As an appraiser, my job is to look into the past to locate sales that have sold and use them to generate a value opinion of what a home is worth today. My job is always living in the past while trying to determine the immediate future. For someone trying to figure out his future and today, it seems quite odd that I would be doing a job that relies on past information while also trying to utilize current day data.
Maybe this is why I am struggling to see where my future belongs or where I stand in current days as I am ALWAYS looking at the past, the past mistakes, the history, and using that data to project my future. I look back at my childhood, my teenage years, my college years, my past years as an adult and focus on all the things, positive and negative (mostly negative in my mind) that got me to where I am today. I focused on failing out of college two times before discovering that I had ADHD, which prevented me from learning and retaining information at an earlier age. I focus on my addiction to alcohol, which led me to almost complete self-destruction and not being on this earth anymore but at the same time was a blessing as it created stage 2 of my life. I focus on my two brothers’ success in school, their careers, and family lives. Every day, I seem to focus on a different thing from the past. I focus on my mistakes, my inabilities to know right from wrong, the challenges I have had to endure living with ADHD, and all of the multiple personalities I have created over the years due to all of these issues. I focus on everything that has gone wrong in my life, everything that has been harmful to me, everything that has led me to create excuses, build walls, create more issues and keep me from moving forward. I have been living in the past while I tell myself that I am not.
Now there have been moments of brilliance in my current life. I did kick alcohol; I did get my shit together in business and life, I’ve done some good things, however, I am still haunted by the past. I am the middle child of three. Both brothers have gone on to have major successes in their personal and business lives, leaving me to wonder what happened in my life to have me where I am today. My friends and peers seem to have much more successful lives than me, and it always brings me back to the past and where I went wrong. The above quote that I posted hit me hard. It hit me like no other quote or saying that I’ve ever seen before because I have been LIVING in the past and not living MY LIFE. I have been blaming others for my failures, blaming my ADHD, my alcoholism, and more on my failures to succeed in life. When I saw this quote and really starting to dive deep into it, I realized that I myself had been my own worst enemy in all of this by living in the past, not learning from it, and applying it to my current self. Then I was hit with another quote:
Not only do I live in the past, but I also give it way too much value in my life. Then again, I have NO idea what my value is, my purpose is, and my path in life actually is. This all stems from me living in the past, and in order to figure out all this, I decided to embark on a journey to figure out just who I am, who I can be, and just where I need to put my mind and efforts to STOP living in the past.
So the journey begins…. I’m going to compare this to real estate appraising. See, we have what we call the subject home, the one we are appraising, which would be ME; I am the subject. Now I need to compare myself to other homes (or people) in the market area to determine what my value is. To do so, I needed information and data on myself and who better to get that data from than family, peers, and friends. So I set out with a simple question that I sent to others who know me, hoping they would answer it honestly. That question??? “What are my strengths and what are my weaknesses?” The answers to this question would be the basis for determining my value.
So the experiment was done, and it became pretty clear what my strengths and weaknesses were. It became clear that I had so much to offer than what I had already put in my mind. It allowed me for the first time in forever to not think about the past, not think about comparing me to my brothers or others but allowed me to see that I am my own unique home that has its unique features and one that would need a lot of analysis to put a value on. When I compared the data, the value was right there in plain sight. I was a unique home. I offered things to others that no other home could. While my brothers and peers had the basic features that I always compared myself to, I had the unique crown moldings; I had the finished basement, the marble countertops, the heated floors, etc. I had things they never had, yet all along, I was trying to be them. My value was in the things they or others don’t have. We may look the same on the outside; however, my finishes were more complex and different from theirs, making me unique to the market.
Ten people were asked this question. Ten answered. My strengths.. I can bring people together, I will always be me, I have a heart and a soul, and not only will I wear it on my sleeve, but I will also fly that like a flag at the White House, with PRIDE. I care for others and want the best for them while also having determination and a creative mind that exceeds others. My weaknesses, I live in the past, I spend too much time on others than myself, MY ADHD, my lack of follow-through on things, and while a positive, its also a negative, my heart.
My challenge now is to figure out how to get away from the past, make the weaknesses more strengths, adding to my strengths, and increasing my value amongst my wife, my family, my peers, and most of all myself.
We all think about adding value to others, about helping them become better, yet most of us forget about adding value to our own lives. The past happened, and you can’t fix it. The past is there to guide you so that you don’t make the same mistakes. I’m far from perfect; however, here I am admitting this to all of you so that maybe just maybe, you too can get away from the past, figure out your value and become more present today.