Psychologists say it's how we work out our aggression in healthy ways, while formulating our values of right and wrong.
Later on in adolescence, we might fantasize about getting revenge on the bully in the school yard, after he's knocked our books flying for the third consecutive day.
As we move into adulthood, it's not uncommon to harbor those feelings towards a cold-hearted boss, or the jerk who cut you off on the highway, almost causing your demise.
But as much as we'd like to, most of us don't act on those feelings. And seldom do we find legal or ethical ways to kick sand back into the bully's face.
Meet the New Breed of SuperHero:
But as I wrote about in last week's article, on occasion a hero comes along to be the David to the big, bad Goliaths of the world.
Today I would like to tell you about mild mannered, 34 year old Jason Haber, a Real Estate Broker from New York City.
18 months ago, while working at the Brokerage of Prudential Douglas Elliman, fate delivered to him an opportunity to get even with an infamous bully in the only way he could.
He refused to rent him a multi-million dollar town home in New York City.
The bully to which I refer is none other than Libyan leader Muammar-Al-Qaddafi, who is currently struggling to hang on to his longstanding power base in Libya.
In September, 2009, Qaddafi was in New York City to attend the United Nations General Assembly. He was looking to rent fancy quarters in New York city, and found the Barclay Mansion, a six story luxury town home, that was listed by Haber for Prudential Douglas Elliman.
Haber began receiving some interesting phone calls from people who were claiming to be part of a Dutch envoy. But by their accents and strange requests (one wanted a tent installed in the home), he soon became suspicious and realized that he was dealing with Libyans, and that the rental would be for Qaddafi.
So instead of jumping on the deal, like 100 other Brokers would have done, Haber told the representatives, "Why don't you send Megarhi back to Scotland, and then we'll talk."
Haber was referring to Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megarhi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber of Pan Am flight #103, in 1988. Qaddafi was alleged to have ordered the bombing, a charge that has recently been confirmed by his former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil.
Despite worldwide protest, Megrahi, who was diagnosed with cancer, had recently been released from prison in Scotland, and was quickly returned to Libya. Jalil claims that Qaddafi hastily arranged for Megarhi to return to Libya in order to cover up Qaddafi's involvement.
The Libyans, of course, refused Haber's suggestion, and so the multi-million dollar deal was never made.
After this rebuff, as word spread of Haber's actions, he began to receive thousands of supportive e-mails, many in fact from family members of those who died on Pan Am flight 103.
In addition, the publicity had a very positive effect upon his client base, as everyone now wanted to work with the Broker who had the guts to stand up to Qaddafi.
Seizing on an opportunity, Jason and his brother, Corey, decided to open their own Brokerage, Rubicon Properties, in the summer of 2010.
But this wasn't going to be just any old traditional Brokerage. The Habers decided to make their business model a socially conscious one, which they called "Profits and Purpose". In "Profits and Purpose", they sought to incorporate social entrepreneurship into their core business values.
Now with each sale that Rubicon makes, they contribute money to their pet project, "Charity: Water", a non profit organization which aids developing countries in obtaining clean drinking water.
Presently, they are working to build wells in the Central African Republic. They have created a website where progress on the project can be tracked, called charitywater.org.
The people at Rubicon like to measure their recent success not just by the profits made, but by the number of people they have helped simultaneously.
Haber also likes the idea of augmenting the image of Real Estate Brokers beyond that of just salespersons. He recently told a George Washington University newspaper that ...
"Usually when you tell people you're in real estate, they take a step back because they think you're about to sell them something. When I tell people what I do, they step forward and ask, 'How do you do that?'"
Haber, who is the CEO of Rubicon, was recently interviewed on Fox Business News, and asked why he was willing to give up such a lucrative commission for the rental of a multi-million dollar property. Said Haber:
"If you're in a business just to make money, you're probably in the wrong business... Certainly when you talk about a Sociopath like Qaddafi, there are bigger stakes you have to consider."
Haber added that Megarhi had only served about 12 days for each of the 270 people killed on Pan Am Flight 103, and that justice had not really been served.
"Someone needs to stand up at some point, and so I was glad to play a small role in that", he said.
I asked him what the reactions of his firm and the owners of the property were to his decision to stand up to Qaddafi and turn down a lucrative contract.
After all, it's one thing to turn down money because of one's own principles. But when a Broker takes a listing, he owes his allegiance and loyalty to the people who hire him.
Haber said that, although his firm took no public stance at the time, the owners were quite supportive of his actions.
I also inquired whether the U.S. government had ever contacted him, either with support, or to pressure him into backing down.
He responded that he's never been contacted by the U.S. government, but that the Dutch government did call to thank him for making it clear that the Dutch government played no part in finding Qaddafi housing.
Finally, I wondered whether any other Brokers had secured housing for Qaddafi after Haber's rejection. He replied that Qaddafi found some vacant land in New Jersey that he supposedly used, but he may have been forced to stay at a rundown mission that Libya owns in midtown New York City.
Quite a come down for the long time dictator of Libya!
There's "Gold" in Helping People
Haber is a pretty astute businessman. In addition to being a real estate Broker, Haber (who holds a Master's Degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University), is also an Adjunct Professor at John Jay College, where he teaches a course on Urban Planning.
Haber says that, as a result of the Qaddafi rebuff and subsequent publicity it generated, his business is still booming.
A look at Rubicon's website, Rubiconnyc.com, this week confirmed that. The site showed a dozen for sale listings, ranging in price from $215,000 to a whopping 14.3 million dollars! So obviously, business will be good for this entrepreneur with a social conscience and business model, for a very long time.
Owners of small businesses may want to take notice of Haber's success:
Who says Capitalism and Social entrepreneurship can't walk hand in hand?!
The Tycoon Report