I have had a fascination with the unique form of Japanese poetry known as haiku. I’m not quite sure why this is the case other than it just seems so unconventional, interesting, somewhat mysterious, and beautiful and strange at the same time. I think it might also have to do with the wonderful aspects of Japanese culture: Its attention to detail, ceremony, tradition, and focus on simplicity. Of course, being a real estate person, I like to think of it in real estate terms as well. Maybe it has something to do with how densely populated the country is as its population is highly concentrated in urban areas. This necessitates the efficient use of space. What I’m wondering is whether haiku lead to more willingness and acceptance of such dense living or did dense living lead to haiku? Or is there no connection whatsoever.
Haiku Living – Poetry of Real Estate Investing
The beauty of haiku is the limits it sets without necessarily hampering creativity. Haikus can only have three lines and the first must be comprised of five syllables, the second seven syllables, and the third returning to five syllables. Here is an example of one that I wrote just for this blog post (You are such lucky readers to see the premiere of this):
I love apartments
They offer investors yield
And growth potential
A very emotional poem I know.
It’s can be fun to come up with haikus from time to time and there is no limit to what subjects to which they can be applied. I believe that the limits set by haikus offer great lessons for life and investing. I was recently reading an article by McKinsey called The Simple Rules of Disciplined Innovation. The author discusses how innovation can best flourish and it is somewhat counter-intuitive. Innovation does not usually result from total free reign but by having a few simple rules that allow people and organizations to focus while not being stymied by too many rules which leads to too much bureaucracy. He cites an interesting example of Zumba, which is the global fitness/dance phenomenon. They have had so many opportunities to leverage their brand and customer reach to branch out into new products and services that they are at risk of losing focus as to who they truly are and what they stand for. To help lessen the chances of deviating too far away from their core, the founders rely on two simple rules to help them filter opportunities. The first is that any new product or service must help the instructors to attract clients and keep them engaged and the second is that any proposal must deliver FEJ – Freeing, Electrifying Joy.
From a CWS perspective, it helps us to have simple rules to focus from an investment perspective. We do not want to buy properties that have residents that will be a source of collection problems either due to financial weakness, disorganization or not caring about making their payments on time. Conversely, we do seek out properties that attract residents with strong and growing earning power so they can comfortably pay the rent today and five years from now with increases accounted for.
We live in such an age of distraction that it has become more important than ever to find ways to focus and concentrate. The brain is nourished and enriched when it is able to concentrate. Unfortunately, it has become more difficult to feed our brains concentrated engagement. By establishing a haiku mentality and approach to life, we can set limits that can help us feel more focused and at ease versus scrambling, ill at ease, and lacking presence.
I know I struggle with checking e-mail too frequently, information snacking, news gathering via the web, not listening to full songs and switching around too frequently, and sometimes finding myself waiting to talk versus listening. By tapping into the benefits of haiku living and putting them into practice, hopefully, I break some of these bad habits. I will leave you with one last haiku that addresses this.
Pulled away from now
To a place that is not here
Ending up nowhere
Over to You:
Do you agree that each customer proposal must deliver FEJ – Freeing, Electrifying Joy?