Glory days of opportunity

It would be easy to become dizzy from all the noise in the room these days. Sorting through the facts, sensationalism and opinions is exhausting. Then there's consensus. While not fact-based, it delivers insight, however predictable or startling, on our national intuition.


It’s good to note that no matter how intellectual a person, the irony is that most decisions are ultimately made by intuition. In the final light, it’s how CEOs run companies, how managers manage communities, and how prospects choose apartments.

Nurturing high-level intuition requires the suspension of rational thought. It’s the culmination of accrued data refined into a special “sight” that comes, not from the absence of thought, but a clean slate of internal processing, even a quieting of the mind. We can’t function without it.

Much like a person trying desperately to collect his thoughts, our national intuition seems distracted.

Maybe we should all go for a walk.

I grew lazy about my own running/walking routine and asked a couple friends to keep me honest. Steve Jobs once said that the best things come from unexpected turns and so it was with our wanderings.

On one such recent walk we experienced what I will title, “The Condoleezza Rice Parable of the American Conscience.”

As the story begins, my friend (a doctor) recounted how she had been to Back to School night at the high school.

She was greatly distressed that her Senior daughter’s AP (advanced) Trigonometry teacher had summarized his impending class with Patton-esque verve.

He confidently bloviated that most of the class was not qualified to be there and would fail. He sealed the deal by assuring the parents that he would show no mercy and the material would be of the highest rigor. My friend left the 10 minute seek-and-destroy-mission dejected for her daughter and fearful of the tyrant responsible for imparting mathematical spacial truths to her offspring.

My friend despaired at the seemingly impossible odds of her daughter being successful in this class.

It was then that I remembered Condoleezza Rice’s speech at the National Apartment Association a few years back. She teaches a class at Stanford that is said to be one of the hardest, most rigorous classes on the campus. The required reading list for just the first day of class is daunting.

Rice chuckled that she’s not sure she would take her own class.

Did I mention there is a waiting list to enroll in Rice’s political studies class?

Rice’s message to the audience that day wasn’t that she was so intellectually brilliant that mere mortals could not hope to aspire to her glory. Nor was it that most people are too stupid to succeed in the class.

Condoleezza Rice’s words of wisdom were, instead, that the highest qualification for succeeding in her class was being willing to do the work.

Here’s the executive summary.

While it may matter that our national spending is crazy, jobs are anemic, and regulations continue to come at our industry from all directions, we must remain diligent, clear our minds, and remember our intuition has yet to fail us. We must be willing to do the heavy lifting for recovery.

Case in point, the theme of the Pillars of the Industry award winners this year: turning around the communities they’ve touched. Fit and finish has evolved into cultivate and inspire in a most masterful way. It seems our industry’s best and brightest have expanded good design to mean more than elevating the space. As such, lives are the better.

HUD remains in the news as it grows the reach of Fair Housing. While the distribution of grant money for policing efforts continues at a rapid clip, the new “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing” rule is certain to affect how communities are shaped in the future.

Overall, we hope this issue helps clear the noise and reminds you what makes this industry so great. Our intuition guides us, and truth informs good intuition.