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"You will make this place cool. That's what you have to keep repeating to yourself. Don't let anything distract you."

"And that's it?" I asked, not sure if it was even worth remembering. "That's supposed to magically transform everything?"

"It's a different mindset." She leaned back into her chair. "You've been a seeker all this time. Nothing wrong with being a seeker of course. You wouldn't be in my office if you weren't."

"What do you mean by that exactly?"

"You seek answers. You are trying to solve your life's problems. You are driven. You have a quest. All good things." She was trying not to make me feel bad. "But now you have to stop. Now you have to become a source, a creator."

"A creator of what?" I wasn't writing anything down anymore.

"A creator of cool." She flipped her own pen onto the table. It landed haphazardly but she acted as if she meant it to be in that exact spot. "Stop trying to impress others. You don't want to convince others that you're cool."

"I don't?"

"You don't," she repeated. "Not in the way you've been doing. You are giving your power away, allowing others to decide who or what you are."

"So I should just ignore everyone then?" I wasn't sure if she was going to help.

"No. If you allow others to decide what words apply to you, they become the source. Not you." She was looking at me intently.

"So I have to become the source somehow."

"Right. You decide you are cool. Not them."

"How does that make any difference?"

"Okay, so there are two types of people. The seekers go in, like you, looking for other people's approval. It doesn't work. The creators go in acting like it is they who make the place special, that it is they who make the place respectable, reputable, dignified, or whatever word you want to use. It is a different attitude. They go as a source."

"That sounds pretty far-fetched to me," I said slumping into my chair. "Do you really think that's how the world works?"

She picked up her pen again, waving it like a sword. "If you go in acting like you're still trying to achieve your goal, you'll never know if you've achieved it until you ask those around you. If you go in acting like you've already achieved your goal, there's no longer anything for you to worry about. You're just there to help everyone else find what they're looking for."

"So stop trying to achieve my goals, is that what you're saying?"

"In some cases yes. As long as you're trying, you are convincing yourself and others that you have not reached them. Those who already have what they're after are no longer trying. You have to skip to the end."

"I'm not sure any of this is worth writing down. You're not convincing me that what you're saying actually works."

"There are certain behaviors we associate with certain states." She went into lecture mode again. "When you are satisfied, your behavior is different from someone still seeking satisfaction."

"Okay, that much I can agree with."

"Consciously or subconsciously, we learn to recognize those behaviors in others as we grow up. We associate satisfied behavior with those with higher status, who have already accomplished what they wanted, no matter what it is."

"So they have a certain attitude and you're suggesting I try to fake that attitude?"

"Depends on what you really want of course. Are your current goals just intermediate stepping stones to something beyond them? What is at the end? If you just want to be able to go into places like that with your head held high, you can already do it today, right now, even with zero accomplishments under your belt."

"And you think I will be able to fool people with a fake attitude?" I asked.

"You don't ask them what is real or fake. That's seeker thinking. You define what is real or fake for everyone else. That's creator thinking."

"So I tell them I'm respectable because I'm respectable. I'm cool because I'm cool. Isn't that circular reasoning?"

"There are no absolute definitions for any of those words. As long as you can hold your ground, as long as you treat yourself as the dictionary, you become the standard for everyone else. As long as you're there to support them, most won't think too hard about how you're supporting them."

"Something to think about," I said. "I'm not sure I buy it, but maybe you're not a waste of money after all."

She smiled, and I got up.

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