One of my best qualities is also one of my worst . . . I choose to think the best, in people and situations. This works for me, and against me. It enables me to remain positive in difficult circumstances and, although I haven’t led the easiest of lives, I’m a happy, contented person.
So how does choosing to think the best end up working against me? Here’s an example:
My tenant, Eddie, pays his rent bi-weekly because that’s when he gets paid at his job. (I try to make it easy for my tenants to pay their rent.) He called and said he didn’t have the rent due to a car breakdown . . . if he doesn’t fix the car, he can’t go to work. If he doesn’t go to work, he’ll get fired and won’t be able to pay the rent. I certainly understand this dilemma. Many of my tenants are low-income individuals. Eddie needed to fix his car, which ate up his rent payment. He promised he’d double up on it in two weeks and be totally caught up. Choosing to think the best, I agreed.
Two weeks later, I learned Eddie had been sick and hadn’t worked for a few days. His check was short. He was only able to pay one week of rent, which put him three weeks behind now. And the beat goes on. And on, and on . . .
What I’ve learned through the years is that “next week” never comes. I want to believe it will, and many times my tenants fully believe it will. But way too often, it doesn’t. Choosing to think the best won’t make it happen, unfortunately. I lost hundreds (maybe thousands?) of dollars early in my career before I toughened up. This is an income-producing business, not a charity. I can’t afford to allow people to live rent-free in my units.
So now, when they get behind, we make a written plan for them to get caught up and if they default, I file eviction.
So, a short word to the wise . . . Yes, choosing to think the best in people and situations is a wonderful attribute. But it can cost you dearly if you allow it to override your good business sense!