An inside job


Only by contact with evil could I have learned to feel by contrast the beauty of truth and love and goodness. —Helen Keller

There’s a lot of unhappiness out there. Certainly there are legitimate reasons for pessimism. There’s also good cause for optimism but there doesn’t seem to be as much of that going around.

Allow me to present the case for good cheer, especially in the context of the multifamily industry and most especially at this time of year.

We—those of us with the good fortune of being part of the ecosystem of housing providers, more specifically, multifamily housing providers—are optimists by trade and action.

An optimist—like an architect, a builder, an apartment operator and all those in support—relies heavily on the ability to see the world outside their own self-perception, beyond the present, imagining what can be in the future and often in the service of others. This ability can only exist independent of our own being, emotions and beyond the noise of now. This is no small thing and a stark contrast to modern thought curated by screens, relativism (just not yours) and a winter of discontent now going on years.

This continued spark of optimism through all of known history inspired the great scientist Gottfried Leibniz to proclaim: “we live in the best of all possible worlds.”

Optimism is a higher principle related to truth (the objective one that remains immutable through time). Such truths do not form because we will it to be so. They exist independent of us. Optimism occurs when we aspire to such truths and their ensuing wisdom.

True power is not found in wealth and influence, but in the imaginings beyond ourselves. Something that we do intrinsically as housing providers.

“I do live in a beautiful dream,” wrote Helen Keller in her paper on optimism. “But that dream is the actual, the present—not cold, but warm; not bare, but furnished with a thousand blessings.”

Merry Christmas one and all. May the year ahead bring optimism, prosperity and the confidence of truth.

Know a multifamily champion?

Yield Pro Editor-in-Chief Michael Rudy and I are collecting the stories and wisdom of the accomplished multifamily housing providers—those exceptional builders, developers and operators who through time have made a genuine and valuable mark on the multifamily housing industry.

The working title, GRIT, will be available through the National Association of Home Builders’ bookstore among other outlets next year. If you know of someone—and we’re looking for those with a serious track record, the battle born—please reach out as we work to capture the successes, the lessons and the strategies that have made our nation’s multifamily housing great.