You may notice that I don’t suggest that people go out to singles bars, dating sites, and the like. Not that these things don’t work, but those are the OBVIOUS things to do. The perspective is that the most important attainments happen not when we are focused on them, but when we are focused on other things. This is the “A watched pot never boils” notion, taken to a different level. It is the “In order to move forward, you have to be happy where you are” idea that is so difficult to grasp.
This really hit home years back when, due to a family emergency, we moved back to Atlanta for three years. I was DEVASTATED. My childhood dream of a Hollywood career had already been damaged by ten years in the Northwest (another “family emergency.” Hmmm…is there a pattern here? Just maybe? A subject for another time), but this was the coup de grâce. I was dead in the water. It felt like I had no friends, no family, no prospects, nothing except a desire to be a warrior for my family, throwing an entire life of ambition on the pyre in the service of love.
My ego just…shattered. Could see no way out of the trap. We’d exhausted our resources getting out there, and I had no idea how to generate more. It wasn’t my world: I am NOT a child of the South. I saw myself getting mired there, deeper and deeper, until I lost my identity, that sense of certainty that had sustained me through the worst setbacks and disappointments since childhood.
I was curled on the floor in a puddle of tears, broken, unable to see how I would survive.
What saved me was LOVE. Specifically, a commitment to being my nine year old son Jason’s father. He needed me. That I could understand. That I could focus on, no matter what. That meant I had to take action. But…what? How could I heal myself?
I decided to go back to the pattern that had created my success in the first place: the path my mother put me on in childhood: constant research into the mental, emotional, and behavioral paths to success.
I re-read THINK AND GROW RICH, and THE STRANGEST SECRET, and THE GOLDEN KEY and PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS and UNLIMITED POWER and on and on. It was good stuff, and helped me fill that void inside me, so that my anger and fear were buried under a mass of affirmations and theories. Not enough, but not bad.
Then I looked into THE SECRET.
I’d seen it before, of course, and it annoyed me. Why? Because people seemed to feel that if they WANTED something badly enough, it would come to them. And frankly, a lot of the people who followed it seemed to think they could sit on their butts on the couch, and all good things would flow to them. Try sitting there and saying “I wish I had a sandwich” and see what happens. Do you think the universe is your servant? NO. You are a PART of the universe. In order to benefit from its wishes you have to flow with it, which, for us Geeks, demands understanding the rules.
But…I came across an article on the “roots” of THE SECRET, and they mentioned a book called THE SCIENCE OF GETTING RICH by Wallace G. Wattles. It was a very short book, and I bought a copy and devoured it in an hour.
And…COULDN’T REMEMBER A SINGLE WORD. I was stunned, confused. Was I losing my mind? I read it again. And yet again. And COULDN’T REMEMBER A SINGLE WORD. This was terrifying.
Then…I remembered a transformative workshop I attended in the 70’s. One of those where they don’t let you go to the bathroom. Yeah, THAT one. Anyway, it was about one in the morning, and all three hundred of us were exhausted. And the facilitator introduced a new subject: money. I watched an entire chunk of the room wake up, and another whole section fall asleep. An actual “ripple” that you could see happening right in front of you. Fascinating. A half hour later he changed the subject: sex.
And…another whole chunk of the room fell asleep, and a different swath woke up.
WHOA! Right then, they had my attention–not to the subject (I found their take superficial) but to what I’d just seen, live and unplanned: when there is a subject people are interested in they wake up.
Well, THAT’S hardly revolutionary. But I asked myself a different question: what does it say about the people who fell asleep? They simply weren’t interested in sex? Or money? Maybe. But…what if I tried a different question: what if people with an emotional AVERSION to a subject will avoid information that is too confrontational? What if they “delete” information, go “unconscious” when hit with something too close to home?
Remembering that, I asked a very important question: what if there is something in this little book so powerful that I can’t let myself see it? Something threatening?
I devised a strategy..
What I did was read just one page at a time, and synopsize it with a sentence or paragraph. Then move on to the next page, and read THAT one repeatedly until I absorbed and understood, and then synopsize THAT with a sentence or paragraph. And so on through the entire book.
I came up with about 20 pages of notes. Then I read through THOSE and boiled THOSE down a page at a time. Came up with about five pages. Boiled THOSE down, and boiled THOSE down. Until I came up with just five words. Over the years I’ve refined those into the following form:
“MAGIC” = ACTION X GRATITUDE X INTENTION X CONVICTION.
I looked at that , and stared at it and stared at it until the lightbulb went off. Do you see it? Do you see why my brain didn’t want to absorb this information, was so desperate to ignore it that it literally wouldn’t let me absorb the information? This was a MAJOR breakthrough in my life, and if you “get” it yourself it will be better. So…look at that again:
MAGIC = ACTION X GRATITUDE X INTENTION X CONVICTION. Try it this way:
Stumped? Well, I’m going to give you some hints. See how many you need before you grasp what I’d discovered.
- M.A.G.I.C. is a convenient acronym. “Action” is the daily WORK you do. “Gratitude” is your positive emotions for the blessings you already have. “Intention” is the specific Outcome, your Goal. And “Conviction” is BELIEF in yourself, that you CAN and SHOULD accomplish something.
See it yet? Let’s try another hint.
2. Look at the arithmetical symbols. What is the significance of the fact that those symbols are MULTIPLICATIVE (“X”) as opposed to ADIVE (“+”)?
THINK ABOUT IT!
If you are a typical smart person, you probably thought something like: “if you have all of these, the effects are far more powerful. They multiply against each other rather than just adding up.”
And…while that’s a great answer, that wouldn’t create a situation where my brain didn’t want to hear something, would it? Last hint:
3. Think of each of those things: Action, Gratitude, Intention, and Conviction, as qualities with a numerical value from 0-9. NOW do you get it?
THINK ABOUT IT
O.K. No more teasing. Here it is: YOU CAN’T MULTIPLY BY ZERO. If you have a “zero” in ANY of those arenas…
If you don’t take ACTION
If you don’t have GRATITUDE
If you don’t have clear INTENTIONS
If you don’t have absolute CONVICTION
You might have a “1” in a category, and still survive. But if you have a “0” you are DEAD IN THE WATER.
Can you see it? I was miserable in Atlanta. Wanted to get back to California. But in order to GET to California, I had to be GRATEFUL with my life in Atlanta!
NOOOOOO! That was the LAST thing I wanted to hear. But the conclusion was inescapable–that was what the book was saying. Also inescapable was the possibility that this was an ego-busting, major breakthrough, BECAUSE MY MIND HAD FOUGHT LIKE THE DEVIL TO KEEP ME FROM SEEING IT.
I wanted my pain. NEEDED my pain. Was defined by it. But…in order to thrive, in order for things to change, I HAD TO CHANGE FIRST.
How I did that is another story for another time. But if you can’t see the connection to relationships, let me make it explicit:
Needy is NOT a turn on except to predators and broken people. To attract a healthy, adult human being YOU MUST BE A HEALTHY ADULT HUMAN BEING.
That’s it. You can’t wait: “when I find someone then I will heal!” No. You set out toward healing, and on the path, you will meet people as healed as you. As you become more integrated, you will meet people who have their act together more and more. And…at some point they will cross the threshold “ah! I’m attracted!” and you will cross THEIR threshold: “Ah! He/she is attractive!” and you will be going in the same direction at the same frequency…and bingo, you have achieved lift-off.
Just that simple. Brutal, if you fight against reality. But for the rest of us…it is saying WE have the power. All we have to do is start with the end in mind: joy. Gratitude. Find your way to THAT, and the rest becomes almost inevitable. Every chipmunk in the forest finds a mate. If you haven’t…the obstacle is right in the mirror.