C is for Courage

Steven Barnes
3 min readMay 26

“You honestly expect me to breathe in a world without air?”

-Renee Ahdieh

The “C” in the MAGIC formula is “Courage” or “Conviction.” Courage to act and believe. To have faith. Conviction to believe that you CAN and SHOULD take the actions, that doing so will bring more pleasure than pain.

How do you know when you’ve reached that point? YOU ACT. 100% of the time. If you AREN’T acting, on some level you associate more PAIN than pleasure to the actions or result. If you ARE acting…you associate more pleasure than pain.

Yes. Its that simple. So in your FIVE MINUTE MIRACLE, you can spend sixty seconds per hour moving, breathing, smiling, and performing incantations that associate pleasure with your goals/actions, and PAIN to NOT performing them.

You could literally visualize yourself at a crossroads, with the left-handed path, continuing the negative behaviors (not writing or submitting, not working out, not connecting with loved ones or releasing negative emotions toward those who have harmed you) lead to negative consequences: failure in career, lack of energy and aliveness, a fear of relationships and intimacy. Loss of love.

FEEL IT, even if just for a moment. Then shake yourself. Perhaps you are doing a Tibetan as you do this. You could pause, shake yourself, and then continue.

NOW you think about the right-hand path. See yourself following your mentor down that road. See yourself meeting challenges with courage, walking the “Road of Trials” to a bright destination: earning that black belt, embracing love and family, and successful publication and bountiful finances.

SEE it . FEEL it. HEAR it. First, the pain. Then the pleasure. Make the pleasure HUGE.

Sixty seconds is all it takes — maybe just 25 seconds of negative, ten seconds of “breaking state” shaking it off, 25 seconds of pure confidence and conviction.

Do this, and you have turned a 1-minute break into a whole body/mind check up. Most people are doing good to “check in” on their goals once a week. The most successful check in every day. But masters live in a STATE of progress and excellence, constantly engaged with the world and finding the beauty and possibility therein.

Penkekar Paul De Thours once told us that there is a little part of his brain that is CONSTANTLY performing djurus, the mini-kata of Pentjak Silat. From the time he wakes up until he…

Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts. www.lifewritingpodcast.com.