What do Real Estate Horror Stories and
Japanese Art have in common?

I’ve recently become aware of the Japanese art of Kintsugi, a process of mending broken pottery using gold resin, sometimes referred to mean “golden repair.”  In this art form, not only is there no attempt to hide the damaged seam of the broken ceramic, but the repair is literally illuminated with gold.  I find the results fascinating and elegant. (Take a look below.) This art form is seen as a metaphor for brokenness and healing—that embracing one’s brokenness and imperfections can create something unique, beautiful and strong.  What’s that got to do with Real Estate? Read on.

The theme at WREN meetings this month is Real Estate Horror stories.  We feature Investors who have been through difficult situations and find out how they have turned those situations around. What did they learn?  How did they navigate rough times? What did they learn? What can we learn from them? You won’t want to miss this event. They are there to share their Kintsugi.

I have attended a real estate club meeting where the leader declares they’ve been investing long enough to have “scars and t-shirts.” They say this phrase as a badge of honor.  Why?  Because they’ve been through the process of being broken and then repaired.  Those scars are merely a symbol of an event that happened and the strength we received in exchange for playing it out.  Author of Kintsugi Wellness, Candice Kumai says “You won’t realize your full potential until you go through the tough times.”

Here are Two Real Estate lessons we can learn from Kintsugi:

  1. Embrace the challenges.

    This real estate business is unpredictable and messy. Sometimes the bad outweighs the good, and other times the opposite is true. In Kintsugi, the cracks on a vase aren’t hidden and are instead used as part of the design, a reminder that the ‘bad’ will always exist; it’s a normal part of life. But we have the power to still create something beautiful.

  2. Be more resilience-oriented than goal-oriented

    Stop judging yourself for not reaching your real estate goal and start praising yourself for staying in the race.  Kintsugi refocuses our attention from what the object “should have been” to creating something beautiful and strong with what we do have. As author J. K. Rowling once said, “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.”

Let’s not apologize for our brokenness or see it as an adversity, but rather an opportunity to be made whole, to be made better.

And get out to those meetings.  Meet those how have navigated troubles and are willing to share their wisdom.

Deborah Razo,