The seven habits of highly effective property investors

The seven habits of highly effective property investors

Have you noticed how some people seem to rise to the top of their chosen field, or journey ever higher up the property ladder, while others consistently achieve the same “average” results?

In the 1990s, management guru Dr Stephen Covey explained what he believed to be the defining characteristics that distinguish “highly effective people” in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which has become a modern-day business classic.

Not surprisingly the seven habits Covey suggests we should aspire to if we want to replicate the achievements of others are also very important to the business of property investment.

So let’s take a moment to reflect on the seven significant traits Dr Covey says successful people habitually exhibit.

Habit 1 – Be proactive

Life is not simply a series of events that happen to us. In every moment, you are faced with a choice and the opportunity to move forward in your life’s purpose.

You can choose to have a positive or negative attitude and you can choose to take control or be controlled. This is about either taking responsibility for your own destiny or being overtaken by the actions of others and in doing so, becoming a victim.

How you can apply it

Become the pilot of your life and not a passenger. You are where you are because of all the things you’ve chosen to do and all those you’ve chosen not to do.  

Either you run the day or the day runs you!

Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind

By focusing on your desired outcomes, you will be compelled to lead yourself towards those goals, thus developing the habit of personal leadership.

The key is in blocking out the distractions that can inhibit forward momentum by instead concentrating your efforts on relevant actions to propel you forward.

How you can apply it

All the successful investors I know have set themselves a long-term goal of financial independence and have a written plan and strategy of how they’re going to get there.

Then it’s easier for them to make their investment decisions in light of their goals and not be distracted by the short-term market noise.

Habit 3 – Put first things first

Once you have established attainable goals, you must then develop the habit of planning and implementing activities that will enable you to reach them. Importantly, you need to learn to prioritise your actions in a way that reflects your values and life purpose.

This is the art of manifesting your ideas into physical reality by taking a step-by-step approach.

How you can apply it

Keep the big picture in mind and don’t be afraid to say no to so called opportunities if they don’t fit in with your plan. I’ve made more money by saying “no” to deals than by saying “yes”.

Take personal responsibility because while you cannot change the circumstances, the cycle, or the market, you can change yourself. That is something you have control of.

Habit 4 – Think win-win

More is gained from life through the art of cooperation than competition.

How you can apply it

Win-win not only applies to negotiations, but to all elements of your life. Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.

Habit 5 – Seek first to understand and then to be understood

Most people engage in conversation to be heard, rather than to understand. Often, instead of really hearing what someone else is telling us, we spend our “listening time” thinking about our reply.

In doing so, we place our ideals and philosophies on others, without truly hearing them. As a consequence, we go through life missing out on valuable insights.  

How you can apply it

Many property investors suffer from confirmation bias, which is the tendency to begin with an answer and then search for evidence to support the preconceived outcome.

The lesson here is to be sceptical of your preconceptions and try to disprove your own theories rather than continually defending them.

Habit 6 – Synergize

Creative cooperation among humans allows us to uncover new solutions to old problems. When we interact with each other and apply the rule of empathetic listening, we augment our brainpower and grow from our experiences with others.

How you can apply it

There is no such thing as a self-made millionaire. Every successful property investor turns to a proficient team of consultants for advice and to mentors for inspiration and counsel.

Surround yourself with people who will lift you up, rather than negative nellies who will drag you down.    

Habit 7 – Sharpen the saw

The greatest asset you will ever have in life is yourself. In order to be effective, you must look after the only tools you have control over – your mind, body and spirit. Maintain balance in all you do and never stop learning.

How you can apply it

The best investment you can make to ensure the success through property investing is in your own wisdom. Don’t be afraid to spend (invest) money on your education and be prepared to learn not only from your victories but from your mistakes and those of others.

To become financially independent you must follow the habits of successful investors who’ve already achieved what you want to achieve.

Turn part of your income into capital by saving and investing; then slowly build your asset base by reinvesting until you eventually have a “cash machine” that gives you financial independence you desire.

Michael Yardney is a director of Metropole Property Strategists, a company which creates wealth for its clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy.

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