The Power of Positive Parables

Parables are stories that illustrate a moral or lesson. From the Greek parabolē, meaning “comparison, illustration, analogy,” parable was the name given by Greek rhetoricians to an illustration in the form of a brief fictional narrative.

Lagoon Blvd, Brigantine Beach NJ

Lagoon Blvd, Brigantine Beach NJ

Self-help books, the bible, and other texts are all filled with parables, and just reading one every now and then can do wonders for a person’s powers of positive thinking. Here’s one I came across that has stuck with me for a while, reminding me that simply deciding something one way or another in advance has enormous power over the outcome.

The 92-year-old, petite lady was poised and proud. Fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied even though she was nearly blind, was moving to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. The nurse walking with her provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.

“I love it,” stated the lady with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t even seen the room yet,” the nurse said.

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” the lady replied. “Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.”


Matt Haviland
Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

P.S. If you have a great parable you’d like to share with me, please contact me at or call me at 609-338-3773.   To view my entire October Newsletter click here:  October Newsletter – Matt

Attitude: The Most Important Freedom

In September 1942, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna, was sent to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents. Three years later, when his camp was liberated, most of his family had perished. But he, prisoner number 119104, had lived.

In his bestselling 1946 book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl describes people who would walk through the camp giving words of comfort to others, even though their circumstances were no better. He concluded that the difference between those who could give comfort and those who couldn’t came down to one thing: Meaning.

A summer stroll in Ocean City, NJ.

A summer stroll in Ocean City, NJ.

As he saw, those who found meaning even in horrendous circumstances were far more resilient to suffering than those who did not. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing,” Frankl concluded, “the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Whenever I find myself in a really bad mood, or mired in boredom or life’s challenges, I remind myself that I can choose a different attitude. Something that helps is focusing on being grateful, even if it’s just to say, “I’m thankful for having the wisdom to recognize I’m in a funk so I can choose a different attitude.” I also remind myself that my circumstances are never as dire as what Frankl faced, and if he could do it there, I certainly can do it in my blessed life.

Mr. Frankl continues to teach us that we do not always choose our circumstances but we can choose how we respond to things that happen in our lives.


Matt Haviland
Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

P.S If you are celebrating something special I’d like to hear about it. Please contact me.

P.P.S.  For more great articles download or print my September Newsletter:  September Newsletter – Matt

The Lessons of Perserverance

An inspiring story about the life of Winston Churchill

According to biographers, Winston Churchill did not have the happiest of childhoods. Neglected by his uninterested parents, he was sent to boarding school at a young age where he would write letter after letter pleading for his parents to come visit him. Most of his letters went unanswered, and he ended up spending a succession of holidays alone at school without even the company of classmates.

Sunset on Lake Nescochague

Sunset on Lake Nescochague

Churchill would go on to suffer many failures both at school and in his political life, failures that would have defeated most people. But Churchill kept sticking his neck out, overcoming great odds and eventually leading his country in its finest hour.

How did a man with such a difficult upbringing and spotty professional record achieve such greatness? The answer may lie in the following story: In his 80s, Churchill was asked to deliver a commencement address at Harrow, the boarding school he attended as a boy. He is reported to have stood up at the podium, glared over his glasses, and delivered one of the shortest, yet most inspiring speeches ever given at a graduation ceremony.

“Never, never, never give up!” he roared. Then he sat down to thunderous applause. Sincerely,

Matt Haviland
Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

P.S.  For more inspiring stories and articles view or download my August newsletter here:  August Newsletter – Matt-2

Failure Is Not the Same as Quitting

July 2015 Matt's Home News

IMG_2826I consider myself to be fairly successful in life. I’ve worked hard, been smart, and pushed when the going got tough. I know that success isn’t a straight road, and that along the way, there can be a lot of bumps and potholes. But I believe that pushing through is what leads to success.

Sure, I know that sometimes there are detours. But we need to keep going towards our destination rather than turning back or quitting. I believe that failing at something is merely a set- back, and that failing is not the same as quitting! You might be familiar with the quote by Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, who said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

I think some of the greatest gifts we can give our children are the capacity to endure failure, the strength to persevere, and the occasional tough love they need so that they aren’t allowed to quit…so that they learn to recognize the capacity for perseverance within themselves.

So as I look back on the first trimester of 2015, I’m satisfied that I’ve succeeded overall, but also failed a few times. I’ve learned things I didn’t know before, and am a better person–and a better real estate consultant for it.


Matt Haviland
Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

P.S. If you’d like to read my newsletter please click here to download it or view it:  July 2015 Newsletter – Matt

Giving flowers? Know the messages they send.


My wife’s favorite: Sunflowers!

Here are a few to keep in mind. Whether you’re buying flowers to brighten a summer table or special night out, remember that flowers have special meanings. Here are a few to keep in mind:

• Carnation: constancy, joy
• Chrysanthemum: optimism, hope, happiness • Daisy: purity, loyalty, innocence
• Freesia: trust
• Gladiola: remembrance
• Iris: faith, wisdom, promise
• Larkspur: appreciation
• Lily: devotion
• Orchid: love, beauty
• Rose (pink): sweetness
• Rose (red): true love, desire
• Rose (white): true love, purity
• Rose (yellow): friendship
• Snapdragon: virtue
• Tulip: love at first sight

May this guide help you match your intentions with the spirit of the occasion to create a truly impact gift and a memorable celebration.


P.S. For my full June newsletter click here:

Mistakes Can Be Portals of Discovery

Matt's Home News May 2015

Imagine an organization as a ship sailing on the ocean. All of the personnel on board, have one over-arching responsibility: Do not make a hole in the ship!

When working above the waterline, however, making a mistake and creating a hole in the side of the ship will have no serious consequences. We’ll have the time to repair the hole, learn and sail on.

Sunset in Absecon, NJ Faunce Landing Road.

Sunset in Absecon, NJ along Faunce Landing Road.

Below the waterline, an action that creates a hole could, quite literally, sink us.

Business Insider identified these 3 inventions that started as above-the-waterline “mistakes” and had below-the-waterline impact:

Sir Alexander Fleming: Before discarding a contaminated petri dish, Fleming noticed a specific mold dissolving all the bacteria it touched. Fleming went on to discover the mold contained penicillin.

Ruth Wakefield: While baking a batch of chocolate cookies, Ruth Wakefield realized she was out of baker’s chocolate and decided to substitute sweetened chocolate instead. The sweetened chocolate did not melt leaving crunchy chocolate morsels. Chocolate chip cookies were created.

Spencer Silver: After setting out to make a stronger adhesive, Spencer Silver, a researcher in 3M Laboratories, actually created a weaker adhesive. Years later a colleague spread the adhesive on little pieces of paper. Post-It notes were born.

Sometimes mistakes feel bigger than life, especially when we mix them with embarrassment or disappointment. Most mistakes are only mistakes when we stop forward progress and walk away without getting the lesson or the benefit.


Matt Haviland
Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

P.S If you liked this story, let me know how it touched you. Contact me or 609-338-3773.

P.P.S. If you’d like to download or read my full May 2015 Newsletter click here:  May 2015 Newsletter – Matt


The Taxi Driver’s Story

I want to share a story with you that touched me deeply, reminding me to slow down and focus on doing

things that are really important. This is a true story, written by a NYC taxi driver:CYMERA_20141030_081519

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be the last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked. “Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her nineties stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.” I looked in the rear- view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued in a soft voice. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?”
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the area where she and her husband had lived as newlyweds. She had me pull up at a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had danced as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a building and would sit staring into the darkness.

[After dropping her off] I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.


Matt Haviland
Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

~ This story is excerpted from the original, which can be found at:

P.S If you liked this story, let me know how it touched you. Contact me at: or 609-338-3773

P.P.S.  If you’d like to view or download our entire April 2015 Newsletter click here:  Matt’s Home News April 2015

A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning

Spring is nearly here, and for many people that means spring cleaning. It means tossing away old clothes, moving the furniture and mopping unseen places, washing hand and nose prints off the windows, scrubbing walls, and perhaps painting or redecorating.

A beautiful Spring day at Verona Park

A beautiful Spring day at Verona Park, Verona, NJ

But there’s another kind of spring cleaning, a kind that could do more to spruce up our lives and brighten our day than any other kind of cleaning. What if we spring cleaned our relationships, too, this season?

What if we scrubbed the stains off of our marriages, our relationships with our children, our co- workers, bosses, and friends? What if we mopped up the messes we’ve made and wiped off the dirt we’ve allowed to build up?

What if we swept away the dust bunnies under our friendships? What if we listened more, spent more quality time, and reached out to those we’ve ignored? What if we spruced up our promises and intentions, and remembered that our loved ones want us to be there for them emotionally, not just physically?

If you’re interested in giving it a try, here’s a proactive approach to doing this kind of spring cleaning: First, make a list of people you have relationships with, including your close family, kin, friends, etc. Next, go through each name and ask yourself how you could tidy up that relationship. It may only need a little polish, like a letter to Aunt May who hasn’t heard from you since Christmas. It may need deep cleaning, like telling the truth about a big lie or getting vulnerable about your feelings. Or you may simply decide things are just fine the way they are.

Whatever your spring brings you, I hope it is bright and clean and fresh. Sincerely,

Matt Haviland
Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

P.S. If you like this idea, let me know. I’d like to hear about your experiences. Contact me at: or 609-338-3773.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to view or download my entire March newsletter with great tips, articles and ideas click here:  March 2015 Newsletter – Matt

December Newsletter – Matt’s Home News

The Haviland's Christmas 2014

My wife Katrina and parents.

Click Here to download or view our december E-newsletter:  December Newsletter – Matt

Sometimes You Have to Keep Going

Most of us have experienced dire circumstances in life when we had to keep going or risk losing something of great value, perhaps even our own life. It’s one of the ways that we learn to be resilient, by having to dig deep inside and come up with more strength than we thought we had. Here’s a story about a young woman that illustrates this point:

I had gone with friends to a small resort island in Indonesia. Being 16 and invincible, I decided to windsurf alone to a small deserted island nearby. Halfway there, the wind changed and I found myself getting carried out towards open water. I panicked and began fighting the sail. Several times I dropped it into the water and had to pull it back up with brute force. Being a small girl, it took a toll on me and after a while I had lost all strength. I was afraid to paddle with my arms because I was worried about sharks, so I just lay on the board and floated out to sea.

Finally, I clamped down on my fear. I had to think my way out of this, so when I had the strength again, I picked up the sail and began very carefully tacking into the oncoming wind rather than fighting it. No one had ever taught me that, but I just figured that there had to be a way, and I refused to give up. Eventually over the course of two hours, I worked my way back to shore. The feeling of triumph did not diminish the lesson learned…that I was a fool for going out alone in the first place.

Now that my own children are teenagers, I try to warn them to look before they leap and think before they act. But I know that they will face these moments where they may have to keep going or die, and I realize that the best preparation I can give them is the strength to stay calm and think clearly in moments of crisis.

What a great story that reminds me to push through when the going gets tough. After all, there’s very little in my daily circumstances as dire as getting swept out to sea.


Matt Haviland
Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

P.S. If you remember a time when you had to push through or face losing something important, I’d love to hear about it. Reach me at:  609-338-3773 to share your story.

November Newsletter – Cut Holiday Costs without Cutting Value

Snow Day!Cut Holiday Costs without Cutting Value

Click here to view download or print our November Newsletter:  November Newsletter – Matt

November is a good time to talk about money. Why? Because during November and December, people spend on travel, gifts, and food at a rate of three to four times their ordinary rate of spending. The result is that many people end the holiday season in January with a profound sense of loss—in the pocketbook.

So I thought it would add value to your life to discuss some approaches to spending wisely over this holiday season. Here are some of my suggestions for cutting costs without cutting the fun.

1. Instead of cooking everything for your holiday parties yourself, invite guests to bring a dish, dessert, or drink they can share with others. Coordinate so that you don’t get too many cookie plates and too few main dishes.

2. Think of high-value gifts that don’t cost a lot. A gift basket filled with low-cost, but fun items is a big hit.

3. When someone in your life has expensive tastes, see if you can get relatives to share the cost, and that can be their gift. A 14 year old boy would probably prefer to get one new Xbox from four relatives than get four separate gifts of clothes and books.

4. Make your own decorations instead of buying them. Google DIY Christmas (or whatever holiday you prefer) Decorations, and you’ll get tons of ideas!

If you put your mind to it before you start spending, you can probably come up with even more ways to save this holiday season. Let me know what you find.


Matt Haviland
Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

P.S. Another way to save is to use e-cards instead of mailed cards this Christmas season. If you want to send me an e-card, send it to: – I’d also love to hear from you in person at 609-338-3773. That’s free!