How to Order

February 21st, 2010 by Steve Pavlina

The universe you live in works very much like a popular restaurant. You go in, you decide what you want, you order it, you receive it, and you digest it.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t seem to know how to order. Some are downright inept at it. They walk into this restaurant, behave like complete idiots, and they end up hungry and disappointed. Then they complain about the restaurant and post negative reviews online, despite the fact that the restaurant has received rave reviews from the most experienced food critics.

The Universal Restaurant

I can’t tell you how many times I encounter people who set goals like, “I want a romantic partner,” or “I want a stable job that pays more money,” or “I want to lose weight.” I’ve heard enough of this drivel to last a lifetime. It’s reached the point where I may start carrying around a squirt gun and shoot people in the eye when they say stuff like this.

Those are crap goals. Don’t waste your time on them. And definitely don’t say them within earshot of me.

Setting such goals is the equivalent of walking into a restaurant and proclaiming, “I’m hungry. I want some food.”

First, people will look at you like you’re an idiot. They’re only doing that because you are.

Second, you won’t get fed.

If you’re lucky, someone might hand you a menu and ask you what you’d like to order. You can order off the menu, or you can concoct something creative, but either way you have to be specific. If you stand there asking for food, you’ll remain hungry.

Is this happening in your life right now? Are you standing at the Universal Restaurant, waiting for your desires to manifest, and receiving only static in response? Might the reason be that the wait staff can’t figure out what the heck you’re actually trying to order?

The Universe is extremely adept at fulfilling your desires — but only if you have the wherewithal to decide and order what you want. If you can’t do that — and it matters not what excuses you have — you will remain hungry.

Partial Manifestations

Sometimes the universe will take a stab at bringing you what you ask for. Then you reject it because, although it’s what you asked for (such as a generic “romantic partner”), it isn’t what you actually want. Then maybe the universe tries a few more times, and you continue to send back whatever it brings you. So eventually it gives up, concluding that you’re an unreasonable customer and that it’s better off spending its time and energy serving the patrons who know how to place an order properly. It says, “Ok, we’re done for now. Call me back to your table when you’ve figured out what you actually want.”

How to Order

When you set goals and intentions, place an order. Don’t ask, “Please can I…?” Simply order, much like you would in a restaurant. Say, “I’ll have the …” Then expect to receive what you order.

Don’t be timid or cowardly or uncertain. Just state your order, and expect to get it. If you screw this up, no soup for you.

Take as much time as you want to decide what to order, but when you place your order, accept what you ordered, and know that you’re going to receive it. You may have some buyer’s remorse if it’s not as good as you hoped, but that’s okay. Receive it anyway. There will always be other meals, other orders. Not everything you receive will taste like ambrosia.

Be specific in asking for what you want.

Don’t ask for more money. If you want $50K cash, then order $50K cash. Don’t ask for it. Order it.

Don’t ask for a better job. If you want to be a fashion blogger who travels around the world and gets free invites to major fashion shows and has 500,000 monthly readers, then order that.

Don’t ask for a romantic partner. If you want a geeky, vegan, bisexual, happily jobless girlfriend who gives amazing blow jobs and loves to travel, then order that. Order it loudly enough so your waiter can hear you, and people at nearby tables will say, “I didn’t know that was on the menu. I’ll have one of those too… with a twist of lemon.”

Contrast

One of the best ways to get what you actually want is to take your best guess, and order it. When you get what you asked for, it may not be quite right. That contrast between what you received and how you feel about it will give you a better sense of what you actually do want. Then you can make a better guess and take another stab at placing an order.

As you repeat this process, you’ll gradually hone in on what you actually desire most at a very deep level. And then you’ll get a chance to receive and experience it fully.

Realize that this is an iterative process. Don’t be a perfectionist. That’s like sitting in a restaurant for hours, trying to decide what you want, while impatient waiters periodically refill your water glass and pressure you to order something. It’s just a meal, so make a decision, get fed, and get out. Even if it turns out to be less than you hoped for, there will be plenty of other meals. The occasional bad meal is inevitable.

How to Be an Idiot Who Can’t Order at a Restaurant

What happens if you change your order before you receive it? Same thing that happens in a real restaurant. What would happen if you grabbed the waiter and changed your order before it arrived? No problem, but you’ll have to wait even longer because the waiter has to cancel the original order and then submit the new one. And if you keep doing that over and over, you’ll piss off the waiter and will never receive a meal. Have you been doing something like that in real life? Blue… no red… no blue! Ahhhh!

What happens if you order something, and then when you get it, you don’t like it? You can eat it anyway, or you can send it back. Either way, there will be other meals. You can always order again. Learn from the experience, and do your best to make a more intelligent choice next time. You may need to sample a few items from the menu to figure out what you like and don’t like. Your first order at any new restaurant may very well be your worst experience there.

What happens if you complain about the way the system works? It’s not fair! I can’t figure out what I want! I keep going back and forth between two possibilities! Stop pressuring me! You’re free to do that, but the system will process you like an idiot. Again, that’s only because you are.

If you rail against the system, it’s not going to work for you. If you can’t follow the simple rules, the system will process you like an idiot customer till you figure it out.

Here are the rules: Decide what you want, order it, receive it, and digest it. It’s not rocket science. Don’t make it complicated. It’s easier to follow the rules than it is to break them. Even a child can do it.

Your Choice

Despite the obvious drawbacks, you’re still free to behave like an idiot customer whenever you choose. You’re free to make a vague request. You’re free to change your mind every 5 minutes. You’re free to reject your order after it arrives. But of course all of those actions have consequences. If you behave stupidly, you’ll get stupid results.

Technically speaking, this isn’t a problem. The Universal Restaurant is robust enough to handle people like you. It will process you without prejudice. However, you won’t have a very good experience, and in the end you’ll be disappointed with the food and/or service. Other members of your party will also be disappointed, either with the restaurant or with you personally. No one at your table will seem to be having a good time unless you order properly. If you screw it up, you’ll ruin everyone’s evening.

This restaurant, however, is perfectly capable of preparing the most amazing gourmet meals you could ever fancy. You just have to order properly. Be specific. Be clear, direct, and confident. Be audible. And don’t keep changing your mind after you’ve placed your order.

When you receive your order, accept it with gratitude. Smell it. Taste it. Savor each delicious bite. Share it with others at your table if they’d like a taste, and taste some of their food too. It won’t be perfect, but it’s better than going hungry. Learn from the experience, and allow it to inform your future ordering decisions. Eventually you’ll become a master connoisseur of the Universal Restaurant.

Work with the rules of the Universal Restaurant to enjoy the best meals of your life. Don’t rail against the system. Don’t be a clueless customer. And don’t post negative reviews about it online.

Note: The Universal Restaurant is not to be confused with The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I know that’s what you were thinking. :)



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