My wife and I have been looking for a house here in Philadelphia for the past six months. After a lot of looking, dozens of showings and multiple offers, we haven’t had much luck. Earlier this week, we found a house that we both loved so we decided to stretch ourselves and give it everything that we had. We took some strategic risks and put together the best offer that we could only to find out that we didn’t get it… and we weren’t even close.

I’m writing this blog because I’m very aware that life that is teaching me lessons. To be more accurate, life is testing me on lessons I’ve learned in the past and I wanted to document them here. If you’re looking for a house in this crazy market or just going through a challenging season of life, I hope that this is helpful for you too.


1. Control The Controllables

I like to embrace an abundance mindset; a perspective where there’s enough of everything to go around for everyone. Well, this housing market is anything but abundant. In fact, the number of houses on the market is very finite and that’s created some extreme market conditions. Despite losing out on multiple offers in a competitive environment, my wife and I can feel good about the fact that we’re giving it everything that we have. In other words, we’re controlling the controllabes and that’s something we can feel good about.

Lesson: even when the outcomes aren’t what we want, we can be proud of the process when we take full ownership of the things that we can control.

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”

Steve Maraboli

2. Be Disappointed, Not Discouraged.

It’s normal to feel disappointed when things don’t go as expected and after this most recent offer, I felt more than disappointed. With some sleep and a new day, the disappointment has begun to dissipate and as I write this, I realize that I get to choose the perspective that I adopt going forward. There’s nothing wrong with being disappointed, but I believe that outcomes should never be discouraging. There’s always a reason to have hope and when things don’t go the way we wanted, it just means that it wasn’t supposed to happen. Having faith means trusting that things work out how they’re supposed to even when we don’t understand them.

Lesson: we all feel short-term disappointment (that’s human) but in time, that fades and we get to choose our long-term perspective (and I choose one of hope).

“… when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”

Charles Spurgeon

3. Learning Opportunities

Experience is the best teacher and even if it’s not a pleasant one, every experience presents learning opportunities. This house search process has taught me a lot and I have some great guides to thank. In all areas of life, being an active learner allows us to better handle hardship and grow through challenge. Growth is a choice that we make and this season of life is a chance for my wife and I to find strength in struggle.

Lesson: true failure is when we stop giving effort – everything else is a learning opportunity.

“Every experience, good or bad, is a priceless collector’s item.”

Isaac Marion

4. People Matter Most

On the lowest day in this house search process I was reminded of what’s most important through a conversation with a client of mine who’s spouse is approaching their final days. Hearing the sadness of pending loss in her voice was a stark reminder that health and relationships matter more than anything else. In just a few minutes, things were put into perspective; I went from feeling down about a house that I didn’t have to feeling grateful for all that I do have (health and relationships). In the end, home is wherever I am with my wife and that’s the cliche truth.

Lesson: things can be replaced, people can’t – get clear on what’s most important to you.

What matters most is to focus on what matters most.

Roy T. Bennett

5. Sad Doesn’t Serve You

When I was first coming to terms with Best Disease as a child, I felt sorry for myself and as I look back, I realize how toxic that was. Self-pity is one of the most counterproductive emotions because it creates an environment where we are victim to our circumstances. It’s easy to fall into feeling sorry for ourselves when life doesn’t go how we wanted. However, that doesn’t help us and rather than belabor the point, let me direct you back to point number one (control the controllables) because that’s all we can do.

Lesson: you are not the victim of your circumstanced and that’s a decision you have to make.

“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Marcus Aurelius

6. Keep Going

To expand on the point above, the sooner that we can let go of the things that we can’t control, the sooner that we can move forward and move on. In the end, the harsh truth is that life doesn’t wait for us. Whether we are wallowing in self-pity or adopting a positive perspective, the clock keeps ticking. Don’t let a challenging season of life stop you from living – we only get to do this once (#mementomori).

Lesson: the good times pass and the bad times pass – make the most of all time.

“… waste your time and you’ve lost a part of your life.”

Michael LeBoeuf


This house search process has been a challenging one and we’re not alone. For everyone struggling with events outside of their control – stand up tall today, be confident in who you are and keep doing the next right thing. In due time, things will work out how they’re supposed to and in the meantime, don’t throw away these days.

Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”

Walt Whitman

Thank you for reading!

Joe Rinaldi

IG: @joearinaldi

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