Once, when I was an aspiring screenwriter living in Los Angeles, I went to see a movie.

I got there early, bought a ticket, and wandered around the mall looking into stores to kill time. I was a film student back then, and this was in the middle of the workday for people with jobs. I didn’t have one at the time, or the faintest prospect of one. Milling around the shopping mall were people like me — indigents, layabouts — and infants and geriatrics and the people who were being paid to take care of them.

It may seem like having a lot of free time with nothing to do should be, at the very least, an inexpensive lifestyle. I have found the opposite to be true. For instance, in the mall that day, I saw this really cool leather jacket in a store. It was four hundred dollars, a lot of money now but an insane amount back then, and roughly about four hundred dollars more than I had.

Of course, I bought it.

On credit, naturally, because I was young and was certain that my situation 28 days in the future was going to be so very different and so very prosperous that, if you thought about it correctly, I’d be a fool not to buy a leather jacket that I didn’t need and couldn’t afford but looked cool in.

"Something is about to happen to me," I told myself, "and that something is going to be great. Buy the jacket. Take the chance. Trust that something great is going to happen."

I remember sitting in the movie theater wearing the jacket, the smell of the leather — I’ve forgotten the name of the movie — and never once did my mind enter what we might call “the reality space.”

What happens in 28 days if nothing great happens? What happens if next month is like this month? I go to writing classes, I work on my screenplays, I stare out into the middle distance, and I go to movies during the day? I did not ask myself these questions. I was 24. I didn’t know I was supposed to ask those questions.

As it turned out, good things happened. A few weeks after I bought the jacket, I got my first job as a television scriptwriter. When the bill for the jacket came, I had enough to pay it off with some left over, which was a new sensation for me.

So, the moral of this story is, if you want something great to happen in your life, first, you have to make sure you’re overextended and almost broke and your back is against the wall.

Wait. That’s a terrible moral. That’s not it at all.

The moral is, you don’t need to buy the jacket. Putting yourself in financial jeopardy doesn’t create good career or life karma. If anything, it creates a deep and gnawing sense of desperation. A more prudent and thoughtful thing to do, when I was wandering around the mall waiting for the movie to begin, would have been to sit quietly and jot down notes on a script I was working on.

Despite my personal experience buying something I could not afford, putting it on credit, and then miraculously having the funds to pay for it a few weeks later, the best advice I can give you is, don’t do this. Even though it worked for me.

It could very easily have gone the other way — panic, dunning phone calls, that sort of thing. In my case, as noted, it didn’t. But it could have.

"Trust the universe" is something we say when we want to give ourselves permission to do something financially or emotionally or physically stupid. The worst thing that can happen, in some ways, is to have your idiot superstitions proved correct. For years after I bought that jacket, I nursed the idea that making big, reckless purchases somehow inspired good things to come my way.

Spoiler alert: They don’t. Although I still have the jacket, and every now and then, I put it on — yes, it still fits — and remember that afternoon when everything seemed possible and nothing seemed scary. It feels good to remember that. And when you amortize the number of times I’ve felt good putting it on over the decades of ownership, the cost of the jacket ends up being so incredibly cheap that I’d have been a fool not to buy it.

Rob Long is a television writer and producer and the co-founder of Ricochet.com.