I knew a guy once that I hadn’t seen in a long time before I ran into him recently. It was one of those relationships that fall kind of halfway on the border between a friendship and an acquaintance. Like when you first meet somebody, and you kind of hit it off, but for some reason, you don’t usually hang out on purpose, you just kind of bump into this person whenever you are involved in whatever mutual activity through which you met in the first place. And when you go a while without seeing this person, you can remember them enough to put them in the category of some pretty cool guy that you used to know, but they haven’t been elevated into real friend status where you make it a point to keep up with each other and find out how each other is doing at least a couple times of year. Because the feeling in these relationships is generally mutual, when you bump into each other, it’s usually with mutual happiness, and there isn’t any guilt or implied anger at each other for not keeping in touch.
Like I used to live in this small town that had this really cool Mexican restaurant. They were right on the beach, and their business was about fifty/fifty take out and eat in. They weren’t that expensive, but the tacos they make are probably in the top three most delicious I’ve ever eaten, including the ones I’ve eaten in Mexico.
But every time I went away, I would quickly forget about that little restaurant, and even Mexican food completely if I happened to be traveling in a foreign country.
Only when I come back in town do I remember how delicious these tacos are and how happy I am that I can remember that that little restaurant is always sitting there waiting for me.
When I saw my old acquaintance again, it took me a while to recognize him. He seemed different, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was different about him. After a few minutes of catching up, I tried to work in a polite question about what had changed. I didn’t want to blurt out that he looked different. I made that mistake before with an old friend who had some kind of hair replacement surgery. This was many years ago, when hair replacement surgery wasn’t as sophisticated as it is today, so it was an awkward situation.
It turns out the guy had an incredible amount of success recently. He changed careers, found a really fantastic woman that he fell in love with and married, and he has one kid, and another one the way. He actually didn’t lose any weight, and there was nothing else physically different about him. He just had this glow like he had finally found out the secret to life. Like when you walk into a supermarket and they tell you that because you are the one-millionth visitor you can have anything you want from the supermarket for free. Or you are walking up to a big department store, and your hands are full, and you are trying to figure out how you are going to open the doors in front, but just as you approach them, they open completely automatically, making it a lot easier than you expected.
I asked him what his secret was, and he said it was because of a goal-setting seminar that he went to. He said he was convinced to go to this seminar because of the advertisement that claimed that life would look completely different after the seminar than before, and you will forever be changed. The instructor at the seminar was very skilled in these matters. Because he was such a nice guy, he told me what the secret was. The secret is to choose three or four specific goals you want to achieve. And everything you come across in your life, you can use as either a positive motivation to pull you to your goals, or a negative motivation to push you away from where you are towards your goals. If you see a really successful person, you can imagine that you are them, and use those feelings to pull you towards that good feeling. If you are in an unhappy situation, you can fully embrace it and use the bad feelings to push you away from where you are and move you towards where you want to go. When you begin to see everything in your life as either something that is pushing you away from bad things and towards good things, or just pulling you towards good things. Then the whole world and everything in it takes on a whole new meaning. All of a sudden the whole world is conspiring to help you, no matter how messed up you used to think your situation was before you came to this realization. And I thought he was pretty nice to share this wonderful insight with me, and I hope that you can do the same.