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How to Get Everything You Ever Want from the Vending Machine of Life

Subhajit Banerjee

February 4, 2024


Vending Machine of Life

Imagine a vending machine hidden at the end of a dark, quiet alley.

This isn’t just any vending machine. Instead of candy and snacks, it holds everything you’ve ever wanted in life.

That dream job. That promotion. The woman of your dreams. The respect, status, and influence you crave

Things that you have always wanted. Things that seem to be out of your grasp.

All of them are up for grabs. All you need to do is pay.

And the price? Intent, boldness, and courage.

The catch? These seem to be in short supply.

Yet, you’re determined. You work tirelessly, save every penny, and gather what’s needed.

As you approach the vending machine, your dreams feel closer than ever.

Finally, all the pieces are falling into place. You are about to taste success and fulfill your deepest desires!

But then, a wave of fear washes over you. It’s a feeling you know too well.

Deja vu.

The alley grows darker…

Out of nowhere, hooded figures emerge, blocking your way with menacing smiles.

They attack, beating you mercilessly to an inch of your life.

They take everything you’ve saved.

Lying there, beaten and bruised, you feel utterly defeated.

Then, their taunting voices reach you, chilling to the bone. These are voices you recognize.

You look at them. They have all taken their hoods down.

You have known every one of them for years

Your anxiety. Your intrusive thoughts. Your self-criticism. Your lack of emotional control. Your cognitive distortions. And your fears.

You plead with them, explaining how much those dreams mean to you and how hard you’ve worked.

But they don’t listen.

Before leaving, they offer a grim warning:

“As long as we’re around, you’ll never succeed. We’ll always be here to take everything from you.”

You’re left cowering in the dimly lit alley, feeling hopeless and overwhelmed with despair.

Yet somehow, you manage to pick yourself up and limp away with your back turned towards your dreams.

Maybe another day will be different.

But the cycle repeats, endlessly.

But you know what’s even worse?

Only a few people are conscious enough to recognize these patterns.

Others try to escape their problems with temporary fixes like alcohol, video games, or other distractions.

But the evidence of their battles is visible for all to see, marked by the stains on their shirts.

The bloodstains and the festering sores

Here are the dead giveaways of that ongoing internal war…

  1. You avoid saying no. You’re afraid of upsetting others or being seen as mean. So you say yes, adding more stress to your life.
  2. You hold back your true self. You always wait for the “right thing” to say.
  3. You try too hard to fit in. You pretend to be interested in things you are not. You exaggerate your experiences, wealth, or achievements.
  4. You feel self-conscious and doubt about how you’re coming across. You imagine you should be someone “better” than you are.
  5. You’re quick to laugh at whatever others say, even if it’s not that funny. Your laugh comes too quickly, too often, or at inappropriate times.
  6. You feel pressure to have something great to share. You scour your mind for a funny or engaging story to keep the conversation flowing.
  7. You smile, nod, and agree with others even if your actual opinion on the subject is something different.
  8. You avoid disagreeing with others, challenging others, or sharing different opinions.
  9. You’re afraid of being judged by others. Even the thought of it makes you nervous, hesitant, and socially anxious.
  10. You worry that others are secretly angry or critical of you – even when they seem friendly.
  11. You’re quick to apologize out of habit, even when it’s not necessary.
  12. Your body language is submissive. You look away frequently or keep your eyes down.
  13. You always put others’ needs ahead of your own, because you think it’s selfish to do otherwise.
  14. You don’t state what you want directly. Instead, you hint at what you want and hope others will understand.
  15. When you’re unfairly criticized, judged, or disrespected, you become defensive and sometimes overreact.
  16. You feel more comfortable leaving the decisions to others.
  17. You seek reassurance when you run into difficult situations.
  18. You have weak boundaries and allow others to walk all over you.
  19. You put on a mask of fake positivity and pretend everything’s just perfect, even when they are not.
  20. You struggle to end things, dragging on conversations, friendships, and relationships longer than you wish.

These bloodstains repel people from you – consciously or subconsciously.

They sense that you can’t be trusted.

They realize you’re driven by your wounds, not your values.

And your inner demons pick up that scent, like a shark smells blood in the water, and gang up on you once again.

I know what it’s like to be this way. I lived with these demons for over 34 years before I decided I’d had enough.

This is how they torment you:

“See. no one wants to be around you.”

“They know who you really are. That’s why they treat you like that.”

And what comes next is terrifying. Live with these wounds long enough and soon they turn into festering sores:

Here are 12 terrible prices you pay:

1. Deep anxiety

Others see conversations as a way to deepen a bond.

You see them as a chance to destroy everything you love.

So every interaction becomes a nightmare for you.

I used to replay all the awkward conversations that occurred during my workday in my head at night…

  • “Was I too quiet?”
  • “Did I speak too much?”
  • “Did I offend someone?”

You worry about others getting upset.

You fear that you will lose face and make a fool of yourself.

You worry that with one mistake they will no longer like you and throw you out like trash (like your parents used to do).

Guess what happens when you always think like that?

Deep anxiety becomes your shadow.

2. Feeling powerless and inadequate

Deep down, you know you play nice because you expect rewards.

They think others will like you, respect you, work with you, love you, or marry you.

But this plan doesn’t work. You don’t create much influence or impact.

So you become a victim.

You learn to see things as out of reach – so you don’t even have to try.

I saw my friends climbing the corporate and social ladder and consoled myself:

“I choose to live this way because it makes me a good person.”

It tanks your self-esteem.

It makes you feel rotten, not good enough, and unworthy of love and respect.

3. No meaningful friendships

You crave and fear friendship at the same time.

You want to open up and connect with friends. But then that feeling of being not good enough crops up.

I remember how I felt a few years back when I received a compliment from my teammate:

“If he knew how rotten I am, he wouldn’t think of even being anywhere near me. So what’s the point?”

What happens if these thoughts hound you every time?

You grow disillusioned about friendship.

4. Being taken for a ride

You’re terrified of being abandoned.

That makes saying “no” almost impossible for you. You say yes to everything, whatever the cost.

You become a juicy target for charlatans and manipulators.

From fraudulent SIM card recharges, fraudulent insurance and investment policies, to fraudulent copywriters – I’ve lost count of how many scams I’ve fallen for – before the message finally sank in.

I’m sure you can relate.

You get exploited regularly. And you despise yourself for being so gullible.

5. Attracting damaged people

You feel valued when you fulfill someone else’s needs. That makes you feel worthy for a while.

So you find out and latch on to the most damaged person around. Someone whose needs are never-ending.

You enter into a codependent mess where you enable the other in return for their approval.

I was in this dynamic with my mother for so long – till I broke free. Today we enjoy a healthy, mutually beneficial and respectful relationship.

But I know so many people never get to crawl out of this dungeon.

They ruin their chances of ever building a healthy relationship.

6. Ruined relationships

Sometimes the stars align in your favor. You get into a relationship with a regular person.

Finally, a happy ending!

Wrong.

You still secretly believe that there’s something rotten within you. So sharing their needs and wants is out of the question.

You believe your partner will abandon you if they get to know their real version.

So you overindulge your partner with romance, compliments, and service.

And when that approach inevitably fails, you turn to guilt and manipulation.

Still think there’s a happy ending?

7. Loveless marriage

Do you know what’s true hell on earth?

When you find another wounded soul – and tie the knot.

Neither of you wants to get too close.

So neither of them feels challenged or worried about their secrets being exposed.

They show happy faces in front of the world. And when there’s no one to perform for, they devolve to keeping scores and dishing out hurt.

The marriage either goes cold or goes south.

My wife and I were lucky enough to detect the telltale signs. We had those much-needed uncomfortable conversations and escaped from that prison.

But most people are not that fortunate.

8. Undisciplined and spoiled children

What happens when you become parents?

If you thought something would change, you would be disappointed.

You swap between being the best friend or the tyrant with your children.

You worry that their children will hate you. So you try to bribe them with gifts or money.

Or you become helicopter parents, trying to control everything.

You demand love from your children in return for all the “sacrifices” you have made.

The result?

Your children grow undisciplined and spoiled.

Fortunately, I have seen this dynamic play out while I was growing up. And I hated my parents for it.

So I’m mindful of not falling into the same trap with my son.

9. Loneliness and isolation

Some of you just say “screw it” and give up on friendships and relationships altogether.

Instead, you spend your days and nights working, watching TV, and indulging in video games and porn.

You still long for that deep sense of connection and intimacy.

But you imagine others as harsh, and unforgiving. You wonder if there are people even worth connecting to.

You grow alone, isolated, and bitter.

Not gonna lie – making friends is still a struggle for me.

But I’m in a much better place than I was a few years ago.

10. Stalled career

The damage is not only confined to relationships.

It leaches into your work life as well.

Every single mistake convinces you of your ruin.

So you overreact and compound the issue.

You’re kinda a pain to work with (to be blunt).

You have non-existent boundaries.

So you take up much more on your plate. You fail to deliver. And then you seethe with resentment when you get called out.

I was in this mode for so many years. I saw little or no upward mobility.

After all, those habits are not very healthy for career growth.

11. Simmering resentment and rage

Every day brings you a new disappointment – from acquaintances, friends, colleagues, partners, spouses, and even your own children.

You hate saying your needs aloud. And you hate everyone’s guts for not fulfilling those needs.

You become cynical. The disappointments and hate slowly build up. Then it morphs into resentment and anger.

It keeps simmering under the surface for a while. Then one day, it erupts out of the blue – causing hurt to everyone around.

Oh God, even today, my mind is a cringefest while writing this. So many such memories keep cropping up!

And you know the worst part? The others didn’t even have a clue why I blew up!

Then, like clockwork, comes fear, guilt, and shame. You become a doormat once again.

Until the pressure builds up.

You are doomed to repeat this cycle forever.

12. Extreme exhaustion, panic attacks, and depression

Those angry outbursts cause a mess. But they still provide an outlet.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have that. Some of you turn it all inward.

Anxiety keeps you in a perpetual fight-or-flight state. It keeps pumping cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine into your blood. It messes up your sleep, digestion, energy, and libido.

Eventually, it exhausts you and makes you feel like a husk of your true self.

Combine all that anxiety and exhaustion with feeling helpless and powerless – and the results are not pretty.

It often leads to panic attacks.

And sometimes it even leads to depression.

 

Now you know how much pain and suffering those inner thugs are inflicting on you.

But at this point, I don’t blame you if you feel dejected and overwhelmed.

You may think – how can I possibly ever get out of this rut?

You could even start to believe that you’re too far gone – damaged beyond repair.

And then you fall right into the traps laid by your inner demons.

But let me tell you – it’s not too late.

No matter how much pain you are in – that inner core (the Hindu atman or the Christian spirit) is undamaged, intact.

You just need to dig it out from under all the trauma that’s buried it.

In other words, you need to learn a bit of martial arts to fight back against the villains that live in your mind.

But as you already know – it’s not that easy.

There are a few steep hurdles that you need to overcome before you can learn this art…

The roadblocks

Lack of emotional awareness

You are afraid of your emotions.

You never flat-out say you’re angry. Or sad.

You’re afraid of the stigma or judgment that comes your way when you do that.

So you intellectualize emotions. You give them a fancy wrapper.

You say you are “weirded out”, “peeved”, or “stressed out”. But underneath, you’re not connected to what you say. You feel numb.

You deny yourself clarity and understanding.

You end up feeling more unhappy and alone.

Not understanding how thoughts and emotions work

You don’t realize how thoughts and emotions build upon each other.

It’s not your fault though. These things are not taught in school (they should be).

Instead, you believe you “shouldn’t” feel anger or sadness. As if feeling these “negative” emotions somehow makes you less than human.

You judge yourself for having normal human thoughts.

Your inner thugs pull you deeper into the hole.

Lack of boundaries

You have no concept of boundaries.

You allow others to dictate their life.

And in turn, you trample on others’ boundaries.

(It took me a long time to come term to this. It still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.)

A recipe for guilt and regret.

Disowning your shadow

You are driven by guilt – about your needs and wants, thoughts and feelings, dreams, and desires.

You have disowned everything about you that society doesn’t approve of.

But guess what?

That disowned part, that shadow, is the essence of who you are.

What happens when you reject that part of yourself?

You get disconnected from life. It becomes devoid of joy and meaning.

Not understanding the cycles of guilt and shame

Most people make good progress initially.

They start saying no. They start setting boundaries. They start facing their fears.

But after so many years, standing up for yourself feels unnatural and uncomfortable. It feels like going against the entire fiber of your being.

Then out of nowhere, comes a flood of guilt and shame. And you have no clue how to deal with it.

It feels overwhelming.

It’s easier to go back to the old comfortable yet destructive patterns.

Having unreal expectations from others

Ok, so you’ve learned these cool new techniques for being assertive and setting boundaries.

You can’t wait to set these new rules with your family. And you expect them to play by the new rules.

After all, this is a good thing that you’re trying to do, right?

Then, you’re surprised by the resistance you face from them.

(I was surprised as well by the amount of worry and resistance from my wife.)

You fail to take into account the insecurities and worries of others when you set the new rules.

You think you are doing something wrong. And then go back to your old patterns.

Focusing on tips and tricks without learning the underlying framework

You’re focussing too much on learning the tips and tricks. Without understanding how stuff works.

You are seduced by the tricks to build “genuine charisma”. You want to learn the “power moves”.

Nothing wrong with them – if you have a solid understanding of the fundamentals.

But when you try to use them as shortcuts – you fall on your face.

And end up even more, anxious, regretful, and depressed.

 

Okay, enough of the doom of gloom.

You know the high price you’re paying every day.

And you know how hamstrung you are in the battle against your mental bullies.

The climb ahead out of this hellhole is steep. It’s not going to be easy.

But, is it worth the effort?

Don’t doubt for a second – the answer is HECK YES!

Once you subdue these inner demons, you become unrecognizable.

So, let me paint a picture of what things look like at the end of this journey…

The view at the end of the trek

You start being you

“Being You” is in rage everywhere.

But what does it really mean?

It’s being able to look inward.

It’s knowing what you think, what you feel, what you want, and what you believe.

It’s being able to love, accept, and respect all that you see.

When you start doing that it comes across in your energy.

You’re able to share what you think and feel.

You are comfortable making comments, jokes, or silly responses where it warrants.

You ask for what you want to ask.

That’s when you start being the real you.

You stop judging and rejecting yourself

As you start being the real you, amazing things start to happen.

You start letting go of your shame and guilt. You start accepting your so-called “negative” traits – pettiness, anger, jealousy, greed, sexual desires – all of them. They stop being such a big deal.

You start liking yourself and even loving yourself.

You become less bothered by what others think about you.

You feel lighter, energetic, and free.

You start being at peace with yourself.

You’re less anxious

You no longer feel the need to keep everything perfect.

You no longer wait to share your views until you have sorted out your emotions.

Or until you’ve gone through 14 more self-development books.

You start feeling less anxious about being yourself, right now.

You start believing you are enough.

You stand taller

You begin to stand taller, with a more erect, yet relaxed posture. Instead of looking downwards, your head is level.

You make eye contact with people, especially with those you’re speaking to. You can hold their gaze in a relaxed, steady manner.

Your body moves in a more fluid, graceful, and natural way.

You start oozing charisma that attracts others to you like iron fillings to a magnet.

You start trusting in your power

You begin to trust in your capabilities and resourcefulness.

You choose your own direction and destiny. And you start doing whatever you need to do to get there.

You start showing up as equal to those around you, not as an inferior, or a superior.

You become a force to be reckoned with.

You speak up when you need

You become secure in who you are, so you have no trouble speaking up.

You say what needs to be said, unapologetically, while others study their shoelaces. You say what you think, ask for what you want, and speak your truth.

You do that in social settings, in your intimate relationships, and at work. You do that even when it feels uncomfortable.

And as you do that, you earn respect and admiration from others.

You start standing out

You stop letting guilt and fear motivate you. Instead, you start tapping into deeper sources…

Inspiration. Excitement. Passion.

Love. Contribution.

Purpose.

And guess what happens when you do that?

You break free from the herd.

You dare to do what others won’t do because they are still clinging to safety and certainty.

You start standing out.

You connect with others to know them not to please them

When you walk to them this is what you radiate…

“I’m here.

I am solid and grounded. I know who I am.

I know what I am after. I know what I like and what I don’t like.

I like who I am.”

From this secure place, you turn to others with curiosity…

“Who are you?

What do you really like?

Who are you beneath that mask?”

You share who you are, enjoy yourself, and discover who that person in front of you is.

You no longer look to please others. You connect just to have fun.

People like and approve of you more

Do you know the paradox of being addicted to others’ approval?

Once you get rid of it, people start liking you more.

You will start getting the approval you’ve always craved.

You attract them with ease and effortlessness. They are naturally drawn to you.

And this time – you know it’s for real.

You start getting everything that you ever wanted out of life

Soon, there will be a day when you wake up and realize you have mastered this mental jujutsu.

You start to defeat the bullies of your mind at ease.

Sometimes you don’t even need to fight them. You see through them for what they are – loving protectors who have turned on you in their overzealous bid to protect you.

When you realize that and see them through the eyes of compassion – they disintegrate.

You now have a never-ending well of courage and boldness. And it helps you reach out for everything that you have ever wanted out of life.

You apply for that dream job. You ask for that promotion. You ask out the woman of your dreams.

You start getting respect, status, and influence – though at this point they don’t even seem to matter.

Because you realize you’ve arrived at where you were meant to be.

I experienced this during my journey as well.

I started believing in my right to look out for myself first. I stopped giving in to requests that didn’t serve my interests.

I began to win my own approval.

I thought that my newfound self-respect and boundaries would push people away.

But instead of that, I started to receive the respect and appreciation I always craved.

Today, I feel closest ever to my family. My relationship with my wife feels more satisfying and fulfilling than ever.

At work, I always used to keep my head down, never asking for a raise or a promotion. Today I’m in a leadership role, delivering stellar results, and appreciated by my bosses and clients.

 

 

I used to be a recluse with only a few friends. Today, my life feels fulfilling with friends and connections all over the world.

I’m at complete peace with myself and comfortable in my skin. I’m no longer afraid to speak up. I can be my authentic self in any company.

I’ve built audacious dreams for myself and I’m working towards them every day. My life feels rich and thriving.

And it’s not just me.

With my methods, my clients could bring similar transformations in their lives as well…

Today, my client Nash enjoys an amazing relationship with his extended family – completely on his terms.

He has learned how to overcome his intrusive thoughts, his cognitive distortions, and his tendency to always put others first.

He is now able to stay kind and empathetic without compromising his well-being.

My client Todd has learned to defeat his anxieties, fears, and harsh inner critic. Free from their caustic effect, he has begun to put his most authentic self out to the world.

He started receiving compliments from his girlfriend, his parents, and his loved ones. He began to stand out at his work as well.

He no longer feels the need to betray himself to connect with others.

So how do you get to this stage?

How do you bring the transformation as my clients and I did?

How do you learn how to defeat your inner thugs and bullies?

Since you made it till here – you’re serious about this. So I’m not going to leave you high and dry here.

I’m going to give you the exact, step-by-step system I take my clients through to transform them into mental Jedi warriors.

Feel free to adopt it as it is, or adapt it as per your needs…

The 7-Step System to become mental Jedi warriors

The basic framework is the same, but  we change the implementation depending on a few things:

  1. How assertive you are, to begin with?
  2. How much does anxiety impact your day-to-day life?
  3. What kind of negative thought patterns do you have?

So here’s what the framework looks like:

1. Setting goals and getting started

The first week is the heavy lifting week.

As soon as a client is onboarded, we go into data collection and assessment mode.

We figure out their level of assertiveness, anxiety levels, and the pattern of negative thoughts.

You refocus their thoughts on things they’re good at.

We assess six core areas of their life:

  1. Relationships
  2. Professional life
  3. Meaning and purpose
  4. Health
  5. Relaxation
  6. Day-to-day domestic routine

And finally, we figure out and agree upon the explicit and underlying goals, so that we can measure progress.

This can be your starting point.

2. Changing behaviors

Your values are what drive you.

So get clear on them and then plan activities that will help you stay aligned with them.

This is a crucial step to ensure that your days feel meaningful and satisfactory.

Most people regress here. They neglect this, seek other means of dopamine hits, and get derailed.

So you need to nail this step.

This in turn will give you the mental energy you need for what’s coming next.

3. Identifying thought patterns

Now we are done with the legwork and ready to dive deep.

Understand what emotions really are and how your thoughts affect them.

Then start to uncover your thought patterns and keep tabs on them.

This is the first step to becoming aware of them.

And everything starts with awareness.

4. Breaking negative thought patterns

This part is the crux of the 7-Step System.

By now you are aware of what’s going on in your mind.

You’ve started to notice the problems with your thoughts. Maybe they are not 100% correct or maybe they tend to exaggerate things.

These faulty thought patterns are known as cognitive distortions.

You need to work towards identifying those patterns and breaking them.

Examine the thought patterns. Identify the core beliefs and fears.

Then get rid of the patterns that don’t help you and choose the ones that make more sense instead.

This is where life-changing breakthroughs happen.

5. Develop skills

At this point, you have worked towards aligning your behavior with your values.

You have uncovered your faulty thought patterns.

And you have started to replace them with meaningful ones.

Now it’s time to focus on 5 key skills and prepare for facing the real world.

  • How to say what you need to say without becoming too aggressive or too passive.
  • How to stay grounded without being flooded with emotions during difficult conversations
  • How to stay kind and compassionate with yourself when you mess up
  • How to handle the backlash from the people close to you. who will be freaking out because of your changes
  • How to set and enforce better boundaries

6. Facing fears

The key to freedom from your mental bullies is to teach yourself how to face your deepest fears.

You have already uncovered them in section 4.

Now you face them.

Understand your nature of fear.

And then you create a hierarchy of fear – ranging from ones that feel like a walk in the park to the ones about which even thinking is difficult for you.

And then you work your way up that ladder.

7. Tying everything up

At this point, you would have developed some key habits and skills.

And you should be already starting to see some amazing changes in your life.

More confidence, less anxiety, and more admiration from family and friends.

So now it’s time to look back and see what worked the best, and where you still need some tweaks.

Every human being is unique. What works well for someone, may not work for you.

This is when a daily journaling habit really comes in handy.

Look back. Double down on what worked. Get rid of what didn’t.

 

Now you know all the moves.

You’re not helpless anymore when facing those mental thugs and bullies.

You have got the tools, strategies, and techniques to pick yourself up, calm down, and get back on track.

All you need to do is practice these moves, use them, and learn as you go. Keep doing them until you’ve got them down pat.

Pretty soon, you’ll be standing strong against those bullies. Then, you’ll start beating them.

And then one day, they will turn into your friends again, as they were meant to be.

What happens then?

Your mind becomes an asset instead of a liability.

When you go after what you want – that job, that promotion, or asking your soulmate to marry you – your mind will offer a helping hand instead of dragging you down.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

I get it if this all seems a bit much and hard to grasp. It’s not a walk in the park.

But I’m here to lend a hand and guide you.

If you want this kind of transformation in your life – book a call here. Let’s see if we click.

Even if you’re not ready for that step, don’t ignore what you’ve learned.

Go over the sections about the bloodstains and roadblocks again.

Try to get rid of just one from your life. Then, build on that success.

That’s the way.

You’ve lived in the shadows for too long. Don’t let your inner demons hold you hostage any longer.

It’s time to reclaim your life.