The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I'm off to be the wizard!

Tomorrow, we take off for Albany to create our first short film.  The goal is to use DANGER WORD to leverage ourselves into a full feature (on the theory that you can move up one order of magnitude per project, max) that first feature being   a feature-length version of this story, and/or a feature-length version of T’s book “My Soul To Keep.” We hold the rights.   We have the experience, and the circle of allies.  We have powerful motivations that go WAY beyond our personal careers—so it has been gratifyingly possible to enroll others in this dream.

Regardless of what happens next, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us, in every way that they have.    I don’t really think there are “pivotal moments” in life so much as “clusters” of pivotal moments, actions, and decisions that create change.   But what winners do it assume they have some agency in their fates, sufficient to make it worth while to push the edges, to get up early and stay up late.  To totally invest themselves emotionally and move beyond their comfort zones.   Using the model of the Hero’s Journey, I wanted to once again diagram the process of moving from one level to another
in life, whether that be a model of integration, success, or satisfaction.

1) Confronted with challenge.  You have to recognize a problem or opportunity.

2) Reject the challenge.  If the challenge is large enough to change your life, YOU WILL FEEL FEAR.  It is how we’re wired up.    People without enthusiasm are people who have had the hope crushed out of them.   They have been slapped down so many times that it is safer to be blase. Or they have experienced the pain of accomplishment, and found that success equaled pain: the pain of losing friends, of attracting predators, of losing a sense of self.

3) Accept the challenge.   You must see a way through the minefield.  Deal with the emotions.   DECIDE.  Or nothing happens.

4) Road of Trials.  You have to realistically assess where you are currently, and develop a crystal-clear vision of where you intend to go.   Subtract where you are from where you need to be, and divide the gap into bite-size pieces you can address at the rate of about 1% per week for a 2-year goal.   To do this, you may have to steal a beat from step #5…

5) Allies and Powers.  
a)  Find a peer group who will support your vision, if you don't they will drag you down.   Friends with less ambition or ability are fine, AS LONG AS THEY SUPPORT YOU, AND DON'T SABOTAGE YOUR EFFORTS.  We've all experienced this: people who bring over cake when you try to diet.  "Pity parties" about how all men are X or all women are Y or this or that group will stop you, or your history confines you, or...or...
and what they're really doing is talking to themselves. Because if YOU succeed, it means they have to look at their own excuses, and feel the pain of not changing their own lives. 
b) role models who have already accomplished your goal.   Find three.   Learn what they did in common to accomplish their dreams.  See what they do that you don’t do, AND START DOING IT.  Take action.  Study their belief systems, mental syntax, and use of physiology.  What they do, what they feel, what they think.  And start programming yourself with these things.  Seek out the technologies of implanting beliefs, raising energy, clarifying goals, gathering a mastermind…focus, flow, enthusiasm, sales…whatever.   And especially learn to deal with fear and failure, because you WILL…

6) Confront Evil—and fail.  This could be an internal or external opponent.  “The voices in your head.”  The fact that  you are not internally aligned to succeed.  Don’t have permission to “break through.”  And in any arena where you have “beat your head against the wall” I can pretty much promise you that you’re dealing with mixed internal messages.    Negative beliefs about money, or sales.   Negative beliefs about relationships (or unrealistic expectations.  Just recently I met a wealthy, famous gentleman who has never been married. His beliefs about relationships: a woman would have to be his perfect partner, share all his values, be able to read his mind and feel what he feels and think what he thinks about any entertainment or activity.   With a standard like that, he will go through life alone!), conflicting values about body image (boy is there a lot of that right now.  A major movement to accept your body “where it is.”   That’s fine…as long as you can be satisfied and simultaneously maintain massive motivation to change.    Difficult balancing act.)

7)  The Dark Night of the Soul.  You WILL crash and burn on any project that could change your life.  There WILL be a point where it seems all is lost.  That’s just the way it is.  But if you know AHEAD of time, before you ever begin, that you will fall on your face at some point, why do we forget the lesson?  Why don’t we remember that, and lay the plans in advance?  Get your allies together (or be your own ally.  One of my favorite tricks is to wait until a student is “up” and have them write a letter to their future self, to be opened only when you are “down.”   Works like a charm.

8) Leap of Faith.   This is ALWAYS faith in one of three things: yourself, your companions, or a Higher Power.  Optimally, all three.   This is what gets you through when you’ve come to the end of yourself.

9) Confront Evil—and succeed.  IF you have taken the previous steps: clarified your goal, studied the behaviors of those who have succeeded, learned as much as they can teach, taken massive and constant action, maintained a positive attitude and kept the faith, THEN you have optimized your chances of success.  If you have chosen your goal properly, then external success will be secondary to the person you are becoming along the way.  You become internally focussed, and at some point, you are simply “becoming” who you are committed to being.   Do this by finding the way that you goal is answering the twin questions: “who am I?”  and “what is true?”   You have reached this point when you are simply doing what you do…and the external results are happening “like magic.” Even for these evolved beings, it is sometimes necessary to drop back and punt. To go back to basics, and re-build a faulty bridge to your future.

10) The Student Becomes the Teacher.   When you have learned a way to do something, share it with others.  Help others.  The best way to know that you know something is being able to transmit it to others.  Note that this is not the “those who cannot do, teach” attitude.  It is “those who can do, and teach others to do, are in harmony with the universe.”    They are the ones responsible for every good thing we have as human beings.    As individuals, we’re not that much smarter than chimps.   It is in passing information from one generation to the next that we SHINE.   We are the only animals with more information in our brains than in our genes.    This sacred progression is a deep current of what we are as a species.  When you swim WITH the current, you’ve found another level of integration.  You have also taken a step toward Awakened Adulthood.

There you have it, again.  I’ve said these things before, and will again. But tomorrow I take another step toward my future. What will happen?  I don’t know.  I simultaneously care passionately and don’t care.  Because the ride itself is so much fun.  Because I’m becoming a better version of who I am.  Because whatever I learn, I will turn around and teach others.

That’s called being the Hero in the adventure of my lifetime.


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