What if you could do or be anything you want?
I’m packing my bags and heading to Hollywood for a private screening of a documentary I’ve been working on with my sister for the past year and a half.
Our screening is going to be at the famous Chinese Theater and we are pretty excited. We’ve got a full house reserved of cast, crew, family and friends. It’s going to be standing room only.
The reason I’m telling you this is because, even though you may not be interested in filmmaking and even though you may not be interested in the subject of our documentary, you might be interested because the fact that I’m able to do this is because of my philosophy on lifestyle design.
I believe that our lives are a piece of art and we are the artist.
It will be as interesting or boring, happy or sad, lonely or engaged, successful or pathetic as we design it to be. Yes, there are things that are completely out of our control. Some people are smarter than you, some are better looking or more talented, some are born into better circumstances than others, some are just plain luckier, but we all have the ability to shape our lives like no one else can.
For me, making this film is part of building the life that I want to live. I graduated from a film school in Chicago (Columbia College) back in 1981 and I started working in the industry – then moved out to Los Angeles. I got pretty close to selling a feature length script I had written (after 8 years of trying) to 20th Century Fox… but then after a long time in “development hell” it fell through. I decided then that I was going to make my own damn movie and stop waiting for someone else to give me their approval.
This changed everything. I decided that “I” would take control of the wheel.
At the time, I believed I needed to make some money to afford my own movie (I didn’t understand no money down financing) so I decided real estate investing was the best way to do it. I didn’t know a thing about investing and, boy, I had some lessons to learn. BUT ultimately, it turned out that investing was a lot of fun and I got sidetracked and consumed in the business.
But the movie idea never left my mind.
A year and a half ago, my sister, Kristina Wagner, graduated from college with a history major. Kristina has been an actor for 30 years on the long running soap opera “General Hospital” (she plays the character “Felicia” for those of you who have seen the show). Anyway, she went back to college because she wanted a to add a new segment to her life. She called me and told me about her senior thesis on the Internment of Germans in the United States during WW2. I thought it was a fascinating story and suggested we direct a documentary together. So that is what we did and this screening is the first release of the picture.
I wouldn’t have had the resources or the time to work on this project if it had not been for my real estate investing business. This business has allowed me to maintain my lifestyle and my family and take the time off I needed in order to pursue an old dream. My time and my life are very, very flexible these days.
After starting the film, I realized I could have started a long time ago.
But I feel no regret – I’ve had a blast building my business – and all the businesses surrounding it – my bookkeeper told me last week that I now have 14 entities that she has to keep track of… but I don’t really need to work that many hours to keep them all going. I’ve set up systems to handle almost everything except the things I WANT to do.
You can do this too – no matter what it is you want from life.
You don’t have to have money to create your ideal life – money just makes it easier. You can build a passive income in a few short months or years.
What you do need is a way to educate yourself so that you can accomplish the task you choose. That has become a lot easier these days because there is so much free information on the Internet.
There are also teachers like me who have very specific programs that can help you get where you want to go. Learn from someone who has already walked the path you want to follow. It doesn’t have to be my path – mine just happens to be the best around if you want to be a real estate investor.
My son is in college now and my daughter is in her senior year of high school. They are thinking about their future and what they want to do with their lives.
Katie said to me the other day, “Dad, none of my friends parents talk like you.”
Those parents are all about helping their kids get the right education, get the high paying jobs, get the best grades and follow the ‘accepted’ path to a successful job. And there is nothing wrong with that – but why spend your entire life trying to have a successful job doing something that you find only marginally interesting. What if you went after your dream? What if you started a path toward something you already know you love?
I guarantee that as you follow that path, your dream will change and grow and you will discover the part that you like and the part you hate. You will make mistakes and learn from those mistakes – and then, eventually, you will find the life that you want to live.
After a while, you start to cut away the dross – like a beautiful sculpture, you cut away the extraneous junk that you don’t need and keep only the things that enrich your life and the lives of those you love.
What is left is a thing of beauty to live and to behold – even if it’s only you that admires it’s beauty.
Follow your dream and use it to discover what you want to be when you grow up.
Then, when you get there, find something else you love and follow it as well. That doesn’t mean to leave what you learned behind – turn that part into a system so it’s still a part of your life, but now gives you more freedom to try something else.
Soon, you have a life full of art – a life of freedom, imagination, of love and joy. And you never stop learning and growing.
So – that’s all I have for now – I’m off to enjoy a piece of my life I’ve been moving toward for a long time. Nothing I’ve done before will go away, and this new path will enhance my abilities and my quality of life in all the other areas of my life – I should write a post about all the things I’ve learned as a filmmaker that apply to real estate investing – or maybe a book – because it’s all intertwined.
I wish you all the best as you follow your dreams.
PS – If you are interested, you can find out more about our film at:
PSS – If you are interested in being personally mentored by me as a real estate investor, watch this video:
For those who are in my six month mentor program, I’m having a Two Day Buying Event where I will get you making no money down offers on the first day. It is scheduled for Feb. 22nd and 23rd.