What Did You Learn?

My martial arts teacher is a gifted instructor. He has a way of making even difficult concepts of athletics, physics, physiology, psychology and philosophy accessible. He is also a gifted instructor in that he knows where his job as a teacher ends and your job as a student begins. He knows that often his role is to show the student the door… They, however, must decide to walk through it.

One strategy that my teacher uses very effectively is that at the end of every session he will look at the students and ask a simple question… “What did you learn?”

The question is met with a variety of responses. Some people hate to be in the cross-hairs of this question. Some scratch their head. Some have a somewhat bewildered look as they try to boil a 3 hour lesson into a key thought. Others share insights that they had during the session which may or may not be similar to what I experienced during the same course of instruction.

Whatever the response, though, this is where the rubber meets the road. That one question, “What did you learn?” has so many other questions brewing just under its surface. What are you taking away from this? What are you going to practice? How has this time increased your skill? Are you changed?

Learning definition highlightedThe typical definition of learning is: “the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.” I think this is probably how most people think of learning. What if I told you there was another definition of learning, though…

Our friends in the field of psychology played a little trick on us and have redefined the word learning. In psychological circles learning is defined as, “a relatively lasting change in behavior that is the result of experience”.

Wow! Do you see the radical difference in these two definitions? One is simply looking at the acquisition of theoretical knowledge or skill while the other is focused exclusively on behavioral change. No change in behavior, no learning. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.

It might be insightful, it might be interesting, it might be uplifting, it might be whatever… but here’s the question… How is it affecting our behavior? That’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s where the theoretical has it’s impact on our lives.

So those of us who have just completed the MKMMA course are now one week out from the intensive structure of the six month program. One week out of the course or one week into being self-directed in our personal development… I guess it’s just a matter of how you look at it. So… What have you learned this week? According to this “new” definition where behavior must be impacted… what have you learned?

Also, since the behavior change must be long lasting to qualify as learning, what have you learned over the last couple of months? Remember, no lasting behavior change, no learning. If you haven’t done this already since course end I’d encourage you to sit with this idea for a while. Think about it. Don’t be afraid to be in the cross-hairs of the question.

By doing so we can each ensure that the lessons that we have studied, rather than simply being found in binders on shelves (or on index cards), are found in every action, every day of our lives.

So, that being said… What did you learn?



What About Day 91? – MKMMA Week 24

The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions. ~Holmes

Commitment… It’s an amazing thing. Through commitment we find persistence and with that persistence anything becomes possible. It is possible, though, for different people to engage in a commitment in very different ways?

I find that there are two different types of commitment:

The first type is a commitment to a program. In this situation the individual commits to a program involving a time frame or an achievement or an outcome. This type of commitment is very popular because it gives a concrete measure. It is clear where we start, where we end and what we do in between.

Committing to a program is seen in everything from a 7-day detox to a 30-day challenge to a 90 day exercise cycle. Committing to a program is great! We get to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s tremendously motivating and we can measure our progress every step along the way. In fact, there’s only one problem with committing to a program…

What happens on day 91?

If your commitment was to the program… and now the program is over… well, now what? Every time the program ends you reach a fork in the road. You must then decide if you will commit to a new program, hang out in the buffer zone leaving things undecided or perhaps simply go back to old habits from before the program.

The second type of commitment is committing to a process. This type of commitment is not so cut and dried. It’s more ambiguous and doesn’t come neatly packaged like a program. It isn’t defined by a time frame and isn’t even necessarily defined by an exact outcome. Instead, it’s simply about committing to the consistent actions that will take one in the right direction. Really, it’s more of a journey.

So here you are… Twenty six weeks into the Master Key Experience. You now stand at a crossroad. We have made many decisions over the course of the six months but now is the time to decide what type of commitment you will make/have made to your future self.

Was your commitment to the program? Is success going to be measured by your completion of the course’s exercises and simply sticking with it to the end? Was it a hiatus from your previous habits? A vacation from your old blueprint?

Or has it become something more? Have you committed instead to the process of rebirth and growth? Have you committed to becoming an intimate friend (and caretaker) for your future self? Have you committed to the process of forgiveness and love and growth? Have you committed to becoming the absolute best version of yourself?

If you have, then there is no crossroads here. There is no concept of being “done” and deciding whether or not to continue. There is only the question “What’s next?” as the process extends to the next chapter.

Committing to a program is great! It gives wonderful changes as we work through it’s lessons, but eventually the program ends… And so will the results if we have not transitioned to a higher level of commitment. A commitment to the process.

A commitment to a diet is temporary where a commitment to healthy nutrition is a lifelong process. A commitment to a exercise program is temporary but a commitment to fitness is a lifelong process. A commitment to the MKMMA is temporary but a commitment to being an self-directed thinker is a lifelong process.

My wish for you is that you have committed to the process of the Master Key Mastermind Alliance. My wish for you is that you will continue to chip away remnants of cement that would prevent you from understanding your purpose. My wish for you is that you will continue to grow in your understanding of service and of what you are truly capable of. My wish for you is that what we have begun together will continue to extend forward like ripples in a pond after a rock has been thrown in.

It has been an honor to share this experience with the staff, with the guides and with every fellow student. My wish for each of us is that this moment, right now, rather than being a moment of finality, is instead a moment of truest beginning.

I’m cheering for you.

~Daniel Hanscom


Looking Back – MKMMA Week 23

Today is my birthday and it’s been a great day. Now “great” will mean different things to different people but let me set the stage in case you don’t know me well. In the color code testing system “white” indicates that one is  analytical and contemplative while “yellow” is more social, fun-loving and spontaneous… My white scores about 5x higher than my yellow. A great birthday for me means having quiet, contemplative time to look at the year that has past and look at the year to come.

With this in mind, I thought what could be better for my blog this week than to look through all of the posts that I have made during the course of the MKMMA course. I am going to attempt to boil each entry down to a single takeaway sentence as a review of the great journey that this course has been.

I have included links to each original post so if you want to read the entry you can just click on the title. I hope that you enjoy this compilation as much as I enjoyed putting it together. The post is long but it’s like a box of assorted chocolates… just pick through to find the ones you like… Or you can just eat them all if you prefer. I won’t judge…


your-purpose-in-lifeWeek 1 – What’s It All About?
What if the purpose of life is to learn and develop so that we can grow to our potential in order to be of service to others?

nerdalert_091412Week 2 – The 3 I’s
Beyond simply learning the information we must spend the time to allow for the installation so that the subconscious mind can be reprogrammed to allow for effortless implementation.

Spiderman biteWeek 3 – Lessons From Uncle Ben
You, as well as any of us, have the capacity to be a hero because of the impact that you can have on the world, and people around you but with great power comes great responsibility.

kungfuWeek 4 – Do You Know Gong Fu, Grasshopper?
The Chinese concept of gong fu means supreme skill achieved over time through hard work and patience and this can be applied to anything so why not develop supreme skill in the management of ones mindset?

Baby at laptopWeek 5 – The Diary Of A Baby
Babies don’t give up, they don’t obsess, they don’t cultivate the idea that they are flawed, they don’t base their worth on accomplishment, they don’t rationalize, they don’t take themselves too seriously, they don’t do drama, they don’t become negative… they just do and that’s probably good advice for us too.

Week 6 – Stop Talking At The Dog
Dogs process the world through smell so when we talk to them the message is for the most part lost. Our subconscious mind, as well, does not process the word by words but by pictures and emotions so we must use those elements to send clear messages to the subconscious mind.

XinWeek 7 – Why You Need “Xin”
Casually saying your DMP or affirmations will do virtually nothing because it is intensity of emotion that is the key element for success so we must be able to conjure up the powerful emotions that accompany the elements of our exercises.

Rodeo ClownWeek 8 – Bull Fighters And Bad Attitudes
Negativity in our life can be like a raging bull so we must choose how to face the bull: as a rodeo clown who runs for his life, as a bull rider who struggles to control the bull for a short time or as a bull fighter who seeks to kill the bull once and for all.

computer chip heartWeek 9 – Every Android’s Guide To Feelings
Inside each of us is emotional “programming” that is adaptive and will seek to manifest emotional states that have become selected because of their frequency so we must choose our emotional states wisely or else our mind will draw us towards unpleasant emotions on account of their consistency.

mirrorWeek 10 – Overcoming Betrayal
If you have not become an understanding friend of your ‘future self’ you may be betraying yourself through actions that sabotage your ability to succeed so it becomes crucial to create a mental picture of the person that you want to become so that you can stay true to that vision.

King-Manny-handy-manny-30939521-822-1130Week 11 – The Fable of King Consistency
This is a children’s story written to introduce kids to different principles that we are learning in the MKMMA program such as cultivating habits, the sit, having a purpose and having a plan of action.

Traffic LightWeek 12 – Beware The “Yellow Zone”
There is a dangerous zone called the yellow zone where things are “better” but not “great” where we can fail in our persistence but the greatest victories in life are found beyond the fields of mediocrity.

Color codeWeek 13 – Lesson Learned
As I started to think about the steps in accomplishing any goal I concluded that the steps were to choose what to do, think about how to do it, do the work and celebrate the experience so I combined these 4 bolded words to an affirmation that has been very helpful for me.

I-WILL-PERSIST-UNITL-I-SUCCEEDWeek 14 – The Fuel For Persistence
Persistence is simply the action that occurs when we hold onto hope and keep faith so the four elements of persistence serve the purpose of nourishing hope and keeping faith alive so that we can stay the course, persist through the resistance and, in the end, emerge victorious.

RAS VideoWeek 15 – The Amazing RAS
I made this video which looked at the role of a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which acts as a filter to magnify or delete what input gets to the conscious mind.

Rudy-MovieWeek 16 – Great Expectations
Human nature is to rise to, or sink to, what is expected of us and that includes the expectations that we have for ourselves so we must keep on track by asking ourselves the question, “Have I done all that I can do?”.

appleinskyWeek 17 – Pick The Darned Apple
While our mindset has an incredible impact on how things unfold in our lives we cannot simply stand at the base of the apple tree and wait for the fruit to drop into our lap but rather we need to take action in order to create the outcome that we are looking for.

Green_european_dragonWeek 17a – What To Do With Dragons
We are bound to face challenges and obstacles on our journey of personal development and how we choose to see and relate to these “dragons” determines whether we perceive them as vicious enemies or teachers who hold lessons for us to learn and so this perception impacts everything.

who-wants-to-be-a-millionaire-toughest-questionWeek 18 – Is That Your Final Answer?
Certainty is a feeling (and not an analytical conclusion) so we can choose to feel certain any time we want which can become a powerful tool because we can use this to create more and more certainty around our DMP which helps us to become bold enough to make it happen.

firehorses1Week 19 – Hold Your Horses!
In the panic of a barn fire horses will run back into the blaze seeking the comfort of familiarity so we should heed the warning since our desire for comfort and familiarity, while in chaotic situations can lead us to run back into undesirable habits because we are seeking the exact same comfort and familiarity.

Love equals geniusWeek 20 – Who Do You Love…?
Haanel tells us that, “An intellectual understanding will be of no assistance; the emotions must be brought into action…” and his words are echoed by many who have achieved the highest levels in many different disciplines so we must not only analyze but find powerful emotion in the things we wish to create in our life; most specifically, we must find love.

61806785Week 21 – I’ll Do It Myself
Independence is AWESOME but if we are not careful and we don’t learn to find a balance it can cause us to miss the opportunity to mastermind with others and work together in harmony towards a definite purpose with the extra support, resources and inspiration of another person.

Luke-trialWeek 22 – Let There Be… Silence
When we enter into contemplative silence the only thing that we find there is what we bring with us but the fear of facing this part of our self can fuel an appetite for constant distraction and avoidance.

calligraphyWeek 22a – Are You Listening
Being the “Observer” and paying attention is one of the most powerful things that we can do on our road to self discovery and growth and learning how to appreciate silence is an important part of this process.


PS: Doing that manually was exhausting! I hope there wasn’t an automatic way to do it and I hope that you enjoy the result. Phew! 🙂

Are You Listening? – MKMMA Week 22a

My martial arts teacher once told a story that I have cherished since the first time that I heard it.

There was once a great teacher in China who was dying. His disciples gathered around his bed as the master teacher grew weaker and weaker. Each of his students knew that the end was near so they approached their master to ask for one last lesson.

“Teacher”, they said, “you are nearing the end of your life and when you are no longer with us you will not be able to share your wisdom to guide us. We ask for one last lesson to guide us on our way. What is the one thing that we must do in order to reach the level of wisdom that you have been able to achieve?”

calligraphyThe students waited in anticipation for their master’s response. At this point he was too weak to form the words so he motioned for a scroll and a brush. On the page he wrote a single character. The character meant, “Pay Attention”.

“Oh yes, teacher.”, the students replied. This is a lesson that you have taught to us many times and so we have learned this lesson. In addition to this, though, what teaching would you share with us so that we can continue to learn and grow in wisdom long after you have departed from us?”

The teacher weakly took the brush from his eager student once more and with great effort he wrote three characters on the page before he breathed his last and was gone. The students felt a sudden emptiness as their master was now gone. At least he had left them this one final gift of wisdom to guide them. They turned the page in order to read what had been written. The page simply read, “Pay Attention. Pay Attention. Pay Attention.”

It is said that awareness is the beginning of change. If that is the case it is no wonder why the last lesson of the teacher would relate to this important practice. To pay attention. To be present. To be mindful. It is a skill and a discipline. Like any skill it takes effort to cultivate. Perhaps most of all, though, it requires diligence.

chinese_symbols_for_care_6292_2_24Since awareness is the first step towards change, since there has been a tremendous amount of change in each of us throughout our Master Key Experience, it stands to reason that there have to have been major increases in our awareness. And it’s not wonder. So many of the exercises that we have been doing have centered around improving our ability to pay attention to what is going on around us as well as inside of us.

Perhaps the phrase that we have heard most often to bring us to this new level of awareness has been the call to, “Be the Observer!” which we have heard over and over again. Be the Observer… Pay attention… Take notice… They are each calling us to the same thing. Mindfulness.

This was such a beautiful part of the exercise in silence. I spent three days with no electronics, no speaking and no entertainment last week. When all of those distractions were stripped away I found that I was able to pay attention and observe at a deeper level. Personal insights abounded as a result and I learned lessons about myself that have already helped me to form new habits thereby improving my life.

And it all started by paying attention. Committing to the discipline of paying attention and removing the distractions that would interfere with the process… Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it. What if it really is the key to this whole journey; that first all-important step.

If my observations are any indicator, I do believe that may be the case. All the best to you  as you grow in your capacity as the observer. And remember… Pay attention!


Let There Be… Silence – MKMMA Week 22

Silence is a funny thing. On the whole I think that most people’s experience with silence is pretty limited since we are flooded with so much distraction these days that contemplative solitude can be hard to come by. One of the funniest things about silence is how varied people’s responses to it can be.

I remember working with a lady at the acupuncture clinic a few years ago. Let’s call her Jen. Jen was presenting to the clinic with a few things that she was hoping we could help with. She had trouble sleeping, struggled with anxiety and suffered from tension headaches.

We talked about the role of lifestyle; about taking time to slow down and relax. We also talked about the role of acupuncture in the process and she was eager to begin. Once I had all of the needles in place I said, “Well, I’ll step out for your rest period while you relax and enjoy the quiet.”
“Step out?”, she said. “You mean you leave me here with needles?”
“Yes,” I said. “We leave the needles in place while you rest to maximize their effect.”
“For how long?”
“30 minutes…”
“30 MINUTES!?!?!?!”
“I can make it half an hour if you prefer…” I said jokingly.
“Oh, ha ha…”, she said… “Well it must be less than 30 minutes now… We’ve probably been talking for 2 minutes already, right?”, she said, desperately trying to negotiate.
“30 minutes…”, I replied, knowing that only 10 seconds had passed. “Just close your eyes and relax… Imagine being on a tropical beach… Just enjoy the quiet for a few minutes.”
“Well….. Ok….”, she said, still not totally convinced. “I’ll try…”

Jen was not the first person I had worked with who struggled to relax and enjoy the silence. Being able to let go, be in the moment and enjoy the stillness without being constantly distracted or busying ones self is a skill and many of us are out of practice.

I went to my desk to work on some paperwork while Jen sat. As I was working the office phone started to ring… and it was Jen’s name listed on the phone. I didn’t think much of it figuring that it was a husband wondering what time she would be leaving or asking to pick something up on the way home so I answered the phone.
“Healthy Balance Acupuncture Clinic… How Can I help you?”
Then from the other end I heard the words I’ll never forget… “Has it been 30 minutes yet?”
“Yeah. Has it been 30 minutes yet?”

While sitting with needles in both hands she managed to get her cell phone out of her pocket, looked up the clinic number online then called for an update.
“It’s been 12 minutes, Jen.”
She sighed loudly. “How much longer, then?””Umm…. 18 minutes.”
Another sigh. “Well, don’t forget about the 2 minutes that we were talking.”, she said.

We both laughed about the exchange more than once. It was a struggle for Jen, especially at first, to sit quietly. Over time, though, she became more skilled and was able to quiet the chatter in her mind and ease the restlessness. Eventually she was even able to enjoy the quiet rest.

I’ve thought about Jen many times. What is so disturbing about quiet these days? Why is there so little of it? Why do we seem to make efforts to fill every waking moment with distraction, noise and chatter? What is in the silence that worries us so?

Is it that we might recognize our own lack of control over our thoughts?

Is it a restless feeling of not knowing what to do with ourselves?

Is it a fear that the absence of diversion may cause unresolved feelings to stir?

Is it not wanting to take control over the wandering of our own mind?

Is it restlessness? Struggle? Trauma?

What is there in the silence that so many will go to great lengths to avoid it? That it will be avoided to such an extent that extended silence is almost unheard of in our modern lifestyle?

Luke-trial.pngAs I pondered this I began to wonder if the answer, like many things in life, could be found in the words of Yoda. If you remember, when Luke was training with Yoda, (and if you don’t remember you should probably watch the movie again) Luke sensed a dark presence near a cave. Yoda directed him to enter and so Luke reached for his weapons to take them.
“You will not need those.”, Yoda said.
“Why? What’s in there?”, asked Luke.
“Only what you bring with you.”, was Yoda’s reply.

What if that is the element that can make silence and contemplation so uncomfortable? What if it is what we bring with us to the silence that drives us to busy ourselves with meaningless pursuits while the deeper corners of our own self remain locked away? What if it’s fear of facing our own self that feeds our insatiable appetite for distraction?

I consider my job done now as I have shared the question. I won’t presume to know the answer… Especially not for another person. I am going to search for the answer for myself, though, by spending the next few days in silent contemplation with no electronics, conversation or distractions. It’s time for me to enter the silence myself and find out exactly what I bring with me. I’ll see you on the other side of the silence…

~Daniel Hanscomkeep-calm-and-enjoy-the-silence.png

I’ll Do It Myself! – MKMMA Week 21

Four little words. What parent hasn’t heard those four little words from their child at some point? For a long time they’re content to let you do everything for them and then all of a sudden those four little words come up…

“I’ll do it myself!”

61806785Typically of course, the words are often accompanied by a flood of upset and determination. Well… There goes the neighborhood.

Not that it’s a bad thing… Isn’t that the point after all? To help them to grow up to be capable? To be confident? To be independent? Aren’t these all great goals and crucial lessons to learn? I would say “yes” but there is a little caveat that comes with the attribute of independence.

You see, independence is a double edged sword. On the one hand it has us striving to be self-sufficient. It has us doing what needs to be done without relying on handouts from others. Independence is actually a GREAT quality… until it’s not.

You see, independence can bring some baggage along with it. It can bring a mindset that we are all separate. That we have to fend for ourselves because we can’t count on others. That we are alone but that’s ok because we can do it all for ourselves. That we are isolated.

While independence can cause us to dig deeply within ourselves and accomplish great things it can also cause us to miss out. We can miss out on the abundant help that surrounds us and we can also miss out on the power of working in harmony with others.

How do I know this? Well, it’s not from academic study of psychology or human nature. I know this from a lifetime of fierce independence myself. I am so independent that if I could have formed a strategy and the words I would have told the obstetrician to take a hike during my delivery! And this isn’t bad… It’s actually formed a very strong sense of determination within me which is great. But there are other times when it has had me laboring in unnecessary isolation. Times when it had me missing out on not only the skills that others might have brought to a project but also the camaraderie that comes from working in harmony with another person.

swingcenterofmassLet me give you a practical example. I train with kettlebells for exercise. It is a form of weight lifting from Russia. I decided that I wanted to do a challenging program for a month so I decided to do a swing program. Now the swing is a kettlebell exercise that swings the bell back between the legs as you hinge at the hip and then has you stand up forcefully so that the weight is propelled forward at which point you throw it back again, and again, and again…

I decided on a program that would have me doing 10,000 swings in 28 days with a 24KG (53 pound) kettlebell. Why would I do such a thing you ask? Because that’s just how I roll… Remember when I said that I had a strong sense of determination 😉

Anyway, I did a few training days to make sure that I could handle the daily volume and then I was ready, in my usual way, to go it alone. Then I remembered how Napoleon Hill taught that nobody makes it without a mastermind. There is a lot of power when people work together for a common purpose… a mastermind. I decided to find a training partner.

Could I have done the program by myself? Certainly. Am I getting more out of it by knowing that I’m not alone. Absolutely! Encouragement… Sharing training tips… Even just knowing that there is somebody else out there who is mumbling under there breath about the burning in their forearms after doing a set of 50 swings. Honestly, it helps both of us to be at our best. The same goes for masterminding the Master Key process in both forums and with partners. It helps us all to be at our best.

So what if you don’t want to do a 10,000 swing challenge? That’s fine… What challenge do you want to tackle? Do you want to pursue personal development? Do you want to learn skills for digital marketing? Do you want to launch a new business or build an existing one? We all have challenges that we are engaging.

Could you do them alone… Maybe. That would certainly be a very independent thing to do. But what if, instead, you reached out to others to create a partnership? What if you reached out to others who could be a source of support, expertise and inspiration? What if you tempered independence with cooperation… Do you think that could offer exciting new possibilities?

Search your feelings… You know it to be true.

Take it from somebody who knows. Independence is AWESOME… until it’s not. It can bring a price. It’s impossible, after all, to create harmony if you’re playing one note all alone.

Here’s to your mastermind and to your success!

~Daniel Hanscom

PS: This post is dedicated to my wife Tara, Rex, Jim and Susan… My current mastermind partners.

PPS: Please be sure to comment if you caught the Star Wars reference.

Who Do You Love…? MKMMA Week 20

“I will greet this day with love in my heart…” ~Og Mandino

It’s been a while since I’ve read the entirety of scroll II from Og Mandino’s book, “The Greatest Salesman In The World”. Well, in actuality, it’s only been about two and a half months. It’s just that a lot has happened in the meanwhile. The book is composed of 10 “scrolls” each with a message that serves as a keystone in a person’s life. In order to truly absorb these important messages I was directed to read each scroll three times daily for a month.

All those 75 days ago or so I was four weeks into the Master Key Course… just getting warmed up, so to speak. The first scroll fascinated me as it talked about making good habits. I couldn’t wait to see what was in the second scroll. And there it was… Love.

Love equals genius.jpgWait… Love? Shouldn’t we study more about habits? Maybe about how to execute a plan of action? What about communication techniques or psychological principles? For 30 days I read this message 3 times daily. Did you know that the introductory quote, “I will greet this day with love in my heart.” is in scroll II eight times? That means that I read it 720 times over the course of that month. 720 times… and now am I starting to “get it”. I mean, I understood that it was important and a good thing… I just didn’t get just how important or just how good at the time.

I should set the stage a little bit. I can tend to be… well… a little analytical. When I take the “Which Star Trek Character Are You?” quiz it’s an landslide for either Dr. Spock or Lt. Data depending on which generation is in the bank. I score as WHITE on the color code test. I even rank as an INTJ on the MBTI… In case you’ve never heard of it, that’s the temperment type that has a myriad of blog posts asking if INTJ’s do actually ‘feel’. The truth, by the way, is of course we feel… We just do it in precisely calculated, thoroughly analyzed ways.

Love… How can it be at the root of everything? Well, I won’t attempt to answer that question in this post… I’m already at 386 words on this post and any attempt to answer that question would give this entry the bloat of a Russian novel.  But what if I simply ask the question, “What are the things that I have done the best in my life?”

For simplicity’s sake I’m going to leave relationships out of this. I’d have to put martial arts on the list… Music, guitar in particular, would be there as well… Learning would definitely be there… (If I could travel with a sleeping bag and sleep in book stores instead of hotels I might never come home). Kettlebell training… Writing… Outdoor pursuits… These are all things that bring out my best. They are things that get the best of me. Why? Well… because I love them. I love each of them… They inspire my passion.

In section 20.17 of the Master Key System, Haanel states: “An understanding of these facts, first intellectually and then emotionally, will enable us to drink deeply from this ocean of infinite power. An intellectual understanding will be of no assistance; the emotions must be brought into action; thought without feeling is cold. The required combination is thought and feeling.

Whether we are talking about a hobby, a spouse or a life purpose is it really any different? Love is what will cause us to make sacrifices. Love is what will cause us to give our all. To persist. To awaken to the greatness inside of us. To live from a place of passion and connect, not only to others, but within ourselves as well. Love can even make an android-like INTJ feel and in so doing, tap into forces that seem to make us even more than we are… To truly awaken and come alive!

And what do those who are leaders in their fields have to say about love:

“Science is not only a discipline of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.” – Stephen Hawking (theoretical physicist)

“Every day there’s something that reminds me why I love this sport.”Bernard Hinault (perhaps the best cyclist to ever race)

Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (classical composer)

Seems pretty unanimous. So… what do you love? As you engage your life… As you engage the process of sculpting the absolute best version of yourself what merits your love? Have you found a deep sense of love for others that can’t help but express itself as service? Have you found a depth of love for yourself that has allowed you to forgive and give permission to move forward? Have you found love for your unique sense of purpose… The gift that you have yet to give to the world? Have you found your deepest sense of love? That sense that will awaken all that you are and allow you to cross into the realm of genius and passion?

I hope that you have, because the world can use all of the love that we can give.

~ Daniel Hanscom


Hold Your Horses! MKMMA Week 19

As we look around us in the natural world there is incredible order. There is wisdom and instinct that we can’t quite explain. Somehow baby spiders know how to spin webs. Somehow birds know how to fly. Somehow butterflies know how to travel across continents to migrate. The order in the midst of such complexity is awe-inspiring. In the middle of such eloquence, however, there are elements that can unravel things… Where things seem to react in a crazy way.

firehorses1.jpgOne such example can be found in how horses react to a barn fire. While some try to dismiss this as a myth research on the topic reveals story after story after story. As it turns out, if a barn where horses live catches fire, if the horses are not restrained after being chased out of the burning building they will often get free and charge back into the blaze. As I was first researching what sounded like a crazy myth I found incident after incident where animals had died in fires on account of the animal breaking free and running back into the flames… Sometimes even doing so two or three times.

Moths are attracted to a flame, often to their own demise, but what could prompt such an intelligent animal as a horse to behave in such a foolish way. What’s more, might we also act just as foolishly in a similar, though metaphorical, situation?

I believe there are two elements leading to the horse running to their own demise. The first is described by Haanel in his introduction to part nineteen of the Master Keys:

“Fear is a powerful form of thought. It paralyzes the nerve centers, thus affecting the circulation of the blood. This, in turn, paralyzes the muscular system, so that the fear affects the entire being, body, brain and nerve, physical, mental and muscular.”

In short, a terrified horse is not going to make the best decisions. Some ranchers even tell of how the the horses were spooked by the lights and sirens of fire trucks before charging back into the fire. But is there something else at play here? After all, usually when a horse is scared isn’t its instinct to run away from the threat? I believe that there is another factor at play which, when combined with fear, can create a compounded threat not only for horses but for us as well.

The second threat is familiarity. When a horse, or person for that matter, is scared, they will seek comfort. This often comes in the form of seeking familiarity. Fear can jar our certainty and so we try to return to a place where we have always felt safe… someplace familiar. In the panic the horse, too, runs for the place where it has always felt safe… it’s stall.

Fear, chaos, upheaval… All of these things make it almost irresistible for the animal to return to that place of previous safety. Not that the stall was the lifestyle of the horse’s dreams, but at least nothing hurt him while he was there… Things were at least predictable.

So are you seeing the metaphor yet? In some ways we can be very much like the horse. As we make changes in our lives there can be fear and chaos. Taking up the mantle of being a self-determining hero in our own life can bring upheaval. Changes unfold, sometimes at a rate that is faster than we are prepared for. Sometimes changes seem to unfold too slowly, leaving us filled with doubt. Fear can start to rise up and if we are young on our quest, if we lack utter certainty, this can give rise to fear.

fire horse-fire.jpgFear, then, can give rise to a powerful desire for familiarity. Old habits… Old routines… Old comforts… Old blueprints that we had retired because they were no longer serving our life’s purpose. Burning barns, every one of them! They promise safety and the comfort of familiarity but all the while they are filling with smoke and sparks.

As you fashion this life of your dreams do you have fears? If you do, that’s great. That simply means that you are challenging yourself… thrusting yourself forward. Does the fear prompt you to step back, seek comfort and seek shelter? Warning! Warning! Danger! Danger! It is true that every hero needs to rest but they had best do it with their eyes looking forward along their path rather than look back and running towards a comfort that will try to seduce and destroy them.

How do we know if we are being drawn backwards? The answer is found by asking the question, “What would the person I intend to become do next?” Stay connected to this vision that you have of yourself… Of this best version of yourself. Have faith in this best, most courageous, inspired version of yourself and live from that image from this point forward. Most importantly, realize that there is no separation between the two… between you and this best version of yourself.

Be inspired by this best version of yourself. I hope that you are because I know that I certainly am and I can’t wait to see what you’re here to create!

~Daniel Hanscom

Is That Your Final Answer? – MKMMA Week 18

who-wants-to-be-a-millionaire-toughest-question.jpg“Is that your final answer?” Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade or so you’ve probably heard that phrase before. We’ve all seen the game show. Money builds up. questions get more and more difficult. Lifelines are gone… The contestant gives their answer and the host asks over and over, “Are you sure? Is that your final answer?” It’s the moment of truth.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes you can see their level of certainty as though it was written on their face? Are they barely able to speak because of a dry mouth? Are they wiping the sweat from their palms on their pants? Do they have a panicked look on their face? Or, do they look confident and self-assured? Do they look like they KNOW, beyond any doubt, that they are correct? We can see how certain the contestant is through the way that they talk and move but this is only half of the story.

We see the rest of the story when the answer is announced. Sometimes the person who was completely certain turned out to be completely wrong. Sometimes the nervous wreck who was sure that they wrong turns out to be correct. This is a clue for us and I’m going to tell you something very interesting about certainty… Certainty is not a logical state… it’s an emotional one. Psychological study after study has shown this to be true.

What does that mean? It means that certainty is a feeling. As such, it functions according to the “rules” of feelings. It does not have to conform to being based on logic or fact. You can feel lonely in a room full of people. You can feel connected to humanity even though you’re all alone at the top of a mountain. You can choose to feel certain even though conditions don’t necessarily support that conclusion. You can choose to feel uncertain even though the evidence states that you have every right to feel confident. These feelings are choices… Our choices.

Confidence-Level.jpgWhy is this important? It’s important because your ability to create the future of your  dreams is dependent on your certainty that you can achieve it! (Remember point #1 of the Blueprint Builder?) Ultimately, thought, charged with feeling, leading to belief, resulting in action is what is going to build your future… your definite major purpose (DMP). Are you more or less likely to take action if you lack certainty? Lack of certainty leads to paralysis and hesitation so a lack of certainty is definitely going to interfere with creating your dream. This is why the Blueprint Builder focuses so much on the development of self-confidence and certainty… because it is a precursor to action.

In addition, certainty helps us to be clear in our thinking. Haanel talks about focusing our thoughts in one place like a magnifying glass. How can this be done if we are uncertain? How can we focus the power of our mind if we are scattered with thoughts of plan B, C, D, E and F? Certainty concentrates our mind which focuses our actions which leads to results. It is essential to manifesting the life that you want. After all, if you don’t believe it, how will your subconscious?

Sometimes I end my blog with a question or a challenge… This is one of those times. The million dollar question is:

How certain are you that you will turn your DMP into a reality?

Now before you answer, remember that certainty is an emotion. It doesn’t need to be supported by fact in order to be felt. Can you conjure a feeling of certainty around your DMP? Do you conjure this feeling every time you read it?

If you are 100% certain, so that you know clear to your bones, that you will create this reality, that you are already creating it, then I can say with confidence that it will be done. If you lack certainty around your DMP then this is an excellent place for you to devote your efforts. Stoke this fire so that it can light your way. Choose to feel certain regardless of what obstacles stand in your way. Think of them as paper dragons that will be blown aside when the time is right. You will find that certainty, along with a will to act, will make for an unstoppable combination.

I feel certain that you can manifest your dream… Do you?

~Daniel HanscomConfidence.jpg

What To Do With Dragons – MKMMA Week 17b

Our hero climbs yet another mountain and stands at the top looking back from where they came. It has been quite an adventure since they were called forward and took up the mantle of hero… Since they decided it was within their power to control their own fate. This new life of adventure has not been all ease and comfort. There have been bumps and bruises along the way but every hero has bumps and bruises and any quest of significance is worth receiving them.

You are that hero. You have taken up the quest and have become a hero in your own life. You have left so much of what used to be familiar. Truth be told, though, you doubt that those things would give you any comfort now. They just don’t offer the same draw that they once did. New things have you put in their place.

You walk along a path on your quest. Suddenly, the path opens up into a clearing and at the far end of the clearing is a dark cave. You know, deep inside, that the cave holds powers that may threaten to undo you if you don’t face them well. You draw your sword and enter the cave… one cautious step at a time. Your torch provides little light against the inky black that surrounds you. As you turn the corner, though, it provides all the light that you need to see a colossal figure in front of you. Scales glisten in the firelight. It stands before you, ancient and powerful. It is a dragon.

What is your response? I guess, like a great many things in life, your response depends on how you perceive this mighty beast. Even dragons can mean different things to different people and how we were trained to view them has a huge impact on what we will do next.

Green_european_dragon.jpgYou see, different cultures have different views on dragons. European dragons, for example, were malevolent and destructive. They were an evil menace. Stories told of how they used their ancient wisdom to manipulate, slaughter villages, eat livestock and steal treasure. Most of the dragons in these legends cared nothing for others and these stories typically ended with the hero killing the dragon so that it could no longer terrorize the land.

Chinese_Dragon.jpgThe Chinese dragon, however, is viewed entirely differently. This dragon was seen as a very good omen. They were seen as a symbol of power, strength and good luck for those worthy of them. Much of the Chinese art depicting dragons also shows the dragon with a flaming pearl which was a symbol of spiritual power and wisdom.

How do you choose to see dragons? This is important because we use dragon as a metaphor for the dire challenges that we face in life. So much depends on our perceptions. When you face a challenge, which type of dragon do you see. Do you see a powerful, malevolent force that is bent on your destruction? Do you see an attacker whose wrath you hope to merely survive? Or do you see a keeper of wisdom which will teach you during your encounter, even if bumps and bruises are part of the exchange? These dragons can be your tormentor or your teacher. Your paralysis or your awakening. Your end or your true beginning.

How you view a challenge in life will determine what mindset you bring into that challenge. Consequently, the mindset that you bring into the challenge will determine what you will take away from it.

As Og states in Scroll IV:

I have been given eyes to see and a mind to think and now I know a great secret of life for I perceive, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise. I am no longer fooled by the garments they wear for mine eyes are open. I look beyond the cloth and I am not deceived.

Here’s to you, my hero… Bumps, bruises and all.

~Cheers, Daniel Hanscom