The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Back to DANGER WORD and the “Secret Formula.”    We had reached a point where only 20% of the money had been raised, with 21 days to go.   Panic time.  “Dark Night of the Soul” time.    “Encounter Evil and meet defeat” time.
The “evil”, of course, was just our own fear and lack of clarity.  The obstacle was predictable.  There is ALWAYS a glitch as you seek to rise to the next level.  There is always a point where logic and knowledge fail, and you have to simply…trust.
But trust what?  The Hero’s journey suggests that the “Leap of Faith”, the way across this gap, is “faith” in one of three things: faith in your companions (the Mastermind) faith in yourself (“I have the ability to do this.  I may not see how yet, I’m in a fog, but if I keep going, I’ll get there.”) Or faith in a higher power (“I believe that any goal I can hold in my heart continuously is something I have the ability to achieve.  I don’t believe God/The Universe/My deep consciousness would allow me to hold such a goal without the ability to bring it into the world.  That would be capricious and cruel, and I don’t believe the world works that way.”)
Everyone who achieves on any level that I have EVER met has at least one of these three things.  The happiest seem to have two or three of them.
In the partnership with Tananarive and Luchina, we each have specialized skills that make us effective, and my philosophy is not to leave ANY of your skills in the locker room.  Put them all on the field.  And I thought that my skills as a life coach might be applicable here.   To be a bit of a Spiritual Guide, working backwards from our positive intent, and believing that the body supports cells, organs, and tissues that contribute healthfully to the whole.  Our intents were positive for the community as well as our families and personal goals.  There was no malice, no asking people to hurt themselves, a clear mission statement, and a sense of mischievous fun about the entire venture.   It seemed solid.
So…knowing the Hero’s Journey…and the Mastermind principle (two or more people aligned in a spirit of harmony for a common goal, meeting at least once a week)…I decided to apply the “Success Formula” I’d extracted from “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace D. Wattles.
Note that this is the same source material that had inspired “The Secret.” But when I talk to people who follow “The Secret” I catch a strange disconnect, a sense that “If I just believe it, the universe will give it to me.”
Really?   Has that been their observation about the way the universe works?   I promise it hasn’t been mine.   I HAVE noticed that, as I mentioned at the beginning, the very most “effortlessly successful” people certainly seem to accomplish miracles with little “work.”  Like a martial arts master can throw someone with one finger…after a life-time of study.
Like someone like Oprah Winfrey can just focus her attention on something and it happens…because she has a massive machine with hudreds of people waiting to jump at her slightest inclination.  It’s like driving a Rolls Royce down the street with one finger.  If you didn’t understand all the manufacturing technology necessary to create the machine, and all the years of driving practice with hands at “ten and two” necessary to develop the sensitivity to the vehicle and environment, it looks like magic.
Just imagine how many people get lost in “feel the chi” when they are looking at a near-magical level of focus, skill, and sensitivity in martial arts.   Or “just visualize it” when they are listening to someone who has integrated their minds, emotions, and bodies enough that visualizing something changes their feelings and BEHAVIORS.
In other words, if your emotional/mental focus isn’t enough to change your behaviors, why in the world do you think it will change the world outside you?  You have to change your behaviors, notice the results, keep re-adjusting until those behaviors are in synch with the way the world works, at which point your natural inclinations have been “trained” by feedback from the environment. They feel natural.  Effortless.  Swimming “with the tide.”   And looks like magic to those who are ignorant, insensitive, or fearful.
It’s like using a voice dictation program like Dragon Dictate.  They talk about “training the program” but you’re just as much training YOURSELF to speak in a way the program can interpret.
There is “magic” here in the sense Arthur C. Clarke meant.   Maybe more…but that’s an esoteric conversation, and I want this to be practical. 

GOALS, then, are critical both for accomplishing and because even “failure” teaches you  what is and is not true in the world.  Feedback.  Don’t set goals, don’t measure the results, and you can’t build your map of reality.
FAITH is critical because it is all that keeps you going when you have emptied yourself out, and you MUST empty yourself in the pursuit of an emotionalized goal to send a message to your mind or muscle that it is time to grow.
CONSTANT ACTION is the step too many people miss.  You must do all you can, where you can, this day, and then tomorrow, and again the tomorrow after that.   “A watched pot never boils.”  “Magic” happens when you have given up waiting for magic.  Isn’t this true?  When you don’t have a job, you can’t get a job.  But as soon as you’ve got one, people want to offer you employment.   When you don’t have a lover, you can’t get one…until you’ve got one, and then everyone else is interested.  When you are broke you can’t get credit….
See the pattern.    Sitting and waiting doesn’t do it.  The lilies of the field are actually quite active, and perfectly integrated into their ecological niche. They just seem passive to the ignorant.
GRATITUDE.    You have to start with the emotion you want to end with.   There are multiple reasons.  First, why not enjoy life TODAY?  Why wait?  Second, almost anything you want to accomplish will require a team of people, allies.   Customers.   Teachers.  The “Mastermind” is the only way I know to compensate for lack of ability.  If you can bond yourself to people with knowledge, resources, abilities different from yours, you can build a team to accomplish things beyond you as an individual. 
How to do this with integrity?   Offer what you DO have.   Friendship.   Skills.   Passion for life.   Genuine love and caring.  Be the kind of person others WANT to be around.   The kind of person people feel better after they’ve spent time with you.    And the way to have that genuine (and you should never, ever fake it!) sense of connection is to be so full of love and GRATITUDE for life, right here, right now, that it overflows.
And…fear and stress create “tunnel vision.”  You literally can’t see the opportunities that are right in front of you.  Gratitude, love, is the perfect antidote.  You relax.  You enjoy.  The little kid inside you starts dancing.  And you see potentials again.
So these were the things I wanted to bring to our meeting.  That was my challenge.  This is what I was committed to doing that Friday.   More on the precise way we did it, and what happened, tomorrow!
I discussed this process, the sanest approach to “magic” I know of, on the Diamond Hour show.   The audio is part of our “Seven Dollars or FREE” program available at
And if this is resonating with you, please get your copy today.   NO ONE is turned away for lack of resources in this program.  Ever.  No joke, no catch.   I am so blessed, and want to pass that blessing on…to you, and yours.

More tomorrow

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