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By Michael Angier

Get What You Want!

I’ve probably learned as much from my kids as I’ve taught them—probably more. I learned this particular lesson from my oldest son, Mike.

The year was 1994. Mike was in the Marine Corp and home on a short leave. I was in the throws of buying my first "real" computer. I’d been using personal computers for over ten years, but I’d never gone online. We hadn’t bought a new computer since Windows debuted and we were still using DOS.

Not being entirely sure how I was going to put this new computer to good use, I was having a hard time justifying the purchase. It felt like a big decision and at the time it seemed like a big expense for our family. Nevertheless I still had a feeling that it was the right thing to do.

We were shopping at an electronics store, and I was showing Mike some of the different machines I was considering. I explained the different features and tradeoffs that were part of my decision.

I shared that I was about to buy one that was close to what I wanted. It didn’t have all the features of the one I truly desired, but it was cheaper and I was going to save a couple hundred bucks—it might have been even less than that.

Mike looked at me in kind of a quizzical way and said, "Dad, get what you WANT!"

His perspective was refreshing. I was agonizing over a fairly paltry amount of money—especially over the two to four years I expected to own the computer. My son, in his wisdom, helped me give myself the permission to not settle for something less.

When we settle, we’re telling ourselves we’re not worth it. We’re affirming a belief in lack instead of abundance. We’re saying we don’t believe in ourselves enough to have what we really want.

I bought the more expensive computer and was happy I did. Given that I view my life from BEFORE being online and AFTER being online, it was a profitable decision, too.

I firmly believe that the Universe takes care of us about as well as we take care of ourselves. There’s something about feeling worthy that opens doors we never would have even seen before.

For me, I know for a fact that as a result of taking better care of myself, I’ve had a lot more to give—and have given more—than I used to.

Certainly we can take this "self-indulgence" to extremes, and I’m definitely not advocating giving in to our every whim and fancy. Even now, I tend to be a fairly conservative shopper and I rarely buy frivolous things. When I trade up, I still buy computers about six months behind the technology curve and save a fair amount doing so.

But I do treat myself a lot better than I did before. I don’t need a lot of "things" in my life, but the things I do have, I want to be able to appreciate and enjoy. I want to love having them.

That event and my son’s statement have stayed with me over the years. I often recall it when I’m not being particularly kind or generous to myself. It was a good lesson.




"Some people live in a dream world, and some face reality. But there is a third group—those who turn one into the other."
—Kevin Eikenberry


"All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience."
   —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Last Updated 01/30/2004