The Value of Red Lights

Coaching, Investing, Time Management / Focus on September 28th, 2015 Comments Off on The Value of Red Lights

RedLightsInaRowEveryone who has driven with me knows , it’s UNCANNY. I hit every. Single. Red light. In every town I travel in. And it’s just not just a complaint. I’ve come to accept it, to a point I barely notice it anymore, unless my passenger points it out.

“Holy geez! This is like, the 10th one in the last 5 minutes.”
“Oh, stop light? Yup. I’m an attractant.”

Also, something you may find strange about me — I RARELY listen to music. I used to listen to 80s music, collegiate acapella, and some good podcasts now and then — but 99% of the time, I drive around in silence. I don’t even realize I do it, I’m just constantly thinking. Deals, growth, contacts, to do lists — driving helps me think. Which is good thing considering I put over 30,000 miles a year on my car!

All that said, what do you think happens when I’m running on fumes and too much caffeine, driving home alone late at night, sitting at a red light? No, I don’t fall asleep! But I do begin to have some deep thoughts. And while they may not warrant an SNL skit, I think some of them are worth sharing.

TrafficJamIn my observation, people spend a lot of time and effort to avoid red lights or other obstacles. Consider though, that red lights were invented for a reason. They establish order and prevent chaos. They save lives daily by allowing certain lanes of vehicles to pass, while stopping others. They were a solution to a problem. Red lights send an immediate message to the brain of warning or danger and a message to provoke an action, in this case, to stop. In my case, red lights have taught me so much more.

Have you ever felt your life is full of red lights? That might seem deep (I warned you these were some deep thoughts!), but let’s examine it below the surface. Some people have suggested that if you stop at the one red light, it prevents you or someone else from getting into a crash in your path. Or there’s a larger reason you were delayed on your trip.

I’ve come to love red lights. Not necessarily the ones that keep me sitting in traffic, but rather the kind that show up in life. Every single thing, person, belief or attitude that stands in my way can be considered a red light. Now some red lights genuinely indicate danger and should be adhered to, and all red lights should be carefully considered, but in the end, I control my own destiny. I control whether to listen to the noise around me, how it influences the decisions I make, the things I say, and the actions I take. When I look around, my entire world is full of the past decisions I made — shaped by the red lights or obstacles that motivated my actions.

RedLightStopOne of my biggest red lights was when I first started out in real estate — my first 5 deals went horribly wrong. I thought that catastrophe didn’t just put me out of the real estate game, I thought it put me behind in the game of life. Having to restart with absolutely no credit or cash behind me was devastating. Little did I know that 2 years later, that terrible challenge would teach me almost everything I needed to be successful. I forged my own business systems from it, buying criteria, procedures, and it taught me to be more inquisitive, network more, immerse myself, and in general, get off my ass and DO stuff more than think or complain about stuff. (#ShutUpAndDoIt was born!) For more info on how I made my comeback in real estate, check out this post on Biggerpockets.

Now the red lights that I don’t allow to slow me down, the ones that I feel are purely just noise, I use them as fuel. And I know that you’ve done the same, because you, like me, are a fierce entrepreneur, capable of any and all things. Success beckons to you every single day, and it’s yours to take — if you work for it. Think of a time someone told you you couldn’t do something. What was your initial reaction? More importantly, what was your ultimate reaction? Did you allow that person’s thought process to impact what you deserve in this lifetime? If you did, you don’t have to anymore.

I challenge you to name one accomplished person you know who didn’t face considerable obstacles. Einstein needed help to do the math to prove the theory of relativity, Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team, Steve Jobs was fired from the company he founded. And they didn’t let those red lights stop them from pursuing their dreams.

RedLightAs cliche as it may seem, you are in control of your own destiny. You determine any and all factors that influence your choices, and you also determine whether you let red lights stop you, or you use them as fuel to push you through the hardest days in your journey. Red lights can be people from your past, personal experiences you feel have kept you from achieving your ultimate goals in life, they could be a set of beliefs that limit you, or they could be that one deal that went bad, stopping you from executing on the next deal, which would change your business and life forever.

You can stop at some, think at all, or only let a select few shape you to who you want to be. The red lights in our lives and in ourselves are all controllable. Let the positive or helpful ones in — the ones that are there for a valid reason. Block out all others — those red lights that are just there to get in your way.

SledgehammerBetter yet – smash them with a sledgehammer.

My life is one huge red light. And the ones I don’t need, fuel me to go faster. Perhaps this is the real reason we Massholes from Massachusetts speed up at the yellow lights — to avoid being hindered by the negativity a red light can force on us.

So what will you do when you encounter the next red light in your life? I encourage you to think carefully about why it’s there (but not too long!) — then blow right through it!

May your day filled with opportunity, love and prosperity from all sides.

~ Nick

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