Christmas Eve

It sounds unbelievably cliche but I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S CHRISTMAS ALREADY! This year has been simulataneously the BEST and WORST year ever. I’ve taken a lot of hard lessons this year which I know will serve me well in the future but I also faced a lot of setbacks. Here are some high/lowlights:

#1. I LOST MY DRIVER’S LICENCE FOR HALF THE YEAR

I admit when I make mistakes. I got caught for the umpteenth time texting and driving (I can’t blame the tesla’s auto drive because I know it’s against the law) which forced ICBC’s hand to suspend my license till April 2019. This caused a whirlwind of impacts because I’m a REALTOR and a “BUSINESS GUY”, I need to travel for appointments so I ended up getting a driver. I always thought I was an extremely extroverted person so I wouldn’t mind having someone attached at my hip but as it turns out having that alone time in the car between appointments really helps me relax and make better decisions. I have now found a newfound appreciation for some alone time! I’ve been taking walks now to get that time to myself and it has been very rewarding for me. Negative becomes positive!

#2. I TOOK A LONG VACATION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 5 YEARS

I’m hyper-routine person that loves my family, friends and work deeply. So I never feel the urge to travel because I have so much fun in Vancouver. I promised Pri we would go to Europe and that we did. It was an eye opening experience for both my education and our relationship. We got along so well and had a lot of great times and I got to see all the paintings and sculptures, listen to the music and taste the food that I have been hearing about my whole life. I gained a wider perspective but I really missed home after a few days. I love Vancouver and my normal life so much and it was a further realization of all the good I have in my life.

#3. THE REAL ESTATE MARKET WENT FROM SUPER HOT TO SUPER NOT

The market took a tumble this year so sales were down a bit from last year for my personal business. This is the first time this has ever happened to me. For the last 13 years, every year has always been a bit better than the last. I was doing everything exactly the same as I have always done but things didn’t sell as quickly so there was a drop off in total sales. I was happy with the year overall but we’re planning on ramping up the marketing and improving services more next year. We ended up ranked 10th overall for REALTORs in Greater Vancouver but I know we can do better. Something to look forward to

#4. I PITCHED FOR A BIG PROJECT AND LOST

I pitched for a large scale tower project in Greater Vancouver and LOST. I worked very hard on it, did everything I said I would do in previous projects and still LOST… In fact I don’t even think I was close. Reflecting back I know where I made the mistakes and will improve but it always hurts to lose. I think this may be the best thing and I won’t be discouraged for the next one. I know I need to improve and am willing to do so. Perhaps I wasn't ready for a project of that size, I’ll be ready next time!

#5. I MOVED TO KERRISDALE

I moved to a new place without a tenant downstairs or neighbour above or below me for the first time in my life. I always wither shared a room or lived in a condo or house with a suite. I LOVE THE PRIVACY but my social life took a toll because no one wants to come here its so far. I gained an appreciation for my own space and privacy which I’ve never had. Plus and minus but overall a plus.

#6 TO BE CONTINUED…

This post is long… I’ll continue another time

Agreeable vs Disagreeable

I just listened to an interview with Jordan B Peterson and Helen Lewis and it was fascinating description of the cultural landscape of our times from two opposing perspectives. Peterson who stands on the side of smaller government, individualism and personal responsibility and Lewis who is in favour of wealth redistribution, socialism and group responsibility. The two tethered back and forth and made very valid points on both sides.

I’m very pragmatic which can be defined as taking a practical approach to solving problems using data and sensible methods with variables currently known. So I like listening to opinions from both sides and decide which course of action I feel would best benefit our interests and align actions towards the goals set. So my political views are mixed, in some areas I adopt a “no counting policy” for social harmony and for others areas adhere to numbers/results oriented approach. It must be difficult to work with me because I’m extroverted, I use conversations to deliberate on actions so occasionally (or often, depends on who you speak to) I speak and listen to 2, 3 or 4 sides of a problem before making a choice as to which would be the best to move forward with.

One area which is cool to think about is whether you’re an agreeable person or a disagreeable person. In listening to ideas, agreeable people tend to do WORSE in CAREER and BETTER in RELATIONSHIP and those that are disagreeable tend to do BETTER in CAREER and WORSE in RELATIONSHIP. Upon further self reflection on this idea, I think I tend to be silently DISAGREEABLE for the most part. I think how I was raised in a Chinese family you always hold your emotions and feelings inside and rarely show them. I recall all the times I was working for other people they may have considered me a model employee. I was wronged many times working for others and instead of an outward revolt, I was always simmering deep down and accumulating knowledge and skills which would allow me to break free.

I’m halfway through a book by Beth Comstock called Imagine it Forward. This book was given to me by the father of one of our staff. It has really opened my eyes about the perspective of women in the workplace. Also how to be a change agent in an organization and utilize the people around you better. I feel so fortunate that I can read and there are resources all around us that help us to improve our lives.

This post is all over the place but I don’t care I’m glad I got it out. I leave the comments on if anyone is actually reading this feel free to comment. I’d love to hear negative and positive feedback.

Health

I wrote a LONG BLOG but it didn't save for some reason so here’s the cole’s notes:

  • Visited the doctor for a checkup since I’m almost middle aged

  • was nervous AF for results

  • lucky I have had same family doctor for my whole life (DR RYAN)

  • results came in and I’m generally healthy with 3 possible issues

    • high insulin (leads to diabetes)

    • high uric acid (too much drinking)

    • low HDL (good fats)

  • warned that I will have to take regular medication if this trend continues

  • do not want to take meds at this age (36)

  • my current stats:

    • height 68.5 inches

    • weight 211 lbs

    • heart rate 125 / 85

    • abnormalities: high insulin / high uric acid / low HDL

  • i have eaten whatever i want for the last 36 years so need to change

  • my goal for October 2019:

    • height 68.6 inches

    • weight 190 lbs

    • heart rate 115 / 75

    • NO ABNORMALITIES

  • My commitments:

    • intermittent fasting 1-9pm

    • eat 40% carbs / 30% protein / 30% good fat

    • drinking only 1 / week

      • max 3 drinks per night

    • Whole foods only

    • Weight training 3 times per week

    • Swimming or biking 3 times per week

    • Hockey 1 or 2 times per week

    • Sleep by 11pm each night

Opus

My sister Arlene, my friend Morgan and I started a realty company named Opus Realty which we later rebranded to Oakwyn Realty. The reason we called it OPUS was because the definition of OPUS is your artistic masterpiece. As a kid, I watched Mr. Holland’s Opus with Richard Dreyfus and we wanted to create our OPUS in business and help our agents achieve their greatest work masterpiece with us as well.

I recently watched QUEEN: LIVE AID and was blown away as Freddie Mercury sang with his best friends and band. I was awestruck by his raw emotion, peacock mindset and pure presence with the crowd. I wonder if this was his greatest moment or his masterpiece that he left behind. I wonder if he knew that it was or not in the middle of doing it. I’ve been listening to a lot of QUEEN lately, I love their music.

I’m not sure if I have already done my greatest work or if it is still coming up. I’m journeying to seek answers to this question and see how far we can explore the map before time is up. I wonder if this BLOG or my POD will be the spark or lead to the idea that changes everything. I was having a lunch with an agent and the topic of purpose came up. I’ve been contemplating very much on this idea… There is this song by QUEEN: I WANT TO BREAK FREE. I’ve listened to it over and over and I want to help myself and other people break free. Freedom from the normal or freedom from judgement or freedom from helplessness or freedom from confusion or freedom from pretending to be someone your not or freedom from insecurity.

I love freedom and I love commitment at the same time which is a strange dichotomy but for some reason makes sense to me. I feel free to make decisions when I stick to my commitments, values and promises. This is not really leading anywhere but it felt good to get these thoughts down.

Original State

I bought an uber pricey MacBook Pro a few years ago as a reward for selling an impossible to sell house and I basically haven't used it until I started writing this blog.  So like my iPad that i dubbed my youtube player, this computer I'm dubbing my blog typewriter.  

I'm a simple person.  I do not want or need much.  I like having only a few choices of clothing and shoes to wear.  I keep my social circles very tight and friends very close but besides that I don't need a lot.  I work because I enjoy the work.  I am really happy going to the office, meeting new people and trying to solve problems and just being generally useful.  The other day, I  got an emergency call from the staff saying there was a bird that died in front of our office and I needed to dispose of it.  That made me feel very useful because I was made to not be grossed out by dead things.  Holding that dead bird was a very proud moment for me.

As I get older, I'm realizing a lot more about myself and strangely I'm returning more and more to my original state.  I was a very rambunctious kid that was annoyingly curious and didn't have an OFF SWITCH.  Life happened, teachers punishment, bullying, comparison with others, media, influence from peers and mentors shaped me into something that I was not in my early adulthood.  Now as i'm approaching my middle age I'm realizing that I'm happiest and produce the most positive impact by being my original self.  

I was doing a podcast with my good friend Ross Woo and he said to sign off the pod, "YOU DO YOU!"  I thought that was such a dumb quote at the moment but when I was listening again, I really thought about it and it really resonated with me.  I used to record these audiotapes with my brothers and sisters on an old radio we had and I loved listening to the cassettes growing up even when my siblings were playing outside.  So I started a podcast to just have fun.  I used to write a lot growing up and that was basically the only thing I liked about school.  So i started this blog just to have fun.  No goal just enjoying the moments of freedom as I write, the feel of the keys on my fingertips and the non editing and poor grammar, run on sentences, music in the background wearing my only pair of pyjama pants and my star wars tshirt at home after a long days work.  Happiness is in the simple things.

About time

I read a magazine at Chapters (I'm Asian and don't buy magazines when I can read them for free at Chapters) and it said 100 GREATEST INVENTIONS OF MANKIND.  The number one invention was the concept of TIME.  TIME is completely a manmade construct used for scale and to frame our experience.  I thought deeply about time and how people get so stressed out about time and time accessories (like age).  I commonly come across people saying it's too late to do this, or their too old/young to do that and I don't believe it.  We are just BEINGS on a giant rock revolving around a glowing star floating through space.  There is only the here and now and nothing else really exists beyond this very moment.  As you are reading this message, we are connected as your mind is riding on my stream of consciousness through this blog site.  

It is pretty wild that we get to experience life in this way.  We are living in extraordinary times with accelerated advancements in communication, information and shareable ideas but we feel lonely and isolated at the same time.  There is this push - pull between our tribal past and our technological cyborg future.  We are really on the precipice of a new age and it's such a fascinating duality that we get to experience in this time.

I think many people use time as an excuse to delay or not fulfill their dreams.  There is always time to do the things you are passionate about or meet the people you love or challenge yourself to accomplish something you have dreamed of.  I know it is about being unafraid to step out and go for it even if your busy you will MAKE TIME for it if it's important enough.

When I was a 22 year old realtor going door to door begging people to sell their homes with me, everyone said I was too young and inexperienced.  When I was 25 years old and did my first 52 unit project marketing listing, everyone said I was too young and inexperienced, When I was 30 and with my 26 and 32 year old partners started a real estate agency, everyone said we were too young and inexperienced.  When I was 35 and going to a MAGIC THE GATHERING tournament, everyone said I was too old and I needed to grow up.  

Age is just a number.  It's about effort, intelligence, decisions and follow through.

Woke

I just finished listening to the Joe Rogan Podcast with Elon Musk and I am in a state of shock.  Elon spoke about Artificial Intelligence, if our world is a simulation and his thoughts on a number of other existential questions.  It was a mind blowing experience and I was quite riveted by the thoughtful openness and vulnerability from one of the great minds of today.  I was in awe in his free flowing thinking patterns and views on social media, how optimistic he is for the future and game theory.  I would HIGHLY recommend listening closely to this podcast because it shifted my views on a few key beliefs I had and will alter my behaviour in a couple of ways.

BEHAVIOUR CHANGE:

OPTIMISM:  For one of the world's most brilliant engineers and science-minded humans, Elon was optimistic and openly shared that even though the world and it's possible direction was scary, he CHOOSES to take a positive approach to life and outcome.  I will share his OPTIMAL worldview in my own life while considering realistic outcomes and continue to drive for the best results given the fixed and variable factors at play.  

SOCIAL MEDIA:  Elon suggests a depression, jealousy and unrealistic standard of life that humans feel and portray on social media.  People are not living life they are actors in the movie of life in many cases.  This has caused all sorts of unhappiness and soul crushing feelings of inadequacy that is only natural when people are faced with a barrage of filtered photos, vacay trips and staged videos.  Instead of repelling from all social platforms, I will be only sharing UNFILTERED PHOTOS and REAL LIFE in my instagram and facebook photos and video.  The selection process of what will be shared will be less curated and more raw to make my social feeds feel more like a bank of memories instead of a highlight reel of my cool life.

LIFE UPDATE:

I've been training Brigid and Angus to take over my resales business that I have been doing everyday of my life for the last 13 years.  Selling and buying homes for families and friends has been an amazing ride that has changed the course of my life but I know it will be time to focus more attention to building Oakwyn, investments and other larger scale projects.  I've given myself till December 31, 2019 to be 95% out of the resales business and simply overseeing its planning, strategy and growth but not working as much day to day.  I'm feeling a bit of nostalgia thinking about all the days, weeks and months of door knocking, cold calling and waiting in empty homes at open houses.  Waiting for appointments in my car and staying up late in my bed staring at the ceiling praying for clients.  REALTORLIFE is confusing, last minute, self-sacrificing, rushed, hard, emotionally taxing, awesome, rewarding, unrewarding and wonderful all at the same time.  I'm going to miss it so much because it shaped me into the creature I am today.

A story of patience

Social media works!  After 2 years of starting a business instagram feed, we got our first message from an old high school friend that I hadn't communicated with in over 10 years.  He reached out because he was having a hard time trying to buy a particular house.  He had been working with his previous agent for over 4 months trying to get this one house but the Seller would not budge on her price.

After giving his agent notice that their relationship was terminated, I started working on the file.  I did research on the house, neighbourhood market and starting building rapport with the listing agent.  After speaking at length with the listing agent, he was very stuck with this Seller because she was soooo stubborn and not willing to take any less than $1000 OVER HER ASKING PRICE.  Which is bizarre in this market.  I convinced the Seller's agent to schedule a meeting with him, the Seller and I to speak about her house and go over an offer in person.

I prepared an offer significantly below the asking price and mentally prepared for a verbal lashing I was going to get from the Seller and the agent.  I took a brief tour of her home and asked her many questions about her family especially her grandsons and how long she lived in the home and we started on very friendly terms.  We moved to the kitchen table and spoke at length about her experience at the home for the last 52 years raising her family, her late husband and life in the hood.  I gave an impassioned speech about my clients and their wishes to raise their own family in the home and tell the same stories she just told me with their own family. 

Once I presented the offer, she was very upset and strongly opposed to anything below her asking price.  It was a pretty awful scene as she was very emotional and I always responded with kindness and a solution, then she would be dismissive or rash and I would again respond with kindness and a solution.  After over an hour of negotiations we came to an agreement that was VERY FAVOURABLE for my client.  After 4 months of wanting this house with another agent, we got the house within a few days!  Yay us!

LESSONS LEARNED:

-  Life is how we react to negative/positive/neutral stimulus.  If we react with kindness and solutions things typically work out

- Jill, Angus, Brig and Kels have been patiently and consistently updating our social media and it finally paid off.  PATIENCE IS KEY

First official day back to work from my trip

I woke up this morning feeling particularly fresh.  I've tried taking full advantage of my jet lag by resetting my body clock to sleep at 10-11 and wake up at 4:30-5 so like any good farmer i was up early.  I love early mornings before everyone wakes up and I have time just to myself.  I normally get up, do the bathroom thing, read a bit, review my calendar, exercise and write a short to-do list all before 7am.  Productivity Badge Achieved.

I had a super packed day of meetings today and it started with an Oakwyn staff meeting at 8:08am at our office.  I had the luxury of not leading and having my business partner Morgan take charge.  She brought in Mcdonalds and used it as a tool to speak about their staff culture and teamwork.  We had amazing response to the meeting and I think it was our best staff meeting yet!  Its always amazing seeing all the staff at the same time.  I always remember when we only had 1 or 2 staff in the meetings at a time and now we fill the entire boardroom.  One of my BIG DREAMS is to hire 1000 people and give them amazing jobs where they can do their best work, safely and creatively.  We have about 15 so far so only 985 to go!

I met a cool experienced agent that was recommended by one of our current agents, did some training, recorded 2 podcasts ( https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-michael-uy-podcast/id1425331646?mt=2 ) (https://open.spotify.com/show/4FHN5B7vffZqpFgtCRuG21 )  and did/won a listing presentation in Chinatown for a small 1 bedroom condo.  All and all a solid day.

I was super proud of myself for my discipline too.  I resisted going for Chinese food after work and opted to go home and eat a wholesome meal at home.  I've been wanting to get healthier before my birthday.  My target is to get under 200 lbs before October 8.  I am 212 currently so I'm getting there.  Wish me luck!

LESSONS LEARNED:

- In the POD, Thomas shared his story from his childhood sleeping in a warehouse with not much growing up.  It made me reflect on my childhood and how grateful I am to have my brothers and sisters, mom/dad and grandparents around me.  I need to touch base with them more often.

- DELAYED GRATIFICATION > INSTANT GRATIFICATION:  I am visualizing myself as a svelte 200 pound man on my birthday so I always need to make choices for the long game.

My First Blog Post

Hello world,

In the 80's, I used to watch a television show called Mr. Belvedere about an English Butler that serves an American family.  The culture, socio-economic and family clashes created all kinds of hi-jinx but what I remembered most about old Belvy was that at the end of every episode he would write in his diary and reflect on his thoughts.  I have been wanting to do this for quite some time so I thought I would embark on a journal journey and write a semi daily diary/blog/inane rambling about my adventures as an Asian, thirty-something, real estate, business guy with an attitude. 

It's September 3 and I had a pretty freaking fantastic, ironically un-labourous labour day.  I've been on a health kick since coming back from a trip to Europe a week ago so I biked to the gym this morning to make a crossfit class then travelled back home to have a nice long coffee with Pri at our favourite coffee shop Q Coffee on Dunbar and 40th.  When we arrived at the coffee shop it was empty and Pri asked if she should save our favourite seat on the patio with the shade.  I replied with "up to you". As soon as we entered some dude sat in our seat.  Pri is some sort of psychic (and possibly a psycho for dating me).  Every time she has one of these reserve seat moments she should always follow through.  I'll listen more closely next time.

I then had time to do what I never get to do, hang out at home alone while Pri went to meet up with a friend.  We had a client appreciation party the night before and my house was filthy so I cleaned up.  I am trying to do this thing where I try not to distract myself and just stay in the moment so it was SUPER FUN cleaning up.  I took time to truly appreciate our home and reflected on the amazing clients that came yesterday that contributed to me being able to live the little life I carved out for myself.  I was so happy to see everyone yesterday and it meant a lot to be able to break bread with them and learn more about what is happening in all their lives.  They will never know how much they have impacted my life.  It's sappy and sentimental but I think of all of my clients and realtors in my office as my guardian angels helping me provide for my family and do the fun things I get to do everyday.

I also got to hang out with my staff Jill, Angus, Brigid and Kelsey.  They have grown so much over the years, every time we do one of these events I think about the last year and they were all so nervous and awkward the year before and now they are so much more comfortable with themselves.  Adulting.

LESSONS: 

- Listen to Pri's intuition and act on it right away

- Stay in the present moment and enjoy the quiet moments at home

- Wear thicker shorts or use a mat when you do situps.  I think I have rubber floor burn on my backside from the gym.