The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, December 18, 2004

H.J. #5 part III

Gathering Allies and Powers.
Remember: if you currently had the skills necessary to accomplish your goal, you'd probably already have it.  What you have to do is to determine the skill and resources you currently have, figure out the skills and resources necessary to reach your goal, subtract the first from the second, and what you have is the skill set you must acquire to hit the mark.  Divide this into chunks small enough to eat one forkful at a time (increasing skills and improvements by 1% per week) and you have a terrific recipe for sustained success.
The best way to gain a skill is to find 3 people who already have the skill.  Study them or interview them, and find out what they do to excell.  Make a list of these things, noting especially (for you NLP folks) their
1) Belief systems ("I can write.  Writing is good.  I can succeed at this." etc)
2) Mental Syntax ("I outline before I write.  I re-write only to editorial request" etc)
3) Use of physiology (Applying butt to chair.  Touch-typing.  No drugs or alcohol during work time. etc.)

Now...and here is a really important part.  Look especially hard at what ALL THREE HAVE IN COMMON.  This stuff, the beliefs, habits of mind, and actions that recur over and over again are what might be called the "Critical Path", the things that you MUST do to succeed.  Pay even more careful attention to what these people do in comparison with those who fail in the same endeavors.  Folks, success leaves clues.  People with healthy relationships have different beliefs and behaviors than those in failed relationships.  People with healthy careers take different actions and have different thought patterns than those who live unhappy, marginal lives.  And those with healthy, sexy bodies take different actions and have different emotional sets from those who don't live up to their own standards.  PAY ATTENTION.  This is called gaining sensory acuity, becoming aware of the reality map. 
Pay very very careful attention to the next sentence: A MAP IS ONLY USEFUL IF YOU KNOW TWO THINGS: FIRST, WHERE YOU ARE GOING.  SECOND, WHERE YOU CURRENTLY ARE.  Friends, if you lack either of these, you are well and truly screwed.  The only way to know where you are, REALLY are, with the minimal chance of self-deception, is to take responsibility in all three arenas.  To say: I created my relationships, for good or ill.  I created my body, for good or ill.  I created my career, for good or ill.  Doing this accomplishes something fantastic: it allows you to use the visible to access the invisible.  It opens a doorway to the inner world.
For writers: you now have a tool that will take you more deeply into character than 99% of writers are willing to go.  If you are strong enough to look unflinchingly at your own positive and negative aspects in ALL THREE arenas, you will learn more about psychology than most therapists know.  Further, you balance on the edge of what I call "Mind Reading"--the ability to just look at someone and know where they're coming from.  To never be lied to again.  Never decieved. The price is embarassing, painful honesty with yourself.  Let me promise you: it's worth the cost.

1 comment:

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