9. Story

Steve called me as I hoped he would. He thanked me for the advice. I thanked him for listening, being open. He trusted me enough, trusted “something” enough – whatever it is to trust. I shared my experience, he listened. He told me about his renewed relationship with his brother, he told me that he’d been busy talking with all of the people in his life. He sounded alive on the phone. Vibrant and whole. I listened, wondered what stories Steve would tell in 30 years as a result of having taken my advice.

It’s risky business when somebody asks for your advice, and you give them your best piece of advice, and they take it. You want it to work out for them, in their own way, as well as it worked out for you. In this case, the risk was limited. I didn’t know Steve 10 weeks ago. I had no attachment to any outcome. It wouldn’t obviously affect me if it didn’t work out, other than a little diminished confidence in my best advice. Would I give that advice again as my best advice? It seems to have worked out. The rest is up to Steve.

That risk brings us back to 30 years ago. I wasn’t as open as Steve. “Don’t ever talk to me about that again”…remember. Before there was an opening, there had to be an opening for an opening to occur. There had to be a willingness to risk. There had to be something I was willing to put at stake. In a way, I had nothing to lose.

I‘d been hanging out at my sister’s a lot. I had nothing going on after all. I was like that guy on the radio commercials who got busted for drunk driving. I had no job, had no girl, had no car – for a little while anyway. So I’d go to my sister’s and hang out. It must have felt safe there. I picked up a book one day that my brother-in-law had lying around and started reading. Prior to picking up this book I’m not certain that I’d ever even considered the notion of power. Didn’t even really know what that meant. It was right there on the cover – Unlimited Power. Tony Robbins’ first book – he went by Anthony at the time.

This may be the book I picked up.

I never did finish the book. I have started reading it again to recall what it was that may have been expanding my thinking. I’ll finish it this time. The fact that I never finished the book at the time is irrelevant. It created an opening. New concepts or new ability to see or perceive. Perhaps a new ability to listen in a new way that hadn’t been there before. While Robbins very quickly touches on the fact that there is no inherent meaning in life other than the meaning you give it the topic that I remembered most about this book was the notion of modeling somebody’s behavior if you wanted to produce similar results. If they had X, model the behavior and state that they embodied to get X and you will produce similar results.

At some point I lost interest in the book. I have been struggling to get through the same place where I lost interest then, even now. The sections on Neuro-Linguistic Programming seemed too much like “tips” for my taste. Today, Wikipedia tells me that NLP has been discredited. I’m not sure I would go that far – there are elements to the concepts that still jive with my experience. Nonetheless, the sections to me were a bit gimmicky – like trying to connive response out of people. Not quite what I was seeking – even though I didn’t know that I was seeking anything.

This idea of modeling, while also a bit gimmicky did make sense to me though. The notion that we’re all in essence wired the same as human beings…that none of us are completely lacking or completely better suited to produce similar results, that seemed clear. All I had to do then was find somebody that had produced the results that I wanted in life then model their attitude, behavior, style, thinking, actions…and I could have the same results.

My point of view was still very limited unfortunately. The examples that I had for “pinnacles of success” were limited as well. As far as I was concerned, only a year earlier I’d already reached the pinnacle of success that I could comprehend. After all, I’d had a decent full time job, a sweet ride, and a running car too. All that was gone.

Luckily, like I’ve said…I had plans. All of that working man stuff was temporary anyway. Coming out of high school I always said that I was going to work for a year, save a bunch of money and then go back to school in the fall. College – that was something a few people I knew had done, and we’re doing. It was time to stop moping around and get in action. I never saved all that money, but sometime that summer I walked down Euclid Avenue and registered for fall classes just like I said I was going to do.

Big plans…I’ll show you. My friend Tony says that the words I used, when scoffed at by that former girlfriend, “Baby, watch me move.”

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