The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Denial or a “Winner”?

Listening to Hillary and her people discounting the importance of Obama’s wins makes me wonder what’s being said behind closed doors. In all seriousness, I believe that what we’re seeing here is the mind-set of a winner, someone who can shut out a negative result at half-time and rally the team to go out and kick butt in the second half.

On the other hand, it also reminds me of what feels like the same blindness inflicting Bush on Iraq. No matter what the news, happiness is “just around the corner.” Now in Iraq, this attitude will allow Republicans to blame Democrats for “cutting and running” when success could have been attained in just another little “surge.” On the other hand, winners don’t quit. On the other hand, winning in a GAME means playing by rules, while in life, you can define the situation more fluidly—winning the “War on Terror” doesn’t exactly equate to “winning in Iraq”—and even if it did, the definition of “winning in Iraq” is open to fluid definition as well—if the kids on the school yard insist that you haven’t “won” a game until you beat them by 100 points, you don’t have to agree.

At any rate, I’m not sure that her attitude isn’t just that of a born fighter and winner. But it can’t be comfortable to be Hillary Clinton right now, having had a goal for decades, tolerated a cheating husband to keep that goal in sight, and now see it on the cusp of being wrenched away by the greatest natural politician I’ve ever seen in my life. And possibly the smartest. Nobody could have seen Barack coming. What a show.

The question of the day is: What does winning mean to you?
“Seven Secrets.” I’ve mentioned repeatedly that I’m going to write a book this year on the seven best ideas I’ve come across, or developed, in almost a half-century of searching for answers to living a happier, healthier, more successful life (yes…I started yoga when I was about six, watching “Yoga for Health” with Richard Hittleman. And Mom was playing “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Power of Positive Thinking” and “Psycho-Cybernetics” on Lps since before I can remember. Ye Gods!)

There are just so many ideas. So…another thing I want to create is a hyperlinked “Encyclopedia of Personal Evolution” here on the web-site. I have at least one entry for every letter of the alphabet (I fudged just a little on this) and will start posting my way through them very soon. I’d love feedback on which entries you like the most…I really don’t want to hold anything back. Hell, I might die tomorrow. Why “hold back” for a second book? Feels like a bullshit marketing ploy. I’m really not sure. But I think we’ll work through it together.

The best Seven? The whole enchilada? Let me know…


Anonymous said...

Without any more information I vote for writing a book with the best seven. I like a clear sense of where to start things and a "great big book of everything" would overwhelm me. Putting the whole enchilada where in an easily searchable, encyclopedic format like the website is fine, and possibly in a book too. I don't mind reference books that know too much 'cause I don't feel compelled to read them cover to cover but I can take them in bite-sized pieces at will. A chapter book ought to be somewhat concise though, to my way of thinking anyway.

For me winning is any small victories. I set a goal I accomplish it, I win. So if Ms. Clinton has achieved the specific goals she set out to, even if they aren't the goals one would expect, then she wins. I think it's kinda cheating though if you change the goal based on the outcome. The situation sounds like a self-conscious cat preening on the carpet after falling off of the couch as if to say "I meant to do that." I'm the least competitive person I know and as such I seldom set goals that are about defeating another person, I just like to win little personal bests and play with random coin toss type luck though. I have a tendency to sit down at video poker machines and decide what hand I'm going to quit on; four aces, full house et cetera. I've always been able to get the hand I decide on whether I'm playing with $10 or $50. I don't know why I've got my luck, but it's fun and when I get the declared hand I feel like I've won, not so much the other profit makers in between. Winning might be more seriously defined by competitive types though.

Adam Crafter said...

First the 'Seven' and then the 'Spectrum'.

Steve, you've been at this for years and while you want to tell Everyone about Everything...


I do the same thing when I'm teaching science. I can't hit them with everything I've collected over the years, even if I want to braindump at them and hope it ALL sticks. The short-term memory buffer overflows, and little of the information makes it to long-term storage, and even less makes it to the integrative stage.
The point where knowings are integrated together is that 'lightbulb' or AHA! moment that we all are after.
And as always, the Path of the Student requires the student to do the last stages of construction and integration for themselves.

Well, I can see that starting with 'The Big Book of Possible Changes' could stun people who might not know where to begin.
Maybe a small/big book pair?
"Seven Starter Secrets",
followed by the
"Encyclopedia of Paths"?
I think a smaller book to get the beginners focused and fired-up would make a great springboard for the larger knowledge collection.

Whether you want to make the larger collection a thing that is for separate sale, or just hand it out in some kind of digital format, well, that needs to be planned depending on the content.
I suppose the Key Question is:
What approach will make this great stuff stick best to the most people and thus make for the best changes in the world??

Yours in Practice,

Anonymous said...

OK, I might be wierd, but I'd like the "great big book of everything". You could highlight the best seven for people for whom that works best and then also have everyting for those of us that like to go through and decide for ourselves what order we'd like to work at the information.

That's how I'm working at starting to get into better shape. First eat better (not perfect, but better) and then add some supplements that I thought I needed. Next start working out in a pool twice a week while me knee gets better. Now adding in a bit of upper body weights, when knee is better add in lower body weights, and then I can decide to add in yogo or chigong after talking to people about benifits of each. Some people whould have started it all at once, but I do better a step at a time while I research and find out information for the next step. I do however like having all the info there for me to use while adding one thing at a time.

Steve Perry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Perry said...

Never eat at a place called "Mom's."

Never play cards with a man named "Doc."

Don't sleep with somebody's got more troubles than you.

Always buy the two-ply toilet paper, you'll never regret the cost.

If your heart and your brain fight, go with your heart.

Get a dog. Dogs are far better than most people.

If you want a soul-fulfilling activity, teach small children how to tie their shoes and watch their faces when they do it the first time.

And a bonus: The best aftershave is Old Spice.

Anonymous said...

Perseverance works when it doesn't depend on how other people feel about you.

The surge may not have pleased Nancy Pelosi, but it absolutely kept Iraq from the catastrophic total implosion that seemed imminent in late 2006. That depended on Bush actually picking a general (Petraeus) who knew his trade, and getting the Hell out of the way. It didn't depend on Bush's polls here in the U.S. (which continue to stink).

Conversely, Hillary isn't waging a one-year phase of a prolonged war, like Bush in Iraq or Lincoln in the Civil War. She really does have a tight timetable, and it really does matter what the buzz in the media is.

So, no, Hillary and Bush aren't equivalent. Totally different situations, really.

The trick in real life is to be able to see, or guess correctly, what sort of situation one's in.

--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

The question of the day is: What does winning mean to you?

Winning means that I am better (in any of many ways) than when I started.

I fight for my ideas, but I do learn, synthesize, and intellectually evolve. Some times I move to the point where I fight for my "opponents" ideas. That's part of being an intellectually in-tune person.

I have come out financially worse for doing something, but better off in some other way: perhaps I have moved forward an idea or a way of living that helps people.

I win when I start something and others take it up and move it forward, with or without me.

I win when I learn something new.

I win when I see something, like a political issue, or a world view from some else's point of view -- which is why I keep coming back to Dar Kush.

I lose when I am lied to and I believe it. I really, really hate people who lie to me.

I believe that the big winners of this election season will be Obama, Clinton, and Howard Dean. The front-runner candidates because they are moving this country way from ossified "truisms". Both have good ideas, a lot of heart, and a demonstrated willingness to put themselves on the line. Dean is a winner because he took a page from your book, Steve, and said, "why are we will to fight only for the low-hanging fruit?" He started his 50 state strategy two years ago, and it is working. It made some people angry because it pushed his party closer to the middle. He won because his early goals were achieved.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

My first choice is the Big Book of Everything, but the Seven Best might be more practical. Larger audience, easier to write, and truth to tell, I might be more likely to finish reading it. I've read all of Meir Schneider's shorter books, but never made it through his Handbook of Self-Healing. Schneider might of interest--he does a lot with improving vision (literal physical vision), and I don't think it's been mentioned here.

It's possible that, as crystal says, the Big Book of Everything would work better as the Big Wiki of Everything.

Dan Gambiera said...

Winner? I'd say the terrorists are the winners here because I'm pretty fucking terrified. The ones "who hate our freedoms" are in control. They wear crosses instead of turbans. Their creed goes something like "There is no G-d but Dollar, and Wall Street takes the Profits." But yeah, they won. America lost. And I figure that the cornermen are about to throw in the Enligtenment's towel.