Confusing Luck With Talent; Ego Is The Enemy There was a big hubbub earlier in the week over a defamation lawsuit involving a mortgage trade group CEO and a prominent mortgage industry executive.

The executive and his wife sued the trade group’s CEO for defamation after he made some very inappropriate comments, and the story quickly made its rounds across the industry.

You can read more about the story here, but the purpose of this blog is not to share illicit stories or to pile on with my own comments about how offensive the CEO’s actions were (as that is obvious).

The purpose of the blog is to ask why this happens so often in our industry, as this is hardly the first time I have seen something like this surface.


Famous NYU Professor Scott Galloway wrote an entire blog in December about conflating luck with talent.

People in the mortgage industry seem to suffer from this affliction more than those in any other industry, and I never quite understand why.

Right now, the mortgage industry is in the biggest “luck” phase in history with record-low rates that allow us to literally sell “free money” in the form of no-cost refinances.

Anyone in our industry who thinks their business success right now is a result of nothing but talent is delusional and much more likely to do something like what the above referenced CEO did.

Galloway’s above column is excellent, as he focuses on how important it is to recognize one’s blessings in general and how those blessings start simply with being born in the United States.


One of the best books I have read in recent years is Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday.

Here is a brief summary but I highly recommend the entire book b/c it is a short and surprisingly entertaining read.

Holiday reminds us through anecdotes and examples of many things that should be obvious but that all of us forget – particularly when times are good.

Holiday encourages us to “always be a student,” constantly learning and never thinking we have all the answers.

He reminds us that failure is a part of life – to be ready for it at all times and to simply learn from it; that we need to be humble in all situations and not just when we are down; and that we need to focus on enjoying the process as opposed to just the end-goal.

He also reminds us to get out of our heads and to interact more with the world, using the Catcher In The Rye author J.D. Salinger as an example of someone who isolated himself too much and suffered greatly as a result.

In addition, he writes about how an unwillingness to delegate (b/c we think we can do everything better ourselves) is just another function of ego.

He uses President Eisenhower as an example of someone who was extremely successful b/c he was so willing and able to “let go” and to delegate effectively.

And he uses John DeLorean (inventor of the Back to the Future car) as an example of someone who killed his company b/c he had to stay on top of every decision and action (the cocaine probably didn’t help either).

Anyway – b/c times are so good for so many of us, it is a great time to remember that our egos are our enemies. 😊

And, I suspect if the CEO in the above referenced story had remembered that, he’d be a lot happier right now.

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 1197176, NMLS# 310167

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