Section 200. An ancient king who was at the pinnacle of his power and greatness, and who thought he might have ready access to anything he should desire, inquired of a venerable sage in his kingdom how to master the problems of Euclid. "There is no royal road to Euclid," the sage replied. And so it must be said to every one entering the real estate business: There is no royal road to this business; the study of "Euclid and of the real estate business must be hard and tense. There can be no avoiding or going around each successive proposition which forms the basis of future progress and no shirking or omitting of detail; every step requires close attention and reflection.
Sec. 201. The impression prevails in some quarters that the real estate business is scarcely respectable. Such is not the case, however. The real estate business is as honorable and dignified a vocation as any in which men are engaged, and the intention of every person entering the profession of real estate broker should be to maintain, in all his transactions, a strict adherence to sound principles of morality and justice. In this way he will reflect credit on the profession and be justly entitled to the respect and confidence of his fellow-men.
Sec. 202. The young real estate broker should pay attention to the formation of character. The ability to restrain one's appetite, passions, tongue and temper is of the first importance. One must be the master, not the slave, of himself; if he cannot govern himself, he cannot govern others. Indeed, a good character is vastly more important than a great fortune. A United States Senator who died recently, wrote the following in his will: "I hope that my sons will, early in life, realize, above all else, that the only thing more difficult to build up than an independent fortune, is character, and that the only safeguards of character are the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount."
Sec. 203. Among the components of a good character are honesty, politeness, confidence, energy, economy and perse-verence. These will be considered severally.
Sec. 204. Honesty is not only the best policy, but it is in strict accordance with a right conscience. The real estate man who practices deceit and trickery may be successful for the time being, but he is pretty certain to lose eventually. The confidence which his clients repose in him is a part of his stock in trade, and if he violates that confidence his clients will desert him; moreover, they will take particular occasion to make known to others his true character. A real estate broker, by reason of his knowledge of the business, may be able to deceive his clients in respect to property, but clients are apt to be suspicious and watchful, and their knowledge of human nature may be more keen than that of the broker; hence, it behooves the broker, from every point of view, to be honest.
Sec. 205. Politeness costs nothing and accomplishes much. The real estate broker should cultivate a charm of manner and all those personal qualities that will attract people to him.
Sec. 206. Confidence, or self-reliance, is very essential to success in the real estate business. To believe and go forward is the key to success and happiness. Doubt and distrust are negative and corrosive forces. The man who engages in the real estate business should resolve at the beginning to rely on his own judgment. Even if he be rich, and has heretofore depended on some relative or other person, let him cut loose and paddle his own canoe adown the stream of events.
Sec. 207. Energy is another name for enthusiasm. Enthusiasm means an optimistic whole-heartedness in an undertaking. A man can do best that which he likes best. He never can succeed in this age of competition unless he finds real pleasure in his work. The making of money is not a sufficient incentive; a man must find the highest enjoyment in the accomplishment of the task itself. An energetic man seizes events and makes them subservient to his will; whereas, a man lacking in energy is controlled by events which carry him in opposition to his will. A live, active, confident man is a magnet that draws people and their money around him, and if he rises to the occasion, as he should, many things will lie in his power that otherwise would have gone to some other magnetic individual.
Sec. 208. The man who learns to save and who is thrifty will fortify his self-reliance. The thrifty man is not troubled about to-morrow, for he is prepared for tomorrow. Mr. Shailer Mathews defines economy as that way of living that systematically transfers a portion of one's income to one's capital, and he states that if any man who earns would, at the expense of some self-denial, capitalize ten per cent, of his income, his future would be more under his own control and his life would be more full of reliance and self-respect. It is not what a man earns, but what he capitalizes, that really gives him permanent economic independence. The rule should be to save before spending, rather than to save what is not spent. To put this rule into effect, it is sometimes necessary for a man to go in debt for the purchase of a lot, or a home, or building and loan stock, as then he must save to meet the payments. A real estate broker should make it a point to accumulate capital, as he will have many opportunities of investing it advantageously in real estate. No one knows whether a man who always pays cash is honest or not, and no one cares to know. A man should be in debt to a reasonable extent for two reasons: First, to establish his credit against the time he may need credit, and second, to lay the foundation for a reputation for honesty and promptness in payment of bills. Debt is generally recognized as one of the best incentives to prudent foresight on the part of any person, as, where there are certain payments to be made at the end of the month, household and personal expenditures are regulated to that end, with the result that a transfer is made at stated intervals from income to capital.
Sec. 209. A person should enter the real estate business with the expectation of continuing in it. A man's efforts in any particular line, if properly directed, become cumulative after a time, and if he then quits, he quits when he is about to receive the reward of his labors. Courage to carry on the work, in spite of obstacles and disappointments, is essential to success. After triumphantly treading the stony road of experience, let us hope that the student who peruses these pages will finally stand at the summit, the typical American real estate broker, the most perfect, progressive and well-equipped of his kind.