The “Less Than” Button – Week 30

This is a follow-up to the last week’s post regarding leverage. I attended a networking meeting 3 weeks ago where the guest speaker was a personal coach, formerly a practicing DC.

The coach talked about helping a number of clients advance their incomes from 6 figures to 7, which caught my attention, as that is my present goal. In the process of the 40-minute presentation to the small, 2-person group, I was drawn in to the coach’s mystique.

I didn’t cop to what he did with me initially, but a series of events revealed an interesting skill he used. This might help the reader.

At the presentation, I felt inspired and empowered, and I enrolled for a complimentary one-hour personal consult. During the consult, I was again impressed by the coach’s insights, and I committed to a 5-figure coaching program, with funds to be paid later.

I continued to make great progress on my goals, and I did the assigned homework project. The coach’s response to the homework was interestingly generic and shallow, asking for a little more detail. To me, the detail requested was obvious, a simple arithmetic exercise. Essentially, busy work. Rather than immediately respond with the detail, I let the message sit in my inbox for three days.

Then, yesterday, I was seized with paralysis over the emotions of a difficult event from a couple months back. I was nonplussed by this new experience, and I reached out to my MM partner, who is also my uncle. I asked my uncle to help me process the revived emotions, which he did.

My uncle pointed out that the difficult emotions probably came from how the unpleasant experience related to me having previously resided in a “less than” place. As we talked through the actual experience and the “reliving” experience, I could see how sensitive I still was to “less than” feelings.

And then the insight: I had been drawn into the coach’s mystique because of his ability, intentional or not, to touch my “less than” button.

As I caught hold on that idea, my uncle reiterated to me some of the central ideas of the Master Key Experience (MKE), that all wisdom comes from within, and that I already had within me all the power I needed to manifest all my dreams and visions.

It was as if my internal compass brought the difficult emotions of the previous experience to the surface so I would reach out. And, in reaching out, I reconnected with my personal truths and personal power.

As you will have guessed, I canceled my “order” for coaching services. My “compass” guided me truly despite my initial mistake.

The point as to the MKE is clear, too. Our leaders exercised integrity, not only by not “guiding” discovery, but also by never, intentionally or otherwise, pressing the “less than” button. I admire them more than ever. They are true friends and true counselors.

Thank you, as always, for joining me on this journey.

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Golden Gate

John Wayne – Week 29

I attended last week my company’s annual convention, which included 4 days of meetings. My thought in attending, at least up to the week of the event, was to enjoy the sociality of friends I usually only see once a quarter and also to find ways to help some people I might meet in chance encounters.

This was the 1st event I attended since beginning to practice the Law of Least Effort, which includes 3 elements: acceptance, responsibility and defenselessness. The third aspect of the law seemed most important in this context, as I will explain below.

As the convention concluded, I had to marvel about how several “chance” encounters or events over 4 weeks combined to serve me in a very positive, though completely unexpected way.

Two weeks previous to convention, SC, one of our leaders, came to our town. He talked about obsession as a key to progress. That resonated deeply with me, as I knew the benefit of focus, the power of clearly defined intention. That power manifests through the Law of Attraction, also known as the Law of Growth.

Monday the week of convention I attended a presentation by KB, a personal coach. KB claimed to have coached a number of clients who improved their incomes, mostly as employees, from 6 figures per year ($100k+) to 7 figures per year ($1 million+).

That caught my attention. My goal is to get to 8 figures, and, having been stuck at 6 figures, I knew I needed to go through 7 figures to get to 8. KB had me riveted.

KB’s presentation was a short introduction to his work. He spoke about vision, decision, awareness and leverage. He taught these concepts from the knowledge that the subconscious mind, the sum total of all our previous decisions and experiences, drives well over 90% of our thoughts, words, and behaviors. To get real change, the subconscious pattern (or blueprint, in Masterkey Experience lingo) must change.

In that context, vision is knowing what you want. Decision is cutting oneself off from any other possibility. Awareness is knowing where you are in the process of manifesting a new reality. Leverage is the idea, goal, motivation and/or insight that propels you to actually engage in the project of manifesting your dreams.

KB also taught me that the subconscious mind has a number of deceptive feints or techniques designed to prevent radical, permanent change. One of these is defensiveness, which includes the need to restate in one’s own language the things one hears from others. Restating often masquerades as so-called Active Listening.

KB thus taught me that restatement is usually the subconscious defending itself from information that would lead to change. In essence, the subconscious, by restating the words of others, asserts, “You already know this” to the conscious mind. When that happens, learning stops. Restatement is also a defensive method to control language and social interaction. Restatement is one of any number of defensive reactions or strategies available to the subconscious.

I knew defensiveness was one of my typical resisting responses, impeding change, and I wanted to attend convention with a beginner’s mind. I had a clear vision of my goal, I felt aware of my progress, and I thought I had decided to progress.

Stuck, I lacked leverage, the internal power source that would provide more action. More action accelerates change. I concluded that experiencing convention would somehow provide that leverage.

As encouragement, KB taught that most people who get rich do so quickly after they get their minds right. In other words, once correct thoughts dominate one’s mind, wealth follows soon after. This is the Law of Attraction in operation.

Two foreign leaders, JA and NH, spoke twice during Friday’s convention sessions. Both don’t speak English, and I struggled to extract from the translations something useful. During their 2nd set of remarks, it struck me. NH was deeply impressed with America and its core concept of Freedom. For him, John Wayne embodied a kind, independent, free spirit, something completely foreign to his native culture.

It struck me that, for NH, the freedom of America and the independent spirit of John Wayne were symbols of the life he created for himself and desires for the people he serves. I began to see, as NH described his fascination with freedom and John Wayne, he had so keenly visualized and internalized these concepts and ideas, that he had compelled his reality to manifest his vision.

As I pondered NH further, I was struck by the visage and bearing of JA, NH’s partner. JA comes off stern and forbidding in public appearance. He’s also taciturn and terse. My overall impression of JA is as a modern version of a medieval warrior. JA is at the top of the achievement ladder of his profession, and it pays him in excess of $1 million per year.

The important thing about JA for me was the insight that he is at the top of his game because his demeanor reflects a thought process and a belief system inextricably tied to his success. If I want the same success, all I need do is think the same thoughts and foster the same beliefs. And, for JA, that serious demeanor seems to imply a serious focus on business very much akin to obsession.

So far, then, I had three elements or principles of success as the foundation of leverage. These are obsession, a focused, vividly imagined desire and real commitment, life or death, kill or be killed commitment.

At the convention, I felt attracted to SC’s breakout presentation. In it, I learned two other principles I desperately needed. SC taught the assembled throng a number of things, but two struck home and rang especially true. He taught us that success depended on learning not to accept excuses.

I immediately recognized the truth taught. I could see in my life a pattern of excuse making and excuse accepting. Within that pattern, I could see, once again, a willingness to accept, even court, a life of disability. A life of failing to claim my inherent greatness. A life of quiet or not so quiet desperation.

As with part 3 of the Law of Least Effort, defenselessness, “excuselessness,” or living free from excuses, liberates the practitioner from the tyranny of outside control and allows one to live life completely from the inside out. This liberation comes from honesty and integrity.

Without excuses, one must honestly appraise performance. Or lack of performance. One need not always perform, but one can recognize clearly the difference. And, without excuses, one can accept one’s own humanity without recrimination or evasion.

Integrity (or pleasing integrity if you prefer) flows from honesty. Acknowledging what is and what is not allows one to declare truth. And, as one consistently perceives clearly and declares correctly, one is naturally led to keep the promises one makes. Here we have a solid foundation for pleasing integrity: honesty, truthfulness, and trustworthiness.

All flowing from one simply employed trait: a willingness not to accept excuses from oneself.

And then SC helped me again by zeroing in on part 2 of the Law of Least Effort, responsibility.

With the foundation of honesty and truthfulness mentioned above, one, anyone, is prepared to accept full and complete responsibility for the totality of his or her circumstances. With that responsibility comes ownership, truly owning one’s life.

And when that happens, one really begins to live life from the inside out, not from the outside in. One becomes self-directed rather that other directed. One programs one’s own life; one allows the programming offered by others only insofar as such contributes positively towards the manifestation of one’s desired reality.

With these additions, my leverage was as a pentagon, five facets of one motivating whole:
• Clearly defined goals and objectives tied to vivid, positive emotions
• Life or death commitment evidencing real decision
• Obsession on the goal(s)
• “Excuselessness,” and
• Full responsibility

We had thought to return home from convention Saturday evening after the event concluded. Instead, we were invited by another leader, TK, to stay with him for a 2-day retreat, a retreat with no particular agenda.

I figured, with all I had gained so far, that I could, by retreat’s end, have my mind completely right and be ready to begin my journey to income transformation.

I’ll report next post on my results. Thank you, as always, for joining me on the journey.

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Painting Heart

Love Over Labels – Week 28

As I worked the label machine this week, I noticed something important beneath the labels: self-image. My self-image choices control which labels are available for my experiences.

If I feel at risk, my experience of vulnerability might be limited to the labels of fear or anger.

If my self-image is stronger, vulnerability becomes just that, an experience of humanity, but not a source of anxiety.

And, yet, the need to “run” the machine and “label” my emotional experiences to make them more productive and less fearful seems like camouflage for something deeper.

What if the need to label was just my “subby” running the old programming and unwilling to be interrupted? My subconscious gives me the appearance of conscious control without relinquishing control at all. AARGH!

What if the need to label instead of just experience in the present moment was a defense mechanism?

I listened to a professional coach today who opined that change is a function of 3 factors:
• Leverage
• Awareness and
• Decision

As I pondered this, it struck me that I often substitute “relabeling” for active listening. Real listening, being completely present, requires a lot less recapitulation and is much more beneficial.

The path to beneficial listening and life experience? For me, love. Love for self, primarily, and love for the people with whom I interact. As in Mandino’s Scroll 2, I can use love as a shield if I need to, but I can usually cast it aside in a posture of acceptance, responsibility and defenselessness, living the law of least effort.

Thus, combining the law of love with the law of least effort allows the experience of vulnerability without any sense of risk.

As I processed this, I felt liberated. The chains of unnecessary control over the language of my experiences began to fall away. With them, the needs to judge, evaluate and control began to fade, too.

I could see another layer to the “opinion” diet. Rewording the ideas and concepts of others was a really good way to keep the opinion machine cranking while seeming to appear caring and concerned. That was a “win win” for the old blueprint. Oops!

Another idea the coach expressed was about time. He opined that “subby” doesn’t know time, just like it doesn’t know size. Uh-oh! That can’t be true, can it? You mean it doesn’t have to take a long time to transform? Oh, no! All my excuses are crap!

This is me laughing at myself as Mandino recommends in Scroll 8. I was definitely taking myself way too seriously!

Biggest benefit this week: without the burdens of opinion, defense and judgment, I’m a lot lighter on my feet as I dance through life.

I’m glad you’re dancing with me.

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Balance Scales

Work Life Balance – Week 27

Work Life Balance is a popular topic these days as baby boomers age and echo boomers reach mid-career. Balance is an interesting word.

Physically, a balance (think “Scales of Justice,” interestingly misnamed) is a device of comparison. To use a balance, one compares a known weight with the unknown weight of another object. If the two objects weigh the same, they are said to be “in balance.” A simple laboratory scale is a form of balance with variable weights. Other scales do not “balance” at all. They measure weight by comparing compression and/or expansion of a spring or other such object.

Athletically, balance is demonstrated when one is able to navigate a narrow object, as with a balance beam, a women’s gymnastics apparatus. Another familiar example is a successful tightrope walker.

A less prosaic example of balance is in a field sobriety test where a law enforcement officer may test the balance of a driver suspected of driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

Many people want “more” work life balance. In fact, literally examined, everyone has a balance between work and “life.” One may not like the nature of that balance, but there’s still an existing balance. The question becomes how to change that balance.

Each of us has two contrasting voices inside, one saying “go,” while the other says, “stop.” Whether or not there is an objective God or an objective Devil, there are still within each of us the contrasting voices. A comic may illustrate this with an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, but the truth remains. No wonder the “new thought” writers like Charles Haanel opined that God and the Devil are subjective rather than objective.

What came to me recently was to compare the two voices to the two trays of a balance. This comparison allowed me to see, as in real life, how little pressure it takes to change the balance. I can put my “thumb” on the scale and change the balance any time I like.

Thus, if my life seems overbalanced towards work, I can put my thumb on the leisure tray and change the balance with very little effort. Even a thought may be sufficient.

For more deeply ingrained and intractable situations, I may need to alter the predominant thought giving rise to the situation. When the thought is changed, the situation naturally changes, seemingly of its own accord.

How about you? Do you like your life’s current balance? Try putting your “thumb” on the “scale” and see what happens.

Thank you, as always, for joining me on the journey of a transforming life.

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Dymo - Old

Dancing Through Life – Week 26

A couple years ago, my son’s dance company used Dancing through Life, from Wicked, as the theme for its annual concert. While the lyrics aren’t necessarily completely whimsical, the tune is catchy, and the basic message I caught was encouraging.

Since then, I have looked for ways to “dance” rather than “trudge” through life. I recently went as far as buying two versions of that song from iTunes, intending to use the karaoke version as background for recorded affirmative statements.

As usual, life is full of vicissitudes. Ups and downs are the common lot of every human. What we do with our experiences makes the difference in our results. How we perceive our experiences makes the difference in our actions.

It struck me this week that sometimes I dance through life, sometimes I trudge through life, and sometimes I hide from life. As I want to be the person Haanel describes in paragraph 11-21, the one who completes every task with a “happy knack,” it made sense to “battleship” my actions to see the thoughts and beliefs underlying.

The battleship exercise is to undo the process that created a physical object step by step, all the way down to understanding the motives in the minds of the people whose demand(s) created the object. When I did this a couple months ago with a battleship, I could eventually perceive the individual needs for personal security and cultural continuity that underlay the motive for providing for a common defense via an armed military.

As I exercised this time, an image from my youth came to mind. As a young adolescent, I remember my Dad bringing home one day a Dymo label maker. This was a mechanical device that formed letters, numerals and special characters by embossing them on adhesive-backed plastic tape. I know, my gray hair is showing. It was very convenient to attach an adhesive label to things, as the previous technology was paint or ink.

As I remembered the fun I used to have working the label maker, the answer to my query appeared. I could see that I had a label maker in my mind, and that, like every other human, I attached labels to the tasks before me. And, also not surprisingly, many times my labels are arbitrary and a consequence of programming I’d borrowed from others. Many of my labels prompted me to heed the “stop” voice rather than the “go” voice.

Another benefit from the battleship exercise was the insight that sometimes my actions (or lack of action) gave rise to anxiety feelings. As I revisited these feelings, I saw that they arose when I denied the truth of who I really am. I grew anxious when I was acting (or failing to act) in a way that best gave voice to the magnificence within.

Therefore, one way to be happier in the performance of my tasks is to change my internal labels. I’ve already found this to be true for one task, and learning how to apply the principle to other tasks will yield similarly desirable results. By so doing, I will more frequently dance through life and complete more tasks with a happy knack.

Will you dance with me by taking control of your own label maker?

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Mt Rainier

Commencement & Recovery – Week 25

This week we “finished” the Masterkey Experience (MKE) with Mark & Davene Januszewski. At least, Sunday last was our final webinar. We thus begin (commence) a fully self-directed life, at least in theory.

For me, something seemed right about that, and something seemed to be missing. I felt increasing control over my thoughts and feelings, one of the main objects of the course. And with that independence of thought, I had a clear idea of the forward path.

I knew what I should do: continue with the complex progressions I’d worked so hard to build in the last 6 months. Why? I didn’t know exactly.

A scripture struck me as I pondered. It says this:

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31: 19-20

Likening this scripture to the Masterkey Experience, I could see that continuing on with my reading, DMP (definite major purpose) recitation, meditation, gratitude, kindness, etc. would be like me pressing forward, feasting on the knowledge gained, until I reached a point of more automatic functioning.

Then it struck me. The coursework for the Masterkey Mastermind Alliance began with neural science. We learned in studying neural peptide conditioning that our habitual thought and feeling patterns in essence create chemical addictions in our cells because of the endocrine chemicals prompted by those thoughts and feelings. Addiction!

A conversation with a mentor came back to me. He said that for most addictions, a year of diligent 12-step practice would be required for each year of addiction before one could be anywhere close to secure in recovery. Again likening this to the MKE, I could see why I felt impressed to continue my readings, etc.

I am new into recovery from the old neural peptide addiction, and retrogression is almost sure if I stop progressing.

Just like with a “standard” addiction, ground gained in recovery is dearly bought, and giving it up devalues the sacrifice inherent in the purchase. To go back here is to even more painfully and significantly reject the hero within. I’d be giving up on the hero’s journey, never to fully realize the greatness I’ve felt beginning to unfold.

Giving up would be like a dog returning to its vomit, so much better is my new life than the old. That would be too big a waste.

And so, like the recovering addict I am, I will stick with my recovery structures so I can continue to progress and enjoy the fruits of a new life.

Not coincidentally, it turns out, I felt impressed a couple weeks ago to seek a new service opportunity. That makes perfect sense in the context of addiction recovery. Step 12 can be stated this way:

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

What we see encapsulated there is nothing more than an affirmation of Haanel and Emerson, whose instructions mirror the Master’s teaching. To save one’s life, one must lose it in the service of others. You only keep what you’re willing to give away.

The context of addiction recovery also makes clear why a true mastermind is required for success in realizing the life changes intended in a declaration of definite major purpose. Every recovering addict needs a sponsor. A sponsor is a confidant to whom one can turn when the winds of adversity blow, and one with whom one can move forward in perfect harmony of purpose. No sponsor, no recovery.

I feel intensely grateful for all that I’ve learned and all that I’ve won in the last 6 months. I’m confident, too, that the next 6 will be even more wonderful. I’m glad you’re still with me on the journey.

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The Reign of Terror Ends – Week 24 Supplemental

Over the last 5 or 6 days, I’ve been doing battle with fear. Well, battle may be a strong word, as I’ve not been contending with fear. Rather, I’ve been experiencing fear and “dealing” with it. I found some interesting ideas in the process.

In the MKE, the Masterkey Experience, we’ve been learning about ourselves, and we’ve been exploring the limits of personal power. Each of us is on an individual quest, and our “mileage,” as one would expect, has varied.

Where I’ve come so far is a place where I can celebrate my individual gifts and talents. I also celebrate everyone else’s gifts and talents. This is a place of abundance, love, bliss, freedom, autonomy, health, service, legacy, recognition and unending spiritual growth. Nice place? You bet.

What’s the catch? Glad you asked. Because there is one, and the price is steep. At least it seemed steep at first glance.

In answer to question 15-9, Haanel gave us one version of the key to this kingdom. “We do not have to laboriously shovel the darkness out; all that is necessary is to turn on the light.”

Most of us have experienced the idea that faith is the polar opposite of fear. If so, to use Haanel’s comparison, fear is darkness, and all that is needed to dispel darkness is to turn on the light of faith.

Marianne Williamson said it this way:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

In the Hero’s Journey motif, the hero is heralded into a new life. That new life begins by leaving the old one and entering an unknown world. On the journey, the hero, with help at first, faces danger and adversity. Ultimately, the hero comes to the abyss, where he or she must “do battle” with nemesis. In that battle, the hero’s old life dies in sacrifice to nemesis. Atonement and resurrection follow, bringing the hero a new life in which he or she re-enters the previously known world with new powers and a new role of leadership and service to the rest of humanity.
Hero's Journey
Interestingly, my experience was that every adversity along my path, with or without help, felt like the abyss of nemesis. Until now.

Until now, I believed bromides like, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” Or, “Do the thing, and you shall have the power.” Not that these don’t express truth. They do. However, the truth they express has a significant limitation.

The limitation is that the recommended practice presupposes the ongoing presence of fear. Until now, I believed that was inevitable, so the expressed truths made perfect sense. In fact, having practiced a little, I had personal proof that the practice worked.

Inside, however, I knew a greater truth lay waiting discovery. Until now.

My discovery? My greater truth is, “Danger is real, but fear is optional.” And, fear is not recommended. Moreover, danger, too, is largely optional. When I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change. Then I have a new heaven and a new earth.

I intuited that I was dealing with some “core” fears. These were wrapped around a couple deeply held beliefs I had layered into my DNA over many years, starting very young.

Fear 1: Money is evil, and I can’t handle or manage money.

Fear 2: I am unable to achieve at a truly high level.

I knew all along that fear is irrational and that my ultimate triumph was assured because of my faith in Christ. That cognition did not alter or banish my fear.

Until now.

In the abyss of nemesis (fear), the light of insight began to dawn. I saw that all fear is really one fear: “What if?” All the variations of fear are an extension of the basic fear. What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if _________? Fill in the blank for yourself. Even worse for me was the extended formula. What if X? Then Y? Horrors!

Whence, then, the light? Faith. Faith is a gift, free for the asking, and unlimited in its power. The price? Sacrifice.

My sacrifice is being willing to live without fear. In essence, to take up my bed and walk. In Hero’s Journey terms, to sacrifice the former dependent-on-fear life.

I now see that fear has been my crutch, my excuse, my “out.” The core of that fear? What if I’m not the hero I imagine myself to be? What then?

It’s great that our paths are strewn with concept-tools like the Serenity Prayer, the Law of Least Effort, and scriptural maxims like, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

I particularly appreciate the Law of Least Effort this week. The idea that I could just accept things as they are without resistance or rancor has been very comforting. Acknowledging the fact that I largely created my own abyss and crafted my own nemesis is empowering, even if a little troubling. The practice of defenselessness makes it more comfortable to proceed into an excuse-free world.

The Hero’s Journey motif is consistent throughout history and across all cultures. Why? Because we are all born knowing we’re heroes and heroines. In American parlance, we’re all superheroes. The imagination of creative writers gives voice to this universal knowledge. The persistent success of comic book heroes bears loud testimony to, and gives vibrant social proof of, the underlying universal truths we all perceive.

What I did not, perhaps could not, see was it is only in the hero’s journey that I discover the type of superhero I am. It is only in facing the adversity of my life, in facing the adversity for which I programmed myself, that my real strengths emerge. It is only in following my self-directed bliss that my true greatness unfolds. And it is only in my personal abyss in which the gold of my character and persona are sufficiently refined to be of general benefit when I re-emerge into the known world.

So, what if I’m not the superhero I imagine myself to be? Shallow self-knowledge of the pre-Hero’s Journey world all but guaranties I will not be as I thought. After all, it is only in the journey that I recognize my true gifts, my superpowers.

Here’s the good news. Since I’m definitely a superhero, the worst my new world can be is with me as Aquaman. Maybe my only superpower is sea life telepathy, but that’s still pretty cool when the need arises. Good thing I like sea life and the water in general, huh? At least I’m ripped, buffed out and look good in spandex, right?

When I told a business partner today that he had a superhero within, he immediately smiled. His “Subby” resonated with the idea so fast the smile was on his face before he could finish processing the words.

What’s your superpower? Aren’t you glad you engaged in the Hero’s Journey so you could find it?

As always, I’m glad you’re with me on the journey.

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Is it I? – Week 24

As we progress towards the Easter season, my thoughts turn to the Last Supper. The accounts of that event describe Jesus telling the 12 apostles, “One of you will betray me.”

With one exception, the 12 immediately asked, “Is it I?”

As I caught hold of this idea, my thoughts turned to my new profession, network marketing. I rep a company that has as much going for it as any, and yet casual observation would cause one to believe there might be a problem.

Less than 3% of our active distributors generate enough regular, residual income to provide for their needs without supplementation from regular outside employment or other sources of income. And that result actually compares very favorably with other companies in the industry to the best of my ability to observe.

Failure hurts. One of my friends and team members told me by email recently that he was reassessing his professional life while licking the wounds he suffered in network marketing (at least two companies).

This experience gave me a chance to practice the Law of Least Effort. That law, from Deepak Chopra’s 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, recommends we practice accepting things, people and situations just as they are in the moment, practice taking responsibility for any part we may have played in creating any situation or circumstance, and practice defenselessness by abstaining from any need to defend ourselves, our actions or our point of view.

Now, to the question: Is it I? Is it my fault my team member failed? I have to answer, “No,” without defensive emotion, because others of our team are succeeding very nicely. My friend has had access all along to the same mentoring and training as the successful.

Is it the company? Did it fail my friend? I mentioned Wallace Wattles last week, and I’ll refer to him again now. In The Science of Getting Rich, Wattles correctly observes that people in almost every community are getting rich in almost every industry, trade, profession and occupation, while others are miserably failing, right alongside them. Since others are succeeding in my company, including me, it’s obviously not the company’s fault, either.

What about the network marketing industry? Is it a colossal, monumental, predatory failure as many claim? Don’t think so. First, surveys show that a significant portion of network marketers are very pleased with their experience, regardless of their level of monetary performance. Second, failure rates in business in general are high. When I practiced law, I recall to have read that 90% of businesses fail in their 1st 5 years, and 90% of those that survive fail in the next 5 years. That’s about a 99% failure rate within the 1st 10 years. My company’s version of network marketing fares pretty well by comparison, with a success rate of over 2%.

Whence lies the problem then? Mark J and Go90Grow fans know one possible answer: skills. Eric Worre fans and Big Al fans know the same thing. People who succeed at anything generally have skills that those who fail don’t. Did my friend acquire the skills? Perhaps not. Or, like I used to do, maybe he simply didn’t use them.

In addition, I think there’s something more basic at work here. If better than 95% of business attempts fail, no matter the industry, there must be a human nature issue present. Haanel, in Masterkey System paragraph 23-9, offers some insight. He says,

“The average person is entirely innocent of any deep thinking; he accepts the ideas of others, and repeats them, in very much the same way as a parrot; … and this docile attitude on the part of a large majority who seem perfectly willing to let a few persons do all their thinking for them is what enables a few men in a many countries to usurp all the avenues of power and hold the millions in subjection.”

If Haanel is correct, and I believe he is, business failure is the natural consequence of shallow, dependent thinking. I saw this in myself until recent changes from the MKE, the MasterKey Experience.

Haanel points out in paragraph 23-8 that Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie and others, because of their depth and independence of thought, became, for their time, “the wealthiest men in the wealthiest country on the globe.” How? Because they each made money for a great many people.

With my newly acquired thinking skills, I could see the accuracy of Haanel’s analysis. Carnegie, for example, made money for suppliers of capital, materials suppliers, laborers, managers, customers and governments. He did so by consistently giving them all more in “value” than what they gave him in exchange. This required significant insight, that which only comes from deep, accurate thought. Significantly, Carnegie did not keep all the resulting wealth for himself, but funded museums, colleges and other institutions. Thus, society also received more in “value” than it gave Carnegie. Every successful businessman in free society follows the same general pattern.

Back to myself as a contrasting example. Until now, I had not thought through the needs of the various stakeholders in my business. Fortunately, the “micro-franchise” system of network marketing already did much of the thinking for me. Shareholders are being rewarded with significant profits. Managers are earning nice salaries. Employees seem relatively easy to attract and employ. Distributors, over time, earn checks commensurate with their efforts. Customers continue to buy products because their “use value” exceeds the price, in many cases by a significant margin. The company initiates ongoing “give back,” charity or legacy efforts in the community, open to distributor financial and time participation.

That reassuring foundation, however, did not save my friend his pain. There must be some other area of thought or belief which holds an opportunity for improvement. I believe the most likely area is beliefs about power.

I have observed that the vast majority of people only use “positional” power. Very few use real, “personal” power. Positional power is derived from a position, role, attribute, skill or talent. I have a great memory, and I used to draw lots of positional power from that advantage. For example, a great memory gives me access to a good vocabulary and many facts. I drew significant self-esteem from that, especially in comparison to others. You can easily see examples of positional power in your own life. Your parent probably said more than once, “Because I said so.”

Personal power, in contrast, is a sense of one’s innate value. With that sense, I was able to reassure another team member recently that the most significant thing he brings to a business interaction is himself. After all, we, the essence of “I” within, endure, and our relationships endure. Homes, businesses, countries and, ultimately, even planets, are temporary. When we understand our own native value, we stand on the threshold of personal power.

That brings me back to Easter. We celebrate then the Atonement and resurrection of Christ. Jesus, the archetypical hero, faced overwhelming adversity, sacrificed himself in the abyss of the Atonement, and, with life in himself, came forth from the tomb the 3rd day resurrected into newness of life. As mentioned two posts previously, He offers a new life to us on terms of faith, repentance and obedience.

And, in essence, The Lord asks me, every day, if I will betray myself by denying my personal power. Fortunately, He also offers me grace to help me hold on my way through the adversity and abyss of my own “Hero’s Journey.” Almost every day now I see another facet of my new life manifesting, which gives me greater power to serve and offers me more to give.

Will that close the gap between me and the highest achievers in my company? I don’t know. I do know that each day I better control my thoughts and my emotions. My wife is happier, my children are happier, and I’m happier. Empathy expands and love deepens. Joy abounds. I feel very blessed as I celebrate each magical day, and I intend to bless as many others as my time and days allow.

I’m glad you’re with me on the journey.

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In Search of Work-Life Balance – Week 23

I was recommended a TED talk recently on work-life balance. You can see it [] if you like.

I liked Ms. Slaughter’s conclusion that caregiving and breadwinning are both valuable, even equally valuable, but I confess to have balked at her recommendations for forced, governmentally imposed structure to “change” society. You will have noted in my last post, perhaps, my belief that intelligence, if honored, must be invited to change rather than being forced to change. I suppose I have more faith in humanity than does Ms. Slaughter. I also believe markets inspire and encourage change, all on their own. Either way, a market or a government in many respects is an amalgam of its members or participants. As we change, our institutions change.

This week’s Masterkey System lesson, number 23, also invites change. In it, Haanel invites us to consider how our thoughts either attract or repel abundance, and, with it, prosperity. Haanel correctly asserts that wealth follows service. The more people we serve, the more wealth follows, in proportion to the value of our service.

The basic proposition of give more, get more appears to ignore motive, at least on the surface. I took counsel, however, from Haanel’s guidance in paragraph 23-4 to examine my motives. He said, “… our problem is to keep an open mind, … to be interested in the race rather than the goal, for the pleasure is in the pursuit rather than the possession.”

I took this to mean that if I focus too much on the object of my effort (my own goal), I risk substituting attachment for intention. I read Deepak Chopra in Seven Spiritual Laws of Success to recommend intention and to avoid attachment. Having unintentionally not heeded that advice at first, I have lots of experience with the consequences of attachment. I don’t recommend that path.

Recently, I’ve been able to change. I can now better dial my attachment (or expectation for action by another) to zero, while keeping my intention (or enthusiasm) high. The results are as you might predict. Positive response is up; rejection is down.

Masterkey System paragraph 23-5 says, “You can make a money magnet of yourself, but to do so you must first consider how you can make money for other people.” As an American, I’m culturally and socially predisposed to believe more is more.
I’ve learned, perhaps paradoxically, that less is often more, and sometimes less is substantially more.

An illustration may help. In a prospecting conversation, you might think that more description about product, plan or company would encourage quicker and deeper investigation. Au contraire! That, I can tell you from sad experience, works very poorly.

What does work is for me to create interest with simple statements. When the other person expresses interest, it is almost always best for me to ask questions and listen with the intent to invite the other person to share deeply held fear, hope, pain and/or desire. In that way, I allow him or her to connect those feelings with the opportunity or solution in which he or she expressed interest. Go90Grow students will recognize this pattern, of course.

The same goes for marketing. I may have a product or opportunity that verifiably serves a non-segmented market, but it doesn’t pay me to advertise that idea. You, my reader, will likely not be shocked to hear I tried. And failed, ignominiously.

Again, less is more. I serve better when I narrow my focus. A recent coaching experience highlights the wisdom of this idea. I mostly interact with current or former professionals, self-employed and business owners. After 4 years of this, my language patterns serve that market very well. Last night, however, I counseled with a new business associate, age 19.

As I began to talk with him about my marketing process, it quickly became apparent that I knew little or nothing of his world or the world of his likely business prospects. After an hour or so, I began to get a sense of what they were going to want and need, but it took some focus and concentration to put myself in that world. Having done so, I’m looking forward to helping my new associate get his business off to a flying start.

This brings me back to work-life balance.

It turns out one of the primary benefits of the opportunity I promote is to dramatically broaden choices for work-life balance. I might not have seen this before, but I do now.
And, by helping my business associates voluntarily segment their markets, they get better results, with less effort.
Thus, the value of my service increases, my attachment stays dialed down to zero, my intention stays dialed high, and I enjoy the journey more. Natural consequences? You already know.

Thank you, as always, for joining me on this journey.

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Witness of Truth – Week 22a

This post is likely to run to some length. For that, to the extent the reader finds interest lagging, I apologize. Feel free to comment on the part(s) you find interesting, or not at all, as you like.

The topic of this post is sober and serious, at least to me. It seems likely, given the nature of our unique experiences and personalities, that at least some of what is here posted is destined to be troubling or challenging to many readers. That is not intentional.

As noted in the title, we are in week 24 of the Masterkey Mastermind Alliance experience. Week 17 had two parts, as also Week 22, hence the total time being slightly different from the title designation.

The main benefit I’ve received from the MKMMA experience so far is to begin to become a truly independent thinker. By that, I mean to indicate true independence in thought. Or, in other words, to have gained the hope of being in complete control over my own thoughts.

One of the impacts of this process has been significantly increased insight into the writing of those authors assigned and suggested.

An option this week was to read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance from 1841. I was struck by the similarity in tone and message to Compensation, earlier assigned, also from 1841.

A further option was to read (or hear recited) Wallace D. Wattles’ 1910 work The Science of Being Well. That short work is apparently the sister text to Wattles’ The Science of Being Rich.

Charles Haanel, who authored The Masterkey System, wrote contemporaneously with Wattles, as also did William Atkinson, who wrote The Law of Attraction, or Thought Vibration in the Thought World.

Wattles, Haanel and Atkinson were all proponents of “New Thought,” which seems another term for the Transcendentalism of Emerson and his contemporaries.

I am a very casual student of these authors, and I feel, like Emerson, entirely free to express my opinions without feeling the least compulsion to ascribe my reasoning to authority figures nor to be bound by my conclusions in later musings. I suppose that is either the height of naiveté and ignorance or the epitome of independent thought. I leave discernment to the reader’s discretion.

That being said, I write with compassion for the humanity expressed in what I consider sincere attempts at expressing personal gifts of enlightenment. These gentlemen (our authors) apparently wrote with the intent to share gifts of light and knowledge they found personally useful and valuable with the world. A person can only express the light he or she perceives. Even then, spiritual truth is hard to express in words, as these truths are spiritually discerned, and a variety of words can easily be crafted to express the same perception.

Part of my compassion for the writers above named stems from a consciousness that the 21st century in which I write is a far different world from that of the 19th or early 20th centuries in which they wrote. Knowledge and information is essentially instantaneously available in our world. Not so in theirs. Their world was bound by different traditions and social strictures than ours, too. In some cases these were more liberal; in some cases not.

Unfortunately for us, however, the education common to the 19th and early 20th centuries has been replaced with a command of information. Thus, they generally had a greater capacity to “think” whereas we often have a greater knowledge of “facts.”

I may herein refer to all or some of these authors as “our writers” or “our authors” to designate that their texts have been incorporated in the MKMMA coursework either explicitly or by reference.

Now, on with the thinking. Please buckle your seatbelts and keep your arms and legs inside the conveyance.

I Regarding Jesus of Nazareth

Each of the authors cited above refers, with approbation, to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, as the same are reported in the New Testament of the Bible. And, yet, each author denigrates the same Jesus by referring to Him as a teacher or by some other title.

Clearly, they’re confused or uncertain.

It is impossible to read the accounts of the life of Jesus with any degree of care and miss His central message. The central message is this: “I am the Christ, the Anointed One, the promised Messiah of the Jews, the Son of God made flesh, the Mediator of the New Covenant, and the Savior of mankind.”

C.S. Lewis, whom I have also not well studied, does a masterful job in Mere Christianity in exposing the perfidy of the practice of approving Jesus’ words while denying His divinity. Lewis points out that a fair reading of the accounts of the life of Jesus leaves us only two choices. Either Jesus was a kindly, benign lunatic, or He is who He claimed to be.

If a lunatic, one may not logically cite His words approvingly. If divine, one may not logically refer to Him only as a teacher.

Emerson, et al. as noted above make these logical errors. For the same, they ought not to be excused. Some of our authors’ words may have beneficial application, but their core intellectual integrity must, as a result, be questioned.

II Regarding Creation

Each of our authors refers to a creative force, power or influence. However, the sum total of their descriptions is comical, even farcical. In Compensation, Emerson pokes fun at the Greeks for embodying the creative force in Zeus (Jupiter) while ascribing to him ill intended caprice and whimsy, and restricting him so that he must go to Minerva for lightning bolts (power). Emerson’s comment is that the tradition of the Greeks witnessed of truth by tying the hands of so bad a conception of God.

Again, our writers were confused.

A fair reading of Emerson, Haanel, Wattles and Atkinson leaves one with the impression of a consistently expressed concept of God.
• Incorporeal, impersonal, and insubstantial, without body, parts or passions
• Universally present
• All Powerful
• All knowing
• Capable of Thought
• Author of Creation

And, yet, each author, betraying an unvoiced yearning, cannot resist referring to the creative force as God, and, at times, by the masculine personal pronoun. The use of the masculine personal pronoun at once affirms personality or personhood, together with gender, directly contravening the basic assertion of impersonality.

Other inconsistencies in the writing about supernatural power and creation include:
• The only creative power is thought, and God, having thought, created the Universe. However, having once thought, God suddenly lost the power of thought and ceded the realm of independent thought to His creations, becoming their slaves, willing to be impressed at any time with their will.
• Despite having the power of thought sufficient to create the Universe, God apparently had no central purpose in our creation, except to gain life by living through us. As if an entity with sufficient power to create life had no life of His own and needed to become the slave of the experiences of His creations. Talk about tying the hands of a bad God!
• God, having sufficient grace and power to create the universe, has no power of communication, and is willing to let His creations wander around their world with no central direction or guidance on good, evil, right or wrong. Each author affirms the contrary in his own way, admitting that there is a “right” way to be, and asserting that it matters. The only way it would matter whether one did “right” is if there is an arbiter or judge. Our authors again admit, by inference, that there is a judge. And the only fair judge is God.
• We individually have an unrestricted power of creation, but, yet, we must “align” our will with the divine in order to be assured of manifesting our creation. Clearly, God cares what we do, and He has a purpose or purposes with which we’re not allowed to interfere, despite inferences in these texts to the contrary.

This could go on a while, but these examples suffice me. And, if our writers were expressing religious beliefs instead of purporting to expound philosophy, one could excuse them these gross inconsistencies. After all, religious beliefs are faith based, and no religion of which I’m aware purports to answer all logical questions. Neither do religions feel the need to apologize for logical inconsistencies.

Philosophy, on the other hand, purports to be “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge or conduct.” The key difference between religion and philosophy is the difference between faith and reason. Therefore, when a philosopher is irrational, his philosophy is subject to question, and logically so. That it is all but impossible for a human to be completely rational is no excuse.

III Regarding Sin

Emerson and Haanel find themselves at pains to condemn the apparent inconsistency of the mainstream Christianity of their day because God created beings capable of sin, and then punishes them for sinning.

Again, they’re confused.

Do we or do we not have free will? Our authors find themselves at some pains to assert the power of choice inherent in each individual. What is that power of choice but free will? As noted above, every man, including our authors, knows that there is right and wrong, and that it matters which we pick.

When you pick up one end of the stick, you automatically pick up the other. Choice is inexorably bound up with accountability. Emerson knows this, paradoxically in this context, as he explains in detail in Compensation, teaching us that there is no way to detach the sensual sweet from the moral sweet, etc.

The unasked and unanswered question, which is perhaps a failure of inquiry by our authors, is “Why?” Why does God judge? The answer is easy and obvious. God, being just, must promote justice and punish injustice. As Emerson points out by inference in criticizing the illustration of Zeus, if God were not just, He would cease to be God.

Our authors knew, however, even if mainstream Christians of their day did not, that the essential element of creation is intelligence. And intelligence, if treated justly, cannot be coerced. It must be invited. Therefore, God could not “use” intelligence to create. He must, by necessity, invite intelligence to cooperate in creation. And, intelligence, being intelligent, would only cooperate in creation if there was an immutable promise of justice.

And we, also being intelligent, let alone partaking of the Spirit of God as our authors correctly assert, also cannot be used or coerced. We must be invited. And, God, being kind, loving and just, must provide us with the essential elements of choice. These are knowledge of good and evil, the power of choice, knowledge of the consequences of choice, actually having options from which to choose, and the manifestation of the consequences of our choices.

“Wrong” choices are thus “sin” when knowingly in contravention of “right” because such choices must, of necessity, separate us from God. No unclean thing can enter into His kingdom.

Thus we see that our authors are correct to encourage us to use our powers of choice, especially the power of controlling our thoughts, while simultaneously being incorrect in ignoring or disclaiming the role of God in holding us to account for the consequences of those choices. All debts to justice must, in the end, be paid. Either we’re free to sin, as we are, or there is no God because there is either no justice or no choice.

IV Regarding Atonement

Now we come full circle to Jesus of Nazareth, my Christ.

God does have life in Himself, and He need not live through us to gain knowledge, glory or experience. To the contrary, His purpose in creation is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39, Pearl of Great Price

In other words, God has a perfect, exalted existence, and His purpose in creation is to make the same existence available to us, His children.

However, sin would be a problem but for the perfection of God’s Plan of Happiness. As noted above, all debts to justice must be paid, and it is not possible for the unclean to share God’s presence. John clearly tells us, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” 1 John 1:8

The harmony is found in the concept of Atonement, where a qualified benefactor may expiate the sin of another by enduring the suffering which would otherwise be required of the other. And Jesus of Nazareth, in performing his role as Christ or Messiah, having lived sinlessly and having life within Himself, being the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, was a qualified benefactor. Christ suffered once for all, that He might draw us unto Himself on conditions of repentance.

Thus we, in confessing Christ through faith, on the conditions of repentance and a covenant to follow Him, gain access to grace via The Atonement. Our debt to justice is paid in the sacrifice of the sinless Son of God, and His mercy claims us on the conditions noted.

Thus we also see that the “Hero’s Journey” is in fact a pale reference to Christ’s Atonement and not the other way around. I’ll explain the various pre-Christian motifs of the same in the next section. Christ is the archetypal hero, and we are, indeed, called to take up our crosses and follow him, proceeding in faith to face adversity, conquer the abyss through grace, and be resurrected into a new life of discipleship where we can lead others to follow a like path of purpose, service and happiness.

Some things are true, whether you believe them or not.

V Regarding Revelation

Our authors visibly yearn for ongoing communication with God. One who knows what they want can sense the angst of knowing real communion is possible but not being able to find it. What our authors desired might be called revealed religion.

This is different from random insight or intuition that comes regularly as a result of meditation or otherwise embracing what Haanel calls “the stillness.”

The type of communication to which I refer is the sensitive, sacred whisperings of God’s Spirit to His child or children.

Historically, if you believe the Bible is at least part history, God provided guidance to His children through prophets. A prophet is a person chosen by God to be His messenger on earth. And in each age or epoch there was at least one prophet who had face-to-face communion with God. Noah, Abraham, Moses and Elijah are all examples of this calling or role and the corresponding experiences.

At the beginning of each age, God revealed himself fully to the chosen representative who would then have knowledge, not just faith, of God’s existence, His attributes and His purposes. And that knowledge was published as far and wide as the messenger’s sphere of influence extended.

Another aspect of the role of a prophet is the receipt of divinely granted authority to administer holy rites and ordinances. In those ordinances, supplicants and disciples may be granted the gift or privilege of ongoing fellowship and communion with the Holy Ghost, whose role it is to witness of the Father and the Son and act as conduit for revelation from heaven.

Thus, any and all faithful persons having access to divine authority through prophets had the privilege of direct communication with heaven in a way far deeper and more significant than the previously mentioned random insight.

This gift of prophecy and revelation, as it is sometimes called, continued with adherents from the dawn of history through the early ministry of the New Testament apostles. The so-called dark ages followed a universal apostasy, and a restoration of knowledge and authority followed in God’s due time in the early 19th century.

Thus, the saving mission of the Messiah was known to God’s children from the earliest days of the world, and His sacrifice was prefigured in various rituals, including the sacrifice of paschal lambs.

As mentioned above, free will is a fact of human existence, and part of that is the presence of more than one choice. Therefore, there must needs be a voice of opposition. God does not originate or restrict that voice, but it serves His purposes. And the voice of opposition began to make itself known also from the earliest days of human existence.

Where God would say, “I AM. Worship me and prosper,” the opposing voice would constantly affirm, “Believe it not.” The methods of opposition include deception and twisting, half-truth and counterfeit. One twist is to call history allegory; one half-truth is to treat the Atonement as an example of a theme rather than the archetype of that theme. From this opposing influence flowed all types of deception and error.

Christ alluded to the sweetness of ongoing companionship of the Holy Ghost when He uttered the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. In that short parable Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a merchant seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one of great value, sold all that he had to obtain it.

VI Conclusion

Up until this week, I understood the parable of the pearl of great price from a commercial point of view, but I never understood the emotions of the merchant. As I pondered the topic of this post, I was initially miffed by having to wade through half-truth, supposition and error as part of the MKMMA experience.

Then, later, I understood better. I could see clearly that our authors were well intended, and they did their very best to enlighten the world. Indeed, I have been well served by my study, casual though it may be by academic standards. I can see clearly the benefit of independent thought, and I’m grateful for the sacrifices of our authors.

And, most recently, I’ve become empathetic with their searches and their individual journeys. I just did not see at first that for which they really yearned. They all sought knowledge and experience that have been common in my life for decades. Net result: I can see better the life altering value of that which I had too frequently taken for granted.

If they saw in the gifts with which I’m conversant the value I now see, they would be just like the merchant, willing to sell all to gain that value.

It is my witness to you, dear reader, that God lives. He did create us, and His purpose in doing so is to invite us to return to His presence and enjoy with Him the blessings of eternity. He cares about us enough to send messengers, and we have the option to listen and, if we will, embrace the message. Jesus, His Only Begotten Son, is our Savior and Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost is His emissary and our available companion.

Intelligence is the basic building block of creation, and we, being intelligent, are invited to participate in the ongoing process of creation, not for God’s benefit, but for our own.

Thank you for joining me in making the world a little better, one day at a time.

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