“Maintain a margin of safety—even when it’s going well.
Rich people go bankrupt chasing even more wealth.
Fit people get injured chasing personal records.
Productive people become ineffective taking on too many projects.
Don’t let your ambition ruin your position.” James Clear
I was thinking about this quote over the weekend and how grateful I am that after 21 years of land investing I’ve kept up with the latest tools, developed my own tools and continued to avoid the shiny object syndrome of other passive income strategies.
I remember in 2006 my best friend in Phoenix was working with a land developer. It was his favorite job of all time. He was intellectually challenged and was learning new things each day about land development, construction costs, management, raising money, etc.
We were having coffee one day and I asked Mike what his bosses goals were for the year. He said he owned over $100MM worth of land in an affluent area of Mesa and wanted to build his net worth to over a billion dollars by developing the land building a mixed use center.
I then asked him how difficult it would be to just sell the land to a more experienced developer and take on a smaller project since they didn’t have any deep development experience. He said it would take about 30 days as the market was red hot and he could probably sell it for $130MM and just manage his newly found fortune, but then he might be out of this great job.
Well, in 2008 the market turned and his development went under. Mike lost his job and his boss went from over a $100MM net worth to zero having to declare bankruptcy.
I often think about this story whenever I get excited about a new venture. Do I have any advantage? What is the worst case scenario? Is the juice worth the squeeze?
I think being “ambitiously lazy” has a huge benefit. It allows me to be crystal clear on how much is enough and what I really need to fund my goal of total time and money freedom putting aside ego.
While you’re working your own land investing business keep in mind how lucky you are to have a huge built in margin of safety on these deal. How once you get your passive income to exceed your fixed expenses you can begin living life on your own terms. Don’t worry about the people with bigger homes, cars or lifestyle. Focus on YOUR goals and what makes you ultimately happy in life.
Blind ambition can literally lead to ruin. Healthy ambition can literally lead to total freedom! Just be aware and keep yours in check.