The dust began to settle after the layoff as I came to terms with my departure from the 9 to 5 world. I noticed a shift in my schedule as my nights stretched longer and longer as I researched some ideas that I was kicking around. My mornings were spent catching up on needed sleep, or skipping it to get my son off to school.
I finally had the time to watch the infomercials that overtake the programming schedule in those early morning hours as I drifted off to sleep. I normally have no use for these programs, any more than I would have use for one of those pumpkin decorated sweaters sold on the QVC.
But they make the programs look so inviting with those colorful backgrounds and cheery scenery, that I can’t help but pause at times, as I scan through the channels searching for engagement.
Well, just as my life had abruptly changed direction in an instant, and seemed to be heading down some preordained path of enlightenment, my remote control followed suit as it took pause. I was soon taken hostage by the hypnotic images on the screen.
The vibrant hues of the set pulled me in, but were quickly washed away by the flood of light that drenched it like the coming of a new world. There was excitement in the air. A shadow slowly emerged from the light, as the recognition of human form unveiled itself.
My eyes were riveted; while my alter-ego smirked with the knowledge of the power yielded by the media, in the manipulation of our emotional responses. I felt pity for the poor, unknowing sheep that fell prey to those devices.
I broke my trance and reached for a tortilla chip and scooped up some salsa while my free hand grabbed the remote to continue through the lineup. I held it up and pointed….but was paralyzed. I couldn’t bring myself to press that button.
The sea of excitement grew to fill the screen; the rush of energy compounding exponentially as the shadowed figure made his way to the stage. The lights dimmed and the spotlight directed its focus on the looming presence of the contemporary guru of personal fulfillment and success, Tony Robbins.
What is the big deal with this guy? He attracts a following like a Jim Jones cult leader, who’s influence was strong enough to convince his followers to surrender their lives.
But so many had gained inspiration from Tony. What did he know that I didn’t’ know? Tony Robbins began talking about himself and how he had been down and had lost everything; but turned his life around by making a decision within himself to make some changes.
He talked about how you have to take the first step. Don’t think about it and procrastinate and end up in the same place you were yesterday. Why wait? He talked about studying the habits of successful people. He talked about carrying those habits over to your relationships. He explained how your passion spills over into everything you do and that brings true happiness.
“What are you waiting for? You have to make a commitment to yourself and move toward it in everything you do. Schedule it in your day-timer. Make a plan. Take the steps every single day! You have the personal power inside. Just use it!”
Well….yeah, I can see that makes sense. No one does it for you. I have always hated being a joiner. It felt like I was selling out or something. I maintained a healthy skepticism that distanced myself from the latest flavor of the month group following.
At the same time, I felt that blazing my own path had many times made my life more difficult and it certainly hadn’t brought me success. What’s wrong with joining? It seemed to work for a good part of the population.
I pictured those pristinely dressed “members” who seemed to go through their lives attaching themselves to a myriad of group functions. The “members” were always busy organizing meetings or recruiting others, while working full-time and taking the kids to soccer practice, play rehearsal and ballet lessons. These joiners were always smiling, drove a shiny new SUV and had a nice house with a mortgage in the suburbs.
“Members” don’t spend their time questioning authority. They just keep on ticking like the energizer bunny and it’s working for them. What’s wrong with that?
I’m facing an unsure future, no tangible means of survival, no house, and a car that needs work. My family consists of a son, who keeps my blood pressure at maximum levels and the title of single parent; because, I’m not a joiner. A personal relationship doesn’t fit the bill if you’re not a “member”.
Maybe I needed to evaluate what was really working for who. Maybe it’s time for me to become a “member” and enjoy the rewards of an organized, goal-oriented, high on the cloud of success life enjoyed by the other “members”. AND if I’m going to become a member now, I had better make up the time that I had wasted being a nonmember. I had a lot of catching up to do and no time to waste.
I raced for the phone as the TV announced that if I call in the “next 10 minutes” I could take advantage of this “one time offer” of a free DVD included with this already “incredible value”. “For a limited time only”, I could receive the highly coveted Secrets of Success, that would change my life. I could hardly wait to get started.
“I want to order the Tony Robbins package.” I told the operator.
“Ok, let me get your information!” the cheery voice responded. I could tell that I was speaking to a “member” just by her bouncy voice.
“We do have a special offer right now. You can get Tony’s primer series, Preparing for Personal Power, an 8 cd set for just 65.00. Would you like to add this to your order?”
I was proud of my restraint as I declined the offer. After all, I don’t have a steady income and I shouldn’t be making these large purchases. But the current Tony Robbins package was an investment in my future and I would recover the costs many times over with the knowledge and motivation I would attain.
“Ok, just let me get your credit card number.” Oh, have you heard about the philosophy of Napoleon Hill, the protégé of Andrew Carnegie, in the worlds #1 motivational book, Think and Grow Rich? He teaches that success is not an accident. It’s a habit. He lays down the blueprint for a life of prosperity and shows you how to make your dreams come true. We are offering this boxed set as a special gift for ordering the Tony Robbins package for the low price of only 44.95. Would you like to add this to your order?
I was growing weak and I was tired. I needed sleep, and I certainly needed the secrets of prosperity. I could think so I guess I could also grow rich if I had the knowledge in this “boxed set”. 44.95 isn’t that much more. “Ok, add it to my order.”, I said.
“Ok”, said the operator. “You will really like this set. Now, how would you like this shipped? Would you like it shipped 2-day for 15.95?
No, I better save some money and go with ground. As soon as I spoke those words, I surrendered and told her to ship it out 2-day. I shouldn’t waste time waiting, when my future was at stake. And what’s 15.95 more, when we’re talking about the 300 bill that I had already accumulated at this point. I did explain that I didn’t need anymore extras. Let’s just wrap this up. I had all that I needed.
“Ok, so let me make sure your information is correct.” The operator repeated the details of my order.” She explained that she just needed to make me aware of one more thing.
“Would you like to add the three part video set, Visualize Success, by the famous dealmaker mogul, Andrew Got-all, known for his unrelenting drive and single-minded perseverance when he refused to leave the New York City sewer system for 3 days in a protest against their replacement. The sewers were later declared an historical monument. Got-all wrote a book on his ordeal that broke all records on the New York Times Best Sellers List. The phrase FILTHY-RICH was coined in response to his efforts. “This video set is available for only 75.00. Would you like to add this to your order?”
My eyes were glazed over. This “member” stuff was exhausting. I was done! Now all I had to do was wait for my order to arrive to open the door to true emotional fulfillment and financial success. I could hardly wait.
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Kathy Coulston is an author, artist, and entrepreneur, with 15 years experience in corporate marketing communications and graphic design. Her writing works include helpful articles, critiques and tutorials, personal life stories of humorous evolution, and business collateral content. Contact Kathy Coulston >>