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Getting Sick & Tricking Yourself

Getting Sick & Tricking Yourself

Hello and good day!

I ran into a fellow in the bank a few days back.

He was a regular chocolate customer of ours for a while, but I hadn't seen him in a long time.

As we chatted, we were able to reckon that it had been at least a year and a half since we last saw each other. I never got to know him too well back when he was a regular customer because he was always in a big hurry.

At the bank the other day though, I ended up hearing a lot of his life story.

Back when he was coming into our chocolate shop frequently, he was mostly on his way to the airport.

He would stop by quickly to pick up gifts for business associates. We were his go-to spot for business gifts.

Certain people exude a particular air of success. He had that quality.

You could tell that he wouldn't appreciate you wasting even a single second of his time. He knew exactly what he came for.

He spoke in terse one or two word sentences.

His clothing was perfectly tailored, of expensive quality, and always looked recently dry cleaned and pressed.

Most sport's coats usually have at least a little smudge on them somewhere.

At least most of mine do.

But his?


His blazers were immaculate, as were his dress shirts, with their tall, stiff collars, unbuttoned at the neck. His slacks were always newly ironed to produce long, sharp, crisp, creases that ran down his legs. Shined leather loafers completed the outfit.

His hair was thick, silvery, and always freshly barbered. His skin clung tightly to his face. It was the facial skin of a serious runner. His eyes were an intense, cutting, light blue.

One day he came in and began to efficiently gather his purchases. In the middle of his gathering, his wife appeared in the doorway. I remember this scene very well because of how awkward it became.

I now know that his wife is the wife of his youth. They were married in college and have 5 children together.

I didn't know anything about their history at the time though.

His wife walked in, and her face shined when she unexpectedly saw her husband. They hadn't planned on meeting in our shop and she was obviously pleased to run into him.

He was so focused on the task at hand that he didn't notice her.

He was kneeling down on the floor, in front of a low shelf filled with sea salt caramel turtles, and he was counting with his fingers, trying to calculate how many he needed to buy. When he came up with the number, he pulled out the correct quantity of bags, and carried them over to the counter.

I rung him up and bagged the items.

He turned, bags in hand, and was surprised to see his wife standing there smiling.

She had been watching and not making any noise, probably because she knew that he would be wound up tight and wouldn't want to be interrupted in the middle of what he was doing.

"Hey you," she said, smiling sweetly.

She gave him a flirty little slap on the shoulder.

"Hi. I'm late," he said. He pecked her on the cheek and walked straight out.

Under normal circumstances, our chocolate shop is a happy place.

People stop by to enjoy themselves.

This lovely woman had come to buy treats for her family.

It should have been something fun and rejuvenating.

Finding her husband there by coincidence should have been icing on the cake.

But his cold treatment put a damper on the entire outing, and she was obviously hurt by the interaction, especially because I had been there to witness it.

She picked out her items in silence, paid, and left quickly.

So, there I was, a few days ago, talking to this man in the bank.

He looks like he has aged 15 years in the last year and a half. is skin is no longer tight around his face. His hair was not freshly cut. His attire hung much more loosely from his body.

"How have you been?" I asked.

"Not good," he said.

"What happened?" I asked.

"I've been sick."

While I thought about how best to proceed with this conversation, we stood in the middle of the bank's lobby, listening to smooth jazz from the sound system and staring at each other.

"How bad has it been?" I asked. "Pretty bad. I've been fighting cancer."

"How are you now?" I asked.

"I'm getting better now," he said.

"How's your wife doing?"

He pursed his lips and shook his head back and forth.

His eyes watered.

"She's been so strong. She saved my life. Without her, I never would have made it. She's been right there by my side, fighting for me, every step of the way."

While we talked, he revealed to me that just before being diagnosed with cancer, a big investment project of his blew up.

He had convinced friends, clients, and partners to invest one hundred million dollars into building a big factory. It was the biggest project of his life and he had been pouring all of his energy into it.

He stood to make millions once the factory was complete and manufacturing got under way. He had been sacrificing everything for this dream.

After the construction was finished and the factory got up and running, the demand he had projected for the products didn't materialize.

The investment turned out to be a total flop.

His investors sued him and in the middle of the court case, he came down with cancer.

"My wife stayed by my side and believed in me and took care of me throughout the entire thing," he said.

He wiped a tear from his cheek.

"Are you married?" he asked.

"I am," I said.

"A married business owner, like me. Listen to me. I've been richer than I ever could have imagined. And now I am a lot less rich than before. Actually, I'm not rich at all anymore. But I am happier now than ever. Because I made amends."

I nodded and listened.

I could tell he wasn't done talking yet.

"When I was laid up in bed and my wife was taking care of me, all I could think about were the times when I should have been better to her. Most of my money is gone but she is still here and all she ever wanted was for me to still be in love with her. It's so simple. But I couldn't see it, because I didn't have my priorities right. Never again Adam."

I'm running long now so I can't give a transcription of the entire conversation.

But the crux of it, and the learning point that this gentleman wanted to share with me, was that he could have achieved the same level of success without sacrificing his relationships.

He was fooled into thinking that it had to be one or the other, but in the end, he realized that it wasn't actually a choice that he had to make.

There is more to share from this interaction, but I don't have enough space.

So, I leave you with this.

First, every major study on happiness shows that happiness primarily stems from loving relationships, romantic, familial, or platonic.

Second, sometimes you can trick yourself into thinking that you have to make a sacrifice that you don't actually have to make.

This can be a very detrimental trick to play on yourself.

It is worth keeping an eye out for.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day.


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