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The secret to everything(September 2009)


Are you the sort of person who reads "how-to" books....how to be an instant millionaire, how successfully seduce, how to win at everything.....I have the secret to everything. Want to know what it is?
It's a big claim, isn't it, the secret to everything?

You wouldn't be reading this unless you were a believer. That there is a formula to success, achievement, fame fortune....All you need to know is that little secret, and you could be the Millionaire in One Year, The Player, the Real Estate Guru.

And I am offering it to you. Free of charge. You don't have to subscribe to anything. There really is no dollar cost associated with learning my secret.

There is, however, a personal cost. You have to come with me on a journey of understanding. By the time you are finished you will understand my message, the point of this document. I need you to understand the context.

Let's start with an example.

You arrive in the foyer of the multi-story building where you work. There's more than one elevator, but you missed the one that just left. It's close to 9.00am, and the foyer is filling fast. There won't be enough room for everyone. You need to get to work on time. Everyone is on high alert, polite, but determined to be on the next departure. Without being obvious, your eyes dart from one elevator bay to the other. As does everyone else's.

Down the far end of the foyer, a single man stands alone, directly in front of the last elevator in the row. A ping! announces the arrival of the next lift. It is the one at the end of the row, and while the crowd rushes towards it, the standalone steps in, ahead of the crowd.

I am that man.

In the lotto agency, a queue moves slowly. Its a jackpotted draw this week, three weeks worth of winnings pushing the prize pool to an all-time high. The man at the head of the queue hands over his registration card, and his marked ticket. The proprietoress runs his card through the terminal, and a sudden fanfare of digitised trumpets blares. The proprietoress is pleased...a win is good for sales. "You win!", she exclaims.

Looking at the queue, she works her audience. "You lucky man! You win last week!"

Normally I would hand over a note and pay for my ticket. This week, again, she pays me. The man behind me mutters, "I wish I could win occasionally."

I turn and face the queue behind me. Old duffers, no hopers, the desperate, and the inveterate gambler look at me. They have heard the transaction, and look to me for an explanation. I hold up my new ticket.

"I win", I tell them, "ALL THE TIME!" The cranky duffers, toothless crones, red-eyed, shaky drinkers glare at me malevolently, grinding their gums and muttering furiously as I pocket my winnings and walk out, whistling.

Is there a pattern here?

Day One of my new contract. I'm one of many programmers, hired to slap together a sports trivia CD, on a doomed project that should never have been commissioned in the first place. A latecomer to the project, I don't get offered the prime cut, I get the scraps.

A historical archive, more than 100 years of newspaper articles. Where's the assets? No one has scanned them in. No one's problem, go and tell the project manager.

I go and knock on the door to Kevin's office and wander in. Kevin is out of his depth, overworked. He agreed to do this job for a fixed price and is already out of pocket. He's tired, and not really interested in me. In 15 words, or less, I explain the problem, how many files there are to process. Kevin's a stressed man. He sucks his teeth the way you do when you hit your finger with a hammer, and his hands creep up the side of his head and grab at the tufts of his hair. He's one of those balding guys with the close-cropped hair, but it's long enough to pull. Interesting.

Two days later he walks past, and asks me how I'm settling in. "Fine", I tell him. Kevin wants to know what I think about the project.

"Oh, it's a total disaster. You can't possibly meet the deadline and it'll run over cost."

Again, he grabs at his hair nervously.

I talk to him every few days. He's bald before the project gets shelved.

I'm that guy.

The traffic struggles, bumper to bumper, two lanes chock-a-block. Ahead two wheezing old fools track each other in parallel. Both way under the speed limit, they successfully hold back everyone else by travelling at identical speeds, blocking both lanes.

Its very annoying. Behind me, some young hot-blood thrashes his car from lane to lane, imagining that he is seeing an opening gap. The evil Grandpas are just teasing, and just when there appears to be the formation of a gap, lagging Grandpa puts on a spurt to catch up, close the gap and shut out our infuriated friend.

Ahead, the lights turn orange. The oldster in front of me slows, and amazingly, indicates that he is switching lanes. Hotblood the Brave thrashes his car, edging it forward. But he can't get around me. Pacing myself perfectly, I crawl into the gap before our eager friend, and then, matching Grandpa 1 and Grandpa 2, slow down to the lights to make sure we catch the red.

Infuriated, behind me an engine revs. The lights change. No one moves. Behind me I hear screaming. Grandpa 1 rolls forward, eventually followed by Grandpa 2. Hotblood, with a sudden squeal of rubber, jumps lanes and chases after Grandpa 2. Unfortunately I have time to also jump forward, and before Hotblood can get into the space between me and the grandfathers, I have closed the gap, and ride parallel to them.

This goes on for a few minutes. As we approach a hill, I slow, barely crawling, and Hotblood can no longer stand it. He floors his car, illegally swings wide around me and overtakes me up the hill.

There is a speed camera just over the crest of the hill, and it flashes as he roars past. It's often there.

Enough examples.

You can see the formula. You can see what I am doing.

I am the spark, the catalyst, the event element.

You still need me to tell you what my role is? You want me to clearly and concisely explain what I am doing, and why?

Oh, very well.

The secret is....are you sure you are ready for this? Its a difficult concept for those I call the uninitiated. If you feel you haven't absorbed the message in its pure form, go back and re-read my examples.

But to spell it out,what I am trying to do, and usually succeed in doing, is to

© September 2009 Ian Buchanan

If you liked this short story, try The Jetty Journals: http://www.thejettyjournals.com
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