Not long ago I went through a rather difficult and unpleasant experience in my life. What I learned from it was that even though negative experiences could be perceived to us as challenges, those could also be seen as opportunities too.
It was Monday morning on 15th October 2018 when I decided to have a look at our finances and find out where is our money leaking into. To do that I used a simple but powerful technique called mind mapping. Mind mapping is used to visually organise data to be easier to assess it. The final result looks like the image below.
Once done assessing my newly created expenses mind map, it was clear that there is no money leakage. The only issue was that we were paying so much for accommodation in London. Now that we were into digital entrepreneurship, made even more sense to move out of London as what we are doing is location independent. After further discussions with my wife, we decided to go ahead and move as this would ultimately lead to saving us thousands of pounds yearly. The money we save could be invested in our digital marketing business.
The plan was great, but there was one big caveat – we were bound by a lease contract and unless we find new tenants to replace us, moving out wouldn’t be possible as by law we are responsible for paying the rent. After speaking with the property manager and got permission to list the flat, we initiate the process of looking for new tenants. We decided that we are not going to look for a new place until we have a deposit from someone that wants to move in our flat.
Not long after I posted the flat, people start calling and arranging to see the place. The flat is really nice and I had no doubt that people will be interested to see it.
Was I overconfident or had really no idea how things work in this industry?
Just a few days after I posted the flat we already had several people interested to see it. After their visits, most of the people were saying that they like it and will call to confirm later, but they never did. Until one Saturday two Italian professionals came to see the property. They were very excited and liked the place a lot. They lived a few blocks away from our flat which makes it ideal for them as they know the area very well. We were so happy that we already found people that want the place, but it was too early to celebrate. I requested a deposit to be left so we can remove the property listing. This was met with a resistance from the Italians saying that since I am not the landlord they can’t just leave me a deposit even though I offered to write a deposit receipt. As it was in our interest to rent the flat as soon as possible, I decided to trust them and we exchanged details. In the next few days, we communicated over the phone and email. The last thing I got from them was that they will be transferring the money for the reference fee by tomorrow – it was all so exciting. This was a perfect time for us to start looking for our new house.
Looking for a new place is an exciting exercise. We spend hours and hours searching for the perfect house. We organised seeing few and eventually liked one so much that we decided to leave a deposit to secure it. This was already two days after the Italians confirmed that they are paying for the reference check and I decided to call the residential agency to find out how is it going with their documents.
The property manager confirmed that nobody paid the initial reference fee and they were not contacted by the new applicants. I tried contacting them via email, phone, text messages, but they wouldn’t reply or pick up the phone. I thought at least if they won’t take it they will say something. Unfortunately, I learn it the hard way how naive of me was to trust strangers. It was clear that they couldn’t care less picking up the phone and I decided to move on as there was still time to rent the flat to somebody else. Remember, at that time we have already paid not returnable deposit to secure the house we liked, so it was of paramount importance to find replacement tenants soon unless we wanted to pay for two places…
The next five weeks were extremely difficult. Trying to manage everything while running a business and still work as a software engineer was a stressful experience, to say the least. People continue calling and out of the 5-10 people calling a day, I organised one, two visits now as I was more experienced in doing this. What I mean by more experienced is that I was interviewing the candidates before meeting them as I realised this will save both parties precious time.
I had three important questions asking all the candidates before arranging a viewing:
- When is the soonest you can move in? – as we were pressed by time
- Is it for you and your partner? – as one person wanted to move in with her husband, two kids and her mother and father… (in a two bedroom flat? 😊)
- How much you and your partner earn per year? – as this is important to pass the reference check.
Soon I met with a person that claimed he is going to rent the flat for me as he knows many people that are looking for a place. A bit sceptical at this time, but still decided to give it a try. He brought few people to view it and one couple said they love it. We went through a similar experience… as they promised to transfer the money tomorrow but no money was transfered.
After the second case, I started worrying I am doing something wrong. Why would those people do such things? Why would they not simply call and say they have decided not to rent it? In the next few weeks, I had another two similar experiences ending up waiting for money to be transfered.
I started feeling even more uncertain and my positive attitude begin to shake. Then it finally hit me. I realised that, all those challenges were given to us in a way to be difficult to overcome, but not impossible to tackle and the outcome would be – us growing into a better version of ourselves. As Mark Manson says in his bestseller ‘The subtle art of not giving a f*ck’, to be happy in life we need to solve problems, this is the only way to feel happy and fulfilled. Then I thought, what if all that was happening lately, was meant to be a lesson and instead of being ungrateful I should be actually grateful?
Not long after my big realisation, I begun practising those three techniques:
- Let go, surrender – I wrote down my issue on a piece of paper. Once done, I crossed the words over and burned the paper. Crossing the words down is a way to reach yourself on a subconscious level and helps you let go of anything that you can’t control at the moment. In other words, stop worrying about your issue and instead focus on finding a way to resolve it. Worrying won’t help you resolve it right, it can only make it worse!? Burning down the paper with your written down words is a way to let go of unresolved emotional experiences.
- Expressing gratitude – I begin expressing gratitude about everything I have and all the people in my life. Performing simple gratitude exercises like keeping a gratitude diary or doing so in your mind lead to a range of benefits. Some of which are: increased well-being, reduced depression and ultimately lead to a joyful life.
- Making a pact – if I was to get the ‘help’ to resolve my issue, I would give up a bad habit. In other words, offer something in exchange to the help you are asking for. This way you will potentially sort out two issues. Letting go a bad habit (nobody likes these), and getting the divine help to assist you in your endeavors.
Believe it or not, once I came at peace with myself and started practising daily the above-mentioned techniques, things started to sort out to a degree that I had over 20 people calling, messaging and arranging to view the flat in just a day!
Sometimes when the situation looks impossible to be resolved, we lost ourselves in self-sabotaging thoughts and forgot that the number one thing is to take full responsibility for our lives. Although we can’t possibly control the outcome to everything that happens to us, we can choose how to react to every event that occurs. I came to realise that the negative experiences are not necessarily bad for us as they present us with an opportunity to grow. I believe that improving ourselves and growing is the single most important goal we should all aim for to work on constantly while we are here on Earth.