was-
David:How mad’s Rosie going to be if that ends up being worth 300 million bucks?
Brandon:I know. It probably already is. I ran the numbers, and it was pretty similar. When I extrapolated out a 15% per year average annual return of $50,000, it ends up being like… I don’t know, like 250 grand/300 grand, something like that. Again, I don’t care about the money. I care about the lesson. I want Rosie and Wilder to see that I planted trees for them 20 years ago that changed their life when they’re 18. That lesson will stick with them forever. I wanted to show them in two ways. I wanted to show them how to do it on a passive way. I wanted to know how to do it in an active way.The BRRRR strategy… It was a hell of a year. It was hard work. We had squatters. We had city problems. It was a mess to renovate that property. Rosie can see the hard work and hear that story. They could also hear what it’s like when you just passively invest. You get the same result at the end of the day. Either way, college is paid for. That’s the thinking a little bit ahead.
David:Where do I go to find a house for $200,000 that’s now worth $500,000?
Brandon:We’ll go back to the conversation earlier. Everywhere in terms of every property today is likely going to be worth double or triple 20 years from now.
David:How much you paid before.
Brandon:How much you paid before.
David:Yeah. But when people hear the strategy, they don’t like the thought of… Well, in the future, it’s going to be worth more. But it’s not guaranteed. I don’t know that it’s going to be worth more.
Brandon:Yeah. Okay, fine. Take out the not worth more. Take out the taxes. Take out the cash flow. All you get is a loan paydown.
David:That’s a good point.
Brandon:If all you got-
David:That is something you can guarantee. You don’t have to worry about… Well, what if the loan doesn’t pay down?
Brandon:You can guarantee the loan pay down. Yeah, exactly. You can mathematically see that. If you buy a property and put it on a mortgage and you pay it off over time, that is real wealth that you are building. It’s shocking how simple real estate is.
David:I had this thought. I’ve never shared this. In 2008 or so, I’d been saving to buy a house, and the market was just exploding. It was getting away. I was talking to some real estate agent on the phone. This is before I ever bought a home and said, “I want to buy a property that’s going to make a little bit of money.” I didn’t know what cash flow was called. I didn’t understand a formula for ROI at the time. I just thought, “I want to buy something that makes a little bit more than the mortgage.” In my head, that was a safety net. I’ll just put a lot of money down. She’s like, “Well, you better put a lot of money down if you’re going to buy something.”I was thinking, “Well, she’s discouraging me from doing this.” But I thought about it. I thought, “Well, it’s going to get paid off over 30 years. If I wait long enough, it’s a no-brainer. This is a great deal. Then, I probably don’t have to wait the whole 30 years before it would cash flow. I bet you. Five or six years into it, it would probably start to cashflow from the rents going up.” Then, I thought, “Well, if I had to wait five years, but I owned it for 30, 25 of those years, it’s cash flowing. It exponentially increases every year so that the cash flow in year 20/25/27 is so much that any money that I lost in years one through five is probably not significant.”When you look at the big picture, there is nothing better to do with your money than buy real estate. It’s incredibly simple. It’s that we always front-load the process. We look at right now what is the cash flow in year one when I first buy it. What’s it going to be like? We just get zoomed in on that. Versus with Rosie and Wilder, you’re saying they’re going to get this in 18 years. What’s the best place to stick money for the next 18 years? Now, what do you know? The properties have appreciated a ton. They have a ton of equity. This is-
Brandon:Yeah, I got lucky. The well popped up right next-
Brandon:…to me. The well popped up right next to you. We got lucky.
Brandon:Everyone’s like, “Oh, yeah. Must be nice to you, Brandon and David. They got in at the right time.”
David:That’s a great point. Now, are we going to get lucky again in the next 20/30 years? Does anyone really believe that we’re going to default on our debt payments, that we’re just not going to print more money to get us out of this, that we’re not going to have even more inflation? I can’t tell you for sure. People that want that certainty… I can’t guarantee it. But I would say, odds are the whales are going to be over there. If you’re out there paddling when they come by, you’re going to become a millionaire putting your money in real estate. Now, you and I have talked a little bit. We won’t get into it too much. My concern is much more that being a millionaire isn’t going to mean anything.
Brandon:Yes. That’s another issue.
David:It’s not you’re investing in real estate to build huge wealth. You are investing in real estate to prevent yourself from losing the wealth that you’ve already created. That’s a really sad thing for people that are working hard and saving money and investing so much of their time into something that they don’t want to do, and then they’re losing the value of it as their money becomes worth nothing. You almost have to put it in real estate just to break even. Then, you have to put it in good deals if you want to get ahead. But even if that’s all you did was just put it in real estate to break even, you’re still better off than the people that did nothing.
Brandon:Yeah. That’s very true, man.
David:All right. Last question. What was the biggest mistake that you have made on a podcast?
Brandon:Oh, geez. Should I even talk about this?
David:What was the most fun show you’ve done? We made a pretty big one here in this sea shed at one point.
Brandon:Did we? What’s that one?
Brandon:Oh, geez. Yeah. Oh, geez. Oh, geez. Jim Kwik. I’ll tell the story real quick. But real quick, Jim Kwik is a phenomenal author, speaker, writer, very cool guy, one of the more high-level, biggest, most famous guests we’ve ever had.
David:Yeah. He does the biggest podcast. He could have been on Oprah if he wanted you to.
Brandon:Yeah. Yeah. Very smart brain guy. Brain guy on memory and using your brain and intelligence. That’s what he teaches on. He gets on the podcast. He said some compliment, like, “Yeah, you guys’ systems are really good. It was really nice getting on the show,” at the beginning. I go, “Yeah, man. We got so many good systems here. We have this podcast dialed.” I said the words, “I’m so terrified of losing a recording that we have backups of backups of backups.” I said the words “backups of backups of backups” because we do unless somebody forgets to hit the record button, in which case we have no backups of backups of backups. About 45 minutes into that show, I’m sitting there chatting, having a great conversation. I look down, and I see that we never hit record. I just turned-
David:The looks you gave me.
Brandon:Uh-huh. Like, “Oh, no.” We start texting.
David:It was so dramatic, Brandon. I thought you were messing with me. I thought you were trying to trick me.
Brandon:Oh, geez. That was so bad.
David:Well, this is after you’d specifically said to Jim-
Brandon:Yeah, it would’ve been different if I wouldn’t have been so arrogant about it. We’re so good at this. We’re amazing. 45 minutes in, I’m like, “Do we just pretend that never happened, and we just never air this episode?” Part of me wanted to avoid humiliation: was to torpedo a great show and just-
David:To not have to take extreme ownership.
Brandon:Not take ownership of my mistake. Ooh, there’s a lesson in there. Instead, I said, “Jim, I am so sorry, man. We screwed this up.” He was so gracious and was like, “Hey, no problem. Let’s just start back over.” We started back over, and we did a great show. It was humiliating.
David:He said no problem with his words. His eyes said a little… I remember there was some frustration that he was gracious enough to keep in.
Brandon:He was gracious.
David:I don’t know that we ever spoke to him after that.
Brandon:Yeah. The lesson there: don’t be arrogant. Don’t forget to hit record.
David:But it led to a lot of improvements. We use a different platform now when we’re recording that we never used before.
David:The platform itself records. We don’t have to worry about remembering to hit the buttons on all of the hardware that you had set up.
Brandon:You know what? There’s one other lesson here to pull out. That episode with Jim Kwik… That was such a big deal at the time. It was a monster big deal because Jim Kwik was coming on the show. This was going to change our podcast forever. Today, Jim Kwik was one episode out of 600. Most people listening to this right now, listening to you and me, never heard that episode. It made no difference. We could have scrapped the episode. We could have played the episode. It was one rock.
David:But the emotions in the moment made it seem like it was the end of the world.
Brandon:The emotions made it feel like it was the end of the world. It’s one rock in the wall. We’ve been moving rocks for 10 years straight on this podcast. One rock got dropped in the middle of a thing. It wouldn’t have mattered. We could have screwed it up anyway. It would’ve been fine.Remember that in life, when it comes to real estate, too, is like it’s just a deal. It’s just one deal. It’s just one rock. If something goes wrong, okay. You lose some money. Okay. It’s just a rock. What matters is the wall. At the end of the day, what matters is the journey, first of all, that you enjoy the journey. That’s number one. Enjoy the walk across the field, moving rocks from one side to another, and then build a good wall. If you stick with that and just keep walking, keep caring. you’re getting stronger. Maybe you’re moving some bigger rocks. You’re building a great wall on the other side of that thing. At the end of your life, you look back and be like, “Dang. Who cares about the couple of rocks that I dropped here and there because I built something that’s going to last.”
David:What was the most fun show that you ever did?
Brandon:This one’s been pretty fun.
David:It’s been a lot of fun.
Brandon:Maybe the one when I first interviewed you, and you made fun of me incessantly for an hour.
David:That was a lot of fun for me and Josh.
Brandon:Yeah. That was a lot of fun for you guys.
David:I mean, there is that argument to be made that humor plays a role in being-
David:…successful. It releases tension. It keeps attention. Sorry. It releases tension. It keeps attention in a lot of ways. I mean, people can just come up. They can just give you the pure vitamins, but no one wants to listen to it. I mean, you have speakers that are very smart, but your mind wanders when they’re talking.
Brandon:Sure. For sure. Yeah. Yeah, the more fun shows are usually the funnier shows. It’s entertainment. I think that’s actually one of the reasons the BiggerPockets did so well. It’s been an entertaining show for 10 years. People like to be entertained. I like to be entertained. That’s why we like Joe Rogan. Joe Rogan’s an entertaining guy, even though he’s not always funny. He’s entertaining.
David:That’s a good point. They’re different. Maybe you could define entertainment as the ability to hold attention.
Brandon:Yeah, that’s it.
David:It’s hard to do for people that think that you’re just sharing information. I look at information like nutrients, and I look at entertainment like taste. No one wants to eat food that doesn’t taste good, even if you know you’re supposed to. You are a very entertaining man. You are very easy to talk to. You made this whole interview, which was pretty long, feel like it was very short. You’ve kept my attention the whole time. You’ve captivated our audience.
Brandon:I’m a captivator.
David:You’re a very charismatic, honorable man. Yeah. I’m glad that we’re further apart from each other than we normally are because it’s easier for me to focus when you’re not right in front of my face.
Brandon:Yeah. We turn the desk sideways.
David:With that tractor beam with blue eyes. Suck me right in.
Brandon:That’s what I do.
David:Some of the solo shows we did, I thought were a lot of fun. I always enjoyed doing solo shows with you. Mostly because we could play off of each other more. We didn’t have as much of having to worry about the guest.
Brandon:Agreed. Agreed, man. Well, thanks for doing this.
David:Thanks for being here. Thanks for coming back again, giving the old guests some nostalgia. At your BetterLife Conference, we actually recorded a podcast for you. People should go check that out. They want to hear what it’s like to see Brandon and I. We got the band back together.
David:Tell us where people can find out more about you.
Brandon:I am an Instagram nerd, so BeardyBrandon. Beard with a Y. Beardy. I used to say BeardyBrandon. Beard with a Y. People like, “Okay, that’s B-Y-R.” I’m like, “Beard-Y.” Think Spanish, like Beardy Brandon. It’s like Beard and Brandon. Beardy Brandon on Instagram, TikTok, all that stuff. The podcast is A Better Life with Brandon Turner. We hit number 40 of all podcasts in the world when we launch.
Brandon:That was awesome. It’s not there now, but it was. We have a traveling podcast. I travel around the country, and I record people. That’s been a wild adventure to do that. We’ll fly into a city and record seven podcasts at one time over a three-day period with no sleep. We go out with the guests afterwards. It’s been an adventure. But man, it’s been fun.That’s it. A Better Life with Brandon, go to listen to the podcast. You were on it. Go listen to that episode, everyone. I heard multiple people say that when you and I were chatting on… We did a live podcast recording. Then, we followed it up with a little interview after. But when we did the live one, almost everybody I talked to said that was the best part of the entire conference that I held and that it was the best thing that you and I have done together. People thought it was one of the best things you and I… Now, I think this interview was pretty darn awesome. But go listen.
David:All right. You got a lot going on, man. You’ve not been resting on your laurels. That’s for sure. Very cool to see this and cool to see that the vision is still firing even faster than it was.
David:When we are doing our stuff together. That’s right. Thanks for joining us, everybody. Please go check out Brandon all over the place. Send him a message. Let him know what you thought about this show. Let you get out of here ’cause you’ve been sitting down for a long time. This is David Greene for Beardy “Pew, Pew” Brandon. Signing off.
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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.