Landmark Education and the Landmark Forum

August 24, 2010

Why ‘Breakthrough’ Failed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 3:18 pm

A lot of people I know in the United States who have taken the Landmark Forum and are interested in personal development have been talking about the brief life of Tony Robbins’ “Breakthrough” television show – specifically, why no one turned out to watch it. The show, which featured Tony Robbins coaching people to have breakthroughs in their lives, was canceled after only two episodes due to poor ratings.

Some of my friends thought it was canceled simply because it didn’t execute – it wasn’t good television in that some of what Robbins had people due was so outside the realm of what normal people could do without the financial help of a TV show made it hard for people to connect with.

Others cynically say that television viewers aren’t ready for good news. A show that is neither tragedy nor comedy just doesn’t get watched.

This begs the question, though, why wouldn’t people watch a show about personal breakthroughs or inspiring stories. Obviously, the success of reality television in America proves there is a huge market for real life stories.

My answer, and this comes back to the whole topic of personal development and the Landmark Forum, is that uncomfortable is a hard sell.

The act of watching television is an inherently ‘comfortable’ one. You are sitting somewhere comfortable (hopefully), taking your mind off your troubles, seeking to be reassured, or at least transported to some other reality that makes you forget your own.

Comedy is comfortable. It reassures you that all is well in the world. Action, fantasy, and science-fiction, are comfortable as well – they carry you off into a different world. And tragedy and most reality television, surprisingly, are also quite comfortable. Bad things happen, but by showing people with such huge problems, or in the case of most reality television, such a huge degree of pettiness, we feel comforted that whatever our problems, we are better off than the people we are watching. We may be petty people with human foibles, but at least we’re better than most people we see on reality TV.

Ordinary real people having real breakthroughs and doing inspiring things, on the other hand, is not comfortable. Watching such a show raises the uncomfortable question of why aren’t I having such breakthroughs or doing such inspiring things? Such self-examination isn’t part of the comfort that television is selling.

And I think this is why personal development will always have to deal with something in the selling of it, whether it’s a television show or a course. The decision to do something uncomfortable, look at oneself truly regardless of what one may end up seeing, isn’t a quick and easy sell.

I’d love to hear what others think on this one.

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January 8, 2010

Alter yourself and your actions will come along

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 5:55 pm

There’s a story that all of you should read that eloquently expresses the power of taking a stand for something, telling the truth to yourself, and focusing on who you are instead of just what you’re doing.

This blogger tells two stories: the first is a nice little piece about New Years resolutions and why they almost never work. Her point, and it is an excellent one, is that simply trying to change one’s behavior without altering any conception of who one actually is tends to be futile in the long run. This is because who we are pulls for a certain kind of behaviour, or doing, and what we try to alter what we do while being the same person we’ve always been it’s like swimming upstream.

Take this example: you know you’re a fat lazy slob who’s 20 kilos overweight. You don’t like this about yourself so you make a resolution to eat less and exercise more. You go to the gym – it’s hard, you don’t want to, but you force yourself, and you force yourself to eat less as well. At some point, you give into temptation and oversleep and don’t make it to the gym or eat that piece of chocolate cake because just one won’t hurt, and then you’re done for. Now you know yourself to be a fat lazy slob who’s 20 kilos overweight and is too weak-willed to do anything about it.

What went wrong? You tried to alter your behaviour without altering your being. You still were for yourself a fat, lazy person who hated exercise, and that made if excruciating to take actions. Willpower only gets you so far.

This is where the power of taking a stand comes in – declaring oneself to not just do something different, but be somebody different. Get inspired by the kind of person that you could be. Actions then tend to alter by themselves, more naturally.

The second part of the blog post talks about fooling yourself. Sometimes we don’t take a stand because we lie to ourselves. She talks about going to a Tony Robbins event, and realizing she was lying to herself about being a smoker, and that telling the truth gave her the freedom to take a stand and quit. Take a look; it both embodies a lot of why I got out of Landmark Education and is quite well written. Plus I love Tony Robbins and the story about him is excellent!

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