What are you offering the world?

I’ve mentioned that my friend Otis was homeless at one time, and living in an abandoned apartment behind my house.  He was lonely, and I remember one day he rather miserably said:

“I don’t understand why I can’t get a girlfriend.”

Such grief in his voice.  I said, “well, tell me what it is you feel you have to offer a woman.”

“I’m loyal, and honest, and warm. I listen, I’m supportive, and kind.”

I didn’t want to hurt him, but the words just tumbled out:  “she can get all of that from one of her girlfriends. What is the specifically MASCULINE quality that will motivate her to project her specifically FEMININE qualities? What is you demonstrable power?  Your ability to build a nest?”

He looked at me as if I was speaking Martian.

Otis knew something about everything, a wide-ranging, fine mind. But he had never, ever focused that mind and those emotions to produce any result a kid in high school couldn’t have done.  No power.

Nothing to trade for beauty.  And because he was physically unbeautiful himself, he had nothing to trade to find and hold a woman he would want, and it was painful to watch unfold, year after year, decade after decade, until in time his health collapsed, and he died.

Those are the only options: either trade power for beauty, or make an even-steven trade across the board.  What I very rarely see is HER power for HIS beauty. And what I’ve never ever seen is a total mis-match, where one has both and the other has neither.  Not even once, although people have told me of such unicorn relationships.


I use his name because I don’t want my friend to have died for nothing.  I see aspects of Otis’ story in so many otherwise intelligent and good people.   They never develop their power, and then wonder why they can’t get the results from life they crave.


Let me put this in the adult-child framework:   they never grew up. Never fully developed their adult selves.  Because if you do ANYTHING long enough, with emotion behind it, you will gain experience. And if you pay attention, you will travel. And if you ever had a specific outcome in mind, you’ll notice if you are getting closer or further away. If you learn to control your fear, you will overcome obstacle after obstacle, and eventually reach at least the short and medium-range versions of your goal. And then, all you have to do to earn a living is guide people along the path you’ve walked, so long as you have been heading somewhere someone wants to go.




If there is a single thing I’m trying to nail for Jason in our five-minute morning sessions, it is the concept of “Atomic” “Fractal” goal setting.  It is:


  1. Knowing your outcome clearly (“What”)
  2. Knowing your “Why”–the emotionalized reasons why you want this thing.
  3. Knowing the “How”, the specific steps to accomplish it, and what the most important thing you must do TODAY to accomplish it.


Today fits into your plan for this week, which fits into your plan for the month, which fits into the plan for the year, the decade, and your life.


If you can see the clear connection between the long-term overall life plan and the actions you take on a daily basis…you have it whipped.


Ultimate Outcome: Joy

Long Term Outcome: A life spent in blissful “Flow State” as much as possible


To do this, I must avoid pain as much as possible. That means fullfilling my obligations to family and society. This means I must make money doing something that brings me joy and puts me in flow state. Writing is a great example of this.


Long Term Outcome (clarified): To be a successful professional writer.

Ten year goal: Ten novels

Five year goal: Five novels

One year goal: One novel

Quarterly goal: First Draft of novel.


If I were unpublished, my one year goal might be:


One year goal: Selling a story.

Quarterly goal: 1-4 stories a month.  4-12 stories

Monthly goal: 1-4 stories finished and submitted

Weekly goal: 1 story.


The more important your goal is to you, the more critical it is to operate at the higher level of output and performance.  The question would be to clearly define the WHAT and the WHY.   Increase the WHY until you are burning with motivation. How?  By connecting your goal to every chakra. I can tell you why my writing relates to survival, sex, power, emotion, communication, intellect, and spirit.


If YOUR goals do this…nothing will stop you from kicking ass to get it done.




Get that? There is NO excuse not to do one sentence, every day, if it is something important. If you go to bed at night thinking about it, your dreaming mind will kick out at LEAST one sentence. Write it down.  You have just made the connection between the “atomic” level (smallest possible action) and the global lifetime ultimate intent (happiness, ultimate success)


WHAT: Write a sentence every day

WHY: The life you desire, on every level.

HOW: Think about your story last thing before you go to sleep.  First thing when you wake up.   Write or dictate and transcribe one sentence.



If you do that, then you will advance. Learn. Grow.  You will accomplish goals. The INSTANT you have sold a story, you have a skill you could turn around and sell. Hell, there are people teaching writing who have never published a thing.  You’ll be ahead of the curve.


Being the master means being the student. Others will call you the Master if you are far enough ahead that you are beyond a horizon. They cannot see where you are.


IF YOU CANNOT SEE WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER, you probably have an unrealistic expectation of yourself. Be where you are. The person you were last year could really, really, use your advice.  There’s your market.






100k in 25 Hours a Week?

Writer and FB friend Joel Eisenberg wrote a great post today about his transition from working for others to working for himself, complete with a seven-step recipe for success.  I looked at that and said “Yes.”


Basically, like many of us, he got sick of working for other people, thrashed around in unsatisfying jobs for years, and slowly put together a map for exiting to a more satisfying lifestyle.


Damned good for him. The meaning of life is to find joy, and if you are not happy in your job, model people who found another way.


What you have here is a man being honest about his experience, and generous with hard-won wisdom.    He could and should write a great article about his process.


But you know what else he could do?  He could make extra money by coaching people toward being freelancers, guiding them along the path he found and practiced himself.


Trust me, there are at least a million people in the world who would love to hear this message, and are willing and able to pay for that knowledge, IF they can believe it works, that they can do it, and that they will gain more pleasure than pain if they attempt it.


That’s most of what it takes. The rest is organization, marketing, and delivery of the service.   I went through a hell of insecurity making that transition, and would have paid through the nose for wisdom such as he offered.   So I KNOW that he could make money teaching what he knows, were he to decide he wanted to.


And…I’m certain that each and every one of you knows things other people would love to know.  A kid who can ride a bicycle is magic to those who can’t. Ever improved your grades?  Survived a street fight? Trained a dog?  Bred chinchillas?  Earned a black belt?  Started your own business?   Raised a kid? Taught school?   Managed a sales team?


ANYTHING that increased pleasure and decreased pain?  Then ask if a younger version of you would want what you know.  If the answer is “yes”, then you want to listen to a conversation I had with a woman who earns about FIVE times industry standard for her coaching (her modality is hypnosis) business.    She lays out a pattern for earning 100k a year in twenty-five hours a week. No joke. No exaggeration.   If I had had this knowledge eight years ago, my own nascent coaching business would have doubled, I have zero doubt.


A gift to you available HERE at  Enjoy!


Share your wealth!


Riding The Train

“To help someone, you have to get them to divorce their story, and marry the truth.”–Unknown
The “Incel” problem looks obvious to me. A recent article said that what they want is “absolute subjugation of women.” That would be true IF and ONLY IF a person remained an “Incel” after finding a great relationship. If, in other words, if FORMER ‘Incels’ still identified with their “brothers” and became “honorary Incels” or something.
But…the term “Involuntary Celebates” is sort of self-limiting, isn’t it? The instant a guy finds a relationship, he is no longer an “Incel.” Theory to be tested then: it isn’t about some broad theory. It is about individual pain and confusion and fear. The social theories that relate to “all women” are bullshi…they are just justifications for their individual pain. “It isn’t me. It is THEM. I will create/join an `us’ so that I don’t feel alone.”
A racist who only believes in black inferiority as long as he is out of work isn’t a real racist. She is only trying to justify personal pain. If having a job changes her, this is NOT some deep belief, it is merely a desperate attempt to avoid self-reflection.
So…to the degree that this is true (it is a theory to be tested, not a piece of dogma), then how would I coach an “Incel”? Easy, really.
Remember that 5-step process of conscious communication? It relates to communication WITH YOURSELF as well. I remember coaching a guy who could easily have BECOME an Incel. Call him Harry. He was angry, horny, desperate, lonely. Employed but miserable in his job. Harry was a member of the LASFS club in Burbank, so I saw him every week, and at conventions, and watched him winding himself up tighter and tighter.
And one day his ego made a real mistake: he asked me for help. That was the key: I don’t bother people unless they ask. But if they did, even forty years ago I would dig in. People who knew me called it “Being Steve’d”. Couldn’ help it: I HATE misery, and want people to be healthy.
I hadn’t evolved several of the tools I have today, but was still playing with the same notions in less focused form.
  1. Love yourself. If you do, you don’t need anyone else’s love, so lack of love from outside doesn’t diminish your self esteem. As a perverse bonus, the less you need people, the more natural you are…and the more attractive you become.
  2. Love another person. When you focus on giving rather than taking, IF YOU ARE GIVING TO A TRIBE OF PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR VALUES, you will automatically feel less misery, AND you will trigger a reciprocal response. It is hard not to love someone who loves themselves and also loves giving.
  3. Understand History. Here, I’ll say that the Chakras, Maslow, and Milton Erickson point out what all human beings, through all human history, have wanted, to such a consistent degree that you are actually pretty safe ignoring people who claim not to. (As I’ve said…yes there are people who really don’t want some of these things. But if they really, REALLY don’t, they will feel no negative emotions if they don’t get them, and few negative emotions if someone assumes they do). Just for fun, call this pattern “The Train.” Roughly, it goes like this, and in roughly this order:


  1. They want to avoid physical pain and death
  2. To mature to the point where they can control their emotions and actions
  3. To master their physical body
  4. To satisfy their sexual needs with integrity
  5. To master a discipline to create goods and services they ENJOY PRODUCING that they can use directly, or exchange with their society legally to a degree that would support them and two other people.
  6. To Love themselves and their lives
  7. To find and share love with another adult person.
  8. To have children and raise them according to their values and perspectives (to pass on their memes and genes)
  9. To contribute to your society
  10. To express themselves honestly and openly to the world.
  11. To build a map of reality that is increasingly accurate, and be able to communicate that map.
  12. To age with dignity, and die at peace
In general, development of these capacities goes from A through Z (or however far you take those steps). Earlier accomplishments first….but that isn’t always true. But the “Raise your Kundalini” stuff includes within it the awareness of what happens when the basic levels are on “automatic” (chop wood, carry water), you are internally connect and joyful. What happens? You automatically evolve to the next level. See someone “stuck”? Look at the foundations and ask where the chain breaks.
So “Harry” was an overweight, slovenly guy who didn’t like his work, but desired beautiful women. In other words, he had “breaks” at B and C: he had no physical discipline, and hadn’t focused his intellect (he was smart) and emotions to either work at something he loved, or find a way to love what he was already doing.
But what he wanted was a woman who lived with joy and discipline and personal artistry, when he himself lacked those things. He didn’t love himself, so he interpreted rejection as meaning “I will never get on the Train.” Not have sex, find, love, have children. His rigid ego wall told him that “this is who I am” when the truth is that he really had no idea. Few do, without serious, deep reflection. And those people don’t bitch and moan about their lives.
And note: ALL self-sustaining human societies encourage people to get on “the Train” and whatever genetic component there is to life strongly reinforces them as well. There are lots of side trips, just as a drop of water in the mountains takes a LOT of side-trips before returning to the ocean…but it always gets there.
All I had to do was support him in cleaning himself up, learning to enjoy his life, and then make one of two choices:
  1. He either had to raise himself to be the male equivalent of the kind of woman he wanted or
  2. Relax his standards. Not “lower his expectations”, notice. But be less rigid. How? By loving himself. Which means accepting himself, empathizing with himself, grasping that he’s done the best he could with his respources. Admiring what he has accomplished.
And what happens when you do that? You can appreciate what OTHERS are experiencing. You see the beauty in people who you never saw before. And you seek someone to share your journey, not someone who meet some external standard of beauty or power. In movie terms, the secretary or next-door neighbor takes her glasses off: “Why Janet! You’re beautiful!”
She always was.
Sure…get all you can. That’s fun. But ultimately you are dealing with a human soul, beyond categorization or number crunching. Ultimate. But yeah…the game is fun.
He was willing to learn. Why? Because all organisms seek to avoid pain and gain pleasure. All I had to do was show him the way. Why did he believe me? Because I had rapport with him (he believed I was like him in many ways, that I liked him, that I would tell him the truth.)
That enabled me to offer him suggestions designed to produce positive change FAST. I also knew that his ego would NOT go down without a fight. So I had to be sneaky, and get him to question his preassumptions.
Let’s look at some of the “Incel” nightmare of skewed and tangled perceptions.
1)Hunger for sex and love. No, sex workers aren’t going to satisfy this need. Neither will a dog. Well…let’s not go there, shall we?
2) Lack of understanding how the Mating Game works. That beauty-power thing. They don’t have a clue
3) Lack of self-love that allows them to believe that they can change. That a rejection doesn’t mean they will never find a partner. They cannot simply absorb the data, shift, grow, and try again, the feedback loop learned by all salesmen.
Fear of never finding sex/love leads to anger and stress, flattening perception and shattering self-esteem, leading to disorientation and more anger. Blame. Needing an external locus of action: THEY are responsible for my pain!
And seeking a tribe to reinforce those beliefs. This exact same pattern of emotion, building maps, finding a supportive tribe and so on is common among successful human beings whether they are “successful” at industry, martial arts, or crime. It’s how we roll.
All you have to do is get on the right train. Be sure that you are associating with people who have what you want, and gained it with integrity. Otherwise, you’ll get on the Pity Train, the “No good women” or “No good men” train, not realizing that you’ve never developed your ability to perceive and bond with the kinds of people you crave.
And what happened to Harry? He got the nerve to approach a cute little girl at the club. They started dating, got married, and as far as I know, 25 years later, they are still hitched, riding the Train…together.
Do you have any idea how satisfying that is? To feel that your life has made other lives better? And the trick is that EVERYONE READING THIS has knowledge and wisdom which, organized and expressed, could help heal the world.
100% of my ability to do this came from my focus on BALANCE in life, and being willing to do Whatever It Took to achieve it. Then when I did, people started asking me “How?”
Boom. Bob’s your uncle. Most problems are just knots of pain and confusion. When YOU have clarity, you can guide people. Then all you have to do is find the people who want to climb the same mountain.
Tomorrow, I’ll give you the key to this, totally free, the “How to earn 100k a year in 25 hours a week” talk. If what I’ve said moves you, it is for you. If you DISAGREE with my methodology, and have a better one–GREAT! Show us by helping people. Lead on!
Share the wealth! (And sell tickets on whatever “train” you believe in…)

When Do You Disengage?

I was speaking yesterday about political and economic versions of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.  Namely, that someone who brushes off any criticisms of their pet theory by saying “that’s not pure X” while trying to blame real-world examples of Y for the problems of the world can be considered True Believers, who are not primarily driven by logic, but by emotion…faith.  Now I’ve never met anyone who didn’t do this (I take human equality on faith, for instance, and think that everyone really makes their decisions about this on emotional rather than logical basis.  I’m just willing to say that out loud.)


If it is emotion, arguments are precisely the wrong way to “change someone’s mind.” When you’re in a fight, as long as the other guy is throwing punches, it would take an extraordinary person to consider the opponent’s reasons and rationales for swinging.  That’s not normal human behavior. We consider our deep beliefs when we feel SAFE, NOT WHEN WE ARE CHALLENGED.


So yesterday I interjected this perspective into a political/economic argument, with the conclusion that we had emotion masquerading as logic…a point at which I personally disengage. One of the participants asked:



At what point do we just acknowledge that we’ve hit that point of diminishing returns with the discussion?

Some people really really need to believe in these structures.

It’s not like I sought him out, but I think his need to believe far exceeds the joy that I would get by challenging his belief system.”
Let’s look at this from the perspective of that five step process for conscious political/philosophical communication and action.


  1. Love yourself.   So…care enough about yourself to take NO action that is counter productive or useless.  ALWAYS know what you stand to gain or lose from an action. Don’t get all Limbic Monkey caught up in “I have to win!” when there  is no real definition of “winning.”  Even worse: when there is nothing to win.   In such situations, you lose just by playing.   What is the point?  EVERYTHING you do, I do, everyone does, is about moving away from pain and toward pleasure.  You may have ignored the fact that the cheese is not in that particular maze.   Incels make that mistake.   Don’t be an intellectual Incel.
  2. Love another person.   Learning to expand your sense of Self gives compassion. It also teaches you that sometimes being “right” is less important than increasing the net amount of joy in the world.  Which leads to dropping your guard, which CAN lead to moments of consideration and insight.  But try to see things from the other perspective.  Why are you hammering at them?  What do you stand to gain?   Are you playing a game where, if they admit you are right, they will experience greater pain?  If so, they will NEVER admit you are right.  Never.
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame or shame.   Have your theory of human development and anchor it to anthropology or primate studies, without needing to believe “the others” are evil. If you can’t, you are more like them.  Not seeing the humanity of your “adversaries” is one of the primary flaws in perception.  It may be useful to turn farmers into bloodthirsty shock troops, but the usefulness of that blunt tool diminishes as you rise up the decision chain.  Be a leader.
  4. Nurture your own tribe, avoid trolls.  And sleepers and snakes.  Some of the people you are arguing with online are simply fighting for the sake of fighting. They love it. Others are ignorant of entire ranges of information and experience, and don’t have the same data base to pull from, or delete wide ranges of data because it doesn’t match their beliefs, and mistake emotion-based arguments for logic.  In NONE of these cases do you stand to gain more (on average) by arguing than by simply supporting the people who see the world as you do.
  5. Win, with integrity. And this is an important step: YOU MIGHT BE WRONG. Remember that. You’ve been wrong in the past. You will be wrong again in the future. You may be wrong now. So…treat others as you would wish to be treated. With respect and consideration.   Remember that they are probably thinking the precise same thing about YOU. And they may be correct.  So…when you sense that this is a Faith-based discussion masquerading as logic, step peacefully away, and spend that energy supporting someone who accepts your love and nurturing.   When you encounter someone who holds that opposite belief who can discuss it without emotion, who has no or little dog in the fight…have a polite discussion.


But if you go over the same point three times and get nowhere?  Disengage.

If fear or anger come into the conversation? Disengage.

If you see them applying different standards to others than they accept for themselves? Disengage.


Its easy to see, if you move backwards from the awareness that the purpose of life is to find joy.  Avoid pain. Things get so clear.


I found that realization to be so useful that I started talking about it to others, many of whom agreed, and found it valuable.  It was one of the engines driving the “Hero’s Journey”–the need to avoid pain (slay the dragon) or gain pleasure (win the princess.  Or prince.  Whatever floats your boat).


That was the core of my own coaching practice. The rest was a matter of building a professional structure, and then finding potential clients.


I promise you: it wouldn’t take me an hour with ANY of you to find something about your life that people would pay to learn.   And if you learned to present it properly, you could monetize it.  Do you know anything a younger you would pay to know? Something that helps you avoid pain or gain pleasure?   Of course you do.   That would be a valuable gift to someone who lacks clarity in that arena. And if you can help them, it is perfectly reasonable to ask them to exchange some of THEIR time and energy for yours.  That’s called “money.” Get it?


I promised that I’d have a special free offer for you, and you’ll get it tomorrow, a chance to listen in on a conversation with a lady who has earned millions just helping people, using her life experience and studied skills. Listen to her, it is the key to “Earning 100k a year in 25 hours a week.”


This is real.   And free. And coming tomorrow.






A young lady struggling to pass the PT test to become a Marine was my coaching client a couple of years back.  She PM’d me a month or so ago, thanking me.  She was in!   I am so happy for her, and so grateful to have had something to offer someone who just wanted to serve her country.   My very great honor, and it would be false modesty to refuse to accept her thanks.


No.  I have the ability to help people. In person.  From a distance. On the phone or Skype or email.   And although I outgrew that stage of my teaching (I no longer do personal coaching: I’d have to charge the very people who need the most help more money than they can afford) I know what it took to develop a way to help people, make money,   and have fun in the process.


But as I said, about six or seven years ago I was curled into a knot on the floor, crying…


Because the entire map of my life, built in childhood and reinforced and refined for decades, had been blown up by a family emergency.  For the first time, I lost faith that I could create a desirable future: the best of my life seemed to be in the rear-view mirror.


My decision to try to sell my skills in a different way ran into every “But…” imaginable.


But…who would pay me money for the things I give away?

But…I don’t know how to structure my time and energy to do it.

But…I don’t have the technical expertise to build an on-line business

But…I don’t know enough people locally to build a business

But…I’m in emotional overwhelm. People will smell that desperation on me, and reject the notion that I can help them.

But…I’m too old





All that stuff. And more, that I wouldn’t even write down in public.  But I asked myself one question:


If I was thirty years younger, would I pay me money for the knowledge I have?  If I could go back and give that younger me lessons in love, or writing, or martial arts, would that younger me be happy to pay for them?


And the answer was…hell yes.  IN FACT THE VERY PAIN I WAS IN RIGHT NOW WAS EVIDENCE. I knew how I’d messed up, and some very simple changes would have made a world of difference.  (Specifically and most simply?  Saving 10% of my income in an investment account.  That would have created an enormous safety cushion that would have removed all immediate fear and given me plenty of room for brainstorming.)


Once I realized that I, personally, would pay me for what I knew, everything changed.   The truth was that I didn’t need to attract “everyone.”  In fact, I didn’t have the TIME or ENERGY for more than about twenty clients a week, and really, I didn’t want more than ten.   If I used the World Wide Web, were there ten people in the world who were enough like I had been, who I could reach and present my case to?


With three BILLION people on the web?  Yeah, I kinda think so.


It stopped becoming “poor little me” and started being “who can I help? Who needs what I have AND CAN AFFORD TO PAY ME what I need to support my family with integrity?  Who would be FUN to work with?”


And that was a different set of questions.    It all depended upon loving myself, respecting the time I’d invested.  Seeing my own heart and soul in others, and not hallucinating that I was so unique that no one else would want to cook with my recipe.


No: the principles of real success were general enough that I’d profited by studying others, training with others.   All I had to do was realize that I was another link on a long, long human chain stretching back to prehistory: one human being teaching another. We are the only animals with more information in our brains than in our genes. As individuals we aren’t much smarter than chimps. It is the NETWORKING and sharing of information that we excel.


In other words…to NOT believe I had something of value to offer, I had to say


  1. I’d wasted my entire life
  2. All my teachers had been wrong
  3. I was so unique and brilliant no one could profit by my life lessons
  4. Only people with X or Y credential could teach (that certainly hadn’t been true for me!  I’d learned from people who had created success in the real world far more than those with “mere” academic credentials.  Now…those with a Masters or Doctorate who ALSO created in the real world were often the cream of the cream)


In other words, I had to either put myself WAY down, or put myself above anyone who asked me for help.   But if I’m just a human being, flawed and fearful but so focused on what I believe is true about the world, and myself, that I pick myself up day after day after day and work like hell to create the life I love…


I can show other people that path. And for those who want something similar to what I wanted, I can guide them. That’s all I have to do. Not be all-wise, or psychic, or perfect.


Just someone with genuine skills who wants to help, and knows how to communicate value. Who respects himself enough to demand to be treated with the respect I extend to others, and has a sense of the structure of life that says it is right and appropriate to teach…and be rewarded for that teaching, charging whatever I myself would have paid for that knowledge and support.


That’s all it is, really.  What have you learned? What have you become? What would you tell yourself thirty years ago?


If you can define that…you have something to offer the world that can build you a career you can be proud of IF AND ONLY IF you are willing to be adult about organization and communication.


If you are…I have something for you, a free gift.   Coming very soon.



Share the wealth!


(and if you need to believe in yourself, NOTHING is more powerful than the first step I often taught clients, the MORNING M.A.G.I.C. program.   If that’s your stumbling block, please go to and get that handled.  Your future will thank you!)

Twenty years of joy

Twenty years ago today, the amazing Tananarive said “I Due” to me in her parents’ home in Cutler Ridge section of Miami Florida.   I couldn’t believe my luck then, and I don’t believe it now.



My first marriage was going belly-up due to mis-steps along the way.  You can take such small actions, but over time, they magnify until you are lost, and Toni and I couldn’t find our way back to each other.  I was pretty miserable, but even more, I felt spun, unable to catch my balance.  Some time later I had a chance for a relationship with a fabulous lady who in many ways was an exemplar, the most attractive human female I think I’d ever seen.  I blew it, partially because we were on different paths, and partially because I was too open and eager.


A period of adjustment followed, during which I realized that to attract women I needed to be both focused and casual.  Otherwise I’d come across as either needy, or a predator.


Once I found that “relaxed focus” mode, things got scary easy.  I mean SCARY. I’d never been that attractive before, and I realized I could be one of the great dogs of all time…and didn’t want it.  Traveling to Clark Atlanta Universary for  the “African American Fantastic Imagination” conference, I encountered several ladies who…let’s say the connection was instant and almost overwhelming.   But…I was playing a game, and I didn’t want games. I wanted something real.


And that night, after arriving, I prayed.   I just asked God for a soul mate.  Someone I could really be myself with.  No games. And I was willing to wait the rest of my life for her, if that was what was necessary.


And…the next morning, coming out of my room, a cute little girl named Tananarive Due came out of the room next to me (!), asked if I was THE Steven Barnes, and asked if I was going to breakfast.


Well, sure, I said, a little confused. We had breakfast, and she was charming, and full of enthusiasm. She had published one book, THE BETWEEN, with another close on the way, MY SOUL TO KEEP.   I was polite, and just a little distant. But when I read a couple of pages of BETWEEN I realized that despite a fifteen-year head start, when it came to “memetic” or realistic fiction, depiction of the everyday world, that critical element that effective fantasy MUST possess…she was already better then me.  I decided that I would adopt her as a little sister, would support her and give her whatever I could to protect and propell her toward what I knew would be a hell of a career.


But…I wasn’t “attracted” to her, not consciously. I knew she was cute and smart of course, but I wasn’t in touch with anything else inside me.  We did some line dancing on the first night there, and I got to see how well she moved her body–a healthy, fit animal.  Very nice. But STILL nothing else kicked in.


Then…on our last day at the conference, she gave a talk about how she got Stephen King to blurb her second novel, and it was a complex strategy using her position at the Miami Herald, her skills on the keyboard, and the nerve to ask if she could play in King’s band, the “Rock Bottom Remainders” when it appeared at the Miami Book Fair.  She did, she made friends with him, and he agreed to look at her book…and the rest was history.


I sat in the front row watching her…and was thunderstruck. She wasn’t “smart”. She was SMART.  And…damn, she was really really REALLY cute, too…


And at that moment, a chill ran up my spine.  It was something I’d never felt before, like a door opening, revealing a path to my future.   “Oh, Steve,” I said to myself. “You are in TROUBLE”.


She lived in Miami. I lived in Vancouver, Washington. Opposite corners of the country. We were leaving Atlanta the next day. I had to get her attention FAST.


In situations like that, fully engaged, the WHAT clear (connect with Tananarive Due. See if this feeling is real, and if she could share it), the WHY (this was a potential Soul Mate.   Someone with whom I could create a life. Someone with similar values, energy, interests, skills.  She spoke my language and lived my life intellectually, emotionally, physically.  If I was right…this was the answer to my prayers)


All that remained was the “HOW.”  Have I said before that if the WHAT and the WHY are clear enough, the HOW presents itself?


She came down off the stage and was immediately surrounded by autograph seekers.  I looked around the room.  How could I catch her attention..?


And there, in the front row a few seats down, was a woman with a baby on her lap. Inspiration struck. I went to her.  “Excuse me, ma’am,” I asked.  “May I borrow your baby..?”


She looked at me blankly, wondering what this was about. She knew WHO I was (which was more than I knew, at the moment!) and I told a tangentially relevant truth: I love kids, and love playing with kids, and miss babies.    She said “o.k.” and handed me the child.  I got down on the floor in front of Tananarive, and started playing with that adorable little baby.


Now…if I hadn’t been serious, hadn’t been dead bang 100% blown away by her, that would have been an amazingly nasty and manipulative thing to do. I KNEW that there was no way an unmarried heterosexual professional black woman in her early 30’s could see an available professional attractive black man who loved babies without her hind brain going DING DING DING!!!  She would HAVE to investigate, find out if this was a possibility.


Was it foul play? Hell no. And I knew that if she was what I was looking for, she would understand even if I told her EXPLICITLY what I was doing.  I was communicating directly from hind-brain to hind-brain: I desire you.  I believe we are potential mates. And if you will give me a chance, and we both decide to go forward, I will love you all your life.  Give you children.  And die to protect them, if necessary.   All I am is yours, if this connection is real.


She got it.  I got my chance. We went dancing that night, and I kissed her good-night for the first time. And the next day, we were sitting in the Atlanta Hartsfield airport, our heads leaning against each other, holding hands and talking about how we could build an empire together.  That was the beginning, and we’ve never looked back.


I remember that prayer: give me someone to love.  Someone I could just be myself with.  I was tired of wearing a mask, or being anyone other than who and what I am.   If I could just find that person…I was prepared to strive every day to be the best man I can be, so that they never, EVER regretted the trust it would take to build a life together.


I’m not perfect.  But God, I love her.  From that first moment I saw her spirit and drive and creativity…let alone how well she danced and how good she looked doing it.


Sigh.  That’s the story.    I’m going to take her to breakfast now.  But if you want to know why every day, EVERY DAY in my Morning M.A.G.I.C. program I give thanks for “my beautiful, brilliant wife”…this is why.   The universe heard my prayer and answered.   I take my gratitude for that, for her, and pour it into everything I do, every day, and it has indeed made me a better man.


Thank you, baby. For the best twenty years of an already wonderful life.  The best is yet to come.





What will this week be for YOU?

Every Sunday, my primary “work” is to figure out the most important thing to accomplish in the next seven days.  Last week:


WHAT:  The most important thing I had to accomplish last week was a fabulous 20th anniversary celebration with Tananarive.

WHY: Because I adore her, and thank God every day that this fabulous, beautiful, brilliant, exceptional woman chose ME as her life partner.  And I never, ever want to take her or my life for granted, or let time pass without celebration.

HOW: An Air B’nB beach house in Malibu while Jason was off for a week of camp.


Get that?  Clear goal, clear reasons so passionate I vibrate when I think about it, and only then figuring the “how.”  Now…this week.


WHAT: Launch the “Your First 100k” course I’ve been working on for the last three years.   Rewrite the “Danakil” story for the blockchain “Celarius” project.


WHY: To provide a clearer road-map to my friends and students of how to take their passion to help people and turn it into the ability to support their own families and fulfill their dreams.   To finish a terrific shared-universe story


HOW:   By consulting with my tech guy Michael to be sure all the pieces of the marketing funnel are in place, all the contracts handled, the sales pages designed and executed, all the pieces of the course ready for download.  By editing five-ten pages of story a day.


WHAT then WHY then HOW.  Clear?




Once upon a time, I was a kid from a financially challenged, broken home, filled with fear about a world I had been told would destroy me if I was weak…or if I was too strong.  No role models, no one who believed in my dreams, and a mother who loved me but was destroying herself with stress and fear and toil.  But…she gave me a fantastic gift: the notion that our minds control our destiny.


And even if she was so rigid and wounded that she wasn’t able to take this notion to its logical conclusion SHE INFECTED ME WITH THE MEME.  And I spent my entire young life studying, searching, training…trying to find mentors, gurus, therapists, coaches, ANYONE who could help me achieve the things I needed to avoid catastrophe.  And…although Mom was limited by the rigidity of her traditional belief systems, I started seeing that all of these people, all these religions, all these philosophies were saying the same things in different ways, and slowly began to put it together.


Gaining success as a writer by writing every day.

Gaining success as a martial artist by training every day.

Building a beautiful family by being there as a husband and father every day.


I made mistakes.  Failed many times.  And deeply regret some of the choices I made along the way.  But…kept learning.   And growing.  Until one day I looked up, and realized that I’d literally achieved every goal I’d ever had as a kid.


Time for new goals.




The most evolved “Master” of any discipline I’ve had a chance to sit down and speak with one human being to another is probably Danny Inosanto, arguably the world’s greatest expert on Filipino and Indonesian martial arts, a walking encyclopedia, warrior, and gentleman.   At 82 years old he still teaches and trains every day, traveling the world every weekend to share his knowledge.


He is complex, not “complicated”.   In many ways a simple man of true genius, who teaches the history of his people as much as sharing their martial wisdom, which is phenomenal, music and mathematics on the kinesthetic level.  And all that makes him what he is is a clear goal:


WHAT:   to   be the best he can be.  To learn and grow and go as far as he can in his lifetime.

WHY: Because the weak deserve a chance to be strong.  Because bullies bleed too.  To fulfill a sacred promise to the great teacher of his life, Bruce Lee.

HOW: To train and teach every day.


That’s it.  A clear “What”.   An empowering “Why.”  and the “How” is simply doing it daily.


As the lady said, parenthood isn’t hard. Its just daily.  The same with ANYTHING else you want to master.


Know what your lifetime intentions are.   What your yearly outcomes need to be to reach them, and have a raft of kickass reasons to GO FOR IT.   What you have to accomplish this month to stay on track. What you need to do THIS WEEK to continue to refine your life physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually.


Know those things…and then know the minimum you have to do TODAY to make it happen.


Then…raise your energy by engaging with your body physically while visualizing your outcomes, chanting your gratitudes, and clarifying the ONE THING you MUST do today to take another step.


That’s all it is, people.   Mastery is a verb, not a noun. A vector, not a position.  It is being on the road, and learning and giving a little more every day.  Every.  Damned.  Day.


And, of course, celebrating your victories so that the little kid inside you, the sprite that generates all the energy and creativity, knows it is all worth while.


Do that, and the rest of life takes care of itself.  One day you’ll look up and have been married to your soulmate for two decades, have published three million words, and hold three black belts…


Or whatever the equivalent of those things is for YOU.   Or let’s put it more simply:


You’ll be happy to have been here on this planet, taking this journey.  One step at a time.





Millennial Woes

“While everyone else was telling these young white men to check their privilege, the alt-right was speaking powerfully to their Millennial woes.”



I honestly believe that our culture, perhaps our species,  is on an evolutionary cusp. A few of the core questions are:


  1. UHC and “Universal Income”.   As automation keeps the net wealth constant while reducing the number of jobs, our concept of what is “right” and “wrong” in terms of individual action, industry  and occupation HAS to shift, or the society dies. You simply cannot tell millions of unemployed people they are “bad” to be unemployed…unless there are jobs that will actually allow them to pay the bills.
  2. Global Warming.    Most of human history, we could be defined as the animals who use more and more of the biosphere’s energy per capita every few generations.    If you don’t think that a combination of this tendency combined with increased population wouldn’t affect the planet, you won’t be able to hear what I’m saying here.  This is not for you.
  3. Male-female relations.  Shifting drastically, due to birth control, industrialization, firearms, and post-optimal population levels.    It only makes sense that the sexual dimorphism the human race adapted to maximize the number of grandchildren would start to be less important, that the “walls” between the genders would grow more porous.   Those rigidly committed to those roles will be terrified, but the truth is that there is real freedom and power on the other side of this: both sides have suffered, and only those who can see that can lead the way to the future.  Men who blame women, or women who blame men, are each others’ natural partners, and the family gatherings won’t be fun at all.
  4. Racial demographics.  Tougher than male-female relations in some ways, because men and women are two sides of the exact same creature, whereas different races can easily be seen as competing tribes in a zero-sum game.   One tribe really CAN wipe out another…and thrive.   I believe this is one reason why the Civil Rights movement had such a spiritual component.  Why should I give up power, when direct material benefits are so difficult to see?  It requires a spiritual perspective, a deep dive into the question “who are we?” to produce a clear answer.
  5. There are others: alcohol vrs Pot, Obesity vrs. Lean bodies, etc.   Evolution, change, awakening, awareness.    We are in a challenging time.



The Alt Right boys strike me as males caught up in #3 and #4.   If you don’t think white males have good reason to wonder if their grandfathers were luckier than they are, you aren’t looking carefully.   Both men AND women fail to factor that the most basic human desire is NOT to have power or make money or be famous. It is to live. Life itself.  And men have been conned, tweaked, bred and programmed to accept their own lives as less important.  No, it isn’t women who controlled this, although they are certainly complicit: we co-evolved biologically and socially.   Our genetics and memetics are in control.  This arrangement got the maximum number of grandchildren onto the game board. All else was secondary.


Hapless “Incels” don’t understand the new dynamics of relationships, which aren’t really different from animal mating patterns, but ARE different from the prior social rules arising from them.  I will leave it as an exercise for the reader what the female equivalent of this might be.  Its a different discussion.


These young white males fear that shifting demographics will place them in a weakened position, or even lead to extinction.  If they don’t think they have advantage, then they MUST consider that the relative statistics of POC and white performance in America is due to innate differences.  (A great irony isn’t it? The belief that racism is not a powerful and damaging factor in American life is itself racist.  Wow. That’s kinda bizarre.)

They are, in other words, racist without being willing to speak that racism clearly.  Sometimes without realizing it.     The problem is that their fear is a real thing whether racism (the belief that one group is superior or more worthy than another, based on race or ethnicity) is a valid theory or not!


  1. The groups are NOT equal.  Oops!  Then “them durn SJWs” will destroy the system by lifting up inferior peoples. The monkeys will take over the zoo.
  2. The groups ARE equal.  In which case you have stupendous, mind-boggling guilt and fear.  Guilt over what was done in the past, and fear for possible revenge in the future. After all, THEY would want to kill anyone who oppressed them as those groups have been repressed. Projecting that naked fear onto others assumes that they are angry, and will take violent action the first chance they get.


For people like this, the future looks horrifying. There is literally no way out.   Worse, they can’t even see themselves forming healthy relationships with women, leaving them out of the reproductive stakes.


Death, on the personal and genetic level. Loss of power. Increase of pain.  Stress crippling perception, leaving them unable to grasp some basic realities:


Men and women are the same creature, and what is healthy for one will inevitably be healthy for the other.  The world as we see it was created by both.


The different “races” of human beings are more social constructs than anything else, and the gathering of the tribes is actually as natural and beautiful as the unfolding of the universe as a whole, a simple increase in connection and complexity.


Sigh.   The danger is fear, of course.   The answer is love.


  1. Love yourself.  Respect and care for yourself. Learn to nurture yourself with proper rest, proper physical and emotional nutrition, and calculated stress.
  2. Love one other person.   The process of unshielding your heart and soul to love another, ESPECIALLY if the union creates children, is one of the most powerful forces of awakening on the planet.
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame, or shame.  Human beings are just animals reaching for the stars.   Understand both the root and the flowering. Note what we’ve done to each other from fear and greed…but also the fact that violence has DECREASED over the centuries.   We really are learning and growing.  Have faith…but be cautious.
  4. Don’t argue with trolls.  Fear-driven people: black or white, male or female, will try to polarize this game.   Under the words is a belief that they are the superior ones.  Don’t fall for the comforting delusions.   We’re just people.  Instead, find the tribe of people who believe we are equal and complementary, and hew to that belief even when it is terribly hard.  You will be attacked by BOTH radical Right and Left.   Everybody wants to rule the world.  Until they realize they ARE the world…and the game changes.
  5. Win…with integrity.   Be kind, but take no shit.    Don’t drop your guard if you aren’t totally certain you can protect yourself (remember rule #1).   Be CLEAR on what your ultimate outcomes are, and why you want them, and never step away from your values and morality.   Moral strength, clarity of emotional and spiritual purpose is one of the most powerful forces in the world.  It is damned hard to stop someone willing to die for what they believe in.   But remember that most of your opponents are not snakes or monsters…they are afraid. Terrified. Don’t understand that their map is warped, that the cheese is no longer in the maze.



You will probably not be able to hear what I’m saying if you haven’t taken care of step #1–you will be in fear, and anger, and pain, and wish to strike out.  There is a time to strike out, there is no doubt, no slightest question.  I am not a pacifist.  I AM a lover of humanity. There is a difference.


But first…love yourself. That’s where it all begins.  If you are stressed out, set the countdown timer on your watch for three hours, and every time it goes off BREATHE deeply and slowly for sixty seconds, and then set your watch for another three hours.  That will get you started.


You deserve to have the best week of your life. Hard to get that, when you are filled with pain and fear.


Breathe. Love.


But protect yourself.




OMG…That’s Jason!




Oh My God. That’s my baby boy on the extreme right.   Getting ready for his first game.   Its one thing to no longer be able to just pick him up in one arm.  Its another to realize that he is so close to being a man.


I figured I had one job with my kids: to help them safely to their adulthood.   And all I can do there is to teach them the very best things I’ve learned over the course of my life.   Over the summer, Jason has really matured–I’m hoping the pressures of high school don’t crack him.


I have to take everything he needs to do and connect it to a long-term goal of his. As he hasn’t really gelled his adult outcomes, I have to be more general, and use Milton Erickson’s pattern, unless and until I get a clear indication of a refinement or healthy aversion.


On a basic biological/social level he needs to learn to care for his body, hunt and gather, satisfy his sexual needs with integrity, create goods and services he can enjoy creating and exchange with his community to support himself and two other people, understand his values and beliefs clearly enough to be a good father and husband, become a contributing member of society on the level of charity and pure giving, age with dignity, and die at peace.


Infinite refinements on that process, but those are good basic safety rails.   The single most important thing I’m doing, the “atomic” minimum dose, the mountain I’m prepared to die on, is that five minutes every morning. Checking in, evaluating the previous day’s work, clarifying what needs to be done today.  Being sure he knows WHAT to do, WHY he is doing it–in a way that aligns with his own personal goals, and only then turning him loose into the chaos of a school day.


WHAT does he have to do? WHY does he want to do it?  Only then going to the HOW.


I wish I could get him in a full-fledged “Morning M.A.G.I.C.” program, moving and chanting at the same time, but he’s not ready for that yet.  I’ll be happy with what I can do, slowly asking him to remember all he has to feel grateful for, what his clear intentions today and for a lifetime might be, the strength of his conviction that he can and should accomplish it, and what ACTIONS he is going to take to make it happen.


That’s enough. But one day…one day he will have a goal, and come to me and ask what he can do to maximize his chances of reaching it. This is where Football is hugely more happy-making than Skate Park. The kids at Skate Park tend to be somewhat counter-culture. The smell of pot wafts from the benches nearby.   And skating is fun, but dead end for all but a tiny few.


Football is a team sport, so he is associating with young men who are focused on winning as a team, being strong. They have to keep their grades up to play.  There is a route to college scholarships for athletes in some sports, and Football is his first introduction to the level of discipline and focus it requires.   Those coaches are screaming postive messages while the kids sweat and strain and push–(hey!  That’s like the missing piece of the Morning MAGIC program!)


He will experience the focus of a crowd’s attention. Learn to deal with the girls who are attracted to that power, and ask himself what he wants for a life partner, not just a dance partner for a night (ahem).   What was the single strongest step I took toward maturation?


Wanting the respect of the men I respected

Wanting to attract the kind of women I was attracted to.


Choose those men and women carefully, and life gets very simple.


This is a good step for my boy. There are downsides, of course, but I’ll keep my eyes open for them. Meanwhile…Summer 2018 goes down in my book as a dividing line between a big boy and a young man.  He is on the other side of that divide now.  The risks get bigger.


So do the rewards. Time to roll up my sleeves: the work is about to get harder. And a lot more fun.





(if you want to create your own “Morning MAGIC” program, go to:

Today’s Morning program


So what I brought with me to exercise on the deck overlooking the Pacific is a yoga board, and two 36 lb kettlebells.  So the schedule today will be:

  1. Tai Chi with morning ritual.  Primary focus today?  Rewriting the story “Danakil” and having a GREAT time with Tananarive.  That party, if its any of your business, has already started.  Ahem.
  2. Martial Arts.  Basics of Silat, Kali, WAR, and Kenpo.   I paid blood and sweat for those skills, and damned if I’m gonna give ’em up in THIS lifetime.
  3. Kettlebells.   Now…I’m experimenting with an adaptation of a double KB complex designed by Steve Maxwell.  I’m gonna do a “ladder” ( 1 rep, then 2, then three, then four then five) resting as necessary, continuing up the ladder as high as I can go in 12 minutes.  Here are the techniques:
    1. Double Clean and Jerk
    2. Double Clean
    3. Double Jerk
    4. Double front squat.
    5. Double Dead Lift and Burpee
  4. Get that?  One of each, rest, two of each, rest, etc.  It is BRUTAL.
  5. YOGA.  One rep of each of the 24 (?) poses of the Bikram series.   Yoga is no longer optional in my life. It is mandatory.  If I don’t do it, my body remembers my  birthday, and the presents it has for me ain’t to my liking.


Total Time investment: about an hour.


So that’s getting started.  It is all built around the notion of focusing myself with my Morning M.A.G.I.C. program, then building energy with exercise and cooling it down with Yoga, re-integrating my structure.


Then…launch into my day and KICK BUTT on that story (which is already cooking, but needs to be strengthened in the second half).  Then…more fun with T. She’s working on a short film script, and her novel, THE REFORMATORY, which is going to blow minds.


Anyway…I know it will be a great day because everything is hooked into my easiest access to my own passions: love of my family.  Work, meditation, Morning M.A.G.I.C., martial arts, kettlebells, yoga…all are about raising the energy, aligning it, and protecting my body from its own dynamic flow.  Connect that physical drive to my emotional, in the same way that if your house is burning you will FIND the energy to save your family.   I’ve got every reason in the world to kick ass today: survival, sex, power, love, contribution, discovery, pure fun.


You can’t stop someone who aligns themselves like this. You can kill ’em.  But you can’t stop them as long as they have a breath in their body.


THAT is my commitment.    Now…hey…it’s time to buckle down and kick ass.  Later