We’re at Week Sixteen of The Master Key System — “Gaining Spiritual Understanding” — and as we progress into the latter half of the book, you’ll find two things.
The first is that it will be impossible for me to touch on each and every point that Haanel makes in the course of the chapter. While that would indeed be nice, it would mean either that an episode of our Master Key Coaching Teleseminars would have to be about three hours long or we’d have to discuss it over the course of three or four episodes.
I don’t think either option is very viable. I do touch on the most important — as I see it — points that Haanel is making. For the others, it is imperative that you take the time to read the chapter. There is a lot in the book. You know that. Take the time to read it. Review what I’ve said from the first episode here to where we are now; read the chapters; and then work on what was said and written.
The second thing you’ll be noticing is that I’ll be reading more and more from the book. Haanel makes many of his points very clear. He wrote many things perfectly. I see no need to try to fix what is not broken. Of course, I’ll add some commentary, which hopefully helps you to really grasp it, but the beauty of Haanel’s words stand quite well on their own.
With those two items in mind, I hope that you enjoy what was said. Let’s get into Week Sixteen!
Haanel’s Strange Letter of Transmittal
From the first time I read The Master Key System, I’ve always found the Letter of Transmittal for Week Sixteen somewhat strange. With the prior letters, there was a certain flow from the letter to the chapter proper.
Not so with this week.
Yes, there is a connection, but to me it was never as string as other weeks. It doesn’t line up as nicely.
That being said, Week Sixteen’s Letter of Transmittal does offer a lot about which to think.
The vibratory activities of the planetary Universe are governed by a law of periodicity. Everything that lives has periods of birth, growth, fruitage, and decline. These periods are governed by the Septimal Law.
The Law of Sevens governs the days of the week, the phases of the moon, the harmonies of sound, light, heat, electricity, magnetism, atomic structure. It governs the life of individuals and of nations, and it dominates the activities of the commercial world.
I am not going to get into this too much here. Haanel wrote much about the “Law of Sevens” in his book A Book About You. Get it and read it. I think that you’ll like it.
As you may know, I am not a new Age-y kind of guy. I don’t get into much of the woo that is bandied about as self-help nowadays.
I do like and find a certain validity, though, in this Law of Sevens.
From fads to music trends to business cycles, one can observe them in action. Music trends tend to have a life span of about seven years. Disco segued into punk/new wave which moved to heavy metal then came grunge then hip hop/rap … And each lasted about seven years. (Give or take.)
The financial markets tend to move in seven year cycles. As Haanel indicated further in the letter, there are seven years in each stage of a person’s maturation.
If the number seven sounds familiar, you’ll remember your Bible — Genesis 41: 22-36.
22“In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me.”
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.
28“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.
33“And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”
Is there a connection?
Probably. But it’s not necessary to get into here. Just keep it in mind. Use your experiences to either validate the Law of Sevens or disprove them. It’s the Master Key way.
Haanel and Guy Kawasaki Say the Same Thing
Let’s have a look at points 1 to 6 in Week Sixteen.
1. Wealth is a product of labor. Capital is an effect, not a cause; a servant, not a master; a means, not an end.
2. The most commonly accepted definition of wealth is that it consists of all useful and agreeable things which possess exchange value. It is this exchange value which is the predominant characteristic of wealth.
3. When we consider the small addition made by wealth to the happiness of the possessor we find that the true value consists not in its utility but in its exchange value.
4. This exchange value makes it a medium for securing the things of real value whereby our ideals may be realized.
5. Wealth should then never be desired as an end, but simply as a means of accomplishing an end. Success is contingent upon a higher ideal than the mere accumulation of riches, and he who aspires to such success must formulate an ideal for which he is willing to strive.
6. With such an ideal in mind, the ways and means can and will be provided, but the mistake must not be made of substituting the means for the end. There must be a definite fixed purpose — an ideal.
Here, Haanel makes the point about wealth — or making money — that most people miss: that money in and of itself is a terrible end. Money (or wealth) is merely a means.
Money is the means for accomplishing goals, be they personal goals, financial goals, or otherwise. Generally, the people who make the most money have a greater goal in mind.
PAUL MAIDMENT: Guy, you have a Top Five list of things an entrepreneur must accomplish. At the top of that list is Make Meaning. What does that mean, and why is it so important?
GUY KAWASAKI: It means that if you start a company to “make money” then you’ll probably fail. Great companies start because the founders want to change the world … not make a fast buck. Call me a romantic, but I think entrepreneurs should try to change the world. This comes from working at Apple … old habits die hard.
MAIDMENT: Is there ever a case in which ‘making yourself rich’ constitutes making meaning?
KAWASAKI: Yes, absolutely. But that seems like an insipid reason to start a company. However, if you make meaning, you’ll probably make money. If you make money, you might not make meaning. At the end of one’s life, hopefully you’ve done more than simply make money.
It would behoove us to listen to that guy.
Of course making money is important. It’s important to us personally (we all have to eat!) as well as in business. The point with all of this — with what Haanel wrote and with what Mr. Kawasaki is saying here — is that it is not the most important thing.
The vision — the grand goal — is more important.
Let’s look at it in a possibly very real situation.
Let’s say a person wants nothing more than to have the time to provide well for his new son. So, he works assiduously at making money. He works so much, in fact, that he doesn’t spend any time with his son. Yes, he provides all the comforts that money can provide, but he doesn’t provide the things that count: time, attending his son’s games, taking his son to a ball game.
Before he knows it, his son is grown. He provided well, but did he provide everything as he had in mind? Did he focus so much on money that he lost sight of the reason he was making so much and working so hard?
The same situations arise in business as well. Should all decisions be made based solely on the bottom line? Should corners be cut in order to save a few cents per unit?
Sometimes these are tough decisions. Actually, more often than not they are tough decisions. With insight and wisdom and, as we’ll see, with controlling our thoughts so that we keep our grand goal in mind, we’ll be better equipped to navigate these problems when they arise.
So how does one create these big, lofty goals?
8. The power to create depends entirely upon spiritual power. There are three steps: Idealization, visualization, and materialization. Every captain of industry depends upon this power exclusively. In an article in Everybody’s Magazine, Henry M. Flagler, the Standard Oil multimillionaire, admitted that the secret of his success was his power to see a thing in its completeness. The following conversation with the reporter shows his power of idealization, concentration, and visualization — all spiritual powers:
9. “Did you actually vision to yourself the whole thing? I mean, did you, or could you, really close your eyes and see the tracks? And the trains running? And hear the whistles blowing? Did you go as far as that?”
“Yes.” “How clearly?” “Very clearly.”
Haanel adds in point 11:
11. The successful business man is more often than not an idealist and is ever striving for higher and higher standards. The subtle forces of thought as they crystallize in our daily moods is what constitutes life.
This may be the first time that you are hearing a business man referred to as an “idealist.” It is generally true, though. The best example can probably come from the computer industry — and it may be the very reason we get angry at the people in that industry so often!
You’re well aware that as soon as you get your brand new, expensive computer, as soon as you get it home, it’s practically obsolete. It won’t even be next year before the new line is released and it’s faster and better than what you just bought. It generally makes us quite angry.
But if we look beyond our anger (and I am using that word loosely), we’ll see that it is a perfect example of what Haanel wrote. The way things improve in our technology, the way those changes happen so quickly that we can barely stay abreast, is a showcase of these computer business people — the technologists and engineers and visionaries — and their reaching for new levels of excellence — of “higher and higher standards.” It can always be faster, smaller, more functional, more convenient, more … Whatever!
Perfection may never be realized, but that doesn’t stop the pursuit. Goals are set and goals are achieved — and money is made.
Think It With Feeling
Haanel in points 21 and 22 wrote
21.And finally, the vitality depends upon the feeling with which the thought is impregnated. If the thought is constructive, it will possess vitality; it will have life, it will grow, develop, expand; it will be creative; it will attract to itself everything necessary for its complete development.
22. If the thought is destructive, it will have within itself the germ of its own dissolution; it will die, but in the process of dying, it will bring sickness, disease, and every other form of discord.
A question I am often asked is how one should feel when thinking of their goals. Should they feel happy? Exuberant? Effusive? Euphoric?
Many say that they should feel happiness of some sort. They should feel like they would feel if they achieved and attained their goal.
Yet others say that they should “fake it till they make it.”
I think that what Haanel is implying here is that if your thought is truly constructive, it will have a certain vitality in and of itself. You won’t have to fake it.
Think of the time when you were going on the first date with someone with whom you fell in love. Do you remember that date? Do you remember the days before the date? You were excited. You were walking on air. You were thrilled beyond comprehension. Nothing could keep you away from that date. You did not need to fake a thing.
Sure, you were nervous and anxious, but your other greater emotions kept you moving forward.
The same is true when we build and plan goals that agree with us — that are constructive. When we strike on that idea or position or situation, we don’t have to fake it. It comes practically naturally.
The Exercise for Week Sixteen
37. For your exercise this week, try to bring yourself to a realization of the important fact that harmony and happiness are states of consciousness and do not depend upon the possession of things. Realize that things are effects and come as a consequence of correct mental states. So that if we desire material possession of any kind our chief concern should be to acquire the mental attitude which will bring about the result desired. This mental attitude is brought about by a realization of our spiritual nature and our unity with the Universal Mind which is the substance of all things. This realization will bring about everything which is necessary for our complete enjoyment. This is scientific or correct thinking. When we succeed in bringing about this mental attitude it is comparatively easy to realize our desire as an already accomplished fact; when we can do this we shall have found the “Truth” which makes us “free” from every lack or limitation of any kind.
As we review this week and this exercise, let me make one point clear: Money is not the root of all evil. It is not a bad thing nor is it something about which you should be unconcerned.
Money is a tool. Nothing more; nothing less.
With that in mind, you are not the amount of money you have nor the things that you have. Your “harmony and happiness” are not — or they should not be — dependent on the “possession of things.”
This is wisdom. It takes many people all their lives to realize such a seemingly simple thing. Recall the example I used earlier — the one about the father and his son. Far too often, people go through their lives chasing some shibboleth for whatever wrong reason only to realize that what they really wanted — and what would have been the better option for them and all involved — was right under their nose.
Now, what Haanel wrote here does not mean that one becomes complacent. That leads to laziness and sloth.
We’re happiest when we’re working, when we’re adding value, when we’re discovering meaning. That is not complacency.
When we’re moving forward toward the goal of our choosing — our dream, our aim, our vision — then we’re working with constructive thinking and we’ll find things moving our way.
Because when we allow what’s within us to move us, to act as our engine, we are pillars of integrity. Those are clothes and ornaments that make kings.
Or, as Tyler Durden would say …
(If the video doesn’t play, you can view it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo-wkv8gW6k.)