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Put your future in good hands – your own.  Mark Victor Hansen 

Mark Victor Hansen is best known for creating what Time Magazine called “the publishing phenomenon of the decade,” with his series of Chicken Soup for the Soul books, created with co-author Jack Canfield. With more than 500 million books sold internationally and more than 100 licensed products, one might make the assumption that success came easy for Hansen.  That could not be farther from the truth.

Although early in his career, he had built fairly successful and stable life, Hansen had it all come crumbling down when he went bankrupt after losing over a million dollars due to a faulty business decision.  He was crushed.  Admittedly, he did not come out of his house for months; instead, he wallowed in shame, hiding from friends and family.

One day in the midst of this funk, he decided to listen to the audio version of Think and Grow Rich.  That is the moment when everything began to turn around.  As he continued to listen, his self-esteem began to rise.  He bought the book version of Think and Grow Rich and read continuously, estimating that he read it over a hundred times.  It was through the lessons within that book that he realized that he could do anything if he wanted it bad enough.

So the stage was set for success, but even now the path would not be a particularly smooth one.  Mark Victor Hansen had begun to restructure his career.  He and Canfield had both built successful speaking careers by telling inspirational, motivational, and uplifting stories.

They had chronicled the transformations people had, and that was their proof that their stories could change lives.  They endeavored to communicate their lessons and insights through a book of 101 powerful tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  And thus, Chicken Soup for the Soul was born.

The book, however, did not become an overnight sensation.  To the contrary, the book was actually rejected 144 times before finally being taken on by a publisher.  How many of those previous 144 publishing companies are kicking themselves now?

It was a piece of wisdom from Ross Perot that would become their mantra and frame their future success. That piece of wisdom was simply to turn ‘no’ to ‘on.’  They realized that within each rejection lied an opportunity to learn, refine, and improve your story and the way you tell it.

Apparently, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield refined their stories quite well, as the sales in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books and merchandise have reached $1.3 billion.  So the biggest lessons, clearly, are to never quit if you have the passion, and to use rejection and failure as a learning experience to make yourself better.

But let’s also look at the lessons that Mark Victor Hansen learned through his extensive study of Think and Grow Rich as well as his own life experiences.  There are some great lessons here, many of which are habits adopted by some of the most successful people in the world.  

Have a clear definite purpose.  Define what it is that you desire.  Desire is a powerful, and with a purposeful plan, your desire will manifest itself.

Put it in the writing.  Write down what it is that you are trying to accomplish.  Put it somewhere where you will be able to see it multiple times a day.  The more you see it, the more your mind will begin to believe.


Visualize and focus on the goal.  Picture in your mind, and sense how it feels once you have accomplished your goal.  Be specific with as much sensory detail as possible.

Engage in a mastermind group.  Mastermind groups offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability, and support in a group setting to sharpen your business and personal skills. A mastermind group aims to help you and your mastermind group members achieve success in business.


“What you think about comes about.” — Mark Victor Hansen


Susan Sly is a best selling author, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of four children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.



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