Self Storage University Podcast: Episode 37

Why It’s Ok To Think For Yourself

Every smug “expert” tells you the science behind investing, and makes out like they have all the answers. However, the truth is that nobody knows what’s better for you … than you. Since we are all the masters of our own destiny, isn’t it time you trust in your own decision-making over all others? That’s the topic of this Self-Storage University podcast in which we discuss why you are the best authority on your future and some tools to help build your confidence in making those tough decisions.

Episode 37: Why It’s Ok To Think For Yourself Transcript

I'm 60 years old, and there's nothing to me more annoying, than watching older people... There's nothing worse to me than people who hold themselves out as experts trying to give specific knowledge of some area as though they know what they're doing when they really don't. Because the bottom line to all of it is nobody knows what's best for themselves, more than you. This is Frank Rolfe for the Self-Storage University podcast. We're gonna be talking about having the strength to go ahead and make your own destiny, call your own shots, not listening to others. Now, I've lived a very unconventional life. I've never actually held a real job. When I got out of college, I started my first company, and I've never done the things most people hold dear, like go to work and get a W-2 and that kind of normal stuff.

So I've always had to be a little radical, and I found from being radical that all the time I have to make my own decisions, I can't really rely on others. It's one thing you find when you have more of an entrepreneurial bend or when you start investing in real estate or whatever it is you go into, that there's really nobody out there to watch your back. Basically, you are the master of your own destiny, and it's hard, it's hard being in that position, you want to be able to fall back on other people's opinions, you want someone to say, "Oh, hey, I'll show you how to do it," or, "This is exactly what to do." But you learn over time, most people who tell you that have no idea what in the world they're talking about. Kinda like when you go to college or even in high school, when people give you all kinds of advice, teachers tell you, here's how you do this, here's how you do that. And then you later find out in the real world, they're completely wrong. They've absolutely no idea of what they're talking about.

There's an old say that says, Those who can do and those who can't teach. And sadly, that's true. So much in society. So how does it all work? How do you make your own decisions? How do you fend for yourself? Well, the first thing is, is you have to come up with some kind of structure to make your decisions. Now, my favorite structure for every decision I make is very simple, I look at things in three arenas. Number one, what's my worst case scenario. Number two, what's my best case scenario? Number three, what is my realistic case scenario. And if I can buy an asset and if I can survive my worst case, which for example, if the property had lots of vacancy, my worst case scenario would be I can't fill it up at all. I'm never able to improve on what it is. What would then be my best case? It would be that I fill everything up, possibly even raise my rates. And what's my realistic case, well, I fill a part of it, maybe raise my rents a little because I'm always trying to gauge those three endings. And if I can't survive the worst case scenario then I shouldn't be doing it, you should never bet the farm, never bet your future on something, it's just not worth it.

You don't wanna get that in-depth in it, you wanna go ahead and only get involved in things that the worst case scenario, you can survive. Also, you have to have a best case scenario that's exciting enough that you wanna go forward, because otherwise why would you? And then finally, you have to be happy with the realistic case, we don't always hit the worst case, thank heavens, but we also don't always hit the best case, so the middle ground, does that still make you happy? Was that still a good investment? If you can say, "Well, I can survive my worst case, I would be ecstatic on my best case and I'm happy with my realistic case." Then you should probably go forward. Another thing you have to do in making decisions for yourself is you have to trust your gut instinct. If you ever watch any of those PBS specials and how they run a battleship, you'll see it's a very simple formula. They have all the way around the room, sailors screaming out data off computers, and in the middle of it all, they have a guy with an erasable marker pen and a erasable board, writing down data, pondering things, and then shouting out orders.

Someone says, "Oh, we've got five planes on the deck," he shouts out, "Send them off and load four more. Someone else screams, "Oh, we're going 10 knots east." And he'll say, "Increase to 20 knots and go south east." Now, why is the captain doing that? Why don't they just link all the computers together and just, and fire that guy? Well, two reasons in the navy, one is because if there's a nuclear blast, then you won't be able to have any of the computers to work because therefore, there's no way that the computers will operate and your ship would be lost. The second is, it's still generally thought that the human brain is superior to the computer, we're able to store more data and make better decisions because our brain is just a gigantic super computer. But what I'm trying to tell you is that all of us have that little super computer going on in our head, and we can all make really good decisions just based on good instinct. So if you're looking to buying a property, if you're looking to getting involved in self-storage, if you're looking at anything you're looking at, then what does your own innate sense tell you to do? If something tells you, no, I don't think this is a good investment, I don't think I should be doing it, well I can guarantee you, you should not.

Historically, every time I've ever gotten involved in anything contrary to my basic gut instinct, it's always been a nightmare, and I've always regretted it. So I am now fully aware and fully embrace the fact that I have got to follow my gut instinct, and we all have gut instinct. Now, an older person has it more than a younger, 'cause we have more trial and error, so we've tried more things out and failed and said, yap never doing that one again. But never give your gut instinct, or never fail to give it the respect it deserves, because your gut instinct will definitely keep you out of trouble, definitely keep you going the right way, and when it's telling you, don't do it, don't listen to other people. If you think, "Oh, I shouldn't do that, and somebody else says, "Oh, you should totally do that." I can tell you right now, you shouldn't. You'll learn that eventually, because you'll find that your gut instinct, your brain is very, very powerful in that regard. Now, what else makes it possible for us to feel good about decisions, well, one thing is to just remember that no one really knows what the heck they're totally talking about. Have you ever noticed people come out with all these new ideas all the time, remember when they brought out the New Coke, you had the old original Coke, and they brought out new Coke, people thought it was genius. They re-engineered the formula, they thought Americans want a new Coke.

Does anyone ever even remember new Coke? No one bought new Coke, no one liked the flavor of new Coke. New Coke wasn't anywhere nearly as good as the normal Coke. But a giant committee of people had this idea, they spent millions and millions and millions of dollars in developing and marketing it. All around us in America you have nothing but bad ideas. Things are created by committees, things are created by people who didn't know what they were doing, and they put a lot of money behind them, and sometimes they can launch them, they don't normally last very long at all. But never listen to people who tell you that they have a LED pipe cinched on anything. Now, in the storage industry, you've had this long period of time, several decades now, where people held out some storage companies as being the authority. Some of the larger ones and said, "Oh, these guys, they got it all going on. They know what they're doing." Well, as you can see right now, they really didn't. They didn't anticipate, I guess, COVID, but certainly didn't anticipate the change over what they call the great migration away from the big cities into the suburbs and exurbs, and that was a mistake.

Even a lot of the facilities and the way they built them turned out to be nobody wanted it. Nobody really wanted all that climate-controlled stuff, they once paid for it. Everyone likes really the single storey stuff where you can just pull up in your car and throw it in there. A lot of those old things that people have been doing and people say, "Oh no, I've got a much better idea," a lot of that just turned out to be a new Coke. Sounded good, people threw a lot of money behind it. So called expert said, "Oh yeah, this is the solution." But it really was not. The bottom line to it all is don't be afraid to listen to yourself 'cause you are your own foremost expert. You've already got enough good decision-making in your mind that you can battle anyone head-to-head and still win. No one's got a complete lock on how anything works. America is in a constant state of flux. The key item is to have confidence in yourself, have confidence in your decisions, make good decisions, follow your gut instinct and listen to no one but yourself because at the end of the day, that's the one who will definitely lead you to success.

This is Frank Rolfe with the Self-Storage University podcast. Hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.