Plato is our Friend
I love literature and really enjoy allegories, above all. One of my favorites, is Palto’s Allegory of the Cave. It was authored by Plato in his worked called, The Republic; and was written in about 400 bc. In the allegory, Plato relates to a community of cave dwellers, as self prescribed prisoners to their cave, they watch shadows pass by along the blank wall they are facing, showing that there is light from a fire behind them. The prisoners begin creating their own stories and assigning them to the shadows. They create their own realities based on the shadows and what they think are causing them, as opposed to actually going outside and finding the true reality. Plato’s allegory is much more in depth, but for my point; I want to depend on a few items:
- The “prisoners” were there by self imposed exile, we know this because one does walk free and sees that there is a reality outside of the cave.
- The “realities” were false perceptions, based on the “prisoners” lack of interest in realizing truth.
- There was satisfaction in living in the cave, even though there is a hint of a different reality
I want to be Morpheus
Now fast-forward to 1999 and the movie The Matrix, in which we find Neo frustrated with his mundane life and knowing that there is something greater than what is in the hear and now. We see Morpheus offering two different colored pills and making this statement:
Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know, you can’t explain. But you feel it. You felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there. Like a splinter in your mind — driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neo has a hint that there is a world and reality outside of his own limited perceptions. The unfortunate reality is that too many practitioners chose not to take the pill and have no idea that there is a world outside of their own perceptions. They have no idea that there are skillsets outside of open houses and floor duty. (not saying those things are all bad, when connected to other skills) They subject themselves to reliving their Broker’s failures and limit themselves to things that do not work.
The Athenian Trial
In Plato’s Apology he writes that The Athenians put Socrates on trial for corrupting the young people and trying to cause a revolution against the state’s religion. During this trial, it is said that ” the unexamined life is not worth living”; as to say that life is only fulfilled when we look at more than just the shadows on our own cave walls. (understand that I am not implying any religious reference here, that’s for a different blog)
I apply this to a recent conversation that I heard. I was recently sitting in a program where an elected official was speaking of the future of the real estate industry. He had worked for various associations over the years and this politician / attorney gave a ten minute diatribe about how the text messaging, twittering and e-mail was ruining how people communicate and results in people not talking to one another. Evidently he doesn’t feel the written word is a form of communications…
I was sitting in the room with Danilo Bogdanovic, whom I had met through Social Media applications and have learned from and shared with in the past. It was interesting to see how the two of us bristled, just a bit at the conversation. See I’ve learned things from Danilo – we’ve discussed real estate and shared meals together. None of which would have happened, had it not been for the social media connections and we live less than an hour away.
This speaker had darkened the opinion of the nay-says in the room by his negative presentation of the Internet applications that I use. Interestingly, this person’s particular cave was presuming that COMMUNICATION devices such as Twitter, Facebook, etc… were hampering people in communicating. However, the overwhelming reality is that people are more apt to communication and learn from others by these same tools.
I’m Tired of Dragging Dead Weight
I was concerned about the effect this speaker’s opinion had on the group. Mainly because there were a number of people in the room who had dismissed technology other than cell phones and e-mail. I was only briefly concerned, because about a month ago; I made a business decision to NOT argue, fight or pursued people to open their minds. I really need to concentrate on those who “get it” and are willing to have open minded discussions.
I’ve been teaching real estate for many years and I can honestly say that almost every class is a battle to win people over to my side. I get good feedback from classes, but my friends will tell you that I will always tend to dwell on the rare negative comment.
When I say things such as “Dual Agency is bad”, “Print Media is less effective than Internet Marketing”, “Your marketing needs to be about the client and NOT you”, “You need to be more interested in protecting your client than how another agent will feel about you” or “If you aren’t constantly learning, you’re a liability” I get people who just want to hold an “Athenian Trial.” These types of statements are undermining the religion of Realtors and stirs the spirit of “younger” (by experience, not age) agents.
I recently asked a large class of Brokers to articulate for me, they and their agent’s value outside of MLS and lockboxes. Not one Broker could give me a persuasive and cohesive argument. So what happens to our industry when Trulia and combo boxes become more pervasive?
I have made a decision that I will not drag the close-minded around any longer. I am dwelling with those that have escaped the cave. I am putting it right back in the “professionals” lap to learn and change with the needs of the consumer.
Many of you who read this blog and who I have met face the same “trials” and I want to encourage you to concentrate on your clients, your business and those who are open to knowing about change and progress.