Back in December 2006 a Christmas card arrived through the letter box. It was from a nutritional therapist. I bet that makes you jealous doesn’t it? Well, the card was from a fully qualified member of Patrick Holford’s Institute for Optimum Nutrition. So there. You may not think the Nutrionista religion allows them to celebrate Christmas. Well they do, just not the same way as everyone else. In with the card was the most expensive present anyone has ever given me. There was a ticket to attend an event that would change my life in three days. Normally the charge would be £695, but since my friend was recommending me I would get to go totally free of charge! Wow.
So in March 2007 I turned up at the Excel centre in London to listen to lifestyle coach Christopher Howard who was coming over from the United States of America to help me change my destiny. On signing up I had to declare that I did not have any mental health problems. It seemed of an odd thing for them to ask. I also had to confirm that I would not disrupt proceedings. I have to confess I lied and put my signature in the right place. The challenge was on: (1) not to let on to anyone how weird I was and (2) not to cause any trouble. Surely if anyone did upset the organisers they would refund the value of their £695 ticket ehhhh readers?
It seemed to be a less exclusive event that I thought it would be. There must have been more than 2000 of us in the hall just waiting for our lives to be transformed. Before Chris arrived there was a warm up act from a former Australian doctor now working as a key member of the team. At the side of the room were young people known as “The Crew” dressed in black T-shirts. Their job seemed to be to look enthusiastic and run around. Then Chris arrived to a raptuous reception. Obviously, he was a good looking 40-something American. He told us a little bit about his life. Apparently in his younger days he had been stuggling, but then started attending seminars which helped to revolutionise his life. It all reminded me of an exhibition I attended in Nuremberg a couple of years before.
We were then asked to “buddy” up with the person next to us. By getting their Mobile telephone number we could provide each other with support. Unfortunately, the “buddy” I found was a young Italian who had heard it all before and said he was going to leave. Oh dear.
At various points during the week end Christopher gave us pearls of wisdom. He seemed interested in quantum physics and quoting from Jung and Gandhi. Where Chris had learnt about these subjects was very unclear as he told us that he had left school at the earliest possible age. Possibly his education had been derived entirely from training seminars. Every so often some one would be called up to the stage for a bit of special personal attention. Two people stand out. One was a cage fighter. I cannot remember the exact technique, but I think he was told to close his eyes and visualise himself winning the fight. This rather went against the grain of the cuddly image of the self-help movement! Later in the day Chris helped a single parent who worked part-time to change her life. She seemed a bit lacking in confidence that Chris’ advice would work. Funnily, enough he did not advise her to join a trade union, political party or campaign for better training and child care facilities.
I certainly met a number of interesting characters over the three days. One of them was a postman who wanted to be be a life coach. Not such a bad career choice as he would certainly know the way wouldn’t he? Unfortunately, he had been off sick for the last six months. How the course was aiding his recovery was most unclear. In another practical session I found myself paired up with some one else who worked as some kind of a life coach. He offered a bit of one-to-one tuition. Excellent. I told him a bit about my life. He suggested possible solutions. Apparently, it was all about whether we as individuals were cause or effect. He had decided that I was just an effect. No matter what I suggested about future plans he always told me that I was an effect. Fortunately, the session was over before I could become the cause of him having a black eye. My partner in the next session was also a life coach, though she seemed a much more sympathetic character. Her response to everything I said was: “Wow. That sounds great. You go for it.” This proves I suppose that if you are not happy with your life coach just change the coach rather yourself!
Of course three days was not sufficient to change. It was necessary to come back for more. Unfortunately, there seemed to be costs involved. However, by signing up that day we could make serious savings. The most interesting seminar being offered was the Billionaire Boot Camp which offered the chance to get you inside the mind of a billionaire. How they would do that or why you would want to be inside the mind of a billionaire was left unexplained. Chris kept telling us that if we followed his techniques we would have loads of money and be able to live the life of our dreams. All we had to do was follow the principles of NLP. Unfortunately, by the end of the seminar I was still unclear what exactly his techniques were. One could well understand how a vulnerable person could sign up in the expectation of being initiated further in to the mysteries of NLP.
As the seminar closed I was pondering on what I had learnt over the last few days. I then heard a voice and looked across and saw a smiling young woman
I have been looking for you
Have you now
I walked on not really paying much attention as my mind was on other things. It then struck that the friendly who had just spoken to me was the sympathetic who had seemed so enthusiastic about my life a couple of days before. There was only one thing for it. I had to go back in to the hall, find her, invite her out to dinner, be coached and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, the hall was filled with several thousand life coaches so finding my friend would have been like looking for a needle in a haystack. There is a moral to this story, but for the life of me I can’t think what it is ….