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Why Do the Landmark Forum

August 25th, 2011 No comments

I was the production supervisor for a Landmark Forum last weekend (volunteer gig–a useful exercise in leading/directing a team plus I’ve a soft spot for getting a refresher on the material).

It’s such a good course.  And even though I had some pretty kickin’ things happen as a direct result of doing it back in ’041, I typically do a shite job of conveying to anyone else why they should want to.

But I think now, with a few years of perspective since then and a few years of practice with the tools and concepts they teach, I’ve got a simple way to break it down, to illustrate what the Landmark Forum does.

Imagine a spectrum, and everyone falls somewhere on the spectrum.  On one end you’ve got a view of the world that sounds approximately like this:

people around me are idiots, I’ve got to do the best I can with what fate has laid out for me, that’s just the way the world is, life is far from perfect…but I’m working on it

On the other end of the spectrum there’s a view of the world that sounds approximately like this:

people around me are awesome, it’s up to me and only me how my life turns out, I’ve got a say in how things are and how they go, life is awesome and I’m free to play as I please

Visually, the spectrum looks something like this:

Those people messed it up.
I don’t have a say, no one does.
My life is rough because I got a raw deal.
They’re a jerk.
I’m better than everyone else around here.
No one but idiots around me.
It’s a flawed world, I’m working on it.
Nothing to do but deal with what is.
I can impact everything.
If my life is a mess, that’s on me.
I can see how I was being a jerk.
We’re all pretty great.
No one but awesome people around me.
It’s a perfect world, I’m playing in it.

You know people who fall far on one end of this spectrum or the other, and if you look you can probably place yourself somewhere on it with relative ease.

So here it is.

The Landmark Forum starts with people wherever they are on this spectrum, and over the course of 3 days, nudges them towards the blue side.  Maybe a little, maybe a lot.  But always towards the blue side of that spectrum.

Looking at it this way, I understand why doing the course (i.e. moving towards blue on the spectrum) doesn’t always seem like a good idea for people.  There is some serious comfort to be found towards the purple end of things: knowing that certain people simply are bad or beneath you, shrugging off lackluster circumstances as out of your control, and being able to point to this or that as cause for what’s not working.

It’s all good and comforting stuff, at least in small doses.

By a similar token, I understand why people often say to me that others should do it (even if they themselves can’t be bothered): it’s great to be around folks who complain less and love more, even when it’s hard work to do that yourself.

So that’s why do the Landmark Forum, in a grossly simplified nutshell: to move further towards the blue end of that spectrum.  Though there are no doubt juicy comforts of dwelling closer to the purple end, life on the blue end is wickedly powerful and enlivening–once you get the hang of it, you’ll never look back.

Notes:

  1. Out of my Forum I got my (first ever) girlfriend (2 weeks later), a $6,000 raise at work (3 weeks later), and made serious peace with my mom about my parents’ divorce
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