The entire month of May, Chris Stevens introduced (or reintroduced for some), the best selling book by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret to our Sunday school class.  As a class we will watched the DVD, and then discussed the viewed chapters. What an amazinf journey this has been for so many individuals.  I first became acquainted with The Secret this past February when a number of my students at Fairmont High School brought the book to my attention, claiming “it sounds just like you, Mr. Haas.” A few weeks later, Chris Stevens mentioned Oprah Winfrey had The Secret as one of her features for her book club, and Chris was interested in reading the book. I bought both the DVD, and the book in early March. Immediately, I became rejuvenated in my optimism, my drive, and my perseverance. More of my students, and their parents have purchased the book, and my son, Jose, has watched the DVD several times, and began practicing several of the techniques without my coaching. The Secret will not make a difference in your life… you will! 

How I have used The Secret 

“What dream would you dream if you knew you could not fail?”

~ Robert Schuller 

As a young boy I always knew I wanted to be drum-major of the high school marching band. I constantly pictured myself conducting, or marching in front of the band, and also imagined how it would feel, mentally invoking at least four of the five senses. I began practicing visualization with much smaller components in my life, discovering that my mind seemed to possess much strength. Adults, and friends, always noted my positive attitude, upbeat personality, and my magnetic approach to life, but I did not understand, until college, that I was practicing a technique that had been studied, and employed for centuries by some of the greatest teachers, world leaders, theologians, scientists, inventors, and so many others. 

One day, during my seventh grade year, I was sharing with my grandmother what I believed was my own magical mental manipulation, and she reached over and pulled out her Living Bible. Quickly turning to The Book of Matthew she read, “Ask, and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives.” She then read to me, “If you so desire something, believe that it is already yours, and so it shall be.” My grandmother already knew about my own little secret mental device! Soon after, Grandpa introduced me to the books of the great theologians, and positive thinkers, Robert Schuller, and Norman Vincent Peale. Until he died in 2004, Grandpa and I traded, or purchased books for one another by these two authors, as well as many others on this very topic. As I reflect on my early life, I realize Grandpa was an incredible example of positive thinking.  

My freshman year of high school, I infuriated many upper classmen as I took the podium as their new drum-major. 

I also employed this imagining technique with the Ball State University Singers, Ball State’s most coveted scholarship, section leader of collegiate bands and choirs, and in assuming the responsibility as the first undergraduate assistant conductor for the Ball State Choral Department. My college career was nothing short of magical as I ventured on into musical theatre, acquiring starring roles and directing responsibilities. I was even blessed with great mentors, leaders in the field of choral music and musical theatre: Fred Waring (director of the Singing Pennsylvanians) and Joshua Logan (director of South Pacific, Camelot, Annie Get Your Gun, Mister Roberts, and a host of other legendary theatrical masterpieces). 

One day, I discussed my life with a favorite professor. I was baffled that I was capable of achieving so much, yet I was clearly aware that I was not necessarily the most talented in the pool of fellow college students and performers. I was somewhat astonished that I had been afforded so much acclaim on campus, and well beyond the borders of Ball State University, and the State of Indiana. My professor, Mr. Mountford sat back in his office chair, clasped his fingers, and smiled. “You possess a strong mind. You know how to use your mind to chart your life’s course. Very few know how to employ the mind the way you and I do.” Mr. Mountford, an associate professor in music, was the director of the Ball State Singers. Prior to his tenure at Ball State, Fritz Mountford was Fred Waring’s protégé, served as the director of entertainment for Walt Disney World, and was the lead designer developing the music and entertainment for EPCOT Center, serving as the original director for the famous a cappella ensemble, “The Voices of Liberty”. 

When Ball State ended the music therapy program that I had already begun with my music education degree, I had enough coursework for a minor in counseling psychology. I opted for the counseling psychology track that included three components: counseling, motivational, and creative visualization. My three courses in creative visualization were packed with mostly male students who were hoping to one day become athletic coaches. Today, I recognize the names of fellow classmates who are leading coaches throughout the Midwest, high-powered attorneys, government officials, CEO’s, state representatives, city leaders, professors, performers, and many other successful ventures. 

I continue to incorporate creative visualization as a strong tool in my teaching repertoire, and many students have known incredible success as Broadway performers, entertainers, and music educators. Many of my former students who are educators also utilize creative visualization. 

                                                                                                                             The Secret website: Books by Robert Schuller:

  • The Be Happy Attitudes
  • It’s Up To Me: The Eight Principles of Positive Thinking
  • Getting Through What You Are Going Through

Books by Anthony Robbins:

  • Personal Power
  • Awaken The Giant Within

Books by Leo Buscaglia:

  • Love
  • Born For Love
  • Living, Loving, & Learning
  • Because I Am Human
  • Personhood

By Hal Urban:

  • Choices That Change Lives

Books by Norman Vincent Peale: