Scott’s Thoughts: Guru Addiction

“If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d all be millionaires.”

Pauline Esther Phillips (July 4, 1918 – January 16, 2013), American advice columnist


Those new to any profession or business will find there’s no shortage of gurus lined up to tell newcomers to the field how to “make it.” This is especially true in real estate, where those with high hopes are swamped on a monthly basis with coaching programs, turnkey systems, and business advice books.

What you’ll notice about most of these gurus is they spend more time giving seminars than they do helping people buy and sell homes. As the story sometimes goes, they’ve made their money and just want to help others do the same. The same is true about a certain breed of self-help writers, where the aim is not to solve a problem so much as turn reading about your problems into your life’s work (all at hardcover prices).

Gurus have an easy time because we tend to want assurances, simple answers, shortcuts, and the feeling that there are guaranteed rewards for our efforts. The desire for this in some people is so strong that they sometimes become addicted to chasing guru after guru.

After all, reading about what you need to do conveniently creates the illusion that you’re actually doing it. Learning can be distorted into a form of procrastination. When we’re facing a new venture, the idea that there are gurus out there who have figured it out and can mitigate the hard mistakes we must make is a potent one.

There’s inherent value in learning what you can from those with experience, but you want to be sure those with experience are still playing the game. Look not for gurus with the “secret sauce for success.” Instead, seek out mentors who are willing to share their experiences and counsel you when you have real-world challenges.

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