Mentorship: My Magic Mindset

What’s your goal, and how will you get there? Your mentor Shaun McLaren shares his secrets to the Magic Mindset and puts you on the path to success…with a few helpful hints to keep you from losing hope along the way!

Here’s how the movie begins:

The protagonist slaves away doing unfulfilling work. Their core is still pure and their kindliness still intact despite circumstances beyond their control. They are unhappy with their position in life but remain humble and dutifully toil away while keeping their hope alive.

The protagonist dreams of a brighter future, of some lofty accomplishment they will one day achieve.

One day they will become the hero.

Their goal may seem unattainable. The odds are certainly against them. The odds would laugh in their face if asked for an honest assessment of things.

But a hero persists despite it all, fueled only by a burning desire to achieve that ultimate goal.

Then through hard work, luck, and of course friendship, the hero manages to overcome what stands in their way and realize their dreams.

Fade to black. Credits roll.


Somehow life usually doesn’t go like this.

Why is that?

Movies tend to be unrealistic. There isn’t someone writing your story to make sure you get what you want.

Or is there?

Isn’t that your job, to write your own story?

It begs the question: are you the hero of your own life?

Can you attain what you want if you really tried?

Most people are stuck in a rut of non-achievement. It’s easy to get trapped in a loop of disappointment and most people stay there for long periods of time.

Life isn’t a movie, but you can still be the successful protagonist of your own story.

What is your passion?

What mindset do you need to help further your goals?

What does it take to really achieve your desires?

Today I’ll be going over some lessons I’ve learned that I believe will help you achieve your goals. The emphasis will be on Magic, but this should also apply to any other areas of life.

Finding Your Passion

Your passion can be anything and you don’t have to explain it to anyone… as long as it isn’t axe murdering (or something that specifically takes away from others).

Your passion can be as big or as small as you like. It can be short-term or long-term. It can be selfish or deep. The great thing is that your passions will change and evolve as you realize them.

For example, you might desire to win an FNM. Then you might want to play on the Pro Tour.Once you accomplish that, you might just realize you want to connect to people through Magic and start streaming.

Ideally, as you start knocking out more superficial desires, they become more deep and purposeful, but it’s okay to be selfish as well. Someone in the desert can only dream of water, after all.

You’ll never stop wanting more things, and this is actually a great thing if you have a healthy relationship with your desires. The key is to know what you want, but still be completely fine if you don’t actually get it. Be happy with what you have, but always be seeking more.

What if you don’t know what you want?

Try answering the following questions in a notebook:

What do you desire?

What would you change about your life if you could? Don’t worry about offending anyone. Just get any nagging thoughts out of your head and onto paper. You don’t have to follow through on them.

What would your life look like if you already had everything you wanted?

What would you have done to get to that point?

There’s your compass.

Don’t Deny What You Want

Don’t dismiss your passion because it seems unattainable or is being blocked by negative emotions about something else.

Just identifying what you want is an important first step.

What you think you want might be broken into tiny pieces of things that you want when you look at it closely.

What you think you want might be fear of something you want to avoid, and uncovering that fear will help lead to where you really need to go.

Before you can win a Pro Tour, you need to qualify to compete in it.

Start small. Pick one step you can take and start making your larger goals reality in little slices.

The Power of the Snowball

Small victories will lead to larger victories; small failures will start adding up to larger ones.

Get some momentum by accomplishing little goals and keep a chain of victories going. Clean your desk. Send an email you’ve been avoiding. Clear your head of something small.

When I have an off day, it tends to spiral into more and more off days until it’s out of control. If I have a good day, I’m more likely to chain those together as well, but eventually you’ll need a break or get overloaded.

One way to negate burnout is to plan a rest day where you don’t need to accomplish anything.

A day of struggling and attempting to do things where nothing gets done versus having a planned day to laze about where nothing getting done is the goal will be much better.


If you have unlimited energy, you can do pretty much anything with a smile on your face.

The Catch-22 is that, usually, what gives you energy is only what you truly enjoy doing, which you can’t usually do 24/7.

It’s a balance between obligation and what you want. Sometimes you just need to carve a little more time out for what you want.

The weeks before I won Pro Tour Born of the Gods, playing Magic was my number one priority and I could play all day, no problem.

What you want will give you energy and be easy to do.

If you’re excited to do something, you’ll hop out of bed with energy to burn. If not, you’ll be low-energy and unmotivated.

Make time for what you really want to be doing.

The First Step to Solving a Problem Is Noticing It Exists

Many people don’t often look for the truth.

I see people willing to argue uninformed opinions on something when they should be looking for answers readily available and right in front of them.

Want to improve in a certain area or fix a problem? Google it and start looking for answers.

This is the first time in history we’ve had access to such a powerful tool! It’s incredibly easy to take for granted if you grew up with the internet.

Becoming a network of more and more correct thoughts is one of your greatest weapons.

The answer to almost any question you have, any problem you have, is out there if you look and are willing to accept it.

Sometimes easy and obvious answers aren’t there, usually they very much are.

Accept What You Have, but Strive For More

Ideally you should be completely fine if you never end up achieving a specific goal, yet still have an unquenchable desire to accomplish them.

For some people, it will never be enough. No matter how many titles you win, how many accolades you recieve, there always need to be more.

Before I became a Magic Pro, I already felt in my heart that I was a competent player, enjoyed playing Magic, and didn’t need anything more. Paradoxically, I also wanted to prove myself.

Life is already one gigantic freeroll. Every good thing is gravy. Every bad thing still sucks, but whatever, freeroll.

Already be at your destination in your mind. This is what you should be trying to attain.

No future, only now. Once you are consistently at ease in the now, you can move towards your goals with ease and no desperation.

This is the true moral of any movie about a hero, that the happiness and achievement was always inside of them all along. They just needed to realize it.

Stop Worrying About the Future and the Past

Am I playing the right deck? What if the deck I choose sucks? Should I play something else?

No matter what, I can never seem to be satisfied with the deck I pick for a tournament. I always worry about things, tuning cards or regretting not choosing a different deck earlier, up until I’ve submitted my list.

Once I submit the list, I can stop worrying. After all, it’s not going to change things. All I can do now is play my best. Adopting this feeling during the deckbuilding process is much more useful.

Fear and worry arise because I’m chasing after perfection that simply doesn’t exist. Your deck is never going to be perfect. People could show up targeting your deck. People could show up with a better deck, period. If they do, no big deal. That’s going to happen sometimes.

You’ll never be perfect and the grass is always greener on the other decklist. When you already know you’re making a choice, accept it and don’t look back at what could’ve been or imagine every unlikely scenario where things could potentially go wrong.


Once you’ve achieved a goal, your passion will evolve or change.

My peak competitiveness in Magic actually probably came before I won my Pro Tour.

Fluctuations in goals and passions should be embraced. You don’t have to force yourself to try to compete at a level you once did if your heart is exploring other interests.

You only have a limited amount of time and attention and you should be mostly focused on your deepest desires.

Do I still have a desire to win more events and prove myself? Absolutely, even if that desire isn’t as strong as it once was, and I can accept that and focus some of my attention on other aspects of Magic.

Appreciate the Moment

One of my favorite moments in Magic is right before the first draft of a Pro Tour.

It’s when everything fades away. All the preparation, all the what-ifs.

It’s time to get down to business, roll those dice, and hope your +7 in Magic stat modifier is good enough.

I could 0-5, I could Top 8. No big deal either way.

You don’t need to put pressure on a Magic tournament, or on life, to go a certain way.


Work Hard

The best way to get good results comes from putting in good work.

We don’t see the behind-the-scenes of big events. We don’t see the inner monologue, the sweat and tears, the sacrifices, or the struggles of a champion as they compete. We don’t see the entire story.

We only see the results of others. People just seem to be successful or not. Maybe we know they’re a hard worker, but we don’t experience what they’ve gone through.

We see our own story, but not others.

You had probably never heard of me before I won a Pro Tour.

You didn’t see the build-up and the years of Magic playing or the practice, care, and attention, that goes into a winning deck.

To you, I was suddenly a Pro Tour champion.

Don’t dismiss hard work or attribute success to luck. It’s a happy lie used to shield the truth.

Know Thyself

Ultimately, everything comes down to you.

Are you trending upward and headed towards your goals?

Embrace your quirks. Incorporate your essence into everything you do. Take what works and discard the rest.

Do what works for you.

I wish you peace and the very best of luck on your journey.