The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, September 30, 2011

Principle #007: The ability to Bond

Well, actually principle seven was stated as:

"The ability to create healthy bonded teams of allies to reach those goals unreachable by an individual. The ability to create a primary bond with another adult, equal human being."

This relates to the Lifewriting process in so many different ways. In business, you simply cannot achieve success of any magnitude without strategic partnerships with others. In fitness, we need coaches, teammates and sources of inspiration and information. In our personal lives...well, a loving relationships demands the cooperation of at least one other person.

One of the toughest things for people to grasp is that there is a connection between who you are and who you associate with. If you want to know how far you will go in life, add up the quality of your top 5 associates: you'll be right in the middle of the pack.

In relationships: look at what you are attracting, and you'll see a mirror of your perceived value in the world. If you LOVE the way these two measures reflect, give yourself a pat on the back. If you don't like it, there is work to do.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Principle #6: Postponing Gratification

Principle #6: Postponing gratification

Specifically, the ability to postpone gratification, to move toward a worthy goal in an incremental fashion.

Human beings and insects are both programmed to move away from pain and toward pleasure. This is great for children, who have to learn not to play with knives, and to seek the source of food. But as we get older, the same pleasure-pain principle can motivate us to eat too many sweets, avoid homework, or neglect exercise.

The ability to understand that short-term pain (balancing the checkbook) or denial (controlling food intake) leads to long-term pleasure, and that short-term pleasure (smoking) can learn to long-term agony (lung cancer) is critical to the process of maturation.

The level beyond that is rather fascinating: real masters in any discipline actually find a way to take pleasure in things that most of us avoid like the plague: endless repetition, grueling work schedules, unyielding discipline. They take pleasure in accepting strain that others reject. They visualize their rivals getting up at 6am, so they get up at 5:30. They write every day, and glory in being the kind of person who can "gut it out" when the discipline is brain-twisting. They give to their families, and in their relationships, even when it hurts, taking pleasure in the fact that they can go further, and deeper, for their loved ones than anyone they know.

These people are frightening, and inspiring, to watch. I can promise you that almost every human being you have ever admired has this capacity...and you can have it as well.

October Diamond Hour show!
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Subject: Creativity

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"If you start something today, finish it today. Tomorrow is another world."--
Sakai Yusai

"If I had more (your goal here)..."

Reading over Day Nine of the NEW 101 Program, dealing with tripling your energy, I remembered one of the greatest barriers to increasing the "juice" in your life--fear.

John, one of my clients had been complaining about lack of time to accomplish his goals. After fifteen minutes of careful investigation, he admitted that he didn't want more money, because if he had more, his family would just demand more from him. Trish, a female client, had once admitted that she didn't want to lose weight, because the wrong men would just be attracted to her. And after weeks of insisting that he "didn't have time" for relationships, Mark, a third client, confessed that he'd had his heart broken repeatedly, and was afraid to try again.

While I've changed the named, the stories, as they say, are absolutely true. On the surface, excuses about "I can't" "they won't" and "there aren't." Underneath, destructive as a river of lava, is "I'm afraid." Mark is afraid that he can't protect himself from unreasonable demands. Mark and Trish that they haven't the judgement to choose honest and sincere relationships. These people have given their power away to the world.

There has to be a part of you that is a savage, unyielding protector of your right to be happy and healthy. A "Guardian at the gate" that will admit NO ONE to your heart who does not wish you well. If you don't have that backbone, find someone who does and model HER beliefs, values, and actions.

You have the right to be happy, healthy, and successful. You have the right to love. Anyone who tells you different is lying to you. And if that's a voice in your own head...whose voice is it? I promise you, it isn't you.

You're the one LISTENING to the voices. Get the joke. Claim your power!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Cell Phone Diet

I'm having great fun with the 101 Program--I'm just going over five pages every day, choosing a paragraph at random, and expanding for the notes I send you guys.

On DAY TWO I briefly discuss the simplest, easiest "diet" you can imagine: to use your cell phone's camera to take a picture of everything you eat. EVERYTHING. Can't handle that? Then do it "intermittent" fashion--do this every other day.

Here's the trick: you will run right smack dab into your death drive, the part of you that WANTS you to neglect your health, to deteriorate, to "get out of the way" and make room for the next generation. Frightening how powerful it is.

You see, this is a mindfulness exercise, forcing you to align your conscious and unconscious minds. Eating can be as automatic as walking or breathing, and unless your habits are 100% aligned with your values and goals (and who the heck can say THAT?) It is critical to consciously examine a sufficient sample of your dietary intake, and be certain that it is working for you: eat to REPAIR from yesterday's work, and PREPARE for tomorrow's.

Do this, and you'll hop onto an endless spiral of growth. Understand that "nutrition" also applies to good reading and good company...and you've glimpsed a larger, better world.

What is fitness? Feel good, look good, and have enough energy to work hard all week and party on the weekend!

Success is not measured by where you are but the distance you've traveled.

~Rita Davenport

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Men and Women Want

Some years ago, an old college friend complained to me that he couldn't get a girlfriend. "What's wrong?" He asked. I asked him what he felt he had to offer a woman. 'I'm kind," he said. "Loyal. A good listener. I care."

I felt bad for having to say this, but I did: "She can get all of that from one of her girlfriends,"
I said. "What do you offer her she can't get there?"

This was a hard one, and it was hard for me to grasp when I first became interested in girls: the rules for boy-girl relationships were different from the rules for friendships. Further, the rules for girls were different from the rules for boys. What men want from women is critically different from what women want from men, typically, and throughout history and around the world.

Understand this, and relationships are easy. Miss this, and you can flounder endlessly. I was reminded of this as I looked at Day Sixty-Three of the 101 PROGRAM, discussing the secret I call the Beauty-Power Axis. So simple, so powerful, so politically incorrect. And so damned accurate!


Now, I'm not necessarily suggesting that you accept MY point of view on what makes relationships work. But it is critical that you have YOUR point of view. What are we as a species? As men and women? What do we want from each other? What are the common elements that make relationships work?

Once you have a theory, look at the relationships around you. If you can't find a good one to observe, that says something about YOU, not the world. There are plenty of happy relationships that have lasted a lifetime. Study them. Find the common rules, principles and values underlying them.

And then...apply those understandings to your own life!


"(The 101 program) has had an amazing impact on my work life. Simply, I laugh a lot more, good laughter, seeing the humor in the often frantic, Dilbert-esque world."--Pete Shult

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Submission agreements

A note from a reader yesterday...


Dear Steve,

I've written you before though you may not recall! :) Well, after a crazed year's worth of commitment to my novel I'm finally ready to take the agent plunge--but find myself drowning in my own sea of research.

I'm concerned as the agent I have targeted works for XXX, which state on their website that queries from unpublished authors will be disregarded if failing to sign a submission terms agreement. I've never heard the agent herself indicate this, her guidelines ask simply for synopsis & the first five. She does link to her personal page on the site, though. Hmm.

This "terms agreement" states "I understand that XXX has access to materials and ideas that may be similar to my Material in theme, idea, plot or format. I understand that I will not be entitled to compensation because of the use of any such similar or identical material if such material is created independently by XXX or its clients."

So, should I sign or not? My worry is likely unwarranted, but just to be sure!

Might you have any recommendations for me yourself? My work is a lyric teen fairytale fantasy with a commercial vibe. If you have any reliable, generative suggestions God bless you!


Well, that submission agreement sounds reasonable--they're trying to protect themselves. However, I ALWAYS recommend that new writers start with short stories, for a variety of reasons. Until you've published, and been PAID, for at least five short stories, you aren't ready to tackle a novel. And yes, whatever reasons you have for not doing so, I've heard 'em before!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Simple Things

My daughter Nicki will be arriving at Atlanta airport in 2 1/2 hours. It is absurd how important this is, how happy I am that she'll be here even for a few days. My family is the highest value in my life, and when I can't connect with them, I go a little crazy.

I wouldn't change that, because that clarity has prevented me from making some pretty serious mistakes in judgement. Looking forward, there were times in my past when it seemed that my obligations limited me. But looking back...they were the precisely right decisions, if I wanted to live an honorable life.

Nicki and I love each other. It couldn't be simpler. And sometimes, simple things are the very very best.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Principle #5: Ignoring the voices in your head

Principle #5) The ability to take action despite the “noise” of internal voices, if those actions are in alignment with deeply held values and beliefs.

Excellent. Important. On DAY FORTY-EIGHT of the 101 Program, I discuss the "Piering Principles," wisdom gained from a remarkable man named Tim Piering--teacher, martial artist, family man, entrepreneur and an awake, adult human being (such a rarity). A font of wisdom who has trained deeply in dozens of different transformative technologies, he boils success down to two factors:

1) Well defined, written goals and plans for their accomplishment.

2) The ability to take action despite the voices in your head.

These voices, what author Lonnie Athens calls our "internal community" represent every teacher and authority figure we have ever known. When their voices support us in feeling powerful and acting righteously...great. When they drain our energy and trigger fear, guilt, blame, or shame...we must learn to function despite their howls.

The voices are there, whether you notice them or not. Unless you are "perfection" (unattainable!) in both physical fitness, personal relationships AND your career and financial choices, I can promise that those voices are alive and well.

What do YOU do to repress yours?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Family Around The World

We had a huge day yesterday launching the new ROUTE 101 program. Whether you purchased it yesterday, or are waiting a while, be sure to sign up for the community board, where I brainstorm with you, and answer questions about body, mind, spirit, and writing:

"They say that you can't deeply look at something without changing it. Once I began investigating and organizing myself using the 101, I began to sort-out and reintegrate my body, soul, and connections to the world.
"The new-er me sees the world in a bright way, as I've learned to see some of the great ideas that dwell in us all.
"101 was a sort of spackle for my whole being, letting me repair and fill in the cracks in myself. Since almost everyone has similar cracks, I now feel a deeper connection to everyone around me."--Adam Crafter


One of the things I love about creating this program are the people I've been able to help. It feels like I have family spread all over the world. Just sent a FREE copy of the program to a student in South Africa who is mired in poverty:

"I'm a 22 yr old guy living in a rural area in South Africa. I'm staying in a single parent family of 9 people that depends on a meagre childsupport grant...We're really struggling 2 make ends meet as there's no 1 having a paid employment in the family."

Can't wait to see what he does with the program!

1) The first thing he needs to do is get clear on what he wants--probably to escape that poverty and provide a good, stable home to his family (Day One)

He'll learn all about that on Day One. Then I'd suggest that he will be best served by creating a daily ritual to maximize the quality and quantity of his actions (Day 21) and identifying someone who has overcome the same types of obstacles he himself faces (Day 32).

There's so much more in this 300+ page monster, can't even begin to scratch the surface!


But let's take a look at that third aspect: IDENTIFY SOMEONE WHO HAS OVERCOME OBSTACLES SIMILAR TO YOUR OWN. Someone who ethically, legally and (if possible) joyously evolved, changed, innovated: created a new life. You'll need to identify this person's beliefs, strategies, and physical actions, and then model them to the best of your ability.

If you cannot find such a person, then you simply need to start with the goal of doubling your energy, creativity, problem-solving and personal efficiency, and then doubling it again, and yet again...trying a new strategy every week, until you have solved your problem. "The only thing we cannot overcome is death itself"--Sijo Steve Muhammad.

101 Program

Brainstorm, support and be supported: body, mind, spirit, and writing:
The 101 Board! Totally free: Sign up!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Principle #4: A knowledge of past actions (positive and negative) without that knowledge limiting future options.

The discipline of Hawaiian Huna suggests that we cling to negative emotions until we've learned the important lessons...and realize that we have. In other words, if you were bitten by a dog as a child, it is reasonable to feel fear until a deeper understanding of animal behavior, or evaluating the length of collar chains, is attained.

So fear, guilt, grief, anger...all of these emotions exist to force us to PAY ATTENTION to something that has occurred, or something in danger of occurring in the future. As long as we are asleep to our actions, thoughts and values, it is appropriate for these emotions to remain. One of the keys to releasing negativity, in other words, is to LEARN THE LESSONS.

In bad relationships, shattered economic "opportunities", injurious sports events...if you can extract the critical lessons, you can release the negative emotions, which are there only to protect you.

How can you (or any character you are writing about) re-interpret past or current events, their own capacities or those of others, to release fear, blame, guilt, or shame? What would you or a loved one have to learn, how would you have to grow to leave the pain behind and embrace both present and future?



"I've learned more from Steve Barnes, in the more than twenty years I've known him, than from any other man besides my own father. The clarity of his thinking and teaching is unparalleled in my experience, his honesty is unusual, and what he teaches, he lives. This is a man who walks the walk. I've never met, and doubt I ever will meet, another teacher whose judgment makes me rethink my own on such a regular basis." Dan Moran, Author The Long Run

TODAY is the day I've been building toward for three years...hundreds of test students...thousands of questions and answers.

The 101 Program is now available at a special price. One hundred and One days of the most intense, balanced, amazing personal work ever compiled. Body, Mind, Spirit, and Success...all in one package. Go to

(right now and order your copy...get on the road to your perfect life...get on ROUTE 101!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"The great tragedy of the average man is that he goes to his grave with his music still in him"--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Law of Requisite Variety

Tananarive came home from a trip to New York, with the news that our editor Malaika Adero, wants to split "Devil's Wake" into two books. I've never had to do that. Keep you posted on what that actually means in terms of structure and work.

When T. told me about this, she was apprehensive about how I'd react. Well, there are automatic difficulties, trying to make sure that each chunk of book stands sufficiently on its own to satisfy readers, for instance. Will we replace deleted material? Create new? Expand current scenes? Create new ones?

So many decisions. And each of them will be dependent upon underlying values and beliefs concerning writing and career, art and commerce. Once again, it's bob and weave time.

There is a principle called the Law of Requisite Variety, which states that '...the greater the variety within a system, the greater its ability to reduce variety in its environment through regulation.'

In layman's terms: in a system of interaction (i.e. between individual human beings) the part of the system with the greatest flexibility in it's behaviours will control the system.

In other words, rigidity is death. If I can be creative enough, flexible enough, relaxed enough about this entire process, we can make the book not only better and more satisfying, but better for our publisher, which creates a positive spiral of trust and mutual support.

How often does a character in your writing need to develop greater perceptual, emotional or even physical flexibility? How often does lack of flexibility in your own life diminish your results? Yogis like to say that the flexibility of your spine mirrors other aspects of your personality--that we store tensions in our muscles, especially our backs. To what degree is this true in your observations?

Just some things to think about.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Principle #3: The capacity to believe in Self deeply

Principle #3: The capacity to believe in Self deeply

Whew! New week, and new opportunity to move forward. And in two days, I'm going to be launching something I've been preparing for for three years.

I can't believe I waited so long to do it, but the reason relates to Principle #3. We all have damage in our hearts, and we all have strengths. I've spent a lifetime seeking to understand both.

Over the last twenty years, I've taught aspects of this material as "Lifewriting", "The Hero's Journey" and other forms, but three years ago I created the "101 Program"--a 101 day program to totally transform people's lives. My Sufi master co-conspirator and I tested it on literally HUNDREDS of people. The risk was in allowing a special test group to have access for free. But despite the fact that business "experts" advised me against it, and told me I could charge over a THOUSAND DOLLARS for this material, I wanted to be absolutely certain that the approach would work. No one had ever created a virtual "encyclopedia" of personal development. It was a risk, but one we were willing to take.

Did it work?
Here's just one comment: "It changed my life. It SAVED my life"--LaVeda Mason

Wow! When you get comments like that (and I've got a huge file of them) you know you're heading in the right direction. I had to trust myself. Had to believe in myself. My SELF. Regardless of my flaws and frailties, my doubts and fears, I had to believe that the basic person I am, the basic path I've walked, is one I can trust.

Do YOU have that kind of faith in yourself? If not, you don't have the bed-rock to stand on.

"Give me a fulcrum and a lever long enough, and I will move the world"--Archimedes. What does this mean to you? The lever is your clear goals and sustained efforts, focused over time. But the fulcrum is your belief in yourself, clear and bright and hard.

Concentrate on these two things: clarity and Self-confidence. Constant action. If you can sustain these, you, like Archimedes, can move the world.

How long? Well, how about...101 days, for instance..?

In two days, your life is going to change.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Diamond Hour show!
Sat. Sept 17 1:00 PM Pacific
(4:00 PM Eastern)
(724) 444-7444
Subject: healing emotions

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Diamond Hour show!
Sat. Sept 17 1:00 PM Pacific (4:00 PM Eastern)
(724) 444-7444

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The most difficult things are:
1) Returning love for hate
2) Including the excluded
3)Admitting that you were wrong
---Sidney Harris

"Loneliness is not cured by human company. Loneliness is cured by contact with reality."--Anthony Demello.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.

~Stephen R. Covey

"You will become as small as your controlling desire, as great as your dominant aspiration"--James Allan "As A Man Thinketh."

To accept responsibility without falling into guilt, blame, or shame is a tightrope most cannot navigate...but which leads to Mastery.

"The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set"--James Allan

"The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors. That which it loves and also that which it fears."--James Allan, "As A Man Thinketh."

Friday, September 02, 2011

"I do not fear the man who practices 10,000 kicks one time. I fear the man who practices one kick 10,000 times"--Bruce Lee

Thursday, September 01, 2011

People who say "just get over it" are usually lying to themselves. Wounds take longer to heal than they took to inflict.