Author Archives: Dennis

Week 16 – Kindnesses in Kind

It’s Kindness week!


Shouldn’t every week be kindness week? That’s how a young lady working in the drive through window at Tim Horton’s responded after I told her it’s Kindness week. I laughed but she was right of course. Every week SHOULD be Kindness week so why isn’t it? Every day we’re surrounded by family, friends, co-workers and others we see on a regular basis. Is a little kindness too much to ask? Seems like we have plenty of opportunities. Even if we miss most of them we could still perform some act of kindness several times a day.

I consider myself a pretty considerate, patient and kind person but I wondered what people would say if I asked. I thought about that a while and decided not to ask. People are to kind to say no, right? Instead I decided to ramp up my observer mode and watch their reactions as I made special efforts to be helpful and kind. What a hoot! I think I actually surprised some people like store clerks and those in the drive-thru who got free food courtesy of my gift card. Others like my youngest daughters took it more in stride. They liked when daddy made their bed every day.

It all worked so well I wonder why we don’t do this all the time? I don’t recall one negative reaction. Usually people were a little surprised and always pleased that another human being took a couple seconds to be kind for no particular reason. I admit I enjoyed it too. It’s really fun and more than a little heartwarming to brightening someone else’s day.


Is it really so difficult? No. Physically demanding? No. Emotionally dangerous? No.  It just requires us to give up our naval-gazing a bit, to change our focus from ourselves to those around us. Once we look up and notice the world around us things get pretty amazing. There are people in the other cars stuck in traffic. I wonder what would happen if I let one of them change lanes in front of me…The sunset still looks amazing from my car. And we had a great talk about that on the way home from school. In fact sneaking in a little more daddy time is a kindness for me. Who says I shouldn’t be kind to myself? In fact that’s a key part of the recipe. Be kind to yourself!

Wow, this kindness stuff is pretty good mojo. Already in this post I’ve said I laughed, What a hoot!, I enjoyed it, It’s really fun, and …things get pretty amazing. It feels good and I’m sure it’s good for my blood pressure.

Why don’t I just keep doing it after Kindness week? Shouldn’t every week be kindness week?

Week 15 – Insight and Insights


-I love what Haanel says in lesson 15 of the Master Key about Insight;

  • It must be exercised,
  • It enables us to be prepared for the obstacles which we shall meet, and
  • It’s absolutely essential for the development of any great achievement

As my insight needs exercised, here are some insights of mine.

-I’m always a bit bemused at how profoundly the simplest common sense idea strikes me. I’m a reasonably intelligent human being. Why does, “Keep the main thing, the main thing.” sound different to me when I hear it from Mark Januszewski? Yet it does and it is. I now hear it in my brain and hear myself saying it to others. Hmmmm… Keep them coming Mark!

-It’s Week 15 of this Master Key Experience and I don’t know where the time has gone. Although I’ve developed new habits and reduced/eliminated others, I still spend a fair amount of my time doing the tasks and working to improve. It seems the more I learn, the more I want to learn.

Insight 2

-There was a time when I was up to date on all current events, the local police blotter, the political landscape, every tiny detail of what my co-workers were assigned to and many other “very important” things that were going on around me. You see I’m kind of an information hound. Through the changes brought on by the Master Key Experience I’ve learned to focus on the things that bring be closer to my Definite Major Purpose

-Happily, the changes in me are evident to me even though my old habits pop up from time-to-time. Even though I’m still working on some I still see progress. I can see that this will now be a lifelong process for me. It’s embedded into everything I do.

-I’ve become much more observant of what happens around me, my reactions, my thoughts. and my attitudes. Because of that my “gatekeeper” has become highly vigilant and rejects poisonous thoughts at the entrance. Any that linger there are dealt with using the law of substitution. I other words, a positive, pleasant or uplifting thought is substituted right away as we can’t think of two things at once.

-I’ve come a long way and have a long way to go. I admire how far my fellow travelers have come. They’ve inspired me and befriended me. There’s no doubt I’m better for the experience and I get better every day. Thank you!

-I’m thankful for all who’ve crossed my path

I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.

Week 14 – Our Thoughts of Inspiration and October Sky

October Sky – I loved this movie and watched it with my eight and eleven year olds. I really wanted them to see an example of real inspiration, persistence and commitment. This true story is about a student in a West Virginia coal town during the 1950s. His teacher sparks his imagination with thoughts of rockets and winning a science competition. Of course he meets resistance at every turn from other students, his father and even his principal. It seems he and his team were the only ones not entirely convinced they were predestined for the coal mines. Little did others know of their determination. It was a real heroes’ journey ala Joseph Campbell. Several of the characters were at different points in their own hero’s journey and persevered nonetheless. The outcomes were inspiring – especially since it’s a true story. It’s not a “perfect” story where everyone lives happily ever after as no one is exempt from the trials and tribulations of life. But it is an inspiring story of vision, determination and perseverance – all brought about by a thought.

It also demonstrated to me again that thoughts come first. Our ideas create our reality. Everything  begins with a thought and always has. From the Empire State Building to the great wall of China, each started with a thought, with a concept. Even third grade math is a concept that needs to be mastered and the connecting thread is our thoughts.

Recently I had a talk with my eight year old about how our thoughts can help us or hurt us. She was convinced at the ripe old age of eight that she’s just no good at math. The conversation was nothing revolutionary – just a father helping his daughter over a rough patch. I explained that if she thinks she’s bad at math, she will be and if she thinks she doesn’t have friends, she won’t have any. It was an “aha” moment for her and it helped me too. There’s nothing like the way an eight year old looks at dad when they realize he’s their biggest supporter. Then the coaching and practice began. She won’t always be eight but I don’t think either of us will forget that for a while.  I can’t wait to watch her hero’s journey. It’s going to be special.

It’s heartening to see the difference in her confidence as she’s realized she can be as good as she wants to be. It’s reinforces a really important lesson for me too. I too can be as good as I want to be…and I want to be great!

I’m whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.

Week 13 – Love and Focus

I notice real change in how I deal with people. It’s mostly pretty fun but I’m nowhere near where I want to be. Even so it’s fun to be the observer most of the time. My awareness of my own thoughts and actions has really increased dramatically and I’ve gained a focus that will continue on after this class is over with.

The mindfulness of reserving my opinions, minimizing negative thoughts and emotions and loving all humanity has significantly changed how I interact with people. I’ve even noticed how some people close to me get a little emotional when I talk of love and legacy. In the past those things were understood between us and demonstrated in actions but rarely spoken of. Others have gotten uncomfortable as I talk of making life changing decisions based on my pivotal primary needs and my definite major purpose. It’s slightly amusing but also serious stuff and I’ve come to realize I need to help them understand. That’s really where the legacy starts.

I admit I’m still trying to love all humanity. (Horrible things in the world sometimes make that a difficult concept.) And keeping my opinions to myself all the time has been a daunting challenge. I’ve made great strides here and continue to improve. I’ve been blessed with people in my life who make this challenge complete. Limiting/eliminating negative thoughts has been a great source of progress especially when factoring in the seven second rule. Substituting another thought about God, love or something uplifting has been a big help. Sometimes we aren’t ready to receive some things as blessings but even the New Testament instructs us to be thankful for EVERYTHING (Eph 5:20). I’m a pretty positive, grateful guy and have a knack for finding a silver lining but, everything? I may have to meditate a little longer on that.

It’s really amazing how far I’ve come in fourteen weeks. All the work is paying off and I’m thankful for all the fortuitous coincidences that brought me to the Master Key Mastermind Alliance. I’m really comforted at how my thought life has changed which is where we build our lives. I’ve come full circle with this post as changing our thoughts changes our lives.

We’re half-way though the course and I can’t imagine it being over. My expectations are that this experience will continue to change my life and in turn the lives of those around me. The fuse is lit and I’m ready for blast-off. All the best of everything to all who read this.

I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.


Week 12 – The Law of Relaxation. I’m all for it!

What is The Law of Relaxation? Sounds weird right?  So there it is; when we focus on our burning desire, strive for self improvement and put in the work…we also must relax. Yes – relax! It’s like saying don’t think of chocolate fudge. In the end that’s all you can think of. I think part of the issue is in my mental approach. Didn’t I just say, “must relax” as if it’s a demand? The truth is once we find the purpose, focus on it and do the work, it really brings about the relaxation because we’re on the way to where we really want to be. By changing my perspective the relaxation became much easier for me

The Law of Relaxation says: “Mental effort defeats itself – exactly the opposite of physical effort. A relaxed, calm state of mind is the only doorway to progress mentally. Relaxation of thought is the only access to Infinite Intelligence.”

This has been one of the most difficult ideas for me – not difficult to comprehend but difficult to implement. I feel like this is one of the really key Jedi mind tricks we need to understand, practice and perfect. The thing is my successes in life have been the result of a maximum effort kind of approach, putting in extra hours, going to night school and single parenting for example. Even Scroll III in The Greatest Salesman in the World(Og Mandini) repeats over and over, “I persist until I succeed.”

I can tell when it’s working. There are certain exercises when I really let go and feel it. In those times I get so relaxed and can feel like I’m already where I want to be. One of those cases is when I read my Press Release. That’s a real home run as far as I’m concerned. Some may not see it but when I read it I can feel it right through to my bones. Another case is closely related. It’s the exercise where we meditate on meeting our future self and gradually get to know them until we become friends.

I see glimpses, no flashes, of what’s within and I’m pleasantly taken aback that it really is relaxing. It’s like I’m trying to catch lightning in a bottle but someone has left me instructions, tools and people to help me along the way. I have full faith that I’ll get the hang of this. I’ve come too far, learned too much and seen the possibilities. This all reminds me of one of my favorite Emerson quotes.

The whole course of things goes to teach us faith. We need only obey. There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word…. Emerson

Week 11 – My persistence gets an upgrade.


I’ve always said I’m nothing if not persistent and it’s true but… recently I’ve realized there’s a difference between persistence and not giving up. It’s the simple idea that hits us right between the eyes. Sometimes when we refuse to give up we’re still just waiting for something to happen, for conditions to be “just right”, for that big break or quantum leap. We figure that if we just hang in there…our ship will come in. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

When confronted with this difference I had to wonder, is that what  I’ve been  doing? I really had to percolate on this a little. The answer(s) aren’t horrible but they also aren’t the “hero’s journey” I hoped they would be. I realized that I have persisted and stayed the course in the past and that’s a good thing. I have many successes and memories as a result. On the other hand my persistence hasn’t always been focused, consistent and the effort lacked the urgency of a drowning man. When those ingredients were present the successes and blessings were there too. All-in-all the news is good. I know how to do it and now I recognize what to do. The truth is if I’m going to get the most out of my God-given talents I must persist with focus and purpose. For those familiar with the parable of the talents in the New Testament you know this is a responsibility.

In The Greatest Salesman in the World (by Og Mandino) there’s a sentence repeated over and over in scroll 3, “I persist until I succeed.” It sounds simple, don’t give up, right? That’s what I used to think and it’s partially true but there’s more. It’s also about the consistent effort with a real purpose, a sense of urgency, a burning desire if you will. We can all think of times in life when we had that burning desire to win, be justified or achieve something against the odds and confidants who counseled us to accept our lot in life. That purpose is what provides the focus and drive to the effort. Once I figured out my primary drivers my purpose came back into focus. It hadn’t been far off but was scattered and lurking in the shadows. Now it’s plastered all over my home.

I’m on the cusp. I’m much better at being the observer and taking a bird’s eye view of what’s going on around me. That helps me persist when my old habits and time wasters break through. It’s also why I understand my classmates when they write of backsliding, missed assignments and confusion. I understand and identify with the sentiments but won’t speak them or write them into my reality. I persist in being the observer and my gatekeeper is on guard against defeat. I persist until I succeed!

Week 10 – Time to celebrate! And Happy Birthday to me!

Lots to celebrate this week!


Sunday’s MKMMA webinar is supposed to be a barn burner! I’m really looking forward to this one. That’s another thing to celebrate. In fact I know my wife was planning a small intimate birthday dinner at a restaurant(reservation for 17 please :-)) and I asked her to move it back an hour so I can attend the webinar.

My approach to the Master Key experience has really changed over the past 10 weeks and so have I. My “tasks” or exercises have become built into my daily routine and built into my thoughts. I get a real kick when I hear myself say to someone, “Do it now.” I still have hurdles to clear but my mind is focused on the compass and my definite major purpose.

I noticed change again today when giving an hour-long presentation on a pretty dry, technical topic. I’ve always been a pretty good public speaker but in the past it’s been pretty easy to drone on providing references and citations in this kind of presentation. Recently I’ve noticed a real change and even more so today. I was relaxed and confident but didn’t worry about being perfect. The audience even chuckled a few times. The coordinator made mention of the difference afterward. The change is apparent and directly attributable to the work I’ve put in with The Mater Key Mastermind Alliance. That’s deserving of a little celebration so on the way home I gave myself a virtual high five! (Didn’t want to take both hands of the wheel ;-D) Another celebration!

This week I also participated in my first real-time mastermind call with 2 other members of the MKMMA 2014 community and my first call with my guide Justin. Both were great experiences. It’s really cathartic to talk with people who are on the same page, who can really identify with the aspirational nature of this journey and who have really useful insights based on their experiences. I’m excited about continuing both.

And…oh yeah, Sunday, December 7th is a big day for me. It’s my birthday and I’ll finally qualify for some of those sweet senior discounts I’ve heard about for so long .Cha-ching, right? 😀 In reality I’m just glad to be around to celebrate one more and hope to stick around for another 30 or 40. I’m a twin so my mother always said December 7th is a day that will live in infamy!

Birthday Party Clip Art

Talk about cathartic, I wasn’t sure what I would write about this week and then it just flowed from my fingertips. I feel much better now…

I am whole, perfect, strong powerful, loving, harmonious and happy!

Week 9 – Thanksgiving!

thankfulnesss cornicopia

I am truly thankful for so many things that I never even stopped to think about before. This Thanksgiving I noticed a big change in the holiday but maybe it’s all in my head. Great thought…it’s all in my head and that is what has changed! Amen!

I’m the family cook every Thanksgiving for my wife’s mostly immigrant family. It’s their big “American” meal for the year. We feed about 16 so it’s a lot of work and usually comes with some tension and frustration. For example once a year we need three ovens rather than the one we have! We need an air traffic controller to supervise all the dishes that need to go in the oven before we can eat.

This year’s dinner couldn’t have gone smoother. Usually there’s one dish that doesn’t quite turn out perfectly. Not this year. Everything turned out phenomenally. Nothing burned or was undercooked. Everyone magically had the white/dark meat selection they wanted. Crisis averted.

Last night it occurred to me what changed…it’s me! I constantly hear “Do it now!” in my head so more things were done ahead of time. I had no tension or fear that something would go wrong somehow and it didn’t. Usually the last hour before the meal is full of anxiety and some dish doesn’t quite make it to the table on time. This year everything was ready right on time.

I’m in the flow of giving and receiving so my intensions were aligned with my definite major purpose. I was more flexible, patient and accommodating with those trying to help me, more understanding with my children when they interrupted me and much less opinionated as a result of the mental diet. (still working on that.) I may be a work in progress but I see real change and I like it.

In fact it rubbed off on those helping me. I didn’t need to give a lot of direction and now I understand why. I did a much better job of communicating the plan, timing and progress as the day went along. When possible I also helped them help me.

I was tired but not the bone-tired I’ve been in the past. I enjoyed this and was happy to serve. Dare I say it was joyous? It was really fun and I look forward to next year!

“I greet this day with love in my heart.” – The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

And so I do. Wow!

PS. This Thanksgiving my mind has been occupied by gratitude and appreciation. Of course I’m thankful for all my blessings. I’m especially thankful for all the things that had to occur to put me in this session of the Master Key Mastermind Alliance where I’ve met Mark J, T.F. Davene, my guide Justin and all with MKMMA who have been so helpful. Mahalo!