“The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones…”
As 2009 draws to a close, I was thinking that I really needed to put together a blog entry that would possibly inspire some and at the very least register my hopes for the new year ahead. The quote that opens this entry rolled around in my mind. I had memorized it back in the 10th grade at the behest of Brother Remigious, my English teacher at Good Counsel High School. After almost one half a century later, my apologies to the Xaverian Brother, the quote stuck in reverse. I have spent scores of years thinking, quoting and believing that the Bard had said…”The good that men do lives after them, the evil is interred with their bones…”.
If you think about it, when the quote is reversed, it gives one an entirely different point of view on the world. Rather than focusing one’s efforts on now, believing that the good you do will live on beyond your trip through this mortal coil, creates a style that could lead to affirmation of another quote…”the ends justify the means”. This is an excerpt from The Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli. Of course, it is often overlooked that Machiavelli was speaking directly to the actions of governments and never intended this principle to be used as a path for individuals.
OK, I know that most blogs must be short and sweet and to the point or reader’s eyes glaze over and much of what is shared is left floating around in the black hole of internet thoughts keyed in and sent out. Sorry, this is the end of the first decade of the oughts. The sins of the past ten years cling to each of us as we face a multitude of tomorrows filled with uncertainty. Change, once a process that moved exceedingly slow, now occurs in a fraction of a second. The world around us, quite familiar as we go to sleep each night, can become a foreign land before the sun rises on the new day.
When I was just a teenager, my brother and I shared a room and a record player. My sister, ensconced in her own room next to ours, had her own record player. We listened to Buddy Holly. She was an Elvis purist. Many evenings were spent in a sound war, with each of us nudging the volume up a tad until the cacophony of sound roused our father from his drunken stupor. He was usually asleep in the easy chair in the living room directly below. He did not appreciate the ground breaking work exhibited by Buddy Holly and he had quite enough of Elvis. Siblings behind closed doors, locked in a sound war, oblivious of the “collateral damage” occurring one floor below, we each continued to push the decibel level. Then the thunder from below reverberated through the walls. An angry roar raced skyward, through the ceiling, through the floor and through cracks and crevices that surrounded each door.
“Turn that Damn music DOWN !”
In a flash, our joyous celebration was terminated in a silent shroud of fear. Better to forgo the next note than suffer the wrath of a man roused from his nightly stupor. We did not protest. We did not assert our right to quiet enjoyment. We never considered any other act other than silencing the music. It was a time where there were direct and swift consequences to every action taken.
We all have seen the consequences of actions taken over the last 10 years. Some of us get caught up in the partisan arguments that seem to place the blame for our failures on some political ideology. Others of us are more than willing to point at the failures in our industry on everyone and anyone but ourselves. Most of us have spent the last two or three years bemoaning the crash of the real estate market and seizing sound bytes to justify to ourselves, our family and our friends why business is just not as good as it used to be.
It will not get better until we look ahead and leave the sins of the past behind.
Oh, I am not extolling the virtue of looking at a cup as half full rather than being half empty. I have always believed that measuring the content of the cup to determine it’s worth completely over looks the value of the contents of the cup. Hours, days, weeks and months of analysis to pinpoint the cause of the failures do have their place. Paralysis by analysis will only leave us stagnant and afraid to move forward. Common sense indicates that regardless of the perpetrator of the errors that led to the crash, the bottom line is that people put themselves in a position of living beyond their means. They live in homes that they can not afford. It does little good to isolate every reason. The fact remains that we have a lot of people living in the wrong house.
We are real estate agents. Our primary job is to assist buyers and sellers in the transfer of ownership of real property. We help people fulfill a need. The need still remains. There are more challenges in accomplishing the task. We are called upon to put more effort into our job. We are in a position to make tomorrow brighter… not only for those we serve, but for our communities, our neighbors, our friends, our families and ourselves.
Let tomorrow bring a new commitment to using our skills, performing our tasks and doing our job. We hold the key to the resurgence of the industry. It is our industry. It is time that we put on blinders and focus on what is before us. It is time that we ignore the symphony that continues to play a concert of the blame game. It is time to tune a deaf ear to the choir that continues to sing songs of despair. It is time to leave the confines of our little corner in the world and step out into the sunlight and greet those that need us with a belief that we can help.
“The good that men do lives after them, The evil is oft interred with their bones…”
Maybe it is time that we realized that we are part of an ongoing process. We help families create homes. Homes where all the tomorrows are born. If we do our job, the good we do will live long after us. If we continue to stay in our room, listening to our music, we will never experience the joy our profession can bring. If we continue to focus on all the yesterdays, we will sadly never completely fulfill the promise we possess.
Ask yourself, are you locked in your own room, listening to your music, turning up the volume so you don’t hear the music next door? Are you? Maybe it’s time you heard the pleas of my father? There is a world of opportunity outside your door. There are other songs being played. There are needs and requests being made. Your choice… I think maybe it is time we all…
“Turn that Damn music DOWN !”