by Lyman Reed of Creating a Better Life
Unfortunately, there isn’t a huge amount of information available online about Charles F. Haanel’s life. Much like the previous hero of healing that I wrote about, Ernest Holmes, his work is much more well known than he is.
We do know that he was a successful business man, a pioneer of the New Thought Movement, and the author of a number of books. His best known work related to the mind and success, The Master Key System, was originally published as a 24 part correspondence course.
One of the interesting things about Haanel is that he is often referred to by those who study his work as the father of the Law of Attraction. While many New Thought writers alluded to it, he seems to be the first to have explicitly used that phrase to describe the phenomenon that has recently become known as “The Secret.”
It’s also interesting to note that Napoleon Hill, best known for Think and Grow Rich and a much better known author, credited the principles laid down in the Master Key System with his own success. Hill is also most likely to have come up with the concept of the Mastermind directly from Haanel’s work.
- Charles F. Haanel on Wikipedia
- The Master Key System As It Was Intended on Free Personal Development Material – my own spin on Haanel’s best known work
- Focus 40 Now Training System and Master Key System Mastermind – a great group of people who study and live the principles found in Haanel’s work (among others) – scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on “Give Me A Free Membership”
What I, Lyman Reed Learned (and Continue to Learn) from Charles F. Haanel
I’ve just recently “restarted” my study of The Master Key System, and two points from the book have really been sinking in for me:
- From Lesson One:
“16. Life is an unfoldment, not an accretion. What comes to us in the world without is what we already possess in the world within.”
An “accretion” is a process of adding on, and in the past, this was my main method of working on personal growth – buy this book, download this seminar, watch this video… adding and adding and adding. Haanel says that this is not the way to go. We need to work from the inside. While personal development material is a great tool, that’s all it is – a tool. If we don’t use it for the purpose of growing and expressing what’s already inside, we’re just spinning our wheels.
- From Lesson Seven:
“19. Is it not wonderful that man has such tremendous power within himself, such transcendental faculties concerning which he had no conception? Is it not strange that we have always been taught to look for strength and power “without”? We have been taught to look everywhere but “within,” and whenever this power manifested in our lives we were told that it was something supernatural.”
I’ve got to thank Matt Geib, a member of the above mentioned Mastermind group, for pointing that one out to me. It’s closely related to the first point, but goes even further. It teaches that it’s not something outside of me that does things for me – it’s a power within me that does them through me. Call that power whatever you want – it’s a part of both me and you right now.
Those two points barely scratch the surface of what I’ve learned by studying Charles F. Haanel’s Master Key System, but hopefully they’ve given you a jumping off point if you are interested in learning more about both the man and his work.
A Bit of Backstory
It’s interesting how things came together to inspire me to write this post.
It started a couple of weeks ago. Steve from MyWifeQuitHerJob.com was kind enough to take a look at one of my current projects: the email correspondence course based on Charles F. Haanel’s The Master Key System that I mentioned earlier.
But he had a question, one that I realized many people who come across the course announcement probably have:
Just what the heck is “The Master Key System”, and who is this Charles Haanel guy, anyway?
I sent him the Wikipedia page on Haanel, but realized that my own interpretation of his life and work would be a good thing to share as well.
So thank you, Steve, for being the catalyst for this post.
And of course, thank *you* – yes, you, reading this. Without you I’d be blogging in a vaccum… and I’m not sure just how much fun that would be. If you’d like, please share any information or opinions that you have about Charles Haanel or his work in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.