What You Don’t Know…

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 29 December 2020 00:00

No one can or does know everything. What has 2020 taught you about what you don’t know?

?  TRUE  or  ?  FALSE:  What you don't know can't hurt you.

• If you chose TRUE, that statement can be paraphrased as “when you do not know about a problem or misbehavior, you can’t worry about it or become unhappy about it.” It can also be interpreted as “staying in the dark” or “ignorance is bliss.”

• If you chose FALSE, that statement can be paraphrased as “when you do not know about a problem or misbehavior, it can hurt you” or as “getting blind-sided or being surprised by something.” “Ignorance is expensive” paraphrases it, too.

During 2020, what was your approach to what you don’t know?

In Decisions & Communities, our knowledge-sharing focus is real estate and home ownership—how to achieve, invest, maintain, sustain, benefit from, protect, and enjoy, on all levels. This year of uncertainty has taken us through the full gamut of impact—positive and negative—on these aspects of ownership and much more.   

Our lives have been turned upside down during 2020. The continued multi-level uncertainty has proven disorienting simultaneously to entire families, communities, organizations, governments, and countries. As the year ends, human nature has us, individually and in communities and on all scales, evaluating what has happened, what might become lasting change, and what is coming next in 2021 and beyond.

Big issues. Big questions. Big upheavals. Big opportunities. On all levels from individual to national and global. We’ll be exploring many issues related to these trend-generating happenings as they relate to real estate and ownership as 2021 unfolds.

In the pause between holidays and year end, it’s time to take a deep breath and shift from big scale issues and global contexts to zero in on home. Have you explored simple actions and precautions you, as an individual and a family member, could tackle at home to prepare for the new year and strengthen community home fronts?

When it comes to real estate—which touches almost every aspect of life and business—what we don’t know as individuals, families, and communities can hurt us on many levels:

At Home: 

Without commitment to maintenance and sustainability, even  luxurious high-end homes lose functionality, comfort, and value while becoming a burden to the owner.

Train yourself to be observant and curious so you catch things before problems arise and to head off crisis:

• Get off the couch and regularly walk your property and the house’s perimeter, in all weather.
• Eyes off the screen to look closely in corners and everywhere else for signs of water, mold, and wear before expensive fixes are required. That little puddle of water on the basement floor, the odd noise coming from the fridge or furnace, damp smells, rust showing up anywhere...the signs can be all around you.
• Catch problems early and tackle them head on. Collect the names of local, reputable, experienced repair professionals from neighbors and friends so you have backup with maintenance and solid connections long before a crisis.

I’m a fan of PBS’s This Old House, a home improvement and renovation classic, and it’s spin-off Ask This Old House, which tackles small projects. Watching  their down-to-earth experts work through in-depth primers on fixing broken windows, leaking pipes…and other  explanations of how things work and the best way to repair them is enlightening and reassuring. 

When a problem strikes, this online resource enables even a novice to quickly learn what the key issues are, so they know who to call and what to ask service people.

A strategic approach like this saves money and avoids future headaches. The less maintenance and repair you have to worry about, the more time and energy you’ll have to give to those around you.

In Communities:

Without good information and open lines of communication, good decisions will elude us as property owners, families, neighbors, and communities:

• Are you a member of local homeowner and neighborhood groups? Have you been in touch with them to discover what’s really going on locally? You may be surprised to learn about proposed potentially locally-unfavorable construction projects that may quietly receive approval while municipalities and taxpayers are swamped with distracting pandemic pressures.
• How safe are your streets? “Parents have so few precious minutes of their children's full attention that mothers and fathers should make sure they always give their full attention to their children, especially when away from the relative safety of home.…What point do you want your children to have top of mind when they cross the street without you?” Read on … 
• What’s the level of emergency preparedness and accountability in your community? Would a winter storm or prolonged power outage derail local food-delivery services and programs? Online you’ll discover amazing people contributing to a wide range of cost-effective, innovative projects to help their communities. Why not track down one or two worth replicating in your community?

Social distance, but get out there by phone, email or semaphore if you must, to learn who’s doing what and why as well as who’s not doing what and why. What you do know can help everyone.

In Forward Thinking Together:

Without facing our fears, we can be derailed by them.

• “We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears,” says it best and that was in the 16th Century. We know that a depth of knowledge and expertise exists out there to help us break this pattern. Sometimes its not the complex professional version, but school-level, elegantly-simple explanations that spark creative thinking.

• What’s happening behind front doors in your community? How are neighbors keeping in touch and reaching out while social distancing? Which community-building role do you play? What has 2020 taught you about what you don’t know and what you do know?

In 2020, a lot happened simultaneously amid Covid deaths, job loss, profit taking, endless medical crisis, selfishness, caring contributions, and a full range of community-building and -destroying events and undertakings. Sounds exhausting and it was, is, and, definitely, will be in the near future. However, exhilarating glimpses of what the future could hold may inspire constructive, inclusive action.

What can you afford not to know during 2021? How will your resilience increase next year?

On the doorstep of 2021, shift your attitude into fast forward to make the road ahead smoother and more beneficial for you and your family whatever happens around you.

All the Joy of the Season to you and your family!

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PJ Wade —       Decisions & Communities

Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic problem solver and author of 8 books and more than 2800 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

PJ Wade's latest business bookWhat's Your Point? Cut The Crap, Hit The Mark & Stick!—further proves PJ's forward-thinking expertise and her on-point ability to explain technical, even non-verbal, communication details in practical, actionable terms. Print publication: Fall 2022.

PJ: “What's Your Point?the pivotal 21st-Century business question—must be answered before you open your mouth, hit a key, tap anything or swipe. Too often 'Your Point' is not clear to you and communication remains an expensive illusion.”

As The Catalyst, PJ concentrates on enhancing communication ROI for experienced advisors, executives, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other savvy professionals, who may not have received as much formal training in communication as they have in their own field.

Onward & Upward—The directions that really matter! Reach PJ at pjwade@TheCatalyst.com and visit her What's Your Point? Blog. Keep up-to-date with PJ's popular column  Decisions & Communities


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