Giving Thanks for MAGIC

Steven Barnes
4 min readNov 23, 2023

Give thanks for the MAGIC in your Licensed for Life


37 days of the LOVE FEAST remaining this year. And I got another dose of clarity that my ability to love Tananarive 100% is based on how fully I commit to protecting my child. If Little Stevie knows that Daddy will protect and love him completely, sees what a bautiful little scamp he is, I can release all “needy wounded abandoned child” stuff and enjoy my wonderful spouse for what she IS rather than complaining about what she is NOT.

He wants to know that we’re getting better at the things we care about. Physical performance, Career success, and relationshp joy. The standards can be mine, but they HAVE to be honest. IN other words, if I get them, I have zero complaints. Any time I discuss life success, some people will state that “luck” is the major factor, whether that’s the “lucky sperm club” or just happening to run into someone who can mentor or assist you, or being born with “talent” or wealth.

No argumnet that luck is very important. Yesterday Jason asked me an interesting question. We were discussing how to apply the different models. The trick is to define the problem, and then look at it from multiple perspectives. The Hero’s Journey, RPM, etc. Each different model forces you to think about it differently. So he asked me if there was a model that would help him predict someone ELSE’S success.

Man oh man, did I grin. EXACTLY the kind of question I ask…which also relates to protecting the “child” self, which is one of the impotant things I want for him.

I said: “The M.A.G.I.C. Formula. If someone has a `zero’ in any one of the five aspects, I know they will struggle. If they have zeros in two…I predict they will fail.”

If they don’t have a clear MAP or MODEL of the path to success.

If they don’t take regular daily ACTION toward their goal

If they don’t feel GRATITUDE for what they already have

If they don’t have clear GOALS, preferably balanced, and “S.M.A.R.T.”

If they don’t have real CONFIDENCE and COURAGE about their chances of success…

Then their complaints about being “unlucky” are just their excuses. Do these five, and you will start getting “lucky” in ways that are like…well, like magic.

THAT’S how I’d make a guess about whether someone will succeed at a basic task. Or in life. I invited him to check for himself. If he studies his friends and acquaintances and deternines this is true, he has a way to get into the game. Handle these five, and you are on the playing field. Getting EXCELLENT on the playing field is probably a matter of intersecting MAGIC with some other pattern — but there are great ones out there. I will supply many. But eventually…he’ll find his own. Or CREATE his own. But IMO once you see the power of that formula, you’ll be able to look back over your life, or into the lives of others, and see “breaks” in the chain. Fix them, and you automatically rais your game.

And…that “child” inside you is safer. And happier. And now you are functioning with joy. And you jknow what? Living with real joy is the greatest reward you can have. Perhaps the greatest definition of success.

And much to be grateful for.



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Steven Barnes

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