This article was posted on Monday, Nov 01, 2021

Learn from failure

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels


When I was in college, I competed at chess tournaments. I quickly realized that more games were lost by blunders than won by brilliances. Now, my day job involves helping remarkably successful people prevail outside their specialty. This article has the gleanings of thousands of interactions with millionaires. Here are 11 surprisingly common mistakes.

Learn from Your Mistakes

We all make mistakes, but we don’t all learn from them. Reflection and regret sometimes lead to realization that what we did was wrong or unproductive and that we should avoid it in the future.  One sign of wisdom is recognizing that it is counterproductive to continue to beat your head against the wall.

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Learn Faster

We learn faster when we spend less time denying mistakes and more time trying to learn from them. The faster you begin learning, the faster you get the benefits.

Check Your Blind Spots

We all have blind spots–weakness which others see, but which we are not aware of.  We see the silliness of the obese smoker who claims to value health. Many of us claim to want something but persist in some counterproductive behavior. Get friends to help you identify your blind spots. Then work on eliminating them.

Avoid Hubris

Hubris bites many of us. Too many people blew a career or relationship because they thought they could do or say wrong, and no one would know. In Greek tragedy, hubris is followed inevitably by nemesis. Cultivate humility.

Wishing Won’t Make It So

Rich and poor each sometimes believe that if they wish hard enough, they can make it so. The poor hope that lottery tickets are their escape from poverty. The affluent hope that their stock or property value will go up dramatically more than the historical average. Listen to your professional advisors. That’s why you pay them.

Assess the Odds

Although 99% of adults can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, few understand statistics or probabilities/odds. If you’re not good at assessing the probabilities, get an expert on your team. You’ll make better decisions when you know the odds.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Mistake

Everyone hates to make mistakes. People who are afraid to make a mistake let opportunities go by without acting. Inaction is among the worst mistakes of all.

Small Trials Can Create Big Wins

Stop the failures quickly and try variations of what seemed to go well and try again. The “PayPal mafia.” used this strategy. They tried things, knowing they would often fail, learned from their experience, and tried again. Continuous iterative improvements build on many tiny improvements.

Quit Hoping for a Rich Fool

A surprising number of rental owners hope to find a rich fool who will pay an exorbitant price for their average asset. In real life, investors won’t pay a premium for average. Average has value, but not spectacular value. Equity trapped in an average investment never has the option of earning above average or spectacular returns.

Consider the Options

Wise people explore whether better investment options are possible. Just because one knows how to ride a bike does not mean that bike riding is the best way to travel 1,000 miles.

Nobody Cares if You’re Uncomfortable

Often investors enter a competitive arena expecting to be catered to. There is a scarcity of truly superior options. Wealth does not guarantee the ability to dictate terms, especially when many qualified buyers are vying for each opportunity. Neither the seller nor the competing millionaires care whether you are pleased with the process.


Terry Moore, CCIM is an investment real estate broker with a proven history of success in creating value, 1031 (tax deferred) exchanges, and building wealth through apartment investments. He has taught at UCSD, National University’s MBA program, the Appraisal Institute, SD County Tax Assessor, California Association of Realtors and is a National Certified Commercial Investment Member. For more information contact Terry at [email protected], call 619-497-6424 (Direct), 619-889-1031 (Mobile) or visit (License #0091851).

Read more November 2021 articles from the AOA Magazine.