Embracing Life's Lessons

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

Embracing life lessons can be a make-or-break scenario in life. Those who cannot learn from life can easily be destined to repeat the same failures over and over. Those who do choose, and it is a choice, to learn from life can overcome almost incomprehensible circumstances, but until you internalize that it is a choice, the choice may never unleash the greatness that lies within each of us.


This is such a great topic for reflection. Sadly, there are too many things that can be discussed, and that makes it hard to decide which lessons to pick. One thing I learned early in my adult life is that you cannot please everyone, and it can be exhausting trying to do that. I have found that giving one’s best is the best you can do.

I just left a client who talked about how she could never please her mom, who is in the starting phase of dementia. She bought a house for her mom to have a place to live where she can be cared for by family, and her mom is complaining. The reality is, she would end up in a nursing home, or she could end up in her daughter’s home. It hurts her heart, but she finally realizes that it is what it is, and she may never change that. I’ve had many similar experiences in life, and I learned along the way that for my sanity, I can’t afford to be consumed with trying to please others.

A second life lesson I’ve learned is that you are as successful as you are willing to be. In my family, I am an anomaly. I’m the only one who has not had a guaranteed pay check for most of my adult life. I realized early on that I was not a clock puncher. I kind of break the world up into clock punchers and free spirits. Thank heavens for the clock punchers who keep the world on track while those of us who are free spirits create.

When I started in real estate, it was because of a few individuals who talked to me about buying properties with no money. I remember the infomercials when I was much younger, and I was intrigued. Local Realtors told me no would sell me a house if I didn’t have any money invested. That slowed me down for a few years, but I kept coming back to the principles and finally jumped in. Well, I’ve bought 26 houses and one commercial building over 30 years, and I only put a down-payment on one house. I’ve used a lot of creative techniques to succeed, and I’ve been able to help others follow. I realized early, the level of my success was dependent on my willingness to succeed. I’ve had so many people say, “Why I would I think I could be rich? Nobody in my family is rich,” at the investment seminars I’ve taught. My response is always the same. What does that have to do with it? You can be as successful as you are willing to be. Family history has nothing to do with your future unless you choose to allow it. It can be a weight, or it can be a catapult.

A third life lesson I’ve learned is that you never know it all, but you can always learn. I’ve watched many of my high school classmates stay in the 12th grade for decades. They never challenged themselves to grow beyond the basics of high school. I’m about to get another look at that phenomenon in about a year when my high school reunion comes around. I have a broad academic background, but the lessons I’ve learned in life have been my true education. If I had never gone to college, I have a feeling I would be where I am today. Learning never ends unless we don’t seek new knowledge. My wife thinks I’m a boring reader in that I typically read technical journals and books. She loves mysteries, and I’ll do a mystery while at the beach, but at home it’s all new knowledge and information I can use for something I’m involved in or about to be involved in.


Knowing that I can’t please everyone has freed me from thinking I need to take every client that comes along, I need to bring every Realtor onboard who asks, and I must do what others think rather than what is best for me and the business. I recently had a group of realtors whose office closed inquire about joining our company. Our group is a very cohesive group and even though I probably could have incorporated the new agents with our crew, I decided not to. I did encourage them to keep looking for a better fit.

In business, I’ve incorporated more opportunities for clients than most any brokerage in our community. I didn’t look at the brokerage as the end of all things. It really has become one component in meeting a client’s needs. If I just owned the brokerage and sold real estate, I would do fine. But, with the real estate services, home inspections, repairs and preparation we offer to our clients has aided the business in gaining a wide outreach. Clients are referred to us because they have a unique situation that will make it hard to sell their house. A very high percentage of the time, we can remove the obstacles and get them to the finish line beyond what they thought was possible. I realized earlier in life that I can be as successful as I choose and that makes my clients more successful.

Thankfully, I have learned to use new knowledge to empower new and broader success. My brain craves new knowledge like a starving person craves food. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I know very little of what is to be known. It is an endless cycle.


This is my entry into the August 2023 Challenge: Embracing Life's Lessons.


Comments (21)

Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I like what you have written about not being a "clock puncher."  When I decided to get into real estate, that was my main consideration for entering the profession. 

However, real estate can be cyclic in income, and there was an 8 year period when I also took a job at a clock punching software developing company.  I will say, the creativity I was allowed there, made it bearable.  And, the side effect was my also being able to sell homes to my software developing co-workers at the same time.  It was a win-win situation.

Aug 29, 2023 12:31 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

On occasion, I have taken on a clock punching job to help out a friend who was a business owner. There is a certain quiet relief to it, but I couldn't do it forever. 

Aug 29, 2023 12:55 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Mike, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Aug 29, 2023 12:32 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Mike well you didn't disappoint by a long shot - another great post!

You can't please everyone!  I was just chatting about this with a younger gal earlier today.  She has a mother-in-law who is hard to please.  And all I said to her was basically what you said.  Well stop trying to please her and disconnect your emotions from it!  It's a learning process...but once you get it, YOU GET IT.

You are successful as you're willing to be! Somehow I can't see you as a clock puncher! on a long term basis, me either. And in business learning to 'say no' is invaluable lesson to learn, early on.  And you my friend truly are a serious knowledge seeker! Makes me smile!


Thanks for your entry into the August Challenge!

Aug 29, 2023 04:10 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Anna, you are too kind. I do have relatives that you can't please, so I don't try. I keep our interactions pretty shallow. Most of the time it's complimenting them on something I can find to compliment which pacifies their need for control. Their blindness to what I'm doing is a pretty good indicator that their narcissism has deluded them. No worries. I just move on. 

Aug 29, 2023 04:25 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Embracing life lessons, makes life so much more bearable and happier in general. It’s like Wayne Dyer used to stay, there is no way to happiness— happiness is the way.
Aug 29, 2023 10:12 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Mike,

Love this post all the way through! I learned too early on that you can't please everyone so don't even take the time to try. Love the statement "You are successful as you're willing to be!" That is definitely true. I'm not a clock puncher either and so grateful to be successful in real estate so I don't have to be!

Aug 30, 2023 04:55 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I had to disassociate from my mother at a pretty early age.   Learning that you can’t please everyone and you shouldn’t try is a very important

Aug 30, 2023 04:58 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Mike,
I think you touched a chord with a lot of us with the "you can't please everyone" sentiment. It certainly did for me. As I was growing up, I was expected to act a certain way, do certain things, and even think a certain way. Graduating from high school and getting out on my own was so liberating. I figured in this big world with billions of people there were going to be enough of them that like me for who I am and who I wanted to be. So far it seems to be working. I'm not everyone's cup of tea but Oh Well!

I so agree about the lessons in life being beyond school. How can anyone be bored with so many learning opportunities right at our fingertips?

Aug 30, 2023 05:30 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Mike... a stellar entry to this month's challenge. Not being able to please everyone is such an important idea to embrace if you aren't going to live your life in total frustration. And I agree, our success or lack thereof is totally up to us. As for learning, no reason not to learn throughout our lives. It's what keeps us young.

Aug 30, 2023 05:40 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

It was great to see you joined this challenge - excellent entry! Yes, we cannot please everyone nor should we attempt to. We can use that energy for other purposes, such as learning and growing. Love the lessons you've shared here.

Aug 30, 2023 05:48 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Thanks, Kat. I finally had a day in the office without a gazillion things to do. It was nice.

Aug 30, 2023 06:54 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

These are beautiful reminders to us all to simply be the best we can be and do the best that we can do. Thank yoiu.

Aug 30, 2023 06:18 AM
Sham Reddy CRS
Howard Hanna RE Services, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thanks for sharing Mike!!! I agree with you 100%

Those who cannot learn from life can easily be destined to repeat the same failures over and over. Those who do choose, and it is a choice, to learn from life can overcome almost incomprehensible circumstances, but until you internalize that it is a choice, the choice may never unleash the greatness that lies within each of us.

Aug 30, 2023 06:20 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Mike - a nice addition to this month's challenge with many wise words.  

Aug 30, 2023 07:08 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

So insightful to read all of these life's lessons and how many are both within our personal and professional lives. Thank you for sharing yours.  And yes we can't please everyone because we end up pleasing no one.

Aug 30, 2023 08:09 AM
Personal Engagement,Precision, and Professionalism

Good Morning Mike,

Great post with so many truths.  Thank You for the reminder.  Congrats on the feature! 👍

Aug 30, 2023 08:46 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Made Easy

I agree wholeheartedly when you say, “you are as successful as you are willing to be.”

It doesn’t matter if you are a clock puncher or free spirit. Success is about achieving your goals. If you reach high enough you can grab the brass ring.




Aug 30, 2023 11:37 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Oh, while I knew your story, I loved hearing it in this manner - sharing life's lessons, Mike! You can't worry what others think either - I do wish I could always practice what I preach on that but, I agree wholeheartedly with you! 

All EXCELLENT points and thank you so much for sharing and participating in this month's challenge, Mike! Hugs to Buffy for me too!

Aug 31, 2023 09:09 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Thank you so much. I'll pass that on to Buffy and remind Ray that it's beard season. 😂

Aug 31, 2023 09:23 AM
Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD
http://www.medicalandspaconsulting.com - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

When I read this  be post, it occurred to me that one of the problems in our Sicily is that few people do not learn from life experience/ mistakes

Sep 01, 2023 07:36 PM
Ed (Edward) Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Your life lessons have worked well for you and when you do get to that reunion you may well be shocked by how little others have changed. 

Sep 02, 2023 08:43 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

You have achieved much in your life, including success.  Good for you!  I know how you feel.  I was never one to be a clock puncher either, although they are definitely required.  So thank you to the clock punchers!  Your unique take on real estate is what sets you apart and makes you successful.  Kudos!

Sep 03, 2023 10:54 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV Congratulations on the FEATURE in the August Challenge.  You have learned much in your personal life and business -- and I have to agree with all your points!  Great Post!

Sep 11, 2023 05:33 PM