Why do some men achieve great success with little apparent effort, while others have great difficulty or fail completely to reach their ambitions and goals? This is the first question asked in The Master Key System and one that has occupied the minds of philosophers and life-coaches alike.
Charles Haanel wrote this marvelous little book early last century and it gained popularity and notoriety in Silicon Valley as it has been suggested that almost every entrepreneur who made a fortune in recent years did so by studying the Master Key System. Bill Gates is, apparently, a fan.
In the book Haanel argues that everyone’s subconscious is a part of the much larger and all encompassing Universal Consciousness. This gives the individual access to great creative power, in any aspect of life. Anything that is found in the external world, Haanel argues, has been created first in the inner world of the human mind. The book sets out to teach you how to discipline this inner world – to channel thinking so that this inner creation is a positive process.
If you are sceptical about the idea of a universal creative process – and do not believe that thought drives the material – you are not going to like The Master Key System. But if like me you accept a Haanels interpretation of cause and effect, you will find The Master Key System an extremely powerful and effective tool.
If one is to recognize the fundamental scientific laws of cause and effect, then, the book proposes, desired effects may be achieved by applying understood and controlled thought processes and methods. For example, we have probably all heard the saying “What you sow, so shall you reap.”
The master key system is based on such examples of cause and effect. It explores both the receptive and active elements of the mind, and promotes tenacity of purpose, wisdom of choice and intellectual sympathy by teaching its reader how to truly use their own personal mind’s power. It also claims to be able to strengthen the memory and to develop insight and introduces the reader to the law of attraction, the natural laws of growth, and the psychological laws upon which social and human interaction rest.
The book states that the most powerful forces of nature are invisible forces, and that man by using his spiritual and mental force, can achieve specific results via the process of proper thinking. Thoughts of courage, power, inspiration and harmony can replace thoughts of failure, despair, limitation and discord and as these thoughts take root and develop.
Haanel proposes that as the inner landscape of the mind is changed the physical environment in which we live changes. How can this be? How can changes in thought change the physical aspects of life? Put simply, when the individual sees that life can have more meaning for him; he is filled with joy, confidence, hope and positive energy. He is able to see opportunities for success, where previously he was unable to so do. He can recognize possibilities which previously had no meaning for him. He attracts to him, new and successful associates, and therefore changes not only himself but his entire circumstances and conditions of his external world.
Apart from being one of the first self-help/personal development guides, it differs from many modern courses of study in that it makes the practical application of its principles into a step-by-step self-development process.
The book is not an easy read as the language is a little archaic. And it is dense. Not a word is wasted and there is little of the “padding” found in many later self-help manuals. It is set out in twenty-four chapters, each including a mental exercise. Each chapter contains a list of numbered, very precise propositions and the reader is encouraged to complete each exercise and re-read each chapter before moving on to the next. I found this to be a very effective, very focused approach.
I am a fan and would recommend this wonderful little book to anyone. Work through it. Complete the exercises. Assimilate the message. Read it again. Watch the power of positive thinking change your life!