“If you’re at the cutting edge, then you’re going to bleed.”

This seemingly has nothing to do with Georgetown Real Estate but I find it interesting, and I suppose one could consider Georgetown on the cutting edge of the real estate market, and therefor likely to take longer to "stop the bleeding" of the slow real estate market.

In any event, in an article from the New York Times, neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen is credited with this statement, “If you’re at the cutting edge, then you’re going to bleed.” In the article she is talking about depression and creativity. The larger article has to do with depression and what the possible "up side" of depression might be. Andreasen argues that depression is intertwined with a “cognitive style” that makes people more likely to produce successful works of art. I've quoted the remainder of her thought below.

Perhaps what I am about to say is a stretch...But, we have been going through a financial depression, and real estate depression. Not necessarily a big "D" depression, but certainly not something I would consider a pleasant experience. In real estate, our "work of art" is a completed, successful home-buying transaction. Maybe in the midst of our real estate depression we can, like artists, focus better on what we have to do, and maintain the persistence we need to maintain in order to achieve the work of art. In the creative process, Andreasen says, “one of the most important qualities is persistence.” Andreasen found that “successful writers are like prizefighters who keep on getting hit but won’t go down. They’ll stick with it until it’s right.”

That's a quality of a good real estate professional, and also of that professional's client. To my mind the market will begin to improve as more and more people...both agents and clients...keep getting back up and facing into the reality of our market.

Here is a further quote from the NYT article. [While Andreasen acknowledges the burden of mental illness — she quotes Robert Lowell on depression not being a “gift of the Muse” and describes his reliance on lithium to escape the pain — she argues that many forms of creativity benefit from the relentless focus it makes possible. “Unfortunately, this type of thinking is often inseparable from the suffering,” she says. “If you’re at the cutting edge, then you’re going to bleed.” ]

To read the entire article go to NYtimes.com, and look for "Depression's Upside..." by Jonah Lehrer. He is the author of “How We Decide” and of the blog The Frontal Cortex. This is his first article for the magazine.


  1. Thanks for your insight Darrell -- Persistence is key. Expending the effort before you need it is also good, as Jimmy Buffet's uncle Warren says, "if you wait until spring to see the robins, you've just missed it."

  2. There is no doubt that persistance is a great quality for a real estate agent to have. Creativity is another along with problem solving skills. I actually find the latter one of the more rewarding aspects of our job. Do I get depressed from time to time, absolultely, but I like most other successful agents am an eternal optimist and that keeps me going through the depressing times.

  3. Thanks Darrell-I allways find your blog to be interesting and informative.Paul Murray

  4. love this- great writing and insight-