Stop Looking After You’ve Found It

I have a trick for you that will free up more of your time, decrease your anxiety levels and give you more authority. The trick is to stop looking for something after you’ve already found it. Before you get too confused, let me say that I don’t mean to keep looking for your keys, your wallet or child after you’ve found them because that would be insane. What I’m talking about isn’t considered insane, but it might drive you to be.

I’m a real estate agent and the moment after pen is put to paper on an offer to make a purchase I tell my client to halt all browsing. No more looking through listings, scrolling through photos or watching virtual tours. Commitment has been made on one single property that can’t easily be undone, so for goodness sake stop considering others! Buyers remorse is only a thing because people get in the habit of continuing their home search after they’ve found one. Naturally, with enough time, you always find a nicer home, a better deal and a more perfect scenario. However, you only find that because it’s exactly what you’re looking for. You don’t browse homes for sale looking for overpriced, poorly kept properties. You look for the best ones and the best ones are easy to find. But what if when you moved into your new house you weren’t constantly looking for another one and you focused on making the one you picked the perfect one. You’ll be reminded of why you picked it in the first place and you’ll probably be quite happy with it because you’re not constantly comparing it to the ones you see online that are professionally staged, digitally enhanced and inaccurately romanticized. 

It’s not just with real estate, it’s with Christmas gifts, dating and ordering food at a restaurant among other things. The number of people these days who buy, return and re-buy Christmas gifts is crazy to me. So much time wasted, so many confusing credit card statements, so much stress and anguish deciding whether or not the gift is perfect or not. Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter! Do shop for items you need, do not continue to shop for said items after you’ve found them. Like with houses, there will always be a more perfect item. You can spend eternity looking for the perfect item. Or, you can get one that feels pretty good at the moment and move on to the next thing that demands your time and attention. The world marches on no matter how long you’re obsessed with finding the perfect item.

I understand that it’s a difficult time in history to not be obsessed with perfection since that’s the only thing we see in the media. For crying out loud, when something or someone is deemed not to display a perfect image online we call it “perfectly imperfect”. Even advertised imperfect things have to be perfect. Dating profiles have to be perfect in order for single people to even consider talking to someone, so what ends up happening is everyone either doesn’t get an opportunity or every opportunity is treated half heartedly because it’s not clearly perfect. The world is swimming with opportunity, but all we want to do is look through our options and choose none of them.

What you’re looking for is out there and given the technology we have, it’s not even hard to find. Your constantly full online shopping cart needs to be abandoned. Buy it or don’t buy it, just be sure it doesn’t keep taking up space in your brain because your brain could probably use that space for something better. When you see something you like on the menu, be confident enough to close the menu and order it without spending another 10 minutes debating what to get. The people around you should know more about you then the fact that you’re indecisive. You can tell a lot about someone’s confidence when observing how they do something like order food at a new restaurant. Don’t be a chronic second guesser. If you second guess every decision you make you’ll live in a constant state of anxiety and it will feel like you’re always too busy to do what you really want to. It doesn’t have to be like that.

You can’t create a never ending streak of perfect purchases any more than a streak of perfect decisions. The trick is to accept the purchase or decision you made and move on. If it turns out to be the wrong one, that’s okay. Every wrong move is another tool to help you make the right move next time. Practice the quality of being assertive and don’t allow yourself to second guess what you do. Every good leader is assertive and nobody follows someone who isn’t confident in their own decisions. Try giving yourself a “no changing your mind” rule and see how it goes. It won’t go perfectly, but nothing does. 

Next time you’re at Canadian Tire looking for windshield washer fluid, don’t spend 15 minutes meandering up and down the aisles of hundreds of different versions of the same thing, grab the one that’s closest to the cashier and forget about it. I know for a fact your attention is better suited elsewhere.

- Cody