How did they find me?
Could it have been the book?
Surely none of them ever read this blog.


The education committee for an LA Realtor© group approached me and asked for a presentation, a battle-tested veteran’s perspective. They hoped their professional audience would benefit. Well, I hope so too, because I agreed.

Legacy matters to me. I hope that few people will repeat my errors and that many will discover how to add more value to others and start sooner.

The speech was on June 14, 2022. This post aims to bolster all readers, save you some needless grief, and encourage you to lead a life worth imitating.

Don’t expect life to be easy.

Easy things tend to be bad for you, fattening, or trivial. Easy choices make for a hard life. Hard choices make for an easy life.

No matter what field you’re in, excellence won’t come easy. Success comes from focus and from doing little, but important, things over and over. You must embrace the grind. Martin Luther King advised, “If you are a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be!”

If your current work is not a good fit, find a better fit. Wasting your time is wasting your life.

Too many people tolerate or deliver mediocrity. If you don’t love your craft, shift to a better fit.

It all comes down to advice from a WeightWatchers speech, “pick your hard.” It’s hard to do the work of mastering your craft and becoming successful. Yet seeking excellence is a great stretch. Few things are so satisfying as knowing you did a terrific job.

Alternately, it’s also hard to reach the end of your life and regret your choices. Pick your hard.

Judge yourself by your performance.

We tend to judge ourselves by our intent, score most others by their results, and grade our opponents and competitors by their errors. Success is more probable when you realistically judge your own performance. Then aim to improve your result next time.

Evaluating others by their intent is a form of forgiveness. It’s also what Jesus meant when he directed us to treat people the way we want to be treated.

Be different and distinctive

To be unusually successful in most crafts, you need to be different in ways that matter.
Super achievers work harder and/or smarter. Great performances will set you apart.

People prefer to deal with experts, the best of their trade. Identify your strengths. Then develop, recruit, or partner with others to reach your full potential.

The person who chases two rabbits catches none. Avoid being generic. Be a brand name.

Be a realistic optimist.

Optimism is great, but it’s not enough. Combine optimism with realism.

Jim Collins called it, “The Stockdale Principle.” Admiral Stockdale was the senior US prisoner of the Vietcong for seven years and was often tortured. He had an unshakeable faith he would be freed, and he faced the brutal truth about his circumstances.

Many prisoners denied the harsh realities and optimistically thought that release would come soon. It didn’t. They hoped it would come shortly thereafter. It didn’t. A disproportionate number of those optimists died before freedom came.

Be an optimist and believe you’ll succeed. But be a realist, too. Identify the obstacles in your path and figure out how to surmount them.

Get serious about getting better.

The most successful people I’ve encountered are almost obsessive lifelong learners. Intentionally, relentlessly, develop and hone your skills. Work with coaches to accelerate your development.

Malcolm Gladwell claims that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is necessary to become an expert. 10,000 hours is not five years of repeating what you have already mastered. No, deliberate practice is trying something beyond your competence. That means you’ll probably fumble. Try again and fail. Do it again, you goof, but get further along. Try again… then you stumble.

Tomorrow, you come back and give it another go. When you master that step, and you will, then you learn something else. We admire experts because it costs so much to get that good.

If you won’t pay the price, then go to an endeavor you do care about. Remember the first point.

Great excuses won’t help you improve.

The firefighter does not come out of the burning building and say to the desperate mother, “Sorry, it was really hot and smokey in there.” Instead, the firefighter hands the distraught mom the infant and says, “Here is your daughter, ma’am.”

Excuses are easy. Anyone can do them, and many people do. Instead of making excuses, make good on your promises.

Play the long game and enjoy it as you do.

Trust and rich personal relationships make life and business easier and better. Invest in relationships with kindness. Do good things for others.

Maximize your opportunities. When you go out, meet people, and have conversations, you increase your odds of building great relationships and finding opportunities. Lucky people are active. Luck rewards the active.

Fortune favors the brave.

You don’t have to be superhero-medal-winning brave to succeed. But you do need to be brave enough to try things. As teacher Marva Collins said, “If you can’t make a mistake, you can’t make anything.”

There are no perfect, risk-free deals in business or life. Be willing to pull the trigger. Great results and great lives are built with action.


If there is an idea above that is not part of your toolkit, try it on for size for a few weeks. It might do you some good. The LA audience seemed to think so.

What wisdom would you add?


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

Click here and find out how Terry and his team can help you make the most important financial decision of your next decade.