Get the t-shirt

t-shirt ad

Normally we buy souvenirs after we do something we’ve been dreaming about: t-shirts, mugs, postcards, whatever. TBYB! suggests front-loading your souvenir shopping instead. That is, buy the t-shirt first to jump-start the process.

Owning the t-shirt ahead of time mobilizes several factors that support your goal:

  • Every time you wear it you literally see yourself associated with that objective, whatever it is.
  • Others see it too, and may engage you in conversation about it. That gives you a chance to talk about your intention, find out about resouces, and perhaps engage the consistency principle.
  • Even days that you do not wear the shirt you will likely flip through it on your shelf while you’re getting dressed. Seeing it is a nice little reminder that brings the goal it represents to your attention for a moment.
  • There is magic in tangible steps, and this one is well within your reach. No matter how outlandish or impossible the final objective feels at this point, there are some things you CAN do, and this is one of them.

Instant results

My mom and I recently went for a hike near Mt. Rainier. It’s an amazing area and we had a wonderful day. Before heading home, we stopped in at one of the visitor centers and browsed through the gift shop. I saw a t-shirt with a map of the Wonderland Trail on it – a 92 mile trail that circumnavigates the mountain. The graphic on the t-shirt showed the name of the trail, and a nice picture of the mountain that kind of looks like a map. It also had pictures of boot prints – presumably walking the trail.

Seeing that shirt made me remember a fantasy I’ve had about one day hiking that whole trail. As I was standing there thinking about how incredible it would be to experience days like the one we were having for a couple of weeks in a row Mom offered to buy the shirt for me.

My first reaction was to think “No, I should come back and buy the t-shirt someday if I figure out this is something I really want to do.” Let me be clear: at this stage, hiking the Wonderland Trail is a fantasy. I neither know enough about it to make an informed decision, nor if I decide I do want to do it, whether I’m physically capable of pulling it off. So I almost walked away. But then I thought, “Why not? It would make an interesting ad!” I wondered what would happen over the next year if I put a few reminders of hiking this trail around my life. So I got the shirt.

The first result occurred a few minutes later when I talked to a woman who had hiked the trail last summer. She gave me a map and tremendous amount of specific information about how one goes about actually doing that hike: campsites, food caches, etc. She even told me which direction I should hike and suggested a place to start. All that and I didn’t even have the tags off the shirt yet! That conversation filled in some details that already began to make the hike seem much more real for me. I believe that conversation took place because I had magnetized the goal for myself by taking a tangible action. By the time we left the visitor center Mom had also found a book for me that describes each stage of the hike in detail. I went home and read the book.

A few days later I wore the shirt for the first time. My neighbor was the first person who talked to me about it, and she asked me if I had hiked the Wonderland Trail. I said no, but I was thinking about doing it. She went on to exclaim how it’s something she’s always wanted to do, and suggested we get together and talk about that. Wow.

Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of … creation, there is one elementary truth … that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. – W. H. Murray

Or, apparently, you could just wear the t-shirt! So, which would you rather do? Wear a shirt that advertises a brand logo, or reminds you and the people around you about something you want to do with your life?

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One Comment

  1. Mother
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    ‘So fun to be mentioned in your blog!!!

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