Clayton Morris is the Former FOX News anchor who left television after achieving financial freedom. Now he devotes himself to helping other people build passive income and achieve financial freedom. He runs a turnkey real estate company called Morris Invest. Clayton is also the host of Investing in Real Estate podcast, which has a laser focus on buy and hold rental properties. The podcast utilizes expert interviews, case studies with normal everyday investors, and Clayton’s own methods for achieving passive income.
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Stefan Aarnio: Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the show, Respect the Grind with Stefan Aarnio. This is the show where we interview people who’ve achieved mastery and freedom through discipline. We interview entrepreneurs, athletes, authors, artists, real estate investors. Anyone who’s achieved mastery and examined what it took to get there. Today on the show we have a friend of mine, Clayton Morris. He’s from the north-eastern United States. He’s the president of Morris Invest, one of the biggest turnkey rental providers and he has an amazing story. Clayton, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind. Thanks so much for joining me.
Clayton Morris: Amen. Great to see you again. You were a guest on my show a number of months ago. Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, the tables have turned. Now, Clayton, we were chatting a little bit before the show and for the people at home who don’t know you have a large Canadian audience, some people in the United States. For people who don’t know Clayton Morris, can you tell us in your own words who is Clayton Morris and why should people care?
Clayton Morris: Well, I grew up in the T.V. business. Basically, when I was a little kid, I used to sneak downstairs and watch Letterman and Carson, and I wanted to work in broadcast television. So I spent 18 years in morning television all around the United States and California, Montana, all these small markets and eventually moved my way up to the network and managed to anchor the morning show on Fox News Channel, which here in the United States and the largest cable channel in the world, and certainly in the United States. And I got to anchor the number one morning show in the world called Fox & Friends. I did the weekend version of that for about 10 years.
Clayton Morris: So we’re on four hours a day interviewing Donald Trump and senators, and God knows what else. And while I was doing that over the past 10 years, I was starting to invest in real estate and realized that even when you’re working for somebody else or working for a network, you’re still working for a paycheck. You’re working for somebody else. I’m making Rupert Murdoch money. Our show is the most profitable show on the network because of the amount of ad spots and all of those things. And so, but you’re still working for somebody else.
Clayton Morris: So, while I was there for the past 10 years, I was buying rental real estate and slowly started building that part of my life up to the point where I retired from television at 40 years old. Retired, now I get to wear a hat, have some scruff, and built my own T.V. studio, and be able to talk to you like this. So that’s the power of financial freedom and moving away from the man, so to speak.
Stefan Aarnio: Well, you know, I love it. In the old days you had the guys with money wore suits until he got Zuckerberg wore his hoodie. You Got Clayton Morris with his post Halloween scruff and his ball cap on. It’s something you earn. Clayton, T.V. sounds glamorous, being a celebrity sounds glamorous. Why did you wanna get out of that? So many people would probably be happy, just stay in there forever, and they probably maybe not be woken up. What was your wake up moment where you thought, “Man, I gotta get out of this”?
Clayton Morris: Obviously, it was post-election and here in the United States, an incredibly polarizing election. And I’m from Philadelphia originally, but I always saw … I always called things straight as I saw them on that show. I would ask tough questions of Democrats. I would ask tough questions of Republicans. I didn’t care what your political ideology was at all. I can’t stand BS, so I don’t care who you are, I’m gonna try to cut through that smoke.
Clayton Morris: Well, it was after the … we had these Charlottesville riots and really race riots and so forth. And it just became like all of the fun that I used to have in television, all of that fun just was gone. And it’s like here we are having this discussion. I’m up at 4:00 in the morning, every morning to do this show. Get to the studio in 30 Rock in midtown Manhattan, basically, and after the Charlottesville race riots, I would get death threats via email or like, “How can you say that against the president?” because I call them out. I said, “We have a president of the United States should come out immediately and denounce this racist behavior.” Are you kidding me?
Clayton Morris: And the fact that there was hemming and hawing about it for a few days, it was … And so that was the moment for me, was getting emails and death threats, and it didn’t even matter, it was one side or the other. People think that I’m one way or the other, I said, “It’s not worth it, it’s not worth it.” And I looked at my wife and I said, “We’ve built up this real estate empire with our family. We’ve reached financial freedom. We’re helping other people do that. I don’t need this anymore.” And it’s not fun. I wasn’t enjoying it. And so now with my own YouTube channel and my Morris Invest YouTube channel, and being able to go live like we just did a live show yesterday, where we did for … we did a Halloween special where we did like landlord horror stories.
Clayton Morris: I would never get to do that on Fox. and I spent a whole hour talking about cats being stuck in furnaces. And so, that was that moment for me, that Charlottesville moment. And then a few short weeks later I said, “I’m done. I’d like to leave,” and we left on great terms and I never went back.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. So, me about buying your very first rental property. Let’s go back in time. How old were you, Clayton? What was the situation there? Because a lot of people, they want the benefits of real estate, they want the passive income, but they don’t wanna do the work, they don’t wanna look at properties, they don’t wanna deal with tenants. What was the thing that got you over the line into that very first property?
Clayton Morris: Honestly, it was losing my job in Philadelphia. I was the anchor at Good Day Philadelphia, and when I was 12 years old I’d watched my dad lose his job, and I remember just how scared he was, how scared I was as a 12 year old. And I remember him pacing around the kitchen the day that he was downsized and he wasn’t like fired. He was an incredible employee. He ran a major division of an East Coast meat distribution company up there. Every grocery store you went into, he was the one responsible for putting the sirloins in those cases. And he was just downsized.
Clayton Morris: But in one afternoon I saw the direction of our family’s life move because of a boss, because of a company, right? And now the whole trajectory of our family had shifted because of this company. He didn’t have a safety net, he didn’t have rental real estate, he didn’t have any of that. So flash forward a number of years later, I’m in the number four market in the country, anchoring Good Day Philadelphia in the mornings. They brought me in to make the show fun and hip, and young again. And a week after I got there, the news director that hired me was fired. And so I was, “Oh crap, now I don’t have any internal support here,” Right?
Clayton Morris: And they brought in a new guy and the new guy just wanted to do all violence off the top of the show. I’m like, “That’s not why I’m here.” So after about nine months, we had an option, open the window in my contract and they said, “We’re not gonna renew your contract. We think you were sold a bill of goods. We’re taking the show in a different direction, more serious news and see ya.” And I said, “What? You guys encouraged me to buy a house here in Philadelphia. I’m back home in my home city. What?” And I just remember Walson through Philadelphia by independence hall, like head in my hands, dejected.
Clayton Morris: It was that afternoon that I knew that I needed to do something for myself. I needed to not mimic what my father had done, and I needed to figure it out. And it was there that propelled me into getting into rental real estate and making that move for myself.
Stefan Aarnio: And how old you were you back then?
Clayton Morris: I think when I was 30. Yeah, I would have been 30, yeah, 30 years old when I lost my job. I had to move back in with my parents. I was like, “What am I gonna do?” I had sold the place in Philly. I didn’t have a job and moved back home to Reading, Pennsylvania with my parents and they welcomed me with open arms. I said, “Here I am. Holy smokes.” I’ve moved all around the country and T.V., got to the number four market, now I lost my job. What am I gonna do? And then that’s when The Network called and they said, “We’d like you to come to New York City. An interview.” “Yeah. So wait a minute, Fox, Fox, didn’t you guys just let me go?”
Clayton Morris: They’re like, “No, there’s a big separation between church and state. We don’t care what local affiliates do. That’s not who we are, we’re The Network, come on up, and we’d love to … We’ve been watching you for a number of years, we’d like you to anchor our weekend version of Fox & Friends.” Pinch me. All right. And that was a big shift and that’s when I started buying real estate right around there.
Stefan Aarnio: So, tell me about your first deal, Clayton. You’re 30 something, early 30s’. Somehow got a downgrade, but it turned out to be an upgrade it sounds like, and very first property. Tell me about it, what was the experience like?
Clayton Morris: Well, it’s amazing because I think you have, I’m sure you’ve had these experiences. We probably have them multiple times in our lives, right? Where you’re sitting next to someone on a bus or on a subway, or on an airplane, where that moment sort of changes your life and that’s what happened to me with this first deal. I was at Fox. I was at the network and I had a little time off. Not much, but I asked my wife, I said, “My friend lives in New Zealand. One of the great photographers in the world, he invited me to his house to shoot photos for a few days.”
Clayton Morris: So, I got on this flight, 16 hour flight to New Zealand, and I’m waking up after the 16 hours even getting ready to land, descending into New Zealand. And I get to talking to this couple sitting next to me, a husband and wife, and they’re like in their 50’s, they’re not retired, they didn’t look like. And they said, “How long are you going to be in New Zealand?” I said, “I’m going to be there for five days. I have to get back, I have kids. I got to work.” They said, “Well, that’s a fast trip for New Zealand.” I said, “Yeah, I know, but hey.” And I said, “What about you guys? How long have you been in New Zealand?” And they looked at me and say, “Oh, we’re going to be here for two months.” I said, “Two months.” I said, “What do you do, that you can go to New Zealand for two months?” And he looked at me and he said, “Oh, I’m a real estate investor.”
Clayton Morris: So I said, “Holy smokes.” So, I grabbed a piece of paper and I just started writing down notes and he said, “Yeah, while I’m here my rental properties will be producing monthly cash flow, so my tenants will be paying … and my partner and I buy properties in these specific neighborhoods. This is how we do it. And I immediately got back a week later and bought my first property in one of the exact same neighborhoods of Michigan outside of Detroit, and still one of my best properties. And that’s the exact formula that he told me on that plane flight, is exactly how I still buy properties, it’s exactly how we built Morris Invest. It’s exactly how we help people all over the world buy properties, the same formula from that same plane flight.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. For people at home, everybody is wondering, what is the formula, Clayton? I mean, if you allow to share it, man, it sounds like you got the secret sauce there.
Clayton Morris: Yeah, I mean it’s not even rocket science honestly, you find that … I’m not terribly bright. I mean, it’s really, it’s a lot of real famous real estate investors who are … multimillionaire real estate investors never went to college, because they just follow the simple formula, which is don’t pay too much, right? Pay Below market value and add value to the property. Make sure that you’re focused on ROI. Note, don’t fall in love with real estate, fall in love with return on investment. Make sure that it’s cash flowing above and he leveraged position you have on it, and that’s it.
Clayton Morris: So, I bought properties and the key to my success for single families has never buying anything more expensive than $150,000. Value of rent simply doesn’t keep up with the value of the property. You go above it, you think, well the rent is going to keep up. If I paid 300,000 for that, I should rent for $3,000 a month and then $400,000 rent for $4,000 a month, you know that doesn’t happen. Right? So-
Stefan Aarnio: Typically not. Yeah, unless you go to multi units or some magical market.
Clayton Morris: Right. So if you’re in Maltese is different animal, exactly. So, I stuck with single families, that’s my bread and butter, three bedroom, one bath, three bedroom, two bath with a yard. Blue collar neighborhoods most of my properties, 60 – 70,000 all in. After I put 25k rehab into it, I don’t over upgrade for the neighborhood. I don’t fall in love with the adorable little bungalow. To me there’re four walls and a roof, and it’s exactly what this gentleman said to me. You know, he’s like my partner and I buy these exact properties, B and C class neighborhoods, tenants who work at the local hospital, American based jobs that aren’t going to China. They’re working at the FedEx distribution center. They’re working at the local school district. Those jobs are not going overseas and that’s what I’ve continued to buy, for continued to cash flow?
Stefan Aarnio: Clayton, I’m giving you the Gong. That’s the value Gong right there, man. That’s value. Clayton Morris, value investor. I love it. Are you a. are you a fan of the 1% rule? Is that something you do?
Clayton Morris: I do, but I find that most of my properties go above the 1% rule. I mean if you’re doing like a back of the Napkin analysis of a property, to even start the conversation, it’s got to have 1%, then you want to start diving deeper, but it doesn’t hit that 1%. We don’t even touch it.
Stefan Aarnio: Right. Oh man, that’s money. I’ll love it. You know what you just said there, if you do it the way you’re doing it, it’s almost impossible to lose. Would you say that?
Clayton Morris: I think so, because people say, “Well, when the economy goes down, you’re going to suffer also.” Well-
Stefan Aarnio: How?
Clayton Morris: -maybe. I would like to know how, because when I look at the properties that I invest in, even we’re ground zero where we saw a city declared bankruptcy in Detroit and owning rental properties there. Buddies of mine that own 90 properties in those exact same neighborhoods that I’m talking about, didn’t see one decline in the rental income. Why? Because people can’t get a mortgage and they need to rent, and those people that were renting either government assistance or they were still employed. Forbes front page of a front cover of Forbes and last December wasn’t, had Jamie Dimon, on the front cover. And it said, “How Jamie Dimon, saved Detroit.” Or something like that.
Clayton Morris: But in that article they really highlight and pulled out exactly how I found success with these properties, and how others have and, where I replicated around the country. What they highlighted in this article about Detroit. We’re three parts. They said there were three kinds of neighborhoods in Detroit. The A class neighborhoods get hit the hardest. Those are the managers that are buying a $300,000 home. Suddenly they’re out of a job. They go into foreclosure; they can’t afford this house anymore. Those people got hurt. Then you had the bombed out neighborhoods that I would never invest in, where there’s … like Eminem’s neighborhood, right.
Clayton Morris: There’s like fire damaged houses and then there’s like blighted houses, and destroyed. That’s not something-
Stefan Aarnio: Is that Eight Mile? I just saw the-
Clayton Morris: Yeah, off Eight Mile actually. Yeah, and they actually do some really good areas near Eight Mile, but like you have to know your areas, right? But his street actually has.. It’s a disaster, like fire burned out houses, decrepit houses. Like that’s not where I buy properties. And then there’s that third neighborhood, that third section of Michigan, Detroit where I was investing in at the beginning, that those people didn’t lose their jobs. They still worked and they still worked at the car dealership on the manufacturers. They still worked at the hospital. They still worked at the FedEx distribution hubs and centers jobs that did not collapse or go overseas.
Clayton Morris: So even in a down economy, yes, you might see a little dip in rent, but mostly the margins are going to be smaller because we’re not talking about $1,800 a month in rent. We’re talking $700 – $800 a month and those people are going to need a place to live and why not? Why shouldn’t they rent from me?
Stefan Aarnio: I love what you’re saying. Their rent is rent, no matter where you go in the world, You go to Thailand, you go to Singapore, you go to Winnipeg, where I’m. That’s like the Detroit of Canada. No matter where you go, rent is rent. I wouldn’t be surprised actually. If some of the rents that you’re getting are the same as the rents around the world around the country. Would you say that rent is rent and no matter where you go, you’re still kind of paying the same thing?
Clayton Morris: Yeah, you have those A class neighborhoods, where you go into Manhattan or San Francisco and that’s where you can see some real swings in rent is in those A neighborhoods. That’s why I don’t buy A class properties, because eight class properties caused A class headaches and then you’ve got a million dollar condo that you bought in Manhattan and it’s renting for $3,000 a month and the economy takes a dive. That rent’s going to go down. It’s going to go down to $1,800 or $1,500. So that’s why I try to avoid those A class neighborhoods because you get those A class headaches.
Stefan Aarnio: Mm-Hmm. I love that.
Stefan Aarnio: Clayton, you got into the value investing. And I really loved the word value, always ask me, “Why do I still live in Winnipeg?” It’s a value market. Value, value, value is your main thing. Now, do you think that success in what you’re doing and in rental real estate, do you think it’s more talent or do you think it’s more hard work?
Clayton Morris: I honestly think it’s hard work, but it’s also that fortitude. Because I think so many people get scared. The things that make people uncomfortable … I don’t know if you would agree with this. The things that make you uncomfortable are often the things that make you grow. And so if something makes you feel uncomfortable, chances are you’re on the right track. But most people who don’t understand that stopped dead in their tracks. They turn around and they go back to what’s comfortable.
Clayton Morris: I mean, I don’t want to talk about like domestic abuse, but honestly it’s the people that stay in an abusive relationship and it doesn’t have to be physical, it could be just verbal, it could be a.. They could stay in a school that is not good for them because of the devil they know is often more comfortable somehow than taking that leave and going outside of what they know, right? To leave that relationship, to leave that middle class lifestyle that you want to break out of, it’s more comfortable to just stay mediocre.
Clayton Morris: So, I think it’s a little of that, but I really think it is that fortitude. If someone can.. When I did this search show the other day, this live show where we were talking about landlord horror stories I had a guest on, we were talking about for a lot of people, if you had a tenant that became a hoarder and had to be evicted and wasn’t paying their rent and was causing all kinds of problems, for some people that might be it like, I’m done, I can’t handle this.
Clayton Morris: For others though, they’re able to push past it. What’s the difference between the person that’s able to say, “Hey, this is just part of the process. Let’s just push past it. And we’re going to get to the second and third and fifth property. Let’s move on. Let’s get past that first one.” Because you’re gonna have problems. You’re gonna have problems in rental real estate like you are in business, in anything in life. It’s never just going to be a cake walk.
Clayton Morris: So, if you can build into the process and know that there is going to be a problem, at some point, you’re gonna have an eviction, you’re going to have a squatter, you’re gonna have … you may get faced with a lawsuit, right? But you’ve bought it in an LLC, so you don’t get sued personally. Like you’re going to have an issue at some point, wouldn’t it be great if it happened on your first property? So on your 50th you already know what that feels like. So maybe it’s like thinking from the end. I’m not sure.
Stefan Aarnio: I think what you said there is money talked about how people get comfortable in maybe a less than good situation. I always say this at my seminars, at the middleclass is a trap. When people get in the middle class, the poor they don’t own anything. They got subsidies, they’ve got rent, they ride the bus. When you get in the middle class, you got a house and a car and then you get a mortgage and a car loan, and the middle class is always afraid about losing that car that they don’t own and they’re worried about losing the house that they don’t own. That in itself is a trap and a lot of people are so afraid to push past that to becoming rich. Right?
Stefan Aarnio: I don’t know if you heard about that monkey in the jungle. There’s a monkey, in the jungle and a hunter’s trap this monkey by putting a little seed in a hole in a tree and the monkey can fit his hand inside the tree, but once he makes a fist to grab that nut, he can’t get his hand out and he’s trapped and then the hunter grabs him, because the monkey won’t let go of that nut, but he’ll give up his whole life just for that nut. And that’s how I feel about the middleclass. You see that’s accurate?
Clayton Morris: Absolutely. In fact, that story about the monkey is one of my wife … that’s one of our favorite stories to tell. We tell it a little bit differently, which is the.. You can actually see this happening with the monkey in a jar. Give them a jar with like with nuts inside of it, for that monkey to eat. Sticks their hand in and when the monkey’s hand gets full of those peanuts, it can’t get it out. So, instead of just letting go of those peanuts and be able to go to safety, want to hang onto those things. And you’re absolutely right.
Clayton Morris: I think most people think of in the way the middleclass think is they think of these things as a safety net, right? Think of the house they live in as a safety net, which you can’t eat equity, right? It’s not a safety net. Working at W2 job, where you’re putting money into a 401k, they think of that as a safety net. Oh, you should never borrow from your 401k in order to rent to buy rental real estate. Why? It’s your money. You mean to tell me that you’d rather be paying all these fees to these, these companies to make money off of your money. It’s your money.
Clayton Morris: What if you took it, move that money to a self-directed account and did something special with it. So people get scared, right? We’re lied to. We’re told right at the beginning and get this job. Get a 401k by the house you live in. Go pay for liabilities, buy a boat, buy a car, and we have nothing to show for. It absolutely is a safety net that people think, it’s totally wrong. It’s the exact opposite of a safety net.
Stefan Aarnio: You know, I love what you’re telling me there with the 401k, in Canada we call it an RSP, it’s the same crappy vehicle. And I had my mother invest with me years ago and she’s a teacher. I come from the middle class. Middle class teacher, teacher and teacher everybody. And my mom invest with me at the beginning of my career I was paying her 16% cash yield on her money. So, 16 % cash yield and just recently she wanted me to buy her out of a property, so she could save 3% of home equity. It was 3% was the cost of her to borrow the money to get in. So she cut 16% to save 3%.
Stefan Aarnio: And I thought, “Wow, that’s what 50, 60 years of conditioning does.” Where someone’s conditioned, “I need my house paid off, I need my house paid off, I need my house paid off.” Even though they’re getting a 16% yield from their son who’s probably one of the safest things they could do in real estate, right. About that just to say my house is paid off. Do you meet people like that in your business all the time?
Clayton Morris: All the time. And we get the question all the time on my YouTube channel which is, “Well, should I pay off this debt before I started investing?” Yeah, take 20 years. Pay off that debt, wasted 20 years of your life just to pay off that debt.
Stefan Aarnio: Boom we giving the Gong for that Clayton. You just got a Gong man. Yeah, so I loved. Time is money, time is everything. So, what do you tell to those people?
Clayton Morris: Well look, there’s two ways to do it, right? If you can build net cash flow that’s producing that type of return, like you’re talking about 16% yield, be able to … instead of then having a … where you’re worried about the 3% that you’re paying for a home equity line of credit, turning that into 16%. It’s all math, there’s no emotion in it, but people tie so much emotion to it. And when you, when you get outside of your sort of logical brain get into the emotional brain, then that’s when things go sideways for people and they don’t.. It’s like the mindset.
Clayton Morris: I really believe this, and one of the things I say to new investors all the time is, because they’re so scare about taking that first step and buying that first property. I asked them, “How will you be when you have your 50th property?” “Well, I’ll probably act a lot differently then.” “Okay, why don’t you act differently now?”
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, [inaudible 00:25:19] gong. Clayton, you just hit the gong the gong again man.
Clayton Morris: Love it?
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. Tell us about that, why not do it now?
Clayton Morris: Why you have a chance to act as if right. I believe, we’re here right now on this planet, it’s a show, right? Life’s a stage as Shakespeare called it, right? Life’s a stage. We’re just actors here and you’re here for a short amount of time. So, you have a choice to act like a timid rabbit and when you’re making that first investment or not investing or taking two years to analyze the deal before you ever take action. Or you could go into that sort of future paced mindset where you know that you’re already the guy that has 50 properties. You might not have them yet, but if you act as if you know as if it’s one of those 50 properties come pretty quickly.
Clayton Morris: So, acting from the end rather than acting like this timid rabbit, you have a choice. You can act either way. So, why choose the timid rabbit? Why? Be that little cowering mouse in the corner? You have a choice, act differently.
Stefan Aarnio: All wealth is created in the mind and then you just manifest into reality, I love that. Clayton, you’re dropping major mindset nuggets here for the people at home. Now, let me ask you this. What do you think’s more important? A great brand or a great business?
Clayton Morris: Well, I guess it depends on who? For me, who would want that? I mean for me, I want a business that’s lean, mean small and effective and simple, right? And that’s what I want. In fact, the brand part of it. I guess, if I didn’t even have the brand side, I haven’t really thought of it this way before. But if the brand side didn’t exist, no one knew who I was, but my business was running efficiently maybe sort of the quiet Ninja, quietly but efficiently and profitably producing revenue, but I didn’t have the bells and whistles of a brand. I would say the business would be more important to me than the brand.
Clayton Morris: But at the end of the day it’s sort of a chicken and the egg thing, because one drives the other so effectively. So, it’s hard for me to say. I haven’t really thought of that question before.
Stefan Aarnio: Right. Well, it’s interesting because for me, I always, when I’m try real estate invests, obviously you’ve got to build your brand, you’ve got to build your brand, you’ve got to put out content, you’ve got to build your brand, because it’s not about what you know or who you know. It’s who knows you. Especially when you’re doing your real estate deals, you probably bring in partners or you know, you’re, you’re selling turnkey. I don’t know how you sell turnkey if no one knows who you are. Right. So, in that case, maybe brand is first, but I always, I always wish I was like a guy in Vietnam with a cigarette factor. It could be fat and eat cheeseburgers and just be anonymous. Make cigarettes all day.
Clayton Morris: Exactly. Right. So we’ve got our names on our companies and it’s absolutely right. We produce so much content. We’re doing so many things to bring awareness about our brand. But I have to say, if someone said to me, “Hey. Would you, be okay with like giving that all up to have a just a lean mean business that just runs efficiently because we’ve got signs up or we’ve got bus wrap around? Or we’ve got billboards? Great and it doesn’t have to have me associate in my face on it. Fine, I’m fine with that.”
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. So Clayton, everybody I’ve in my show who’s a high level performer, has an obsession. What’s your obsession?
Clayton Morris: Paranormal. I love the paranormal. So, when I worked at Fox News Channel, I would have off camera and have the ability to talk off the record with a lot of governors, senators, members of the military generals, high level general ranking in the US military. They would tell me things that would make your head spin, in about the secret space program. The UFO projects and so forth. And you know, I’m just obsessed with it and loving it.
Clayton Morris: We had an air force one President Obama’s pilot on the show and you know, was asking him, he was like, they were tracked by a UFO right out of the cockpit, so I love that stuff. I’m obsessed with that kind of stuff. It’s the stuff where most people go about their day, like Sting wrote about it in synchronicity to when he was with the police. Everyone kind of just gets in traffic. They go there through their day, they wrote routines, but there’s a whole other level of awareness that’s being sort of a hidden from us within the governments that they don’t want us to know about. So, that passion I have deeply, deeply.
Stefan Aarnio: So, let’s talk about that man. Let’s talk about aliens for a bit and let’s talk about some of the paranormal stuff. I mean, I want to take it there. What are some of the things that that are like really going on? I mean, are we alone in the universe?
Clayton Morris: Oh, absolutely not. In fact, the New York Times last December had their breakthrough story with Luis Elizondo, who was part of the Department of Defense program studying UFOs. Then a number of other people came forward who are also part of that program who confirmed corroborated, they released the gun hatch footage from the U.S. air force, that shows them try these air force pilots that, you know these guys, right? They’re not flustered by anything. And they’ve seen everything and you hear them on video saying, they’re screaming, “What the … what is?” They’ve never seen anything … stop on a dime and accelerate beyond anything we’ve ever seen that she that humankind could make. And it’s all in an air force, released footage from the Department of Defense.
Clayton Morris: And then we learned that the government was quietly over the past eight years running this secret UFO [inaudible 00:30:48]. And a number of other people have come forward over the years, who’ve worked at area 51 on reverse engineering craft stuff that was recovered at Roswell and then transported to Wright Patterson air force base in Dayton, Ohio. So, there’s been so much, and it’s not even a question anymore. All you need to do is do the research, grab the books that had been written by former colonels in the United States military, who on their death bed talked about the programs and things that they witnessed, the bodies recovered, the reports that they were that they weren’t forced to keep quiet and they reveal that on their deathbed confession.
Clayton Morris: So, I think there’s been enough evidence now and these people coming forward that we now know that yeah, there’s no way they were alone. So, that’s why I love this stuff.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. Well, dude I mean this is like a whole another show unto itself. But let me ask this before we move on with that. Why do they come visit us?
Clayton Morris: There’s a lot of suggestion that it’s almost sort of his scouting missions that it’s part of or sort of their galactic neighbors in this universe, and it’s so easy for them to come in the same way that we would explore a river way or that Lewis and Clark would go west to explore. It’s to have those connections into whether it’s mineral resources or even looking at like our technology and things that they could learn from us. So, they’re … in the same way that we’re, we are reverse engineering their craft and sort of zero, zero gravity craft, the same way that they’re looking at us. I almost feel like they’re looking at us like as a totally medieval civilization. Almost like a science experiment in the same way that we would have like a glass with ants will be watching. Really? Hey, look, these guys. Right,
Stefan Aarnio: Right. Like I’ve, I’ve looked into some of the alien stuff myself and I’ve heard that the reason why they don’t come out and be public about it is we would try to destroy them. We would band as a group and say, let’s fight these superior beings, and we are medieval, were medieval in every way. You look at the Roman Empire, we just crucify people and somebody named Jesus comes down, tries to save people. We crucify him. Like that’s, that’s the human race, right? We are nuts men.
Stefan Aarnio: So, let me ask you this, Clayton, what’s, one moment, where you thought that you would fail and this whole thing would wrap up and the real estate would be over and maybe you’d have to give up the keys to everything and it wasn’t gonna [inaudible 00:33:43] be on anymore.
Clayton Morris: Honestly, when I bought my first two properties after that plane flight to New Zealand, and I hadn’t yet succeeded, the proof of concept wasn’t there for me, right. Because it wasn’t rented yet, the Rehab wasn’t completed, so I didn’t see it through yet. And I started to question because the rehab was running a little long, as sometimes they do. And oh my God, did I make a mistake? It’s just me being chasing shiny objects in Rome. And I remember I was at the gym with my wife. She was on the other side of the gym on a cycle bicycle machine and I was on a treadmill and she ran over to me and she said, “Did you see the email from the property management team?” I said, “No.” And she said, “It’s rented.”
Clayton Morris: And I broke down in tears in the gym, and I said, “Wow.” Like I saw that as an opportunity then to break the habit the money habit of my parents, of watching my dad lose his job. Like I saw that I was breaking that cycle for my family. And in that moment when I was crying just off this treadmill, I knew that I could do it again. Now it was just a matter of rinsing and repeating that same thing and had worked and I couldn’t believe it.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow, that’s a big moment when you’ve done one and then two, and now you can scale. Let me ask you this, Clayton. What do you think is the biggest cause of failure in people? You’re helping people invest. You’re helping people. You said you’re opening a financially university, an education. What causes most people to fail with this stuff?
Clayton Morris: It’s honestly, like you said, “Its mindset,” and it is belief. It just comes down to belief. We set these patterns. It all starts with a thought. Thoughts are energy, thoughts then move beliefs and behaviors. And then they form a personality, so it all starts with an energy of thought. So, if you can then condition your mind to understand that those thoughts that you’re putting in your head every day, I’m a loser, I can’t do this. I’m broke, I can’t afford that. I can’t afford that. I grew up with all these limiting thoughts around money. We’re not the Rockefellers. We can’t afford that. Or they can have it, we can’t have it. This is who we are as Morris’s.
Clayton Morris: So, I was conditioned by those thoughts and once I started to break that cycle of those thoughts and began in my meditations and just journaling about abundance and seeing that abundance coming to me, writing it out in the same way that Jim Carrey road, what that $10 million check that he kept in his … wrote out to himself for movie services rendered. It sounds Hokey, it’s so true. Fellow Canadian, right? Jim Carrey. But it’s the power of knowing. I like to think of it this way. And you go to a restaurant, you order your dinner from the waitress waiter, you don’t. You don’t think for a second that food’s not coming to you, right? You go back to your conversation with your friends.
Clayton Morris: If put in your order with the universe at this restaurant, guess what? You think it’s gonna to come to you. You’re not questioning it, when you go back to having a beer with your friends and talking about the hockey game, right? And guess what? Ten minutes later the food arrives. So, why-
Stefan Aarnio: I’ve given it the gong. That is a great, great metaphor my friend. Finish it off.
Clayton Morris: You know, in life. Then why do we then question it? Most people say, “Well, I’ve been thinking about abundance, but you’re not. You haven’t really been doing it. Treat it the same way you treat placing an order with a waiter, which is believe it. Know that it’s coming or know that it’s already here and just let it come to you. But then when we get into is the questioning mind, right? It’s the monkey brain and we start can going back to those condition thoughts again. “Well, it’s not really coming up when he’s really not gonna come to me. Not gonna come.” Then, is it gonna come? Of course it’s not. It’s not gonna come to you.
Clayton Morris: So put in the order like you’re making a food order and just give it to the universe journal about it and see that it’s going to happen, and then you start … Your body starts to go in motion. Then you start to go to the real estate meet-ups. You start to make connections, you start to have conversations, and then the universe sort of puts people in your place, because it now sees that you’re on the same page as the universe, right? It puts me next to the person on the plane flight, because I’ve committed to make a change.
Clayton Morris: Now, I have that conversation. It’s an opportunity and those things aren’t coincidence. They happen for a reason, but if you’re set the old way, is there going to be rude? You know, sticking to your old patterns and your old routines once again.
Stefan Aarnio: Amazing. That’s amazing, man. I love that waiter analogy. I’m going to start using that. You ordered it. It’s good to show up. Now, if you go back to the beginning a Clayton, let’s say you’re 40 years old or so. If you go back to being a 15, 16 year olds a Clayton and talk to yourself, what’s a piece of advice you’d give yourself if you’re 15 or 16?
Clayton Morris: I would say stay focused on one thing. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties building Morris Invest, focusing on real estate and wealth building and financial freedom that I got focused on that one thing on my whiteboard when I discovered what I call my, my financial freedom number. Once I discovered that and put it up on my whiteboard, put it on my computer screen, put it on our refrigerator and just stayed laser focused. All of those other distractions will come. They’re gonna come all the time and unless you’re homed in sort of mentally trained like Michael Jordan had a free throw line, right? Unless you’re trained in that way, you’re going to be distracted.
Clayton Morris: Because opportunities are flowing to you all the time, I’m sure every day you get opportunities. It’s like what Steve Jobs said for every. Yes, there’s like a thousand no’s at Apple. So, all of the things like apple, it’s not just about the iPads and iPhones that are a success, it’s about all the no’s that they turned down. They could have partnered with Microsoft on an Xbox thing. They could have partnered with this, they could have done that. They could but they said, “No, no, no.” Like Steve Jobs was asked about making T-shirts. He at the Cupertino campus one incident loop, if you go to their main campus, they sell T-shirts. They don’t sell them at any other apple store. But employees came to Steve and said, “Hey, these are selling really well here at the campus.
Clayton Morris: Why don’t we expand.” And you know, sell T-shirts on our website and it, all of our apple stores. And Steve said, we don’t make T-shirts, we make computers. And in that breath he was saying, “Yes, we could make great T-shirts We could make a few million extra dollars just by putting T-shirts in our stores, but we don’t do that and it’s a matter of kind of cutting out that craft and staying focused. So, if I could go back to 16 year old Clayton, it would be don’t pay attention to like get rich quick schemes. Don’t think you got to do this because your friend is doing it. Don’t have fear of missing out and stay focused to what’s true to you and cut out all distractions.
Stefan Aarnio: Something you said, there I thought was so big. I used to study stave Jobs a lot when I was in sixth grade. I had a picture of him on my desk, so it was 1997. I got a picture of Steve Jobs in my desk, I my 12 year old boy. One thing that Steve did that I learned from him was he has the stop doing list and the do not do list. And what you said there is huge, is, Clayton Morris and Morris Invest does x. What do we don’t do everything else. I think apple is an interesting company, because when Steve died, the, the Apple Watch came out. I don’t know if he would have approved the Apple Watch to tell you the truth. There’s what we do and then what we don’t do. And I think being defined by what we don’t do is almost more important than what we do. What do you think about that?
Clayton Morris: Yeah. I mean I love my Apple Watch, but I think you’re right; it was Tim Cook’s first kind of big product. I mean, I it was, came out three years or so after Steve’s death. I think. So, usually there’s like a three year product cycle window for apple. So this was, I think really maybe Tim’s first product. Now, it’s proven to be massively successful. It’s the number one watching the world right now. But you’re right. But you know, Steve also approved some crazy stuff like the apple Hi-Fi speaker system.
Clayton Morris: No, but when he came back to apple, he cut a lot of crap. He cut down all of that. He got rid of the Newton, he got rid of all of these, like [inaudible 00:42:07] When people would go to buy a laptop, they couldn’t make up their minds because they had all these different skews. They couldn’t figure out why I want this one, this one, he got it down to like three. That was it here you [inaudible 00:42:15]. So yeah, it is about getting that focus. I think the lesson was Steve Jobs is even Steve Jobs created MobileMe which was a disaster. Even Steve Jobs had the apple hi Fi, which was it by all intents and purposes, a disaster.
Clayton Morris: He had the iPod socks, remember that for the iPod, they little socks that was slide into to keep it scratch free to who that was under, but the beauty of Steven, but he’s still willing to make mistakes. You’re willing to focus, but he was still kind of focused around his core competency. And if you make mistakes, that’s fine. Just to learn quickly and move on.
Stefan Aarnio: Mm hmm, I love that. Now Clayton top three books that changed your life?
Clayton Morris: Top three books that changed my life. I think Eckhart Tolle, his book, A New Earth. He wrote The Power of Now. And to me that book is probably one of the most important, maybe those two back to back, The Power of Now and the New Earth. Because when you realize that only thing that matters is this moment, that’s it. This present moment, that’s all there is in that moment. There’s no anxiety, there’s no fear, there’s no worry about tomorrow, yesterday, but if you are truly present and you live like a present moment life, I’ve been talking with you.
Clayton Morris: I’m not distracted and not thinking about dinner and not thinking about yesterday’s mistakes that I made. I’m having this great conversation with you listening. You can be present for your children. You can be present for someone interviewing you, you can be. Then there is no fear. I mean if you think about the fears that we faced in our lives, they’ve never existed, right? If a bear attacks and you run, and that’s not a fear, that’s just an emergency in that moment. Then you go back to being fine. Like a deer is chased by a lion or whatever. For those 15 minutes that deer is running, then it goes back to grazing and goes back to its natural state. Right?
Clayton Morris: So those books, I listened to them or read them every year and to me, Eckhart Tolle is like a sage sort of walking, walking amongst us. I would also say from a business perspective, you’ve got to read Michael Singer. He’s a billionaire, got to read his book, The Surrender Experiment. It’s a book that will, I think change your audience is life if they haven’t already read it. Have you ever read that?
Stefan Aarnio: I haven’t even heard about it. Tell me about it.
Clayton Morris: Michael Singer, the guy that basically created WebMD. He was the creator of the software back in that ended up becoming WebMD and he’s been on Oprah Show. He wrote the book, The Untethered Soul, but then he also wrote this surrender experiment. That book will blow your mind because he made a commitment in the 1970s, to just surrender his entire life and every stage that if he was in a meeting and these things were happening that he would surrender to them.
Clayton Morris: Not be walked on, but when these things come into your life like he was, he bought all this land in Florida that he was going to build this center, and this woman just started like building a little house on his land. And he was like, “You can’t really do that.” He ended up marrying her, like he sort of surrendered to all of … and at every stage talks about these surrendering moments in his life, his choices. And then he got in this massive investigation by the FBI, and the government in this massive lawsuit that unfolded and he surrendered at every level of it and it ended up know I won’t ruin it.
Clayton Morris: But the end of that book is just, holy smokes. You think you and I have had tough stuff and struggles. We need to see Michael Singer, and what he’s gone through and how he managed to surrender every stage, and just the most peaceful human, and successful billionaire. It’s really amazing. So I would encourage all of you guys to read that if you can.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. That’s almost like we’re getting spiritual now, man. That’s. Yeah, that’s, that’s the good stuff. Sorry, what was that three or was that too?
Clayton Morris: Well, I mentioned The Power of Now, which is kind of the foundational Eckhart Tolle, books. The books that changed everything and then his follow up the New Earth.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, so you gave them to him too. You got two for him?
Clayton Morris: I gave him two because he’s so. I think, I don’t know that they’re, I mean human, Mickey Singer that like those, those guys would be on my shelf permanently. If I had to fight to give books to my kids, you got to read these. This is all you need right here.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s, that’s amazing. Now, quite we’re going to wrap up in a minute here. What do you think is the one thing that young people, the millennials, the generations that have the new people need to succeed these days?
Clayton Morris: I think it’s authenticity. I think being an authentic version of yourself being true to who you are. Regardless of like my little girl today was putting on her like Minnie Mouse skirt to go to school. She’s six years old and she said, “I don’t want to wear this today, because my friends make fun of me because they think it looks weird.” But she loves this skirt. And so my wife and I talked about her standing in her power to be true to who she is. And so many kids are caught up in social media and likes and what is, what is my public version of myself and how is that perceived on Instagram or Snapchat or whatever.
Clayton Morris: But I think if you can be authentic and true to who you are, that authenticity rises to the top and did for me in the T.V. world while I was struggling in West Virginia as a news anchor for NBC. I was like, well, what else? I fell in love with broadcasting. Why isn’t this working? And I went home for Christmas break and I, I sat at a borders bookstore and I just thought to myself, wait a second, I’m not being myself on the air, that’s what it is. And I came back a week after Christmas on the air and I just started having fun. And I just started talking like, “Welcome to news channel six, I’m Clayton Morris.”
Clayton Morris: I started saying, “Hey, welcome to news channel six is I’m Clayton Morris. Tonight we’ve got a big show for you.” Like I just started being myself and everything changed. I mean everything changed from that moment. So trying to be somebody else or some other version of myself and it just starts acting as myself, the same person I am off cameras who I was on and then everything changed for me.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s like a, it goes with your surrender theme there. You surrender to what you want. And Clayton, How can people get in touch with you? And before we go tell us a bit about your education, you’re launching here too as well.
Clayton Morris: Yeah. Were just launching the financial freedom academy at financialfreedomacademy.com, it’s the course that I would say is like 15 years and my wife’s knowledge, she’s got a master’s degree in business and my knowledge of 15 years real estate investing and all of the mistakes and things and strategies we’ve learned to build wealth in our family, so we come together in this course to help families create wealth, create wealth, financial freedom and wealth consciousness.
Clayton Morris: How to move from liabilities into performing assets? How do we get knee deep into excel spreadsheets? We help people read their balance sheets, understanding all of these components. How to incorporate your family? So, bringing your kids in with a self-directed IRA. How to use all those different pieces to lower your taxes? It really is … I wish that if I had this when I was 25 years old it would have changed my life. So that’s really what it is in one in one course. So that’s, that’s what the financial freedom academy is all about.
Stefan Aarnio: Sounds amazing. How can people get in touch with you Clayton if they want to know more, if they want to get in touch?
Clayton Morris: Well yeah, if you you’re fan of video, you’re a fan of … I’m highly communicative on our YouTube channel so you’ll notice you go over there and subscribe and then post a comment. I’m right there. I get alerts on my phone and I love communicating with our audience. So, that’s where I’m probably the most responsive and being able to answer people’s questions. That’s on our YouTube channel and we do content each week so that’s where people mostly can connect. And I have, we have a great audience on there, no haters. So, really conducive- [crosstalk 00:50:19]
Stefan Aarnio: No haters bro. You’re the one channel on the whole internet with no haters.
Clayton Morris: Well we occasionally get them rarely. But mostly it’s like thoughtful questions from people. People are asking intelligent questions they want, and we provide great feedback and I think you kind of create mentally the environment you want. Right? And I just said, I don’t want negative people in here. If you want to be negative, go somewhere else.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s awesome man. I really appreciate you Clayton. Thank you so much for being on the show Respect the Grind.
Clayton Morris: Thanks so much for having me. Great treat to be here.
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