When the world gets flipped upside down, priorities become clearer.

I hope you and your family are safe and can continue to stay healthy as we endure COVID-19. Like all of you, I’m just taking things one day at a time, hoping for positive news on the health front.  

On the business side of things, we’re experiencing an unbelievably resilient real estate market; I’m 30 years into this business, and I’m absolutely stunned by the market’s strength right now. 

Buyers are facing very limited inventory, and we’re seeing multiple offers with sale prices well over list prices—depending, of course, on the price point and location. 

According to recent estimates, 40% to 50% of people are enduring serious mental stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine measures. That’s only natural, really; this is a challenging and scary time no matter how you look at it. 

As you may know already, I’ve been hiking a ton recently. I hiked Gore last weekend (11.6 miles, 3,600 feet vertical). It was a tough climb, especially considering the 25-pound pack on my back and the six feet of snow toward the top. 

The adversity makes me stronger, though. If you really look at the most successful people in business, you’ll realize that a lot of them had very difficult childhood upbringings. Some of them literally came from nothing and had to forge their own path; adversity was the only thing they knew growing up. 

There’s an anecdote I first heard from Tony Robbins that is applicable now more than ever: Two twin brothers are born to a father who’s an abusive alcoholic. One son grows up to be an abusive father and an alcoholic himself, but the other son grows up to be wildly successful—a true pillar of the community who’s a great husband and father.

“It’s what you take away from tragedy and adversity that matters most.”

People asked the first son why his life was in shambles, and he responded with, “Well, my dad was an abusive alcoholic.” People asked the second son how he became so successful in business, and he responded with, “Well, my dad was an abusive alcoholic.” 

Here you have two different people looking at the same event but interpreting its impact on their lives very differently. When we look at COVID-19, we need to see it as an opportunity for us to be grateful for what we have. 

I’m seeing clients speed up their plans to retire and move south, and I’m seeing plenty of clients wanting to get out of New York City and live upstate because they have a mandate to work remotely until 2021. Lifestyles are changing, and people are realizing what’s important in their lives. In a way, it’s a gift to be so clearly reminded that life is finite and that our time is best spent pursuing only the things that truly fulfill us. We can come out of this better and stronger. 

It’s funny when I see people posting pictures of, say, a long line at Home Depot, complaining about how abnormally long they had to wait. Sorry, but that’s absolutely not adversity. We have it so easy in this country compared to other places around the world. We are blessed to be here, and we are going to get through COVID, and it’s going to be fine—it’s all about how you position this situation in your mind. 

A Buddhist mantra states that life is about suffering. Sometimes suffering isn’t bad inherently, we just make so in our minds. It’s what you take away from tragedy and adversity that matters most. 

I want the hard hike, I want the hard run; I want to push myself and do only the things that make me stronger. 

Life goes through seasons, and right now this pandemic has sunk us into a collective feeling of winter. We all just want to get through it, and can’t wait for good news and healing to hit us like rays of spring sunshine. Thankfully, just like winter, this too shall pass.

The next time we sit in an NFL stadium, though, or watch a baseball game, or attend a graduation ceremony, we’ll be doing so with a deeper level of appreciation. Let’s not take life for granted anymore—agreed?