There is one area of life in which little children constantly outperform most of us – and that is their uncorrupted ability to ask what, when, where, why and how. It’s the greatest tragedy that we lose that ability once we become adults, just when we need it the most. Reconnecting with this primal curiosity can become the greatest transformational tool that you will get to learn (or relearn, in this case). Both prolific and brilliant authors in their own right, Mark Victor Hansen and Crystal Dwyer Hansen join forces to bring us a new book that will teach you how to use the power of asking as a bridge from your dreams to your destiny. Co-authoring a book is a unique challenge on its own, even for those of Mark and Crystal’s caliber, but they pulled it off to churn out what may be one of the best personal development texts to come out of 2020. Listen in as they share the three biggest questions you need to ask yourself now and other actionable tidbits of wisdom in this conversation with Dr. Diane Hamilton.
I’m so glad you joined us because we have Mark Victor Hansen and Crystal Hansen on the show. Mark Victor Hansen from his work with the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, of course in 59 bestselling books. Crystal’s work with personal coaching, speaking, video programs, you name it but they have a new book and I love the title, it’s going to tie into curiosity. If you’re curious, keep reading.
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The Power Of “Ask” With Mark Victor Hansen And Crystal Dwyer Hansen
I am here with Mark Victor Hansen and Crystal Hansen. You probably know their work. If you don’t, I don’t know where you’ve been. Mark Victor Hansen is probably best known as the co–author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Crystal is also known for her programs, books and articles. She’s helped people all over the world. It’s so exciting to have you here. Welcome.
We’re honored to be on your show. Thank you. Seeing as you’re a near neighbor, that’s great.You can ask yourself out of any problem. Click To Tweet
I don’t know how we haven’t run into each other but we will and probably hiking, it sounds like because you guys are in an amazing location and I got to hear about more of that and maybe after the show. I was excited to go down the list of things starting with Mark because the list of books is unbelievable. How many book bestsellers do you have now? Have you kept track?
I have 59 number-one New York Times, which was a Guinness book of record. Nobody’s got more and I sold half a billion books. I’ve written 312 books. I teach differently because I did a book called You Have a Book in You because I think everyone ought to write a book. I never write one book at a time. I write 3 or 4 because I’ve got many ideas then start all of them. Whatever jumps up and finishes first, God bless it.
It’s not easy to write a book. I was looking at their website that you had and you were advising people on how to write a book. Do you think it’s harder to write the book or to promote the book?
Number two. What I say is you’ve got to write a great, excellent book but you’re only 10% done. Ninety percent is that if you’re good at book marketing, hustling, self–promotion and delivery of the goods. Now the goods have changed because this is our 119th podcast as we’re doing this since our little book Ask! came out. The publisher called back and said, “Since it’s COVID, I think you should push back.“ I said, “No. We are a master to take in adversity and turn it into an advantage.” The one thing that does that, that’s everything is learning how to ask to get what you want out of life because everyone’s going to have obstacles and have detours. We’re going to talk about seven withholds sometime. I‘ve asked my way out of bankruptcy. I’ve asked my way out of every problem and everybody can do it. That’s the good news.
I love the title since it ties into curiosity. First of all, how many books did you write before you were with Mark?
I’ve written two other books. One was called Pure Thoughts for Pure Results. I was writing that book and I pulled it off the market. Now, I’m rewriting it because I love the book. I’m super excited to relaunch it. Anyhow, that’s the book I was writing when I met Mark. My mom sent me to an author in one event. I didn’t even want to go. She was excited about the book. I had a life coaching practice in Scottsdale at the time and my clients were having these amazing transformations. People who had been depressed all their lives would come in and I’d get emails. I was like, “I’m so thankful for the day you came into my life. I heard you on the radio. I can honestly say I am 100% free of the crushing depression that I’ve experienced all my life.”
These are stories that are so important to tell and I wanted to tell those stories. I started writing the book and mom got this email saying, “You need to go to the Author 101 event.” I go, “When is it, mom?” She goes, “It’s the day after tomorrow.“ I was like, “It’s probably sold out.“ She said, “No, just call. I’ll watch the kids.” I was recently divorced. I called and Rick Frishman, the promoter of the event, called me back himself. Not his assistant, not the secretary. He goes, “Crystal, we need to have you with this event. Come. We’re not sold that.” I was like, “This thing feels like it has a life of its own. I guess I’m going to this event.“ A day and a half later, I’m there in the VIP room. Mark had been the keynote speaker. Interestingly, my mother said, “You need to go to this event. There’ll be publishers and publicists. You need to get your book seen and Mark Victor Hansen will be there.“ I was like, “Okay, mom.“ I tried to get out of it. Now, I’m at the VIP event and I’m talking to a speaking coach and I’m not drinking. I was like, “I’m going to be serious, all business, not drinking any wine.” Ironically, this woman was talking with her hands next to me and whacked a whole glass of red wine on my white pants.
Mark must’ve been looking my way because he was surrounded by a whole entourage of people in the opposite corner of the room. He broke out of his crowd and I saw him coming toward me. He grabbed my hand. He was like, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. Let me help you find the club soda.“ He pulled me out of the room. It’s my right moment with him. We started talking. After I told him what I did in my business and the transformations that were happening with my clients, he was like, “There’s something about you that is so intriguing. I’d love to hear more but I’m starving. Do you want to go to dinner?” I said, “I’m going to dinner.” “I’ve got to leave this property or I’ll be surrounded all night with people who want five minutes of my time.” We left the property. I went upstairs to change my clothes, called my mom and I said, “Mom, just on a second. How are the kids doing? You won’t believe this. Mark Victor Hansen and I are going to dinner.” She goes, “I knew it.“
You’ve written this book together. That’s a challenge. I wrote one of my books with my daughter. You’re very familiar with writing books with somebody else, Mark. I know that each person brings unique challenges. Before we talk about this book, I want to go to the book that started it all. Can you give me a little background story on what led you and Jack Canfield to start the whole thing?
Luckily, I learned how to be a speaker. Tony Robbins and I were talking once we both did 1,000 talks the first three years. If you take massive action, you get massive results. That was my goal but he cut in, “You had that story in a book.” The first book I did was called Stand Up, Speak Out, and Win! I sold it to little audiences of insurance company people. 6, 12 people, never more than 50. I said, “This isn’t a New York Times bestseller. It’s not even a national bestseller but it’s my bestseller. I want to assign it to you, your wife, your kids and even your dog if you have one.” I sold 20,000 copies and I tripled my income. Back in 1974, $20,000 to me is serious big bucks. I got a brand–new car, all that stuff I wanted.
The only mistake I made, and I’m talking to everybody, is you’ve got to write more rather than less because the world needs all the edification information, insight illumination, you can get it. Anyhow, long story short, I’m talking about a program at the Mandela conference with Jack. There were 6,000 people. He was on first thing in the morning. I was on the last thing. I was at a tie–up. He comes up to me after I’d sold and signed every book and said, “I’m Jack Canfield.” I said, “I know you‘re Dr. Canfield. He said, “You know me, why?” I said, “You wrote 101 Ways to Develop Self-Esteem. You’re the number one educator in America. You’re the man.“ He was like, “I’ve never heard anyone tell stories as you do. Can I buy you a dinner or something?” We had a bulk and mind meal if you know what that means. He became meshed with my partners.
He loved all these little stories so he started telling himself and making more money than ever. I said, “Let’s do a book together.“ He had a title and it wouldn’t work. One of the principles we teach in our Ask! book is that we kept saying 400 times our respective houses. He was in Santa Barbara, I was in Newport Beach, “Mega–bestselling title.” Remember this was 1989 or so. It’s way before the cell phones came out and the whole phone rings at 2:30 or 2:58 in the morning or whatever. The whole house wakes up. They know the house is on fire or the kid is sick or something.Ask yourself, ask others and ask God. Click To Tweet
He says, “Chicken Soup for the Soul.“ I said, “We got it.” We both got enormous goosebumps. We knew we had the title. To answer your bigger question, 144 people said, “Hit the road, Jack.“ I said, “I’m a nice guy. Jack is wonderful.“ I do that because I think it’s funny. No, it’s trying not to anyone but me but I love it. A little publisher we went to the ABA, American Booksellers, which I suspect you’ve been to. For me, it was like dying, walking in and going to heaven because my hero Mark Twain said, “If heaven was perfect, it would be an endless library.“ If you’ve been to 60,000 authors and publishers and every book you want is free because they’re trying to get the industry out back when the industry worked before COVID and now all these people are milling run.
We’d done a story in our book by Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I’m sure you’ve read it and he is such a wonder. Anyhow, he came up when we walked in and he’s a big man like Santa Claus. The big beard kissed me in both cheeks and said, “ I don’t know what you’re going to do here but you’re going to make it.“ The last day, three days of ABA, the little publisher, two guys, Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso, “I cried all over so I’m sure you read it but I’m going to take your book if you guys buy 20,000 or 10,000 at $6 each,“ which is the vanity prep. They got us distribution. We’re selling from the platform and it worked. If you’ll let me do one more story and I may be going long.
What a bold to ask here since we’ll be talking about asking in our book. Charlie Green was the guy. He submitted the story right in the nick of time when we were writing the book. He said, “I saw Mark at a big church in the Midwest and he gave us a fantastic talk.“ This was before Chicken Soup as well. He said, “Mark delivered the most inspiring talks so we were all touched by him.” He stands up and said, “I’d like you to all stand with me and I’m going to ask you to do something.” He waved his manuscript in the air and he said, “This is my new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul and I’m looking for a publisher. I want you to pray with me that this book will get published and it’ll sell a million copies.“
Everyone in the audience was like, “We’ll pray for you.“ They’ll pray that this book would do well and we’d give them a publisher or sell a million copies. Mark said, “I have one more thing to ask of you. I have these order forms here. I’d like you to put your credit card down and fill this out. When one of my books is published, I’ll send you a copy.” Charlie said, “It was the craziest thing. I’ve watched everyone in this church filled out with their credit card for a book that didn’t exist.“ It was a great story. We love that story of what a bold asker Mark is.
You don’t get it if you don’t ask. That is the best example of putting yourself out there because so many people don’t ask. I’ve been in sales my whole life that we had to learn the importance of asking. Do you think most people recognize how important it is? What led to the interest in writing a book titled Ask!?
I think people are disconnected and Mark and I were sitting there. We have this morning prayer meditation time that we do every morning and ask each other a lot of questions. We started saying, “This year, what is the biggest way we can help people?“ We know we get to meet many cool people. There were people we know who were super talented, have everything they need and have more talent than they’ll use in four lifetimes but they were not doing anything with it. This woman could run a city. She’s so brilliant but she’s barely getting by. This guy can be a CEO but he’s hardly making it. We were like, “If we were going to give anyone a gift, what is a simple gift that we could give people? We went back into our own lives. What was it that helped us transcend our difficulties when we were at the worst times in our lives and when things weren’t working? When we were down–and–out, what did we do?”The truth is always there for you if you’re willing to explore it. Click To Tweet
We reduced that to this simple thing called asking. It’s the ask that makes the difference. Every time we were down–and–out, that’s what got us out of it. We determined that there were three channels through which you need to learn to ask. It’s not all about asking somebody else to do things for you. That’s part of it. Those channels are ask yourself, ask others and ask God. We felt each of those channels was equally important and was certainly important for each of us, respectively in our journeys and together. As we started to dive into this more and more, we were so excited about this because we realized this is probably the greatest transformational tool you can learn. The wonderful thing about it is we all have it somewhere inside. It’s just buried because all of us were born as children. We come into this world beautiful and uncorrupted in our ability to ask. We‘re not afraid to ask who, what, when, where and why. We’re wildly curious. We want to know everything. We’re also unafraid and unashamed to ask for more. We want more and more and we also want everything.
That’s how we are naturally as little human beings. Over time, that gets crushed out of us depending on how we were parented, how we were schooled, what our teachers and the interaction between with our teachers, jobs that we’ve had or basic life rejection that starts to shut us down and crushed that out of us. Suddenly, we find ourselves standing there as adults being afraid to ask anyone for anything because we’re so afraid of rejection or almost being ashamed that we don’t already know everything, that we don’t already have all of those answers. That’s the tragedy of it because as children, that’s how we learned. We knew we didn’t have any answers but we wanted them all. That’s how children evolve quickly and rapidly. The growth is tremendous. I believe that’s why adults stopped growing because all of that gets shut down. We said we have to write this book and we have to sell millions of copies. That is our goal. We’re going to get this out there.
Based on your past books, I’m sure you will. What you do is so tied into my research on curiosity. I love everything you’re saying. I’ve researched all those things about what happens to curiosity. You’re right on the money on everything because around age five, we peak and then we tank and it‘s things like life experience. I found four things that keep us from being curious. They are fear, assumptions, technology and the environment. A lot of those things are what you’re talking about here. As you’re talking about the three parts of this, it ties into emotional intelligence. You have to look within and also understand your own emotions and those of others. Is that tied into emotional intelligence in your mind of what you were trying to touch on curiosity? What is the overall scope of what you were thinking when you came up with this?
What happens is we said, “There are seven roadblocks to asking. All of them stop what you’re talking about from our point of view, self-awareness. I did travel all over Asia talking with one of the guys in EQ, Gardner, who I’m sure you’ve studied his eight types of geniuses and intellect. I happen to agree, except that I think eight is too little and we’ll do a Chicken Soup again. There are seven and I’d love to hear your response to that. The seven that we’re saying are the sense of unworthiness, fear, doubt, naivete, excuse–ology, disconnection. What happens is all of us are a little bit through all of them all the time because fear is faith upside down and inside out.
What happens is we not only interviewed ourselves but we also checked out all the universities from Harvard, Cambridge and Stanford and it corroborated what you just said. The other thing we did is we interviewed 26 master askers who have gone through all the obstacles to get to what we’re saying in the subtitle of the book. It is critical of what we think is to ask the bridge from your dreams, which everyone has dreams to your destiny. Everyone is coded at birth with a destiny. Now, most of us, if you‘re freaked out and you’re not curious and you don’t ask, you crush your own destiny and loss the whole world. I’ll just do one story.
Did you know the Horatio Alger Award and the two guys we haven’t heard of that got kicked out of school at age thirteen? Quincy Jones did the greatest orchestration of Michael Jackson and that stuff in We Are the World. The other guy is David Foster where they said, “You’ll never make it in school,” yet he made a little girl named Barbra Streisand, Whitney and Celine Dion, nobodies. The point is that because EQ is not done in school, we’re not finding out what the true talents are. That’s what I’m saying, it may be a broader spectrum in 360 degrees of potentiality. When we get there, we think it’s asking.
I talked to Daniel Goleman on the show about some of this. He said, “The skill of the future is going to be curiosity.“ I agree that we need to ask more. As Crystal was saying before, I always say that people are either existing or living and a lot of people just exist. How do you get to live? Do you see it that way?
It chokes me up because they live below their privilege then.
This is why the asking yourself part is important because it is that reflective journey. Through my coaching practice, it’s shocking to me how few people take that reflective journey and look at their own life, sit with themselves, and start to ask those important questions. Those are some of the most important questions you’ll ever ask because those are going to reveal your inner truth. Your truth is always there for you if you’re willing to explore it. The problem with the world we live in now is it’s so noisy. It’s designed to distract us. It’s designed to own our minds and to keep us focused on all of these superficial and external things that will never bring us happiness and help us find our true path to happiness and our true destiny.
That reflective journey, the ask yourself part, people go, “What do I need to ask myself?“ There are a million questions that you need to ask yourself throughout a lifetime. To begin with, three critical phases of asking yourself and that is starting with, “Where am I?” How many of us get honest and go, “Where am I right now?” You’ll never figure out where to go unless you honestly figure out where you are and ask those questions and all of the sub–questions that come under that. “Is what I’m doing working? Am I happy? Am I taking the easy way out?“ Which is what I had to ask myself at my toughest point in life. “Am I doing the best I can? Am I ignoring what’s important to me?” All of these things. Once you post the question, your brain will go to work.
The studies showed that the minute you ask a question, a different part of your brain lights up for you. It’s the part of your brain that does critical thinking. That’s the part of your brain that needs to go to work for you every day. That’s the first critical phase. The second critical phase is, “Where do I want to be?” A few people spend time with themselves to cut out the distractions and ask that question. Mark and I always say, “Ask that question with your fullest imagination, from the nth degree of your greatest vision for yourself. Don’t be afraid.” That’s why God gave you imagination. There is only one animal that can imagine things. That’s human beings. Mark and I believed that we’re created in the creator’s image because we can imagine anything. Every good thing in this entire world that’s been created, every invention, everything you see came from someone’s imagination. That’s the same imagination you have if you’re willing to utilize it.Every brilliant invention came from someone’s imagination. It’s the same imagination that you have if you’re willing to use it. Click To Tweet
When you’re asking where do I want to be, start from your nth degree of success in your career, relationships, health and wellness or your greatest expression of your life purpose. Start from the nth degree in your imagination. Imagining that you’re already there and you’re already doing this. You’re already in your greatest career. Now, start asking the questions backward. “Who am I talking to every day? What is important to me every day in this perfect scenario? Who am I influencing? What products am I sharing? What services am I sharing? How am I changing the world? How am I affecting others?” In this way, you can start to engineer your life back into your perfect life. You can create the perfect architecture for your life and then engineer backward. It’s super exciting when you start taking this journey.
The third phase is, “What specific action do I need to take to get there?“ This is a physical reality that we live in. We’re in this life. It‘s a material world. We need to take action. When we get that, I start asking them questions and suddenly this person comes to our mind who we haven’t thought about or comes from some other source. Pick up the phone, call that person, figure out how to find them to connect with them. When an idea happens, follow-up on it. You need to put your asking journey into motion and action or it’s going to hover there and make you feel miserable. You’d have to keep it moving forward.
I’ve gone to some of these big events where they have you create your moonshot as what they’re calling it. You come up with this great idea that if you had all the money in the world and all the right things going for you. A lot of people think small because they don’t think that things are possible. Jay Samit was on my show who was a big name at Sony and all these things. He wrote a great book. He talked about how if you look every day at things that bug you and write down those things that you’d like to fix, think of the things you could create. You’re asking yourself what could be the next big thing. Now, as you guys are writing, I’m curious about your style of writing as well because you don’t write the typical books. You don’t write the introduction, body, conclusion kind of books. Why? Tell me a little bit about them.
I’ll talk to that but in this one, we’re saying, “You’ve got to ask yourself, ask others and ask God. The God thing will answer that question.“ The way I said to Jack for the whole Chicken Soup, “We’ve got to do it in three pages or less because that’s the only amount of time most people have right before they go to sleep and a book falls on their face because they’re tired or they’re in the bathroom or wherever they get to read. They get to read in small bits.” Increasingly, we’re seeing that the 200 and 300–page book, except novels, is not going to make it. Now, we’re going into what’s called mini books and mini audios.
Luckily, we’re in that zone and had been in that zone and then answer the question about her going to the nth degree. You suddenly asked that three questions ago and I wanted to answer. I’ve sold a half billion books but my goal is to sell a billion. On target, do I halfway through in and an answer to the question of a moonshot, which we totally agree with. The best example of that in the book business we’re at. I was on the Amazon bestseller interview and Mark Debora said, “You are Roger Bannister.” Do you remember who Roger Bannister was?
That’s not familiar. Why can’t I think of that?
He was the first guy who did a 4–minute mile. The next week, 119 people did it because he broke the intellectual barrier. I’m breaking the sales barrier because I want more books sold. I want everybody to write a book and get everyone to read, which is a fundamental freedom. The fact is that if you write short stories, it’s easier for the writer and reader and it makes it. You got to get in and out with your points in just a few pages. It has been a wonderful task for us and it worked. It came together as a marvelous book. The other thing is she wrote this wonderful thing that starts this book called The Fable of Michaela, which was divinely channeled. We’ve got the longest parable in a book ever. We’ll probably get again this for a record.
How many parts are there? I want to know about this parable.
There are originally four parts and she was going to go for four parts of the books. I said, “Sweetie, this is continuity. We’ve got to squish it together, put it at the front of the book.“ I’m going to let her tell the transformational stories. The stories’ appeal is telling us are beyond powerful.
It was fun for me to write that piece. We love fables so we thought, “Why not write this?“ They ended up being a fable. It just came to me about a girl, a young woman. I wrote it and when I started writing it, it was like it took on a life of its own. It was writing itself and I would get to hold the pen. It was so much fun for me. I love writing like this. I gave it to Mark and I said, “Should we break this up throughout the book?” He came back to me and he was in tears. He was like, “This is beautiful. We need to put it at the front.“ I was like, “Are you sure? I’ll trust you on this.” We did it. You can’t believe the number of people who have come to us. I met tough guys and famous podcasters. They were like, “I read this.” In fact, this particular podcaster said, “I’ve never cried in a book before.” I cried and he goes, “It’s deep inside of myself and my soul. It just woke things up.” That was the purpose of it. Stories do that. Mark and I both love stories because they’re metaphors for our own lives. When we recognize that pattern and metaphor, we relate to it instantly so much that learning happens quickly. When you read stories, it‘s healing and teaching.
In Michaela’s journey, she has these dreams and these dreams guide her. I’ve been fortunate to have those types of dreams. I borrowed from my own dream experiences but these are geared toward Michaela’s journey. She’s lost everything. She’s lost her mother and father then lost her home. She’s an indentured servant at a stone quarry. This takes place in the time of kings and queens. Her job every day is to lift heavy rocks from one place, put them in a cart and move them into another place. It’s such a metaphor for how some people feel especially right now with the turmoil and uncertainty that everyone’s gone through. Life is feeling so heavy for some. We feel fortunate that we have been able to keep going but we have a tremendous amount of compassion for many people who were devastated in this whole COVID lockdown and everything.
A lot of people can relate to that. Michaela, at our most desperate moment, falls asleep and this being comes to her in a dream. He takes her on this journey. He admonishes her to ask and never stop asking. That’s the secret. When she woke up, she already transformed in a way but she still has way more questions than answers. Suddenly, her curiosity comes back to life. She starts exploring her world through wonder, curiosity and asking questions. Layer by layer, her life starts to expand in its most beautiful way. These rings of happiness and joy start expanding. By the end, her life has completely transformed. I wanted people to understand this. It is meant to be every woman‘s and every man’s journey. This can happen for you if you’re willing to take this journey. We call it the asking journey.
When you were saying how moving this was, I get that from not just this book but in the Chicken Soup books, you can get this movement that you feel from these things. I remember when the Chicken Soup books came out, I was a pharmaceutical rep that day. I worked with this woman who was tough and angry and everybody was afraid of her. I remember one day she got up and she read from Chicken Soup for the Soul. We had a meeting and she’s bawling. She shows the side door that everybody was like, “Where did that come from?“ It’s amazing how you can read these stories and get this impact. That’s got to be inspiring for you to see the impact it makes on people.
Let me give you two examples. I‘m hired once Chicken Soup is rocking and our goal was to sell a million and a half in a year and a half. The reason that the publisher didn’t take it is I wrote a wobbly business plan because I’m a business guy. I’m thinking entrepreneurially back to your question. I was nine years old and my parents were poor. I hated poverty. It belongs in one place like Muhammad Yunus says in a museum only because there’s fundamental abundance in the universe. I’m hired at Ball State University. These three girls picked me up and they’re driving me to go talk to 20,000 leader kids from around the country and universities. What’s amazing is they said, “We wouldn’t have made it, Mark, if it wasn’t for your stories because we want to go home. We’re freshmen and we’re so scared. We miss our mommy and our daddy and our friends.” I got goosebumps telling you this again. I get to do this talk and it had a couple of functions that were amazing. They were hitting a ball around and there was music playing while I’m talking. It was a little distracting.
All of a sudden, the audience came. You could see when you hit a story that they galvanized and all went like this. Long story, I’m going to fast forward. Crystal and I were in our office. We had a giant company. We’re doing $100 million. We had employees in our Enlightenment Millionaire Institute. It was a big thing. All of a sudden, I got a call from one of our best friends who is an amazing student. She said, “The third in command at Facebook made himself a success because he heard you at Ball State University twelve years ago. He desperately wants to come down and thank you and Crystal. Would you let him?” His name is Chris Penn.
To make the long story very short, Chris came in, “I heard you and I never heard anyone like you. I’m supposed to be a student leader. I was the student body president of my university. Suddenly, I heard you say, ‘You‘ve got to learn how to write, communicate, lead and how to think for yourself because it’s so rare.’ As a result, not only did I end up going to Harvard and graduated head of my class first, I was the third hire at Facebook. I’m Chinese so I speak Chinese and Mark Zuckerberg said, ‘Teach me Chinese from 5:30 to 6:00 every morning.‘” I did and he said it was so amazing. He said, “I got all this and all this money, thanks to you. I want to say thank you for telling me that I could grow up and be a leader.”
There’s no way except over chronology over time that you could find out how impactful stories can be. The second one, when Jack and I were doing all these tours, we were both doing 250 talks a year to make Chicken Soup go. There were big audiences and we were thankful for every one of them. The people in the front row, 90% of the time, were psychiatrists, which at first we thought, “Why?” They came up and said, “I’m a shrink.” I said, “Great, I‘m a stretch.“ They still are great friends. I was teasing and I was having fun.
What happens is when they would go talk to the kid who killed their mother who’s in prison and they started asking questions, zero response. They can do a story. “I wish I had a brother like that.” The kid did what that lady did. I got goosebumps telling you. That’s corroboration of truth and veracity in my mind. They started crying and he can’t shut them up. Once you tell one of our stories or a story in our book Ask! it unlocks the heart. Their soul pours out because everyone has a soul that we can call that the fourth dimension of reality when you get in tune with the infinite. Everybody’s got it and most people are having it especially seniors. What Crystal said to you, our corporate symbols are butterflies. When you start as a caterpillar and then you go to chrysalis, the cocoon, we’ve all been in this atrocious cocoon for almost a year and it is stifled. It stopped and stymied people. If you understand it back because your people are business people.
The depression in 1898, the first American depression, we had four things that came out of it. We had the automobile that came out so a little internal combustion engine. We had the telephone that came out with the ringy dingy of Alexander Graham Bell. We had two brothers who were bicycle mechanics, broke themselves, sit in the hospital and said, “I think that dumb Germans got the wrong coefficient of lift and drag. Let’s test it for ourselves. It’s off one degree. It worked.“ Another guy named Edison created electricity. The same thing happened in the Depression from ‘29 to ‘39. I suggest to you that the lead visible guy is Elon Musk now. He is going to change the world. He’s putting up 40,000 satellites. He’s making the most cars. He’s becoming the richest and he’s done it fast. He’s waking up a lot of kids saying, “If you’ll ask yourself, ask others and ask God, you could become invincible as Elon Musk has.”
When I was researching my curiosity work, I looked at Elon Musk because I had talked to Steve Wozniak and different people. I was looking at what led to their curiosity. It was interesting to me that Wozniak’s stepfather sat with him and told him how to put gadgets together and why you need electricity. He worked with them so his environment was good. Elon Musk’s dad would say, “You’re never going to make it.” He did it almost like, “I’ll show you the thing,” which is interesting to see how you can have the same environment. When you’re a kid, there’s so much that influences you. I guess you knew that. You know a lot of the things. I’m sure you’ve probably heard. When you’re a kid, you have this influence. All these stories and things that you hear throughout your life, you‘ve replayed them somewhat in your mind. I’m curious who your influencers were? Zig Ziglar was big. All the big people. Was there a particular person who inspired you to be a better storyteller or to be a storyteller?
My mother was a phenomenal storyteller. We go on vacation and she came back from a different vacation. At fourteen years old, I was in my English class. I had advanced English class with John Reinhart and he just was a mensch. This guy knew it together, had it together and could tell stories. He made all of us read all the public stuff and then we had to watch Walter Cronkite. We had interfaced all that and said, “What’s the similarity between Shakespeare and what we see happening now?” The third one, when I was in graduate school working on my degree, I was with Bucky Fuller traveling around the world for seven years. Bucky was Einstein’s best student and said, “We’ve got to comprehensively figure out how do you make the world work for 100% of humanity.”
Seeing it, he had this genius mind starting at four years old. He ultimately got 50 docs at Harvard. He has lots of inventions like a geodesic dome, STEM action, cars, cartography, brand–new mathematics, which still is implementable, synergetics, which I’m one of the master teachers of. I’ve been asked even to write a book on Bucky and make a CliffsNotes of Bucky Fuller, “How do you make the world work for 100% of humanity with the doctor at Stanford?” We’re in an amazing time where enlightenment is trying to spring out. We spiritually feel we’re two hearts with one soul. We’re twin flames rather than just soulmates. We believe that that’s about to breakthrough. That may be way too esoteric for us as an audience.
I love your enthusiasm and your passion for these things. I’m curious what you said about the Shakespeare correlations. Now, you’ve got my curiosity going. Did you touch on that in this book?
We quoted Shakespeare because he has a lean and hungry look. We didn’t come to praise Caesar. We came to bury him and stabbed him to death if you’ve seen the play and read it. Here’s an exceedingly well-traveled guy. The fact is he went to Italy and this was rare. He went to Denmark for Hamlet. If you’ve been to Stratford-upon-Avon like we have in England, here’s a guy who was getting paid a penny and makes the queen come and say, “No, you can’t come unless you pay a penny.” A penny was like $100 back then. The queen said, “I couldn’t pay somebody in my entourage. Give him the money.” We charged for all our seminars and our talks and everything because if you don’t have a transfer of wealth, you can’t do it. We’ve got more wealth, more than enough.
When I was a scholar in India, a student ambassador, Muhammad Gandhi’s greatest quote for my money and I love a lot of what he said. He said, “There’s enough for everyone’s need but not enough for anyone’s greed.“ We now have people that are greed mongers who are doing it, yet back to Elon Musk, he is giving so much. He’s done a $100 million prize for the kid that can figure out how to sequester carbon. Now, I understand it’s too esoteric for the audience but we’ve got to get rid of pollution in our world. We own a natural power concept of why so we’re keen on that same thinking.
You guys are into all kinds of interesting things. Is there any time to sleep with all the writing, all the different companies and things you do?
We have to stay very organized, which is why we value the time we spend in the morning. The time we spend like going over things, asking the right questions, making sure we’re on track with our priorities, what’s important, making sure that what we’re doing is having some impact because we want it. We want to contribute to the world. We want to change the world positively every day however we can so just checking in with that. We’re also very conscientious about our health, the way we eat. We don’t miss our exercise. We manage our lives so that we can fit all of that in. In the book Ask! we have all of those sections asking questions for health and fitness, career, relationships and then life purpose. All of those areas are equally important because if one of them is out of whack, you’re not going to feel happy.
There are a lot of billionaires that we know who have everything that they want materially but are miserable in their relationships. If you don’t ask the right questions and get to that point where you can have a better understanding of how to have dynamic, fulfilling relationships, you won’t feel fulfilled in your life. The purpose of life is to feel that deep fulfillment, that balanced fulfillment and staying healthy is part of that as well. If you have a great relationship but you’re sick all the time, you can’t express yourself and your relationship. You can’t be present because you’re always sick. What good is that? All of those areas are so important to dive into when we’re taking this asking journey so that you can live this beautiful, balanced, fulfilled life. That’s what Mark and I try to do. We‘re not perfect, by any means. We do a pretty good job because we were very deliberate. We’re intentional about our relationship, our relationship with our family, friends, health and then our career and contributions. It always takes that intentionality and deliberate effort that makes all the difference.
It’s interesting to see how people are dealing with relationships and everything in this current setting because we’re all in that work-life balance. Everybody is home. I feel sorry for people who have little babies who got to work and you have the babies. Do you guys get people asking you for advice on things because you’re like the Dr. Spock of life instead of babies, though?
In our blended marriage, we have five kids and six grandkids who we love and adore. We assume we have twelve before it’s done. I intend to live 127 with options for renewal. Back to what you’re saying, you want a high quality of life. Most people haven’t determined that because back to what you said about curiosity, if you’re not curious, you’re going to involute. If you’re curious, you’re going to evolute. You’re going to write in the Bible that says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” meaning you’ve got to renew each and every day in each and every way. The only way we think that that’s possible is with great questions that pull out the greatness in you.
In the last chapter of the book, we do the biggest questions ever asked. One of them because we were on a program with Wozniak and all that and Peter Diamandis who I like to call Dr. Diamandis and Peter said, “What are you going to do during this decade to make one billion people better off?” You start asking that question since you know that you cannot ask a question without your subconscious going to work because your teleological mechanism is going to go beep. “What is it I’m going to do to help them? I can’t help a billion.” Yes, you can. We’re going to figure out how to get a billion new readers who have never read before our books. Not our books are the only books but it’s an opening book that’ll get them to open up to all the rest we hope.
Peter is incredible. I saw him speak at the Genius Network here in Arizona at Joe Polish’s event. I love that because that was the thing that they did, the moonshot thing and everybody was coming up with these great ideas. I was just on a training session where I was talking about curiosity right before we start here. I had a lot of CEOs asking me, “If you let people ask all these questions, aren’t they going to slow things down and make things worse than and are going to go down the rabbit hole?” I get that question a lot. I’d like to hear your response to that because a lot of CEOs love to ask those.
Some CEOs are against that, if you are against that thing, you’re limiting your potential, the potential of your company. That’s the problem with the corporate environment sometimes is we’re not willing. It’s like, “This is what we know and this is what we need to do so listen up and do what we’re saying.“ The human mind is brilliant. Listen to everybody. Mark and I always encouraged our employees to talk to us, to give us feedback because they had some incredible ideas. You think this person is too simple or they’re not going to have a great idea. It’s not true. Some of the people who seem to have simpler life come up with the most cleanly, beautifully simple ideas that will make all the difference either in your operations or even some of the bigger goals that your company is going after.
It’s so important to listen to people and not shut them down. Every day, I listen to people. You don’t want to go drone for hours. You need time limits and you want people to learn to be concise. You can have boundaries and rules around questions but it’s also important to listen to what someone’s saying. You need to have intellectual humility and that’s hard for a lot of CEOs. Intellectual humility says, “I understand. I’m smart enough to realize that I don’t have all the answers.” In other people’s minds, think differently and they make a different contribution. It’s worth listening to those.
Back to Elon Musk, what Elon did when the governor of California is trying to shut him down in making all those cars, he said to his people, “We’re going to solve the problem because we always go over underrun it through. I‘m going to ask you what the solution is.” One guy came up and said, “Let’s think ventilators.“ He called up a $3 million company. He said, “We got the metal. We’ve got 3D printing. We have more than enough manpower. We can do it. We’ll split 50/50 with you because that’s not our business. We don’t want to be in the ventilator business but we’ll help out.“ While he did it, he also happened to make 90,000 cars and became the richest man in America because all the other car manufacturers in the world were shut down and he kept going.It’s important to listen to people and not shut them down every time because the most incredible ideas can come from the simplest person. Click To Tweet
The subpoint there is if you ask the right questions, there’s always a way. If you don’t have the answer, if you’ve got good mastermind partners or staff partners, you want to hire partners that have a mind, not just academically smart but intellectually wise. We try to hang out with people like you that are wise because wisdom is intrinsic at birth and squished out. That’s what we’ve been saying throughout. When curiosity is squished out, I would suggest to you the greatest artists of all times and the guy who does our company, Natural Park Concepts, is the Tufts realist artists, John Pitre, that we’ve got 248 major inventions coming out. If you look at Leonardo da Vinci, this guy was eminently curious. I’m damn curious too.
My husband got a Tesla. I love it and I’m amazed by everything that they’re able to do in this pandemic and everything that you guys have been able to do with your books and your writing. It’s been so inspiring. I’m sure the books are available on Amazon and everywhere else. Is there some site or anything you guys would like to share before we end? I think that a lot of people would like to follow you.
You can get our book Ask!: The Bridge from Your Dreams to Your Destiny on Amazon. It’s the easiest and best way to get it. It’s in all forms, Kindle, audiobooks so however you like to consume books. We’d like everybody, once you buy the book, go to AskTheBookClub.com because we’re going to be hosting this great book club. We want to help people in their journey as a master asker so we’re putting together all kinds of cool things for the upcoming year, events and things like that. Stay in touch with us. Go to our social media. We’d love to hear from you. I like to answer messages. I’m @CrystalDwyerHansen. Mark, of course, is @MarkVictorHansen on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube all of the above. Let’s stay in touch. It’s all about connection and we love staying connected to everybody.
I hope everybody takes some time to check out your book. This has been so fun and I didn’t realize we were neighbors. Thank you for doing this show. This was a great time. Thank you.
We enjoyed it. Thank you for having us on.
I want to thank Mark Victor Hansen and Crystal Hansen for being my guests. What a great show. I love how it tied into curiosity and all the things that they’ve worked on are so inspiring. We get many great guests on this show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can catch them at DrDianeHamilton.com. You can find out more in the area of curiosity at CuriosityCode.com. It’s also on my site. If you look at the top, you can drop down menus about curiosity, perception and much more. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope you join us for the next episode.
- Chicken Soup for the Soul
- Crystal Hansen – LinkedIn
- You Have a Book in You
- Pure Thoughts for Pure Results
- Stand Up, Speak Out and Win!
- All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
- 101 Ways to Build Self-Esteem
- Everything I need to learn, I learned it in kindergarten
- Daniel Goleman – Past Episode
- Jay Samit – Past Episode
- @CrystalDwyerHansen – Instagram
- @MarkVictorHansen – Instagram
- Twitter - Mark Victor Hansen
- Facebook - Crystal Dwyer Hansen
- YouTube - Crystal Dwyer Hansen
About Mark Victor Hansen and Crystal Hansen
Mark Victor Hansen is probably best known as the co-author for the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series and brand, setting world records in book sales, with over 500 millions books sold. Mark also worked his way into a worldwide spotlight as a sought-after keynote speaker, and entrepreneurial marketing maven, creating a stream of successful people who have created massive success for themselves through Mark’s unique teachings and wisdom. With his endearing charismatic style, Mark captures his audience’s attention as well as their hearts. Having spoken to over 6000 audiences world-wide with his one-of-a-kind technique and masterful authority of his work, time and again he continues to receive high accolades from his audiences as one of the most dynamic and compelling speakers and leaders of our time.
Crystal Hanson’s personal coaching, speaking, CD and video programs, books, and articles have helped people all over the world. She is a Member of the International Coaching Federation, a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, the founder of Crystal Vision Life, Ltd, (crystalvisionlife.com) and Skinny Life™ a wellness company (skinnylife.com). Her book Skinny Life- The Secret to Being Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually Fit, is available Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com.
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