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What Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) Teaches Us About the Bible & Real Estate



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Rabbi Evan Moffic beings the show tying a comic strip creator, the Bible, and our investing. He discusses why people believe themselves to be rational and understanding but is actually wrong in that assumption. Rabbi discusses how systems and rules help us with investing and as a way to control our emotions. He looks at how we can set our lives in ways that correspond to our beliefs instead of just instinctively lashing out.

Announcer 0:02
Welcome to the Solomon Success Show where we explore the timeless wisdom of King Solomon and the Bible as it relates to business and investing false prophets and get rich quick schemes are everywhere. Let’s not be distracted by these. Instead, let’s go to the source, the eternal principles that create a life of peace, power and prosperity. Here’s our host, Jason Hartman.

Jason Hartman 0:31
Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Solomon success show biblical principles for business and investing. Today we have one of our clients as a guest host, and that is Rabbi Evan malefic. So I hope you enjoy the interview.

Rabbi Evan Moffic 0:47
Welcome to the Solomon success Show. I’m Rabbi Evan malefic. I’m a friend and client of Jason’s and he was kind enough to extend the opportunity to co host this show. I’m an author and a rabbi. believe passionately, in the message of the Bible. It’s the best guide, the Solomon, guide of wisdom, to a life not only of success, but of meaning and happiness. It is our most ancient source of wisdom. And if there’s any area of life where we need wisdom, time tested truths, it’s in the quest for wealth, and happiness. We don’t need any more get rich quick schemes or three steps to perfection. You can find those in other places on other shows with lots of easy, stale ideas. What you’re going to find here are time tested truths and principles. That’s what we do. That’s what Jason’s committed to. That’s what Solomon teaches. And that’s what you’re going to find here. That’s why I’m a rabbi, but I write and teach for people of all faiths, and I believe these principles apply to people of all faiths, and today, I’m going to talk about An extraordinary person and writer who has a lot to teach us. You’ve probably heard of him or at least heard of his work. And his name is Scott Adams. You might know him as the creator of Dilbert, which is one of the most successful and popular comic strips of all time it depicted Dilbert was an office worker and it kind of depicted the 1990s office culture that was kind of made famous in the movie in the office. Dilbert is just endlessly creative and funny, but Scott Adams is much more than that. He became prominent again, after Dilbert had its run. He became prominent again in 2015. Because he began a blog in which he talked about Donald Trump then candidate Donald Trump and Trump’s persuasion skills. I was actually turned on to it by a friend of mine who is a very, very successful copywriter. So he’s a marketer. And this guy said, you got to read this blog by Scott Adams. So I took took a look at it and I was blown away. And what Adams did is he predicted that Trump would win the election in August of 2015. Now you got to remember that was, you know, most most people consider Donald Trump a joke. Adams is not a conservative or republican by any means. He talks about how liberal he is. But what he analyzed is the way that Donald Trump used persuasion psychology, his language choice, the analogies he used, even though he seems to talk in very simple terms, the way he presents ideas, and the patterns that he uses in his language actually have very powerful, persuasive, underlying persuasive techniques, whether he’s conscious of them or not. But Adams really deconstructed them, and then drew broader lessons and tools that all of us can use and how we persuade others and how on how we relate to others and how we present our ideas. And Adams gave us those insights, sort of drawing from Trump showing how Trump was using them, and then said, Here’s how you can use them. Here’s what What they are I mean, he wrote a wonderful book about it called when Bigley, you know, playing on the idea of when Bigley when pigley. And it’s an excellent book. It followed up on another book he wrote, and Adams if you think about what a comic strip writer has to do, they have to present kind of pithy, funny and deep ideas in a tiny strip, really. And so they have to be very persuasive. They have to be very insightful, kind of like stand up comics are comedians, we can learn a lot about persuasion from comics, but we can learn a lot from Scott Adams too. And so I’ve been a follower of his since then I read his blog, even even when I disagree with his analysis of the political events, the way he presents, persuasion techniques is quite powerful, and I’m always learning. He now has a daily Periscope. Really, really insightful individual. And one of the other parts that makes him quite important and relevant for us is that he often goes beyond the headlines. When we read the news, we’re getting that day’s picture of what’s happening. But the Bible really reveals underlying truths. What’s happening behind the news? What are the larger patterns playing out behind what we see. And that’s kind of what Adams tries to program. And so I wanted to go through and I did, because I think Adams, one of the most insightful and prolific thinkers today, I went through some of his books and articles and videos, and tried to tease out some lessons and insights into the Bible in into real estate investing that all of us can take, and boy, I could present 50 of them today, but I’m just going to present five, five insights and trues starting with kind of quotes from Scott Adams and what they reveal to us what kind of important insight they give us into how to be a better student of the Bible and how to be a better investor. So the first idea this is one of Adam’s core truths, on quote directly, he says, human beings think that They are rational, and they think they understand their reality. But they are wrong on both counts. What he’s essentially saying is, we think that we know exactly what’s happening. And we know what other people are thinking. And we think that we always make rational choices, but we don’t. We make choices based on emotions. And we make choices based on the kind of atoms often uses the metaphor of a movie, that we see ourselves in a movie. And we’re living out that story, perhaps a good and we are rarely rational and how we make decisions, we’re not usually rational and who we fall in love with. We’re not usually rational, in the kind of car that we buy. Oftentimes, we’re post rational, he talks about if you go and buy a car, you might go and say, oh, man, I love that car, you know, like, I’m gonna get that. And then afterwards you say, Well, you know, it has great gas mileage, and I’m getting a good deal because it was a floor model, and you know, they knocked $1,000 off. We give ourselves these rational explanations later, but they’re really rationalizations rather than the use of reason. And we make most decisions that way. Malcolm Gladwell, er, wrote a book a few years ago called blink in which he said we essentially come to conclusions about people or about situations 30 seconds into it. So we are not rational beings, even though we think we are. And so what does that tell us about the Bible? Well, the Bible understands that we are not rational. The Bible says, We need there are certain things we simply need to do. Because they’re if you’re a religious person, because God says that’s what we’re supposed to do. And if you’re not a religious person, but you appreciate the truth of the Bible, we can say because they are natural law, there are certain things that may not seem reasonable that we could probably justify the opposite, say something like coveting, desiring, we say, well, what’s wrong with wanting something or what’s wrong with telling a lie if it’s not going to really hurt anybody? But we can rationalize so many things. We need certain guidelines bedrocks principles that we are going to follow whether they totally make sense to us in the moment. Not. And that’s part of what the Bible teaches that these are. That’s why these are, they’re not the 10 suggestions. They’re the 10 commandments. So the Bible gives us guidelines that we are supposed to follow, even if we’re not always sure why. And even if sometimes we think that we know better. You know, oftentimes we think we know better than our ancestors. And sometimes we do. I’m not going to say we need to live in the Middle Ages by any means. But sometimes practices laws exist, and we don’t yet understand the reason for them. And so the Bible treats human beings as they are not as we wish them to be. So we wish we could be more rational sometimes, but we’re not to the Bible gives us tools to help us deal with our often irrationality. And what does this have to do with real estate investing is we can easily fall in love with a house or a project, and then rationalize why it makes sense. We do that all the time. You could look at an investment property and say, Oh, that’s really good. And I really like that and I like That city. And we could say we’re going to do that. And then we can look at the numbers. And they don’t quite make sense. You can say, Well, I’m gonna make an exception, because I really think this markets going to appreciate well, even though we have no basis to doing that we can fall prey to our emotions and the best investors, they have systems. They have rules that they follow, that prevent their emotions from hijacking their decisions. And so, Adams what Scott Adams does is he recognizes who we are as people and present that to us. It’s brilliant. The second insight he gives us that I think is very important, is he says, This is beautiful. He says, people are more influenced by the direction of things than the current state of things. Think about that for a minute. When you’re making a decision, you’re often thinking, where are we going? Rather than where are we right now? And I think that comes from another kind of bedrock, biblical truth. You probably heard it before. Preston in a Greek saying, but it’s actually biblical as well. And that you can’t stand in the same river twice, you can’t step in the same river twice, we’re always moving, the present exists, and then it’s the future. Nothing is permanent. And so when we make decisions, when we think about things, we make them based on where we think we are going, something cannot be perfect now, but if we’re in it for the long haul, and we see, and we’re confident about where we’re going in the future, or more likely to follow that path. In persuasion, if we feel the economy is going in the right direction, we’re going to be much more comfortable with a political candidate. In the Bible. There are moments where the Israelites think about the journey through the desert, the wilderness on the journey to from Sinai to the Holy Land. They are constantly in a bad place, but the direction where they’re going matters most. They’re going to Towards the promised land. And that sense of direction purpose, where they’re going, keeps them going in the journey. And isn’t that true in our own lives, we may be going through a difficult period, we may be struggling. But if we know we’re going in the right direction, if we see that the future that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, we can keep going. A powerful vision helps us get through the slog, the difficult part, the messy middle. Someone once coined it. And so Adams recognize that our direction is more important than the current state. And in real estate, of course, we know this all the time. Jason has talked about that. During the 2008 recession, people who had rental property may have seen the current value of their home dip, but so long as they had cash flow, and they could hold on to it, the future was fine. Real Estate generally goes up. That’s in a way it has to just be As the population grows, and inflation is in the interest of the government, so it ultimately will recover. And so if we can keep that direction if we can keep our state of mind focused on the future, and remember the direction that real estate ultimately goes, we can hang on. So this is this is an important thing that so long as we remain attuned to the direction of where things are, that’s more important to governing our decisions than the present state. And by the way, the opposite is also true. If we think the direction is going down, we’re more likely to, to act for that purpose. Now. That’s I’m not giving investing advice in this sense, but that is, where in our lives, if we feel we’re going in the wrong direction, even if where we are right now is good. Perhaps we should make a change because the direction is more important to our sense of self or confidence than the current state. Beautiful insight from Scott Adams. Third, third insights Something I’ve talked about before. And something I think we all know is that fear is an enormously powerful motivator, a sense of fear. And both both political sides play on this all the time. They’re always talking, you know, fear of, oh my god, what’s the Supreme Court going to decide on this issue? Oh, my God. What is this caravan of immigrants going to do to our country? You know, I mean, all the political parties play on our fear and fear is natural human emotion. All of us who are alive today have survived because our ancestors, our evolutionary ancestors had a good sense of fear and they knew when the saber toothed Tiger was coming so that they could avoid it. So they had a heightened sense of fear and we probably inherited that. So fear is a powerful motivation. Now, in the Bible, one of the most frequent refrains that God says to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, this is in the Old Testament, God constantly says, All teary, do not fear In other words, don’t let our fears get in the way of our faith. Faith is an antidote to fear. We fear making big decisions, we fear doing important things, Abraham probably feared setting out on his journey to the promised land.

Rabbi Evan Moffic 14:16
But if we can get through that fear, if we can see that fear paralyzes us, and that fear can stop us from achieving what we’re supposed to do what we’re meant to do, then we live the life we’re supposed to live. And faith is in a way gives us the confidence to move through fear. In some ways, faith is part of the the journey, response to the fear of death that we know we’re going to die someday, until faith helps us get through that faith helps us give a purpose for living. Now, when it comes to real estate investing this is this is so important there there are so many ways that being aware of our fear can help us first of all, we often fear taking action. We think we can think of everything problem that could possibly arise and that paralyzes us from acting talk to any any successful real estate investor they always say I wish I’d bought more. And and and people who were perhaps afraid of starting investing five years ago, they probably wish that they had. So fear is an enormous barrier to really being successful. And that’s what Jason’s investment counselors help us get through that fear. The other thing that I think fear we should be aware of is sometimes scam artists play on our fear, they gin up our fear, or fear of missing out a fear of you’re never going to get this kind of deal again, and they push us and they push us and they rub that fear so that we act irrationally. So we both have to have to get over our fear. But we also have to be aware of the ways that people manipulate our fear. Very important. That’s where wisdom comes in. That’s where knowing that having that wisdom of how prone we are to fear can help us understand and make wiser decisions. Fourth insight quotation from Scott Adams I love and this is one of the reasons that many people do real estate investing many one of the reasons many of us listen to Jason, follow his 10 commandments invest with Platinum properties. This is one of the reasons is we want freedom in our time. And we want that true wealth. And here’s what Scott Adams says, quote, a person with a flexible schedule. An average resources will be happier than a rich person who has everything except a flexible schedule. Step one in your search for happiness is to continually work toward having control of your schedule. Time is our most valuable resource. I love that. Why do we invest? Do we invest to make money of course, but we also really invest, to have freedom. And the greatest kind of freedom we have is time. Time for whatever we want to do, perhaps time to spend with our family, perhaps time to travel, perhaps time to pursue a career that we love. And that might not pay very much. That’s the greatest gift. And from a biblical point of view, control over our time is freedom. slaves in the Hebrew Bible, the Israelites were slaves. A slave the definition of a slave is someone who doesn’t have control over their time. Their time is governed by their masters. And

Rabbi Evan Moffic 17:21
today, many people, they may not be literally enslaved, they can quit. But sometimes people are slaves to their job, to their W to their slaves to the mortgage, they feel they have to pay off their slaves to the lifestyle that they’ve accumulated. And so having control over our time, gives us an extraordinary amount of freedom. That’s what Jason pushes us to see that the true freedom can come when we have control over our time and control over our time comes from having income property, not passive income. Jason talks about the passive is nothing’s truly passive there are more active and less active. Nothing’s truly passive. We have to stay accountable but We can have greater control, we can decide what we want to do with our time we don’t have somebody telling us this is what you have to do. And Scott Adams wisely points out that that’s true freedom. That’s true happiness. And I can tell you it’s it’s true that my grandfather who was a doctor, he had had opportunities to become join with many others and big practices and work at big hospitals and for his entire career. He had his own small, private medical practice in Milwaukee. And he worked hard. Having control of your time doesn’t mean you don’t work hard. He worked extremely hard. But he was able to control his schedule so that he could be there when it mattered. He could simply do what he wanted to do on his time. He loved being a doctor, he loved working, but not having somebody telling him where to be how long he can, he could be with patients, where he had to be at what time every single day, he could be a better doctor and a happier human being by having control over his time. What a gift that is, and he taught me That. This is the fifth insight that Adams give. And this is one that Jason has emphasized over and over again in real estate. But Adams puts it brilliantly, he says, but if you are playing the odds, always look for situations that give you two ways to win, and almost no way to lose. I sometimes describe this as Adam speaking, I sometimes describe the situation in a more generic sense, as having a system instead of a goal. A goal is by definition, one way to win an infinite ways to lose a good system gives you lots of ways to win, and far fewer ways to fail. Oh man, have ways to win and not to lose. When we in real estate think about this that’s purchasing a home below replacement value, purchasing a home that essentially you’ve already simply the cost to rebuild the property. Not not counting the land value is greater than what you pay for it. So you already have this extraordinary protection, you already have more money in the house than you’ve invested in it. So you have that that kind of gives you one way to win. And the second way to win is the cash flow, the appreciation and so forth. So looking for deals, where you really minimize the risk. You can’t ever totally destroy risk. There’s always risk and anything, you know, we live in a world of probabilities, there’s risk, the world can be destroyed. So risk is always there. But if we figure out ways of minimizing it, that’s a good way to live. Now, in terms of the Bible, where the what kind of insight this gives us is when we are true and faithful to God’s laws, God’s commandments, sometimes we may feel we’re losing. Sometimes we may feel that life isn’t going the way it’s supposed to be. You know, perhaps we we struggled we were honest. And someone on Cut us in, in business or in a relationship. And we did everything right. We were honest, we were kind, we were caring, we were compassionate. And still we’ve suffered and seem to be being punished. But if we know that we’ve been doing what is right, and ultimately we’re going to recover, we’re going to be resilient, and our faith will actually be stronger. This takes an element of faith. But time and time again in history, I mean, think about, think about Abraham, think about all the times when he was a stranger in a strange land. Think about the Israelites who were enslaved for 400 years in Egypt, they somehow kept their faith and they remain true to their faith. And they ultimately prospered and made it to the promised land, that system of faith. This is why having a system when we follow that system and have a constructed system. Now in faith, that system is a set of beliefs and a set of practices. If we stay true to that, there is a way that we can never lose We may suffer, we may struggle, but that within that system we are doing we are becoming the best people and the kind of people we’re meant to be to faith gives us that system where ultimately, we win. By following the laws. We’re following the rules by following the guidelines, the beliefs that generations before and that God sit down before us. When it comes to real estate. I already gave you an example of, you know, just very practical sample finding deals, and that’s a way of protecting ourselves. But ultimately, having systems having a philosophy Jason has talked about this a lot that living life with a philosophy with a set of guidelines that gives us a clear picture of what to do and what not to do. helps us make better decisions. Now, once in a while, you know, sometimes, sometimes we may violate a certain principle but rarely, but when we live by certain principles there Jason’s 10 commandments of real estate investing. You can find it on The website. But when we have a system, we are much less likely to make mistakes. And we’re much more likely to create those systems where it’s a win win. This goes for any kind This goes for, for every area of life, in our relationships, we should have clear understandings clear patterns that we follow. In our business, we there are certain kinds of jobs, we would never take there certain compromises we wouldn’t make. If our boss asks us to do something, and we know it’s wrong. We know it violates our philosophy of living, we say no, and maybe we seems like we lose at one point, but in the long run we gained. So what Adam says here, have a system instead of a goal, a system, a philosophy, a way of living. That’s what the Bible gives us. That’s what good real estate investors have. That’s what good human beings have. You know, the Bible talks about the chafe and the root and plants and the rooted tree and a tree with deep roots. It’s not shaken by the wind. It doesn’t go just which way the wind is Blowing, it’s rooted in certain values and principles. And that’s the kind of person we seek to be. That’s the kind of person Solomon sought us to be. Solomon’s The one who said Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. But the only way of responding to that reality is by following God’s laws and followings the principles that God sets before us in the Hebrew Bible that Solomon teaches in the Proverbs in the book of Ecclesiastes. And I think Scott Adams has great insight into the human character. And what Adams insights reveal is why the Bible works, specific insights as to helping us understand why the Bible works, and also, why Jason systems work for real estate investing not just Jason systems, but Jason’s insights, that when we have a system, when we have ways of looking at deals and thinking about TLS and thinking about how we invest, we’re going to be better at it. There’s lots of 10 step rules and things that we can try. But when we know why we’re doing something, when we have clear guidelines, when we know how not to be disabled by fear or manipulated by fear, when we know that sometimes we don’t think rationally, and we have to check ourselves and use a system to make sure that we make better decisions. When we have those insights, we can better understand ourselves. And I think as an investor as a human being, the most important understanding we need to have is an understanding of ourselves. We need to understand what our weaknesses are, what our strengths are, and then play to our strengths and address our weaknesses. This is something Solomon did. Solomon knew what his weaknesses were, you know, he talks about all that in the book of Ecclesiastes. And then he says his strength, or he found that strength where he found the strength to get through. This is mo na is just faith, and that the fit his faith was Guided by what he wrote later, the mishlei the Proverbs. And so I hope that through these guidelines these insights Adams gives us, we can better understand ourselves, and we can better understand the kind of principles by which we should live and invest. I wish all of you Shalom, peace. Talk to you next time.

Jason Hartman 26:22
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