Surprising Lessons from an $11,000 Chair

I was on the cusp of purchasing my dream massage chair this weekend. Ever since I set foot in the Bodo Store in Calgary back in 2009, I had fell in love with this amazing space-ship of a massage chair: The Inada Sogno Dreamwave. Top of the line in the world of robotic massage chairs,its precision and the massage it delivers puts it on a whole new level from everything else in the industry. The problem was that it was $7,000. It’s hard for me to part with $700, let alone $7,000 on something so frivolous on myself. So it took a little spot in the back of my mind.



Fast forward almost 10 years later, I was casually shopping on kijiji… (I like to do that sometimes… just to see what’s out there for grabs.)… when lo and behold, I chanced across a pristine looking massage chair, exactly the brand and model that I planted in my mind several years back. Only now, instead of being $7k, the MSRP is $11k. This one was 3 years old. Its owner was mid-relocation and had put it up for sale. He priced it to sell at $3,500. Score! I was so very excited. We went back and forth a little and finally came to an agreed $3,000. We were going to pick it up immediately.

He supplied his address, which immediately raised a weird flag (not necessarily red). He lived in a somewhat dodgy part of town. Whatever, I was trying not to judge a book by its cover. Perhaps it was newly renovated. Perhaps he just moved here temporarily. Perhaps he didn’t know.

We arrived. He let us in. As Lawrence and I speculated, based on his English in the ad, he was Asian. Shirt half tucked in. Hair scraggly, although he was smiley with a pleasant demeanour. We followed him up to his apartment. Loud heavy-metal blasting from the another unit down the hall. He unlocked the door to his unit to reveal….

… an absolute royal mess. “Oh, keep your shoes on.” (Yea. No sh*t we’ll keep our shoes on. I took a mental note. This is what happens when you don’t teach your kid to clean up after himself. Note to self. Teach Zane to be tidy. Also. Clean your house.)


So here begins the entire point of this post. It’s noble to say that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s gallant to say that the clothes don’t make the man. In fact, we think it’s superficial when we see others sizing people upaccording their appearance.

The chair was in great condition, except for a slight fray in the cord connecting the remote control.

Needless to say, I left the apartment with an overwhelming urge to clean my own house.

Right. Let’s get to the part where you care.


Your Outer World Reflects Your Inner World

I have never been of the opinion that the clothes make the man. I myself have been seen wearing Lululemon to the office. I still don’t believe in judging people by their appearances. However, there is truth in knowing your external world reflects your internal world. I am a firm believer in this: If you want to peer into the mind of the individual, look at how he lives.

In the words of T.Harv Eker, “Thoughts lead to feelings. Feelings lead to actions. Actions lead to results.” Given that our outer world is an extension of our inner world, our thoughts are very much a reflection of our inner world. How we live very much indicates how we think. The two cannot be separate.




So what?

So, I guess, if you’re happy with how you live, and where you are right now, and how you think, you have nothing to work on. You can stop paying attention right now. But if for whatever reason you know you capable of more in your life… if you’re not happy with where you are… if you’re want to make that leap of faith to the next level of your career, your finances, your health.. you might want to pay attention to these:

1. De-Clutter your Space; Clear Your Mind

The queen of De-clutter has got to be Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up.” It was all the rage last year. Marie gives various pieces of advice in applying Japanese tidying techniques that would create a positive impact on your life. It obviously works. From filing your closet, to de-cluttering by category instead of by room, Marie’s techniques has a profound effect on clearing your space and mind of junk.

I personally discovered that when I have too much stuff in my possession or too much stuff going on in my life, I start losing stuff. I start misplacing my keys, my phone… I just can’t keep track of it all. That’s when I get the message. I need to de-clutter my life. And guess what? It all starts with de-cluttering the physical space around me.


2. Grooming is More Important than Style

There are just too few people in the IT world who understand this. Let’s face it. It’s easy for consultants to dress well. By dressing well, I mean to acquire a collection of brand-named wardrobe isn’t a difficult feat. Consulting and discretionary income are usually synonymous. However, where we seem to differ is in the grooming. This, I’m afraid, is independent on how much you spend on your sweater. Knowing that it’s human nature to judge a book by its cover, it matters not an iota what brands you wear, but how your wear it. The message and confidence that you convey how well your clothes fit you. It’s whether or not you do your hair in the morning. Hell, it’s whether or not you shower daily.

I remember I had a meeting in an enclosed room with our project team. Everything was fine until this dude walked in. Immediately it was like we hit a thick wall of pungency. I looked longingly at the open door, kicking myself for not sitting close to the only source of fresh air. Then, the unthinkable happened. The PM shut the door. Our fates were sealed. I don’t remember what went on in that meeting, aside from the fact that my eyes were watering. When the meeting adjourned, the bunch of us exited ever so slightly faster silently gasping for a breath of fresh air.

So yes, shower daily. I can’t believe I even have to bring it up as an issue. Geez, people.

3. Strong Posture Completes the Outfit

If I’m going to talk about grooming and how we dress, we have to throw posture into the mix. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that 95% of people have bad posture. When you see a person with good posture, you tend to almost sit up straighter yourself. Even interacting with the person makes you feel a little more awake.

My favourite cue when teaching my fitness class is “Shoulders rolled back. Pressed down. Lift the sternum. Lift the chin.” When you do that, you automatically feel that your tummy is tucked in ever so slightly.  Engage the abdominals. Your physical appearance extends beyond what you hang on your body. It applies to how your carry yourself. It applies to your posture.

Interestingly enough, when you pay attention to your posture, you feel taller. You feel fitter. You feel better looking. People notice it in you. They treat you differently. You then see it in their eyes, and the reciprocation continues elevating.




Back to the chair vendor. He seems a nice enough fellow. Despite the environment, we struck a deal that worked for the both of us. We brought it home. After wiping it down (really well ….with soapy water), it’s the now new highlight of our bedtime routine.

Also published on Medium.


  • James Morrissey

    Reply Reply October 12, 2017

    Cat, I love this post. I had a mentor when I started my business who said job number one is to make your bed before you leave for the day. It sets the tone for the day and it is a comfort for the evening.

    And I subscribe to Marie Kondo as my sock drawer will tell you. I also gave away most of my clothes since I didn’t love them.

    • Cat Lam

      Reply Reply November 22, 2017

      I’m so glad, James! Looking forward to catching up with you in December!! We have lots to talk about!!!

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