Have you ever had your ambitions belittled? Or the metaphorical claw of the crab in the bucket pulling you back among your peers? You are not alone.

Some time ago a hockey buddy and his little brother joined our company as fledgling salespeople. We were a small independent real estate company of about 15 salespeople, and we too were fledgling. They were fresh out of University entering real estate sales at a time when it was relatively uncommon for people of that age to do so. But they were optimists, and did not know what they couldnt do. And so they did.

Shortly after they had started with our company, it happened that I was showing a house to local businessman active in the real estate market at that time. Knowing the hour at which I would be showing the home, and wanting to preview it for themselves, the two newbies asked if they could take the opportunity to view the home concurrently with my prospect. I agreed. While we were in the home they whisked through, saying hello quickly, before hurrying on to wherever they had to go next. Upon the closing of the front door behind them, my client turned to me and said flatly Those two will never make it.

In the transpiring 20 years, Jason and Martin Castellan would prove my client wrong. Together with a third partner, Jason Ashdown, Jason and Martin started and built the Skyline group of companies which now own over 4 billion worth of real estate across the country.

In fairness to my client, his was no doubt a view shared by others. But were they views formed by facts or is there something about the human condition that helps us reach negative conclusions? A 2008 study asked participants to choose which they would prefer: an income of $50,000 a year, when their neighbour makes $25,000 a year, or an income of $100,000 a year, if their neighbour made $250,000. Stunningly, and sadly, the majority of respondents chose the smaller income, so long as it was greater than their neighbour! When it comes to finance, humans apparently tend to make their decisions based upon emotion, not logic.

Do the same emotions also lead us to conclude that someone will never make it?

Though this story took place a generation ago I have no doubt history will repeat itself as todays young overachievers are rejected, ridiculed, or belittled until such time as they are lauded as visionaries. Twenty years from now, revisionists will claim that the successful had the good fortune of timing on their side. It will be worth remembering that the timing of the successful is available to all in their generation.


Thanks for reading,

Jeff Neumann