Certainty Sells, but Doubt Changes the World

growth perspective

For the last few years we've had a rental property in Oregon wine country. Our family spends numerous weeks there in the summers and whenever we can find time to get up there. Although managing this is normally pretty simple, running a rental property is not the 'passive' income stream people often think it is.

Recently, our neighbors told our cleaning team about an incident. Apparently, they saw a man hop over our fence late one night and look into their windows. Their Ring camera picked up the motion and recorded it. Our neighbors called the police to report it and alerted all the houses on our street.

My first reaction was to think someone was casing our house as they likely knew it was a rental and is occasionally vacant. But when I checked the date with our rental history, I realized we had guests in the house that night. Our house wasn't vacant.

My second reaction was fear that one of our guests did something shady. We got the footage from our neighbor and compared it with my own Ring camera on our porch. I had recordings from the same time they did. As I watched those videos, I recognized that the man on our neighbor's camera was indeed our guest. Enter the sick feeling in my stomach. My third reaction was that I had a major issue to deal with.

But when I watched the videos, an entirely different scenario played out.

You can clearly see them let their two dogs out front to go to the bathroom (we have an enclosed backyard that would have served this cause better, but I digress). One dog seems reluctant to go and needs further prodding. He eventually walks out of the frame over to our neighbor's property. As the man in question watches this, you see him visibly react to something off-camera. The audio captured his explanation of what he just watched.

Turns out the dog did eventually relieve itself... on our neighbor's porch.

After a few choice words, the man then tries to pick it up discreetly without bothering the neighbors.

With all of these angles and recordings, the full story emerged. It wasn't a random person. Nobody was casing our neighborhood. He didn't hop the fence. He didn't look inside their windows. I didn't have a major issue to deal with. And we all had a good laugh about it.

Amazing how different something can look from what it actually is, huh?

All three of my reactions were logical... but wrong. They were conclusions that made sense given what I knew at each step. No one would fault me for working through those ideas. But if I had stopped at any of those conclusions without looking into them further, I would have been wrong.

The same is true of life. I recently wrote about the Dunning-Kruger effect (see: We Need Less Certain People). I'm haunted that this would be true in my life and I never want my confidence to surpass my competence. As I noticed from my recent story, it is quite easy (and tempting) to hold onto our conclusions when they have a logical explanation behind them. But logic alone does not make them right.

We have to be hungry for what's real, even if it means admitting we were wrong.

We have to want to keep growing, even if it requires something more from us at each step of the way.

We have to value competence more than we value feeling confident.

As Anthony Warner says, "Although certainty sells, only doubt can change the world."

And if you'd like to learn more about staying at the house or booking directly from us, click here. Just be careful where you let your dog out.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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