Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#67- The Secret

A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me to show a lady friend of his around Miami.  They had come down from Orlando where she was visiting him all the way from Sweden.  She was from a Colombian or Venezuelan background and was very beautiful.  I got her a room in a nice motel overlooking Biscayne Bay.

I spent some time with her and got to know her a little bit.  She loved to travel and had a strong vision for her future.  On the day she was leaving we decided to go to a Barnes and Noble book store.  On our way out she surprised me with a small book called "The Secret".  I remember the book having a beautiful jacket and it was very appealing to the eye.  Eventually we said good bye.

When I went home I flipped through the book to see what it was about.  It was very attractive and glossy but it wasn't dense with content.  So, I put it away after browsing through it.  A few days or weeks later at work I overheard a co-worker of mine talking about the movie "The Secret".  The words caught my ears and I told her about my run-in with the young lady and the book.  My co-worker agreed to make a copy of the movie for me.

A few days later in the evening, I decided to watch the movie.  It was as slick and glossy as the book.  The movie was quite captivating.  It featured a list of authoritative looking people who basically discovered a "secret" of the universe.  Basically, if you really, really, REALLY, wish for something YOU will get it.  Perhaps this is too simple of an explanation but that was what I got out of it.
Swedish Flag

It reminded me of a theme that was featured in one of my favorite books, "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo.  I gave this much thought.  I didn't want to be closed minded about what was presented but I was pretty skeptical; or so I thought.

To my right laid a stack of mail that I had been procrastinating to open.  In those days money started getting tight as the economy was deteriorating all over the nation.  For some reason I decided to go through my mail that evening after watching the movie.  It was then that I discovered a letter claiming that I had won some sort of lottery for a small sum.

I was elated and read the letter over and over again.  I started to feel that the movie may be on to something after all.  I thought of money often in those days.  This may have been the thing I was waiting on.

I read the letter one more time.  OOPS.  There was a deadline to claim the money and it had passed just a few days ago.  I decided to press my luck and cash it just to see what would happen.  My rationale was the following:

1.  If the date had passed they would not honor the check.
2.  If they did honor the check and found the date then I would lose nothing.
3.  If they gave me the money then I would wait a few days before spending it.
4.  If after a few days I heard nothing from no one then I would spend it.

I went ahead and cashed the check.  It was only for a few thousands and at worst they wouldn't cash it or I would give it back.

My sister happen to work for the bank where I do business.  Somehow the conversation came up about my incredible stroke of luck.  As soon as I told her the situation she quickly told me that I had be had.  She knew of these scams from working as a teller etc.  She told me that the people who issued the money would invade my account and then clean me out.  At the time I didn't have too much money in that account but she said this was of the utmost importance and that I needed to close the account.

I already had been the victim of fraudulent activity in my bank account so I took her warning serious.  As soon as I had the time I went to a branch and explained what I did.  Eventually the matter was settled before any harm was done to my money.

There was damage to my ego and pride however.  How did I let myself get sucked in by this movie?  Wasn't I smart enough to see through this?  Wasn't I a critical thinker?

Months or years later I heard a conversation on a Christian radio station about "The Secret".  Apparently it achieved somewhat of a cult status in the eyes of the host.  He was warning Christians not to dabble with it.  He compared it to Harry Potter.  I thought that was ridiculous but some Christians buy into those things.

I also almost got taken by the "The Secret".  I don't know who the book's recommendations worked for but I am not one of them.  There is nothing wrong with dreaming.  Every now and then a person may get lucky.  But I think that work will have to be done in order to achieve success both great and small.

The Secret book and DVD
This story was told in order to demonstrate that critical thinking can and should be used every day in our lives.

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