This is the third installment in a series of articles based on chapters from Alan Cohen’s new book Mr. Everit’s Secret: What I learned from the World’s Richest Man.
On my birthday, Mr. Everit took me out for lunch to Curry in a Hurry, my favorite Indian restaurant. They rustle up palak paneer so spicy that steam shoots out of your ears. Taking me there was obviously an altruistic act, since he doesn’t like hot food and they don’t serve chocolate desserts.
On our way back to the 4-Runner (which Mr. Everit had named Big Buck) we passed a slick little men’s boutique called Sassy. In the window I spied a sweater that got me drooling. It was an ultra-lightweight multicolored Jahyne Barnes weave that looked masculine yet playful. I stood there for a while eyeing it; I swear it had my name on it.
“Let’s go in and have a look at it,” Mr. Everit encouraged me, opening the Sassy door. I made my way to the window display and turned over the price tag. $250. That was all I had to see. I dropped the tag and started to head back out to the street.
“Where do you think you’re headed, bucko?” Mr. Everit asked me, holding his hand over the door to bar me from passing.
“I don’t really want it that much,” I answered in a blasé tone.
“Oh, really?” he answered sarcastically. “Do your eyes always bulge out of your head when you’re unimpressed?”
I tried to dislodge his hand from the door. “Do you know how many power tools I could buy for $250?” I shot back.
“Yes, I do,” he answered, pressing his arm more firmly against the post. “But you can’t wear a Skil Saw on a date. Not that many women are impressed by that.”
He took the sweater off the mannequin, held it up against my chest, and swiveled me around to look in the full-length mirror. The garment was indeed sassy. No cordless drill has ever done me such justice.
But facts were facts “It’s just too expensive,” I pleaded. “I really can’t justify paying this much for a sweater.”
He looked me in the eye with that look I had gotten to know, the one that meant he was not kidding around. Then he told me with utter authority, “I say you’re worth it.”
I wasn’t thinking about the sweater that way. You buy stuff because you need it. If you have the money, you get it. If you don’t, you leave it. That was my shopping formula. At least since I got serious about paying off my credit card bills.
He called the salesman over. “Looks mighty good to me . . .Don’t you agree?” asked Mr. Everit.
The fellow smiled and nodded.
“But . . .” I began to object.
“I say you’re worth it,” he repeated. “I say you’re worth having anything you love.”
His message was starting to get to me. For a moment I thought he was going to buy the sweater for me; I could see in his eyes that he was tempted. But I think he was trying to teach me a lesson I could learn only by doing it myself.
“Everything you buy is a statement of what you believe you’re worth,” he told me. “People who love and believe in themselves give themselves what makes them happy.”
I kept staring at the sweater. It sure did look good.
“Well, when you put it like that . . .”
“We’ll take it,” he ordered the salesman.
What I learned from Mr. Everit:
It’s more fun to watch people enjoying themselves than to try to force them to do what I think they should do.
Everything I purchase (and do) is a statement of what I believe I am worth.
I am worth having anything I love.
Other stuff he said:
If it’s not a “Hell, yes!” it’s a “Hell, no!”
Give yourself abundant pleasure, so that you may have abundant pleasure to give others. (Neale Donald Walsch)
You are not a beggar at the table of life. You are the honored guest. (Emmanuel)
What I did:
Wore my new sweater to work.
Gave away the clothes I once bought because they were cheap, yet hated every time I wore them because the reminded me I am poor.
Went through my credit card statement and considered every purchase an investment in myself.
Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the best-selling The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and the award-winning A Deep Breath of Life. Alan offers online prosperity courses and the life-transforming Mastery Training in Maui. For information on these programs and a free catalog of Alan’s books, tapes, and seminars, phone 1-800-568-3079, visit www.alancohen.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write P.O. Box 835, Haiku, HI 96708