What Is Anti-Magic?

Most people can relate to being in the zone: Whatever you are doing is flowing easily and you feel like you are beyond space and time — pure magic. Then out of nowhere you are jolted out of the zone. The magic is gone. Your feelings shift from focused spontaneity to annoyance, irritation and possibly anger.

How does this happen? How can you go from being in the zone one moment to being angry the next?

This does not happen on its own. Someone did something that caused the magic-zone you were in to disappear. We call these incidents Anti-Magic, or Anti-Magic Moments.

Here is a short definition:

Anti-Magic Moment Anti-Magic Moments are any incidents, upsets or behaviors that are anti-magic (i.e. create an environment that is not safe, harmonious or happy), or actions that are in violation of the company’s stated policies, values, and procedures and interfere with productivity, orderliness and the ability to do your job well.

These Anti-Magic incidents cause a lot disharmony in relationships, especially on teams of people working closely together. You could say that Anti-Magic works directly against synergy and is opposing the team’s stated purpose and direction.

Research has shown that Anti-Magic incidents are not chance occurrences, they are usually deliberate and sometimes unconscious behaviors of people who are working against you.


These people are more common than you think. Driven by competition, resentment and jealousy, Anti-Magic is used as a weapon to “bring you down to earth”, “put you in your place” or outright dominate you.

People who struggle to get in the zone, can (but not always) become jealous, and in order to feel better about themselves, sabotage you from your in-the-zone-moment.

Another example is the friendly colleague who is competing with you for a promotion or “top employee” award. If they feel they can’t beat you in an outright competition, sabotage will do. And if you confront them about this, they will say something like “Oh, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to do it.”

This is very costly to a businesses bottom line and can explain why some companies and teams only achieve a fraction of their true potential and seem to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!”

Now that you are aware of Anti-Magic Moments, and the next time you jolt out of the zone, look for who did what.

What would happen to your overall results if you had a system to identify Anti-Magic and to correct it, thus preventing it from happening repeatedly? More about that in a future article.

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