Looking to break the cycle of an emotional or economic depression? Smile and spend! But read this first please.
We begin with a funny and informative lil’ tale from my first job out of college… I was desperate for work, and I wanted to write. I marched into the offices of a start-up newspaper (The Georgetown Courier), and said I’d do whatever they needed. The very next day I wore a suit, as I waxed headlines to a board in the basement. A week later, the editor (Warren Rogers, who covered Kennedy and wrote a book on Bobby), called me upstairs trying to conceal a grin. Would you like to write some things? Before long he was calling me a “handy little chap” and asking me to write features, help convert the archaic wax-based layout to desktop design, shoot photos and even manage the AP feed nobody understood. I saw my moment one Monday when the assistant editor turned red and spontaneously quit during a debate — about why a caption introduced someone from a story, but before their name and role was introduced on a successive page of the story.
I plopped myself at the ex-employee’s desk, began using his widescreen Mac, and chomped on his still-warm “bagel bites” he’d left behind. Soon I’d be interviewing artists, writers, and even Pierce Brosnan. That spring, the newspaper — with its Cherry wooden gates separating editorial and advertising — closed its doors forever. Seems the editorial integrity wasn’t matched by advertising sales. I watched my less handy colleagues drift as positions were consolidated. One morning the newest pink slip went to Tim, a Georgetown classmate who as the operations and distribution head was no doubt being paid far more than my $16K per year.
But here’s where our story shifts morale, from the Opportunism of Nalts to Trust the Universe Mark…
An unemployed friend, Mark, greeted Tim at the door with a giant grin. “Guess what we’re going to do now, Tim.” We all paused and noticed Tim was dressed in a new suit. “We’re going to the mall to spend our way out of depression.” I thought it was a reckless move at the time, but cathartic. Now, having engulfed more than my share of “positive attraction” theory from The Secret and its founding fathers and mothers, I realize Mark was right.
Spending is a sign of confidence that abundance will come, even if it’s not here now. We’ve all been well trained to avoid debt, tighten belts, and live carefully and cautiously. And that good advice often has a perversive side effect: it can breed a mindset (and vibe) that unconsciously sends opportunities and wealth away like the scent of bad breath. The stank of desperation and fear is potent, regardless of the legitimacy of its cause. But the defiant “screw the recession” thinking — even if it’s a “brain con” — can result in a good feeling that produces better thoughts, and resulting action. Who wants to hire someone nervous and needy? People like to commiserate with misery for moments, but ultimately enjoy the Marks who smile and give out the “you need me, employer” vibe!
Warning- don’t dare experiment with this approach with a “this can’t possibly work” skepticism or it will backfire. And you’ll be sending me hate mail about the deeper debt you’ve accrued. You gotta spend with an unwavering belief that it will come back around, and the universe is full of opportunities. This isn’t easy for me, even having read about 6 books on the subject (well, listened to them on tape anyway). In fact it defies my very instincts.
The moment you allow yourself to believe that the universe is indifferent (or worst yet “cruel”) than STOP. This will happen a lot if you’re like me, but eventually with less frequency. Challenge those skeptical, pessimistic, defeating beliefs whether they’re scientifically based or not… because they will screw you in the end. Or, to quote Joe Pesci (hear .wav), “they fuck you at the drive thru.”
Anyway, who among us is smart enough to prove definitely that the universe is cruel and indifferent? Sure that conclusion is easy every time we watch the evening news (which is why I choose not to give my attention to today’s murders or plane crashes, even when my wife insists on keeping updated). What if I could allow a sunrise to offer indisputable counter proof to the “cruel & indifferent universe” theory?
Maybe God is cool, and looking after us? Hah! You just read that line, and immediately thought of the terrible things God “allowed” or “made happen,” right? (I can read your mind via new WordPress plug-in). Wait- maybe you reverted to memories of the punitive God some crazy nun or family member introduced. Yeah, that’s the drive thru, friend. And here’s your invitation to accept Uncle Nalts’ new revision of God… he’s cool. Why? Because I just made him cool in my mind. Blink!
So spend away, or at least wear Mark’s grin. And here are two cameras you can buy (just to bring this ranting back to online video, and give me a chance to stick affiliate links in my blog post). I’m still getting daily/weekly e-mails about what camera I should buy. Most settle on the $300-$500 range. I’d suggest going for the Flip Video MinoHD Camcorder, 60 Minutes (Black) at about $200 on Amazon.com or Canon HV20 3MP High Definition MiniDV Camcorder with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom.
Now here’s where my altruism interferes with my affiliate greed… you’re better off buying the Canon HV20 at B&H (it’s an absurdly low $575, far from the $1200 I paid for my first one). But I can’t get my stupid B&H affiliate code to work. Maybe if you search “Canon HV20” after clicking the banner below, I’ll make my first dang dime from B&H. Wait- I know I will. Because B&H, despite the fact that it’s never tracked a single penny, is cool. Right?