We all know Mark Victor Hansen as that Chicken Soup for the Soul guy. Thanks to the mega success of the Chicken Soup series, he and co-creator Jack Canfield were named by Time magazine as “the publishing phenomenon of the decade.” Mark has written many other inspirational bestsellers, but he hasn’t stopped there. His energy and interests know no bounds, and he’s determined to get everyone on the planet working together to transform the world into a cleaner, greener, healthier place.
Mark started out in college thinking he’d become a doctor of physiology. Then he attended a lecture by Buckminster Fuller – “the smartest man on the planet,” as Mark refers to him – and everything changed. Mark was so impressed with Fuller that he went to work with him for seven years. Says Mark, “What he said was we have an environmental problem that’s going to come to a crisis 40, 50 years from now – which is exactly where we are. He said we had to get off petrochemicals – oil and gas – and get on wind, geothermal, solar and other alternative energies.”
Mark’s interests ultimately led him in many other directions – as author, motivational speaker, humanitarian and philanthropist – but Fuller’s message has stayed with Mark through it all. Now Mark is putting his efforts toward “a vision of a world that works for 100 percent of humanity, a world that is what John Kennedy said: ‘Let’s go back to Camelot’…. We’re in a changed time – in autos, in buildings, in energy, in water…. What we’ve got to do is get off the brake and start the whole system moving again.
That’s what I’m here to do: be the gadfly of a sustainable, green, clean environment. When we look back from a thousand years from now, I want to be one of the turn-around agents.”
To that end, Mark is learning about technology that, on a macro level, will fulfill urgent needs such as clean fuel based on algae, net-energy-zero buildings and easy-to-use water purification systems.
As for what you and I can do, Mark says, “First of all, I don’t think any grandparent ought to ever retire their mind. We’re not saying don’t golf or swim or play bridge or go to Las Vegas; we’re saying, look, you are too valuable a resource, you’re a human treasure, you are here to understand that what’s going to make America work is one thing and one thing only: innovation.
“As a grandparent of two loving grandkids, I’ve got to say that every grandparent has to decide to have a green, clean environment. They’ve got to do simple stuff like use less water in the shower.”
Mark’s grandchildren – Seth, 6, and Kira, 2 -inspire him to safeguard not only the environment but also his health. “As a grandparent, you’ve got to really take care of yourself…. I’ve discovered, as you get older you need to up your exercise…. You’ve got to invest in yourself so you’re healthy, so you can take care of your grandkids.”
Mark’s grandkids live in Tennessee, more than 2,000 miles from Mark’s home in California. Says Mark, “Seth knows three languages, English, Spanish and sign language…and Kira [who also does sign language] is lovely, beautiful, buoyant, effervescent…. She gets on the telephone and will sing to me.”
When Mark visits the grandkids, he says, “Seth jumps in my arms and won’t let me go for about the first five minutes. You know, if you as a grandparent come in with a good vibration – because everything in life is vibration – they resonate to that vibration and they don’t want to let it go. They hold it; they don’t want to let you go when you arrive, they don’t want to let you go when you leave and they want to do stuff with you in the interim.
“So when you’re with your grandkids, you shut off your cell phone and you are 100 percent present-time available to be with the kids. That’s what’s important to them, not the ice cream, not the food, not the Disneyland, not the distraction.”
For Mark and his fiancée, Crystal, grandparenting now involves a thoughtful blending of families. He says to make it work, “First you make a decision and then you make the provisions. The decision is that you’re going to get along, be compassionate and have total love for everybody. We’ve decided to have a multiplicity of family reunions. It has been a magnificent experience to go through this transformation.”
Pat Burns, a regional editor for GRAND and a grandmother of three, is the author of Grandparents Rock: The Grandparenting Guide for the Rock-n-Roll Generation.
The GRAND interview:
Hear the complete GRAND interview with Mark Victor Hansen and Pat Burns-there’s much more to hear than we had space to include in the issue.
Click here and get a free download of The Richest Kids in America courtesy of MarkVictorHansen.com.
“The only hope for the future of finance in America is if we have kids understand innovation and marketing, and these ‘richest kids’ have really done the deal.”
• Love the Chicken Soup series? Check out Mark’s other books, including The One Minute Millionaire, Cracking the Millionaire Code, The Aladdin Factor, Dare to Win, The Power of Focus, How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life [with Art Linkletter], and many more.
• Want to see Mark in person? Sign up for a seminar at MarkVictorHansen.com.