When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.
As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change –
So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country, but it too seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed, if I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country,
And who knows, I might have even changed the world.
If you want to change the world you start by changing yourself. You change yourself by asking. Asking allows you to challenge the status quo at any moment. If you don’t like something, ask how to change it. Ask Yourself, Ask Others, and Ask God. And with each question, you will receive an illumination, an idea, or the help, assistance that allows you to change in small ways and in massive ways. Each of us has to master learning how to effectively ASK how we can fulfill our respective destinies. If you are alive you still have a destiny to fulfill. It is your job to discover it and manifest it.
When I wanted to become a world’s bestselling author as co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Jack Canfield and I had written the book. Wherever we spoke audience members all told us they wanted it and would cheerfully buy it. Publishers did not agree. 144 publishers turned us down—some personally, and some while we met with them in their New York offices with multiple staff members. Ultimately, our agent fired us.
Fortunately, I have been selling and marketing since I was nine years old, when I sold the most Greeting Cards for Gibson Greeting Card Company, in 1957 and became the Boy Scout salesman of the year which allowed me to buy the bicycle I’d dreamed of. I learned at a young age: If you want something, keep asking. Never stop asking.
Jack and I continued to ask everyone we could find who would listen, to get a publisher to take our book. We believed in it, and we weren’t going to give up. Finally, on May 17th, 1991 we went to the American Booksellers Convention in Anaheim, California. Each of us carried a backpack filled with binders of our proposed book. We loved the ABA meeting complete with 60,000 attendees, all the major and minor publishers, publicists, agents, and authors. It was exciting and got our hearts racing as we rushed from publishing company booth to publishing company booth, asking them to read and consider our manuscript. We worked the convention halls for all three days. On the last day, we visited Health Communications Inc. The owners, Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso met with us. With trepidation of heart, they accepted our treasure–conditionally. Gary was first to read the stories and admitted he’d cried on his silk shirt. Gary convinced Peter to publish and accept us. Their stringent conditions were that we pre-sell 20,000 books. We personally had to sell them from the platform and pay HCI $6.00 a book. It cost us $120,000, paid directly to them before they would commence with the distribution of our Chicken Soup for the Soul book to bookstores.
(Little did we know their conditions were because they were millions of dollars in debt, which they told us later—after our book provided a bail-out for them and made them a fortune.)
Let me unwrap this. What if we stopped–like most people at one, ten, or the 144th rejection and didn’t present our book and offer to HCI? Who would have lost? Millions of readers have found comfort, hope, and peace of mind from our Chicken Soup books. HCI would probably have gone bankrupt and had to fire 168 employees in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The paper manufacturers, the truck drivers, the bookstores would have missed out on so much. Certainly we would have missed our true destiny. We have sold over 500,000,000 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Jack was told the pass-along readership in India where he toured and talked to giant audiences and was featured completely by their media and the press—was 12 readers per book. In China, where we sold over 374,000,000 books and I have toured for 22 years to vast audiences and been told almost every household has at least one because it was approved by the Communist government to use even in the school curriculum. That means that over a billion people have read our books.
Our books have helped people start over, prevented divorce, kept students in school, prevented suicides, saved marriages, started romance leading to joyous marriage. A leader in the Lebanese army told us he read it to his men before he asked them nightly to defend their country against Syria. He told us those stories held them up and kept them emotionally strong to prevail in defending their safety and freedom. If we had quit asking at any point, those countless miracles and so many more would not have happened.
My beloved wife, Crystal and I birthed the idea of writing our new book: ASK! The Bridge From Your Dreams To Your Destiny, because we discovered something that was essential to share with the world. The magic elixir that could put a smile back on someone’s face, give them enormous self-confidence, re-ignite love and thoughtful relationships, stimulate endless communication and conversation, and create vast wealth was one thing and one thing only—the ability to ASK! Every positive movement, every breakthrough, every extraordinary idea, every fortune made, always begins with Asking. It is only by learning how to ask and what to ask that you can create your most extraordinary life, manifest your greatest blessings, and cross the bridge from your dreams to your ultimate destiny!
Mark Victor Hansen
Make sure you take a moment and grab your copy of Mark and Crystal’s latest book by clicking here. After you get a chance to read the book, we’d like to invite you to the world’s biggest book club discussion. Kindly, send your book receipt to [email protected] so we can make sure you receive a personal invitation!