It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. – Carl Sagan
The world has always needed magicians. We have always longed for those sincere enchanters who can transport us with their stories. We have always desired the heartfelt wizards who can move us to be more than mere flesh and bone. And we have always cried out for and succeeded because of our genuine masters; those ones who can thrill us, and inspire us, and awaken us to our every wish and want.
You may imagine yourself as one of these modern-day shamans. But, are you really able to brandish your magic? Really?
Now, don’t get me wrong. Believing in magic is fun. It is a diversion. It is entertaining. It is an easily intoxicating way of thinking. Equal parts faith, skill, and willpower; a trust in your own magic arises from a powerfully unshakable confidence that as much settles on you as it does curve to your intentions. And, once you open the door to a magical way of thinking, it is something that refuses to let you go until you grant it a place to live. Still, a conviction of this sort (your belief) without parallel triumph in your life (your results) is much like going to a fancy restaurant, looking at the heavenly list of items on the menu, imagining what a delicious meal would taste like, and then never ordering. Musing on your meal is not the same as consuming it. So, I can easily tell you: magic without manifestation is the beginning of delusion.
Borrowing from story analyst and teacher Lew Hunter, I have often said, “Know your illusions. Destroy your delusions.” This concept is singularly true when confronting your own enchanting beliefs. It is one thing to spark some other person’s imagination and fancy; it is quite another to deceive yourself when such pretense does not serve you well.
What follows are four expansive questions you can ask and important observations you can make to determine whether your way of thinking is truly enchanting your world or just enchanting yourself.
1. Are you getting what you want in life? The most basic of our questions that I explore with people, this one forces you to get real and to truly answer whether you are experiencing the life of your dreams. This question is more than just a superficial inquiry into the things and possessions in your life. It is also a question to get you to become savagely honest about your attitude, your memories, your beliefs, and your assumptions. If you are not getting what you want in life, then it is time to change the strategy you are using. And, if you are not using any strategy at all to move through life with wonder and energy, then it’s time you come up with a master plan for your existence.
2. How often are you making excuses for what appears in your life? If you want a certain level of success and triumph, and you aren’t acquiring it, there can be a tendency to let yourself off the hook. It is so easy to justify what has appeared in the place of your dream with a saying like, this or something better or well, it wasn’t meant to be. While a this or something better attitude (or something like it) is a well-founded technique for keeping a magical perspective (and is certainly in line with my belief that the Universe is conspiring for your own good), you need to make certain that what can be powerful affirmations and understandings of the fabric of the Universe, aren’t turning into overused excuses for your inaction. If your life is not serving you well, it’s time to stop condoning what is and start putting your energy and action into what could be. In other words, it’s time to start participating in your own success.
3. When was the last time you took massive action to make a dream come true? For your fairy tale life to come true, you have to put one foot in front of the other so that you can make your way to the castle. You have to consciously determine to globe-trot to your dream and then actually travel in that direction. If you aren’t willing to premeditatedly take that path, then someone else will. And you will be walking in the shadow of their dreams, not yours. I interact with people all the time who relegate their experiences to second-nature reactions rather than first-hand actions. I think we can all agree that life is about actions and reactions; your exploits and adventures, and your replies and responses to other people’s exploits and adventures. Magic is diligent. Magic is unflagging. Magic is conscientious. If you want your dreams to become realities, you must – and I mean must – perform deeds that bear jubilant fruit. Real magicians can do no more, and they deserve no less.
4. When was the last time you actually celebrated a success? Honor your magic. Praise it. Glorify it. And pay tribute to it by playfully marking your outcomes so that they, in turn, celebrate you. The demanding times and the defeats will take care of themselves. But your triumphs need to be shared. If you are not experiencing the same level of success you dream about (or any success at all, for that matter), then it’s time to reevaluate your intent and your effort so that you can determine if they are congruent with one another. In the end, this question is all about deciding whether or not you actually deserve success in the first place.
1. Get Brutally Honest With Yourself. Magical thoughts are a dime a dozen. Magical adventures are uncommon to most people. Magical outcomes are rare gems. Are you living a life filled only with amazing thoughts without magnificent results? If so, it’s time to transform your current thinking into a philosophy that serves you well.
2. Stop Justifying Your Failures. If you were a real magician, what would your life be like? And how is that different than where you are now? Start being the magic! Stop being a drama-queen (or king). Oh, I want you to make mistakes and have failures, by the way. They’re the best way to learn. I just don’t want you to wallow in them.
3. Move From Here to There. If you are going to sit around and wait for the Universe to dump affluence in your lap, your satisfaction with life is going to be rather hit and miss. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, people are about as successful as they make up their minds to be. If you make up your mind to be successful, then start taking monumental action and walk the path of your dreams. What’s the worst that can happen?
4. Honor the Magic. Seek out people with whom you can enjoy your successes and who will be truly happy for your triumphs. Remember, though, this is a two-way street. You must return the favor when it’s time to honor their magic.
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