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Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: What Can We Do In The Meantime?

Please welcome Agent Genius’ newest writer, Ken Brand. Ken is a great writer and is known for his progressive thinking, professionalism, leadership, and wisdom, bringing to the table thirty years of real estate experience.

A beat down…

I’m not talking about a smash mouth physical beat down.  Nope.  I’m talking about something worse, an insidious psychological, emotional and mental beat down.  The flavors of beat down that spill your spirit like blood, saps your resolve, fractures your optimism and bruises your faith.

Specifically, I’m writing to you about the pyschiological beat downs served relentlessly by CNBC Financial News clones, drama queen headline cheez from our nationwide/neighborhood newsprint media and YAHOO! internet news types too.   Adding insult to injury, velvet gloved hammer jabs delivered by lurching legions of doom and gloom, half-zombie, half humans [well and some not so-well meaning friends, family, co-workers, et al’] who seize every opportunity to taint and turn you with their biting despair, unease and Woe-Is-Us-isms.  These are the insidious psychological beat downs I’m speaking of.  What should we do about it?

Cycles of Despair and Sunshine…

…Today, Tomorrow and Next

How long will the beatings last?  Nobody knows.  The very Rainman-Wonder-Kids who never saw it coming, are now predicting when it will end.  Huh?  No human knows when the pall will be replaced with sunshine speak.  Rest assured, it will get better?   When?  Your guess is as good a mine or theirs?  Now that we know the game….

What CAN You and I DO

In The “Until It Sunshines” Meantime?

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WE CAN approach what we do by looking at things WE DON’T HAVE TO DO.  Yea!
1.    When “beaters” call roll and invite “victims sheep beatees” to step forward to receive their daily beating, let’s excuse ourselves, step backward and do something personally, physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually or professionally productive.  I ask you, “What kinds of productive things could we do?  Make a written list.   Better yet, for your fellow Agent Genius Tribe members, list a jewel or two in the comments section.  They’ll thank you for it. Me too.

2.    Let’s understand that commercial news reporting is big bu$iness,  Cataclysm reporting $ells, addict$ and hypnotize$ viewers.  Addicted viewers tone in 24/7 – ratings leap higher.   Juiced ratings sell ads for more money.  It’s big business, semi-news, spun for hypnosis, addiction and heart wrenching skew.

Watch the news if you must, don’t drown in it, inhale it or swallow it.  Better yet, We Can feed our brains, imaginations and aspirations with interesting, provocative and informative books and blogs.  Any recommendations?  Here’s three books.  Tribes: We Need You To Lead UsSeth Godin / How To Be That Guy by Scott Ginsberg and Half Asleep In Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins.  If you have a couple of all time, “you gotta read this” recommendations, share them in comments.  Please.  Thanks.

3. When spiritless zombies invite you to join their pity parties,say think “Zombie Be Gone”, wheel and split.  Hang out with positive achievers.  I ask you, “What does a positive achiever look and act like to you?”  Care to share your thoughts?  Leave a comment.  Are you one?

4.    We don’t have to be average and ordinary, AKA ” a follower”.  Be a leader for your Tribe (Tribe = people you love, hug, work with and for). As leaders we might focus on these three things.  What’s a leader look, act, walk and talk like?  

A leader…

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  • a.    Causes people to feel significant.  (How can you do this?  What makes you feel significant?)
  • b.   Causes people to feel safe.  (What makes people feel safe?  What makes you feel safe?)
  • c.    Causes people to feel they have an improved sense of well being. (Why would people feel better off with you than without you?)

You can’t control the outcome…

…you can control how you react, proact and interact.

My friends, thanks for reading. Keep the faith. I’ll close with this paradoxical thought “Hope is a crappy strategy, yet without hope the people perish.” and this cartoon from rebel Hugh MacLeod of fame.

Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.



  1. Matt Stigliano

    December 12, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Ken – So I wrote the perfect comment earlier, but apparently I’m too stupid to hit “Submit” or the computer gods are working against me.

    Regardless, I had said in the comment, that you are indeed a “great writer” as you welcome blurb states. I would have read that even if I had no interest in real estate. Its interesting because I think you, Matthew Rathburn and myself all wrote similar articles right around the same time. We all came at it from different angles, but they’ll all reaching similar points (at least what I get out of each one). Strange that we should all be thinking the same general direction (some others might have even written in the same vein, I have more reading to do still). Thanks for the article and I look forward to more.

  2. Thomas Johnson

    December 12, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    All your base are belong to us.
    Make your time

  3. Laura Cannon

    December 12, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Ken, and welcome,

    I think you make some great points, particularly, your comment that the same pundits who didn’t predict the recession are now trying to predict the end of the recession. I have to ask myself, why am I still listening to them.

    I like the idea of ‘not listening’ i.e. not participating in the doom and gloom. Yet, I want to be informed. It is a conundrum without an easy answer. Perhaps we need to be aware of current events without falling victim to them.

    I find that there are some people in my company doing well despite economic concerns. I am going to emulate their attitude, style, and work ethic as much as possible. I will not be polly-annish about the real challenges people are facing, but I will try to be positive in my response to them.

    Thanks for a great post; it really made me think.

  4. Vance Shutes

    December 12, 2008 at 6:19 pm


    Wow! What a great first post on AG!

    I haven’t watched a TV news program in at least a decade. The only newspaper section I read daily is the Sports section. The front page? What’s that? Never look at it. If you ask my friends, though, you’ll find that I know enough about current events to be dangerous. And that’s quite enough.

    We become what we think about.

    Earl Nightengale told us years ago that these six words are the most powerful in the world. And I agree.

    I think about happy clients, achieving their real estate goals, through my efforts. And what do you know? It happens!

    Who would have thought?

  5. Kathi Frank

    December 12, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Powerful headline – insightful content!

    Congrats on the first of many articles in this venue. I have no doubt that you will be in demand.

    I’m going to share one thing that I believe could be productive to counteract the negative news our potential clients hear each day.

    I commit to call my entire sphere of inflence and talk about the market. There is enormous value in my clients hearing from me while the TV experts are “dancing in their heads.” They need to know that although we have some challenges, the “sky is NOT falling.” I will give them the courtesy of my encouragement.

    We can be a force of positive energy and know that Albert Einstein was correct when he said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” I plan to take responsibility in finding those opportunities and profit from them.

  6. Missy Caulk

    December 12, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Hi Ken, and I am excited you are here.Zombies hang out in the office around the kitchen.

    In life the ones you hang out with you become, so it is not hard to get dragged down if you hang out with negative people.

  7. Bill Lublin

    December 12, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Great moustache!
    And a pretty good post too. I stopped following general news in 1979 during my first recession when I realized that there was nothing in the news that could help me feed my family. Combined with a belief that whether you say “you can” or “you can’t”, you’ll always be right, your advice is wonderful and effective.
    Welcome to AG – and thanks for the great start!

  8. Gary McNinch

    December 12, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Welcome and great stuff,

    In my prior life as a State Trooper I used to look at the news and wonder if they were at the same crime scene as I was. Never was the same story.

    Held a brokers open yesterday, only 6 agents, all veterans (the new ones are mostly gone now). 3 agents were down in the mouth about how bad their business and lives were, how they were going broke, blah, blah, blah. When I asked the 3 others how their business was doing, we talked about our new listings, how we were able to gather great leads (guests as Missy Caulk calls them) and had a positive conversation and know 2009 will be great.

    Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.

    List and Sell (two easy things to do actually) Gary @

  9. Air Jordan

    December 12, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Kudos on your insightful writing. I do listen to msnbc or fox (rarely) and Nancy Grace. I see the world as dangerous. I see movies as promoting violence. Just turned off the last half hour of Mission Impossible as someone had a gadget to use to cut off a guy’s finger. Now that’s depressing. However, Law&Order is my favorite show. Go figure. I did try an experiment recently. Every time I checked out groceries I’d try smiling at the cashier and get a pleasant response. Next time I’d look down not make eye contact etc. The cashier usually responded to my mood in either case. She’s a sheep I’m a sheep. We all are to some extent. It’s unavoidable.

  10. Nickie Rothwell

    December 13, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Hi Ken!

    Love your post-so many excellent points!

    Welcome and I look forward to reading what you have to say.

  11. Ken Brand

    December 13, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Thanks for the friendly welcome:-)

    Matt – Yes, a definite theme for today and beyond. I imagine it’s a 100th Monkey Syndrome deal. A vibration many are sensing, lucky us we get to write about it:-) Cheers.

    Thomas – You’re freaking me out and I’m scratching my head. Of course, that’s a good thing. Onward dude.

    Laura – Thanks. As you point out, keeping your eye on the prize is wise. I think keeping up with what’s-what is important, as long as a person doesn’t get hypnotized or seduced. On a positive note, last night, Cramer on CNBC spoke positively about housing, he said that with mortgage rates in the low, damn low 4’s, great selection and crest fallen home prices, NOW is the time to buy. He also said that people should buy before summer is over. I say – BUY NOW. Be well.

    Vance – I don’t read the paper, but I must confess, I do tune into CNBC. More to absorb and draw a bead on what the masses are being slapped with. Great point – you are what you read, eat, watch, think and surround yourself with. Rock On.

    Kathi – You’re spot on – personal contact and conversation with your client base, the people who view you as the hyper-local expert, it’s a strong counter balance to the polluted world view they digest daily. Opportunity indeed, while the zombies shamble, you scramble and win. Thanks:-)

    Missy – Yep, I see little Zombies/Dead People too, huddling, sharing tales of woe and sloth, spitting in Turrets Excuse Syndrome style. Truer words never spoken – you are who you hang with. Thanks:-)

    Mustache Brother Bill – Thanks for the warm welcome. As you share, it is Mind Over Matter, Can over Can’t. Go, go, go!

    Gary – I hear you. You can’t have winners without losers. We can’t shine and impress if there aren’t dullards dragging each other down. Hang out, share and learn with the achievers is the only option. Amen

    Nickie – Thanks. I’m excited and proud of this opportunity. I’m a big fan of all who write and read here. Woot!

  12. Jeff Gamble

    December 13, 2008 at 1:18 pm


    This is my first time, too.

    After reading your piece and all of the comments – especially Kathi’s – it seems the only way out of the dilemma is to sell our way out.

    Do we forget that it is homeownership that provides our Americans with the security and enhanced lifestyle that we all crave? This market isn’t going to change that. Who better than us to bring the strategy of “hope” to the market…even if it’s one at a time.

  13. Todd Waller

    December 13, 2008 at 5:22 pm


    Great post! Been having to beat the Zombies back this last week. Our team has seen it’s best year ever and we attribute that success to two key items:
    1 – Leaning INTO the market;
    2 – Keeping our team and it’s mentality within the same 4 walls.

    When you lean into the market, you recognize that your competition is likely examining the color and status of their shoelaces! This presents a great opportunity for those willing to see it. Just as a lone flashlight in a dark room draws everyone’s eye to it, so do optimistic, positive folks..especially these days.

    By keeping our team within the same 4 walls, our positive focus, our passion for real estate and the energy we bring to the office is catchy! Besides, great ideas are created and refined when you hear your office partner handling a tough or easy situation….

    Did I mention I’m practicing RE in Michigan? Nearly 2400 days in this business, and this was the BEST year ever for my business!

  14. Ines

    December 13, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I used to think that it was important to beat the odds and go against THE ZOMBIES when in reality it is those Zombies that make me realize that it is not all that bad and most of the time quite the contrary. Then again, I’m an optimist and can always see something good in the most macabre.

    Welcome to Agent Genius and yes….great mustache.

  15. Vicki Moore

    December 14, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    I knew it was a matter of time before you showed up on the roster. Great writing – as always.

    I cut the vampires/zombies out of my life a long time ago and waive garlic at those who cross my path now. Warning them of the dire consequences for peeing on my cheerios.

    AS for books – I read a lot. My current favorite is Happier Than God – Neal Donald Walsh. An upbeat, positive-reinforcing read.

  16. Ken Brand

    December 14, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Jeff – Thanks. Yep, sell and shine our way through, over, around, under and out. Boo-Yah!

    Todd – Good point. Fight or flight. Who’s going to win? Not the frozen or fleeing. Thanks.

    Ines – Optimism is a gift, especially when wrapped in real world moxie and can-do. When it works, as it does for you, rock on! cheers.

    Vickie – Too funny. Zombies be warned. I’ll check that book out. Thanks.

  17. Lisa Sanderson

    December 15, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Ken, I like your attitude! I love going out and spreading optimism and excitement about my work – it really freaks other agents out, and captures the attention of consumers! 🙂

    Welcome to AG and keep the inspiration coming.

  18. Cherie Young

    December 17, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    I’m so tired of the beatings. It’s a daily challenge to encourage those around me to see the new year as a time of creativity that we have never seen.

    I have been in real estate for more than 20 years. And have seen many cycles. Stop listening to the news, turn it off.

    Came upon a post on AR and was memorized by a tv clip that talked about how bad things are going to still get. I left feeling depressed “for a moment” and then carried on with my day. I was saddened by all the comments and that the negative hysteria carries on. All that energy can be used to come up with ideas on being one of the movers and shakers this next year.

    Sat in on a great webinar with Michael Russer yesterday. His guest speaker was Eli Davidson, Completely moved by her story, I’m giving her book to all my clients this next year and anybody that needs a lift.

    If you are a happy person and you know it, then your words will surely show it. This is an old saying, but stands the test of time.

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