Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Believing in Magic

The beloved Wikipedia defines Magic the following way:
Magic, sometimes known as sorcery, is the practice of consciousness manipulation and/or autosuggestion to achieve a desired result, usually by techniques described in various conceptual systems. The practice is often influenced by ideas of religion, mysticism, occultism, science, and psychology.

I would like to discuss that first part. Okay, not the sorcery part, but the next one. Where it defines magic as “the practice of consciousness manipulation and/or autosuggestion to achieve a desired result….” Consciousness manipulation, hmmm.

Consciousness=Thinking Manipulation=Exerting Control or Influence

So, another way to say that - magic is the practice of exerting control or influence over ones own thinking to achieve a desired result. That is how I describe goal-setting. There is magic power in intent, especially if it is written. My father says that if you don’t want something to come about, you better not write it down. He is absolutely right. I believe you must exercise great care when setting goals. In other words, be careful what you wish for.

When I turned thirty, I set in motion a series of goals. My main intent was to be a busy, self-employed person. Self-employed, because I was tired of working for other people. Busy, because I thought that would mean I was getting a lot done. Three years later, my husband and I owned a house painting company. I was successful…and busy. My husband and I worked in excess of eighty hours a week. We got to spend a lot of time together. That was great. We had no life, though. That wasn’t great.

Fast forward two years, we were rated a five-star company by a nationally recognized organization and had a long list of happy clients. We had achieved the goals we had set for ourselves. The only problem was that we weren’t happy. We didn’t get to spend enough time with our little girl and the business was dominating our lives. We sat down and decided that we wanted to do something else with our lives. Well, our circumstances immediately responded to the new influence on our thinking. In retrospect, we should have re-defined our goals instead of abandoning them. Within two months, our company was in ruins. We had a series of absurd calamities that left everything we had worked so hard for in ashes. It really was that fast. That has been my experience in general. If I put the passion into my goal (or anti-goal), everything in my life pivots on that.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a sad story. This was a major course correction. The slate was cleaned and now we could start again. We had not set goals that were in line with our dreams. Both my husband and I had thought that our dreams were completely out of our reach. So, we had set “realistic” goals of material success. We weren’t going to make that mistake, again. We had seen the power of our goals and intent. We were about to put them to good use.

In my next post, I will begin to explain the process we’ve used to get such dramatic results from our goal-setting.
Just be careful what you wish for.


My name is April and I am a perfectionist. Perfectionism is a great and horrible thing. One the one hand it can drive you to succeed where others would give up. On the other hand, it can prevent you from even beginning a task because you know that said task cannot be completed to your own high standards, or because the thought of all the work it would take to complete said task to your own high standards seems overwhelming.

There is nothing like the feeling that comes from having created something that feels right (perfect). For example, I bought a group of pictures and arranged them in a frame. Then I rearranged them. Then I rearranged them again. Then I rearranged them again. This went on for quite some time. I couldn't get that perfect feel. I knew that there was some arrangement of these pictures that would bring all of the elements together in the best way. I, finally, brought in a second pair of eyes (a big step forward for me) and together my husband and I moved the pictures around a little more. At last, I had just the composition that I wanted. My husband hung that frame on the wall (in just the right spot, bless his heart) and now every time that I look at it, I get a little rush of satisfaction. And that is how it goes when it works out. Sometimes though, that feeling of perfection is just out of reach and now matter how hard I keep trying and trying, I can't get it just right. Sometimes, I can get stuck chasing that perfection and loose sight of the bigger picture. But, when I reach that place where everything comes together…bliss.

I have a complex set of goals charting out where I want to go the next few years. This project is integral to one of the legs of my ambition. If I get bogged down in perfection, there is no way I can achieve what I want to do in a reasonable time frame. I've started this blog several times and then torn it apart again. Today I have decided to try another strategy. I will become, on these pages, the Anti-Perfect. I'm going to start on this part of my goal. I will let the chips fall where they may. Okay, I will probably stack them in neat little piles, but I will not pick them up. You can consider my run-on sentences and eye-hurting grammar as an exercise in letting go.