“You have found from your study thus far that thought is a spiritual activity and is therefore endowed with creative power. This does not mean that some thought is creative, but that all thought is creative.”
For those of you in the United States, this was our Happy Thanksgiving episode. I wish you the best time with friends, family, and lots of food this Thursday as we gather to celebrate our annual holiday of giving thanks for all that we have.
If you don’t live in the States, don’t fret. You are more than welcome to enjoy a nice large meal and give thanks for all that you have as well.
I must say that Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. It’s not only because of the food and the friends and the family. It’s also because of the sentiment of the day and what it means. Imagine a full day in which one is to think about and ponder all the things one has for which to be thankful. While Christmas has become over the years an over-commercialized shopping fiasco — along with various other holidays — Thanksgiving has always just been about the meal, gathering for the meal, and the thanks — the gratitude. It truly is nice. So, no matter where you are or what you do, you’re more than welcome to give thanks with us.
Negative People and Dream Stealers
Before we discuss Week Fourteen, I want to touch on something that came to my attention this past week. It is something we’ve discussed in a prior episode during our Question & Answer session, but I was reminded of it as I read an article by one Ryan Healy. It deals with how to handle negative people, or, as they are often called, “dream stealers.”
It has been popular in the self-help field for quite a while now that one should get rid of negative people and influences in one’s life. It really came to the forefront when in the book (and movie) The Secret the practice of ignoring even the things one doesn’t want was advocated. Want to lose weight? Then don’t even look at fat people. Looking for wealth? Then don’t even think about the poor.
While allowing a person to behave in the most callous and ignorant fashion is at the top of the list as to why that way of thinking is wrong, it’s also wrong because you’re limiting yourself from opportunities that could be had if you kept your eyes open. (We’ve also discussed that on these teleseminars. Many people advocate ignoring problems or not complaining. I say bring it on because in problems and complaints are opportunities waiting to be taken and solved.)
I think eliminating people from your life based simply on the fact that they are “negative” is simply a bad practice. We’ll get to the reasons in a few. I want to say first, though, that there are cases where you do have to cut negative influences from your life. If someone is a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, they simply can’t associate with the people they did when they used. Those old “friends,” unless they are willing to change their life as well, will simply have to go. The same also holds true if a “friend” is someone who consistently brings you “down” in a very real and serious sense, such as he steals, or she cheats, or they’re always bringing “drama” with them wherever they go. You get the idea.
In other words, there are times when you have to break ties with people. Those are generally very extreme cases, though.
This isn’t also meant to address people who are “Negative Nellies” or “Negative Neds,” those people who can take even the most joyous celebration and with their attitude and comments and demeanor turn it into a black hole of suck. Those kinds of people are a different case. Perhaps I’ll address that in a different article, but not here.
Sometimes we’ll term someone as “negative” or a “dream stealer” simply because they aren’t behind us 100% in what we’re setting out to do. It’s not that they’re actively working against us; it’s that they’re merely having doubts about what we want to do.
This attitude of theirs may come from sundry places. Perhaps they’ve heard this from us before and are quite simply sick of hearing it. Maybe you’ve never given any indication based on past experience that you’re even capable of doing what you say you want to do.
Whatever the case, what hurts us most about the person’s attitude is that in their attitude we see a reflection of ourselves. That, my friend, can be a tough thing to take.
In his books The New Psychology and Mental Chemistry, Haanel discussed heredity. He also touched on it in a few places in The Master Key System. He stated that we are products of our past: our past thoughts, our past actions, our past results. As we change, we cannot expect ourselves to change over night. Likewise, we cannot expect others — others who have experiences with us both good and bad — to believe that the changes we are aiming for will occur.
For that to happen, you will have to prove it to them!
With all that in mind, would it be really fair to them if you were to simply cut them from your life? Now, I’m not talking about casual acquaintances or drinking buddies, I am referring to spouses, relatives, close friends, and family.
The answer is no, it wouldn’t be fair. It also wouldn’t be right. Frankly, it would be flat-out wrong.
As Mr. Healy wrote in his article:
I am mostly in agreement with the idea of limiting negativity in your life. I agree it’s good to focus on the positive, to see the good in bad situations. I also agree that you shouldn’t pay much attention to naysayers — the types of people who casually dismiss your efforts by saying “that’ll never work.”
But I wouldn’t go so far as to say you need to cut yourself off from friends and family.
I would go one step further and say that it’s often stupid and wrong.
So, what’s the solution?
The best solution that I have found is to work in silence. What I mean by that is that when you make the decision to improve yourself, when you decide that you want something more and you begin forming your goal and making your plans, don’t broadcast them to anyone — anyone at all! — except those who can possibly help you in achieving your goal.
Many fall into the trap of talking about what they want to do or what their plans are with people who have no way of helping us. Also, we expend a lot of energy in the talking and not enough in the “walking.” I’ve also found that people like to broadcast their plans in order to merely get attention, not for any real constructive purpose. Instead of working on what they have in mind, the person would rather talk about what they want to do — without ever taking the first real steps.
In the end, it’s the results that tell the tale. Work in silence and when you have something to show, then you can begin cluing people into what you’re doing. By doing this, you’re avoiding any negativity you may encounter because the proof will be “in the pudding.”
Sometimes we’ll be wise and keep our goal to ourselves and talk with someone who can help us. We then get slapped in the face: the person with whom we’re speaking tries to dissuade us from our goal. What do we then do? Are they a “dream stealer”? Should we shun them?
Well, it depends. Who is the person giving you the advice? Is it good advice based on expertise, experience, and knowledge? Or is it a knee-jerk reaction?
In another article — “The Dream Stealer I Wish I Had Listened To (Or, How I Lost $30,000 on a Dumb Business Opportunity)” — Mr. Healy has an excellent example of something like. Take the time to read it and learn what you can from it.
In summation, just because someone is “negative” doesn’t mean we eject them from our life as if they were a thing. Sometimes, negativity is just what we need. Sometimes it will spur us forward. Other times, it will allow us to see things just clear enough to make a better decision.
In the end, though, what I really think is that friends and family are more for what I call “human being things” rather than business endeavors or for being our own personal booster squad. When I am with friends enjoying dinner and drinks or when I’m with my loved one doing whatever, business and my goals and my plans are usually the last thing on my mind. Along with whatever we’re doing, be it eating or drinking or just enjoying a conversation, I’m just enjoying their company because I enjoy them as human beings — people who are in my life and for whom I care. The “goal” of my relationships with them goes beyond my aims and pursuits in business and life. It’s about being a human being enjoying my time with fellow human beings and leaving my care of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” at the office.
I hope this makes sense to you. If you have a question, please ask it in the comments section here or send me an email. I’ll be happy to help.
Week Fourteen: The Creative Power of Thought
Now, let’s get into Week Fourteen of The Master Key System — “The Creative Power of Thought.”
This week, Haanel is establishing that all thought is creative. As we think — and what we think and have thought — tends to become our reality. In the second paragraph of the Letter of Transmittal, Haanel wrote
The conscious and subconscious are but two phases of action in connection with one mind. The relation of the subconscious to the conscious is quite analogous to that existing between a weather vane and the atmosphere. Just as the least pressure of the atmosphere causes an action on the part of the weather vane, so does the least thought entertained by the conscious mind produce within your subconscious mind action in exact proportion to the depth of feeling characterizing the thought and the intensity with which the thought is indulged.
The conscious mind directs and controls the subconscious mind and that direction and control is in direct proportion to the “depth of feeling” we have about what we are thinking.
This is psychologically sound. It explains how phobias are instilled in a person through a traumatic experience. We can thus use this process to instill in ourselves whatever we want. Those changes will show on us because our thoughts become us. As Haanel noted in point #17:
We find that every man is the reflection of the thought he has entertained during his lifetime. This is stamped on his face, his form, his character, and his environment.
Think of the people you know and the people you’ve known. More often than not, hasn’t this been the case? Someone who is known for their bad attitude or disgruntledness has that kind of face. Conversely, people who are generally kind have that look of kindness about them.
This is not to say that this is always the case! Sometimes people someone may look nice but be nothing of the sort. And, of course, there are people who may not look the most pleasing but are genuinely kind and noble. Looks can be deceiving, which is why it is important to look at the whole picture: look at the person’s face, how they hold themselves, the nature of his actions and his character. All these clues add to the sum of the person.
They add to the sum of you as well. As you entertain kind thoughts, powerful thoughts, big thoughts, brave thoughts, noble thoughts, and all other good thoughts, you will become the person about which you consistently think. Your thoughts will lead to actions and those actions will yield results. All of that will be the reality that you live and experience.
As Haanel has noted and as we’ve noted many times during these teleseminars, when you begin changing your thoughts — and your actions — the changes you encounter will not happen over night. This is a process.
Let’s examine how Haanel explained it in points #24-30.
24. Yet there are many who are not ready to enter into the discipline necessary to think correctly, even though it is evident that wrong thinking has brought failure.
25. Thought is the only reality; conditions are but the outward manifestations; as the thought changes, all outward or material conditions must change in order to be in harmony with their creator, which is thought.
26. But the thought must be clear cut, steady, fixed, definite, unchangeable; you cannot take one step forward and two steps backward, neither can you spend twenty or thirty years of your life building up negative conditions as the result of negative thoughts, and then expect to see them all melt away as the result of fifteen or twenty minutes of right thinking.
27. If you enter into the discipline necessary to bring about a radical change in your life, you must do so deliberately, after giving the matter careful thought and full consideration, and then you must allow nothing to interfere with your decision.
28. This discipline, this change of thought, this mental attitude will not only bring you the material things which are necessary for your highest and best welfare, but will bring health and harmonious conditions generally.
29. If you wish harmonious conditions in your life, you must develop a harmonious mental attitude.
30. Your world without will be a reflection of your world within.
Get it? Got it? Good.
The Exercise in Week Fourteen: The Creative Power of Thought
For the exercise this week, Haanel wants us to think about “Harmony.”
31. For your exercise this week, concentrate on Harmony, and when I say concentrate, I mean all that the word implies—concentrate so deeply, so earnestly, that you will be conscious of nothing but Harmony. Remember, we learn by doing. Reading these lessons will get you nowhere. It is in the practical application that the value consists.
That can be a difficult word to define, especially since we all may have different definitions. At the heart of it, though, will be something about which we can all agree: that no matter the exact circumstances of that harmony, we will fell centered, content, in rhythm with things. It is not exactly happiness, but it’s also not that different.
This exercise is taking us in the same direction as the past few exercises. We are moving ourselves from a mental state of discordance and separation into one of beauty and being a part of something larger than ourselves. Instead of seeing the world as a place to be feared and other people as objects in our way, we are learning to see — and feel — that we are a part of things much as they are a part of us.
As we feel ourselves imbued with this state, it will change the way we think about things. It will change the way we act. Thus, it will change many of the results that we get.
As Haanel wrote, concentrate on this idea — harmony — “so deeply, so earnestly, that you will be conscious of nothing but Harmony.” As you do this, you’ll feel it, and, as I’ve noted, it will change you.
Try it and see what happens.
Until next week, please have a Happy Thanksgiving and get for yourself the best of everything.