It happened a lot in the second half of 2021 and first quarter of 2022. News articles published about outrageous home sale prices, over asking price sales and discouraged, disgruntled buyers and sellers trying to make sense of it all. I did plenty of deals during that time, but nobody wrote an article about me or my clients. As abnormal as the market conditions were during that time, normal transactions still occurred daily, or at least the version of normal we were forced into for a stretch. For every click bait article published about a transaction gone wrong because of the frenzy, there were literally thousands of satisfied buyers and sellers who went about their business and moved on with their lives without yelling at anyone.
Normal doesn’t get publicized or written about. Normal doesn’t get ‘clicks’ and ‘likes’, so they don’t bother with it. This is a dangerous concept because it gives the public a false sense of reality. We all know the influence the media has on us. It would be extremely naive to think otherwise, but even knowing this, we still get caught up in the headlines and the trending posts and make life decisions based on them. The anomalies we read about somehow get viewed as the expectation. It’s time we start better managing our expectations.
When it comes to my job, the first task I usually have to complete is re-educating my client on the buying and/or selling process. The articles they’ve read online are simply click bait with no merit on reality. They read about the anomalies and think it’s always like that. This gets people either skeptical or over excited. They’re skeptical if all the articles they read are negative (which is most of them) and they’re over excited if they read about a house selling for much more than it should ever be worth. In either case, they expect what they read about to be their reality too. However, your reality is not going to be the same as somebody else’s, even in very similar circumstances.
It’s a major problem with social media as well. For every rags to riches profile out there, there are thousands of people who tried the exact same thing and failed. Yet, somehow we’re convinced anyone can “make it” and we’re surprised when none of our posts go viral. Let me remind you that there are billions of people on this planet, all vying for the same fame, attention and validation that you are. It’s reasonable to think it may be difficult to get.
Things are never as bad or as good as they seem. You never know the whole story whether it’s what led to a viral news headline or an overnight social media star. The point in talking about this is that we can’t base our decisions or our world views on the things that happen to grab our attention in a given moment. It’s the things that you have to look for that are worth most to you. You don’t have to look hard to find someone in your industry just killing it on social media, claiming that everyone should do as they do. You also don’t have to look hard to find an article claiming that what you’re doing is the exact wrong thing to do. Those things will find you, in fact, billions of dollars are spent to make sure that those things are put in front of you. It’s counterintuitive to ignore most of what yells at you, but blinders and noise cancelling headphones would do us some good.
Some of what we see in the news and social media is directly applicable to us, but most of it is not. Remember, ‘normal’ doesn’t sell, but ‘normal’ can produce an extraordinary life that’s worth pursuing. We can’t all be outliers, but if you look for what you want, it will be found. If you don’t ever make the effort to intentionally look, a distraction will find you. The distraction might be disguised as opportunity, but real opportunity waits to present itself until you’re ready to look for it.