A S*&$@Y Way to Lose $1,000

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Last summer I ended up hiring a trainer who was in amazing shape physically and lousy shape financially. After he got to know me a bit, and without any prompting, between sets he’d tell me what was going on in his personal life. At one point over months of struggling, he had an immediate need for $1,000.

I seriously considered giving it to him anonymously. In fact, I felt like I was supposed to. Not obligated, just intuitively compelled. While I don’t think it’s my job to try to fix or help every person in need that comes to me, nor does my intuition always tell me to help them out, I do feel like it’s my job–at the very least–to have compassion. In certain situations I’ll try to help, especially when it’s coupled with some intuitive calling. Too often these situations present an opportunity that defies my logic. Like the time I was supposed to give my coat to a guy whose car just caught on fire BUT DIDN’T DO IT  (though there’s a follow-up to the Car on Fire post, where “I Finally Found Him” on this link here.)

Sometimes my intuition tries to lead me to a bigger conflict with rationality, like the time I was supposed to give my car away to a waiter at my favorite restaurant in Reston, Virginia, but also didn’t do it.

Sometimes I listen to my intuition. Sometimes I don’t. Other times I get to observe random strangers demonstrate What a Little Hope Can Do, like a few weeks ago.  I wish I deferred to my intuition more often, but sometimes my analytical, risk-averse, or logical side wins out, which of course is sometimes the right thing as well. If I’m hesitant or anxious to take a risk, I can justify seven ways to Sunday why I shouldn’t do it. But sometimes you have to make the jump.

Finally the day came when my trainer hit me up with his idea: I’d pre-pay $1,000 for training, and in exchange he’d reduce his rate by 50%–effectively giving me double the number of training sessions. I thought about it for a few minutes and agreed to the plan. Drafted a simple agreement with signatures, captured all his information including social, address, alternate phone numbers, and his email.

Fast forward two weeks, I text him to schedule a workout and he never responds. Eventually called the gym where he trained and found out that he had skipped town. Totally gone.

Numerous calls, emails, texts over a period of weeks and months yielded nothing (though I did catch him on the phone once). I went full spectrum from southern polite to New York City nuclear. Nothing worked. Since then I’ve been torqued at this guy for ditching our deal. Until two days ago. I was at the gym late one night and on Pandora came a song by Safety Suit called “Life Left to Go” and as I’m listening to the somewhat mesmerizing melody doing lat pull downs I realized what happened with this situation was really lousy, though not because I’d lost a grand.

But because I knew that I was supposed to give this guy a break before all of this went down. Incidentally, if I’d done that I wouldn’t be blogging about it–instead I’m sharing the scenario where I didn’t listen to my intuition. Which resulted in two dynamics, both of which are pretty s*&$@y:

It left one man knowing he was a thief.

And another man knowing he was robbed.

I’m not absolving this guy of his responsibility. If you interpret this as me saying that my act of not giving a guy a $1,000 makes him justified, then you’re totally missing the point. That is, most definitely, not what I’m saying. There could be a lot of lessons in here. I see all the obvious ones, but I saw those in advance–I knew the risk. And then there’s a chance that the logical lessons really aren’t the lessons at all.

Maybe there’s another lesson in here. Maybe it’s the hidden one.

And maybe it’s the magical one.

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