This is Part IV of an ongoing story:
Michael took a sip of his coffee, sheepishly avoiding eye contact with Eddie. He put his mug down on the table in front of him, eye s remaining focused on the mug.
He didn’t know whether to feel insulted or embarrassed.
After all, she had just called him an “energy vampire” and a “cannibal.”
Now, the two just sat in silence.
“You’re kinda mad, but kinda know I’m right, right?” Eddie spoke first.
Michael took a deep breath, leaning back on the couch. He put his head back, eyes toward the ceiling, and pushing his hair back on his head, he sighed.
“Can she read my mind?” he thought to himself.
“No, I’m not a mind reader,” Eddie said, shocking Michael into locking his eyes with hers. “I’ve just been doing this a long time.”
She smiled. He laughed, letting the tension flee his body.
“The thing is,” he said. “You’re absolutely right. I know I’ve been a loser. It’s why I lost my wife and kids.”
He picked up the coffee mug again, bring it up to his mouth, but pausing…
“It’s just that, every time I get pumped up or motivated to make a change, it only lasts a few days before I get back into my old habits.”
“It’s frustrating. I see what my brother’s been able to build in his life … his business, his vineyard, his family. And I just feel like I can’t get ahead.”
Michael leaned back on the couch again, his body taking a deflated shape.
“Here’s the thing,” Eddie said. “You are a loser.”
Michael looked up quickly.
“But you weren’t born that way,” she added. “You were programmed that way over time.”
“Programmed.” he said, more of a statement than a question.
“Yes, programmed. We all are throughout our lives. Some worse than others,” she added. “Don’t feel bad about it. But don’t settle for it. And now that you’re aware of it, it’s your responsibility to reprogram yourself.”
Michael jumped in, “My brother said the same thing. Said he had to reprogram himself.”
“Is that what you do?” he asked. “Reprogram people? Are you a hypnotist or something?”
“No, not a hypnotist,” she responded. “And I don’t do anything. I help people become aware and figure out how to reprogram themselves.”
Michael looked skeptically at Eddie.
“I’m not a doctor, and it’s not magic,” she added. “Think of it this way. Your brain is like a computer, and during the first seven or eight years of your life, your computer is most susceptible to have software uploaded.
“They say young kids are at genius level because they’re like sponges. They soak up everything that occurs around them. Things said by their parents, their teachers, things on the television, things they hear from friends. That ‘soaking up’ is the programming I’m talking about.
“Then that programming is compounded throughout your life through high school, college, friends, family, bosses.
“If you’ve lived a life around people who, for instance, are always failing at business or who always have bad relationships with money. Or if you’re always around people who tell you or make you feel that you’re unworthy, or that glorify what I like to call ‘struggle porn’…then that’s become your default programming.”
Michael smirked and looked down at his feet.
“That programming is buried in your subconscious, which is responsible for about 95% of your life,” Eddie continued. “For example, when you breath or walk down the street, your subconscious keeps your lungs going and your legs moving.
“But your subconscious programming — that behaviors you’ve learned — are always controlling your thoughts and habits without you knowing it. If your default thoughts about money, for example, are always negative, then that will fuel negative emotions about money. Those emotions will fuel your negative actions which will get you negative results.”
Michael cocked his head to the side, saying, “So you’re one of these people who is gonna tell me that my thoughts will magically result in whatever I desire?”
“Not magic, Michael,” she said. “Do me a favor and close your eyes.”
He sighed, took a deep breath, and shut his eyes.
Eddie continued, “Think very clearly about the last argument you and your wife had before she left.”
Michael’s eyes were closed, but Eddie could clearly see the pained expression on his face.
“Now open your eyes. What did you feel?”
“What did I feel? I felt a pit in my stomach.”
“A falling feeling,” she asked.
“Yeah, sort of.”
“That was likely cortisol, your fight or flight hormone, shooting through your body,” Eddie continued. “That chemical reaction was fueled by your thoughts. Your thoughts became a physical reality.”
“Huh,” he said, reaching for his coffee mug.
“Now, thinking back to the moments that led up to your argument, reverse engineer it back to the point when your thoughts fueled whatever emotional response you had toward your wife.”
“She had, for like the fourth or fifth time, come down on me hard for working late hours. She said I cared more about my firm than I did about the family.”
“And what did you think when she said that?”
Michael paused, then said, “I just want to do what’s responsible. I’m the breadwinner. I do it because I care, and she just didn’t understand.”
Eddie nodded, adding, “So those were your thoughts. How did those thoughts make you feel?”
“Unappreciated. Because at that point, I had really been busting my butt on the Smith project.”
“So you maybe felt a little defensive, as well?”
“Absolutely,” he said, raising his voice a little.
“And thinking about this right now, how are you feeling,” she asked.
Michael paused, realizing he felt his blood starting to boil a bit. He loosed the tension in his body, flopped back in the couch, and laughed.
“I guess I was getting a bit worked up again. Just like I did the night of our argument.”
Eddie nodded again, adding, “See, your thoughts fueled an emotional reaction, which led to the actions of having an argument. I’m sure that one argument didn’t lead to your divorce, but you see how that chain reaction leads to results you may or may not desire?”
Michael put his hands up in surrender.
“All right, all right, I get it,” he said, grinning.
“Repeat after me,” said Eddie. “Garbage thoughts in, garbage results out.”
“Garbage results in, garbage results out.”
Eddie smiled, reached for her mug, took in the aroma of the coffee and enjoyed a sip.
She put he mug back on the table, adding, “See, we’re already two lessons in and you only met me thirty minutes ago.”
The two of them laughed.
But then Eddie added, “But two lessons is the most I ever give away for free.”
Michael cleared his throat and sat up straighter.
“The worst thing I could ever do for you is to keep throwing you free advice. You know why?”
“Why is that?” he responded.
“Nobody ever washes a rented car,” Eddie responded.
“Meaning, you gotta pay the price to feel the investment and make it stick,” she said.
Michael thought about it, then responded. “Yeah, you’re absolutely right.”
“So, are you ready?”
“Yes, I’ll do anything,” he replied.
“Okay, then,” she said, standing up and pulling one of her books off the shelf. She handed it to Michael.
“Go home, and show me you can make the minimal investment of reading my book,” she said. “You’ll learn more about me and, if you can do this and you still want to invest in yourself, call me and I’ll tell you what it’ll take.
“Deal?” she asked.
“Deal,” he replied.
“One thing,” she added, smiling. “The book costs $24.99, and I’ll sign it for you if you like.”
Michael paused, and then let out a laugh. “Do you take check?”
To be continued…
To be continued…
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