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Landmark Education Forum: A Thorough Review

landmark forum reviewAnyone who’s heard of Landmark Education knows they’re an organization clouded in controversy.  There have been rumors of everything from it being the best personal development program ever, to being a cult.  I’d read all the reviews of the program and even watched a documentary about the original founder of Landmark (EST) Werner Erhard.  After it was all said and done, I was too skeptical about Landmark to do the program…then Time Magazine and BusinessWeek (within a few weeks of one another) had reviews about Landmark and what a great program it was—both articles praised it as a great program for business people.  At that point, I decided to give it a go.  I figured, best case scenario, I would go to Landmark and it would be the best personal development program ever, worst case scenario, if it was a cult, I could at least infiltrate it and write a good story about what a cult it is.

I was initially planning on doing a different blog post with a review of each day; however, after the program, a thorough review of each day is unwarranted.

Day 1:

First off: I am utterly convinced that anyone who thinks that Landmark Education is a cult, is an idiot; it is a personal development program, and from day one to day three, it’s clear that that’s all it is.  It’s just a program to help people deal with their issues.

Day one can be summarized as: What Happened VS Perception: The Stories that we Tell ourselves(Pictures below).

landmark forum honest review

Certain events happen in a person’s life and they attach a story to these events.  The facts of the situation are what happened, and the story about why what happened, happened, is our perception.  The main point to note is that perception isn’t fact, its perception.


You’re on your way to work and your car breaks down.  You arrive to work five minutes late and your boss starts yelling at you, “You’re late.  You’re always late.  You’re a horrible employee.”

This upsets you and you start telling yourself what a jerk you boss is, and you tell yourself that he must hate you.

The story that we tell ourselves is “he’s a jerk,” “he hates me,” but those aren’t facts, they’re perceptions, they’re stories that we tell ourselves.  We only say “he’s a jerk,” because he did or said something that made us associate him as a jerk.  Is it a fact that he’s a jerk?  NO, it’s not a fact.  But the story that we tell ourselves is that he’s a jerk and we accept it as a fact.  We then go around complain to anyone who will listen and say, “my boss is a jerk.”  And of course telling yourself  that your boss is a jerk and treating him like he’s one and complain all day and telling yourself all day that he’s a jerk, is going to put you in a pretty crummy mood.

So when something happens, just ask yourself why you’re telling yourself the story that you’re telling yourself—and ask yourself if it’s a fact, or a story.

Day 2:

Day two started off with people talking about the breakthroughs they’d had since day one.  (A LOT of people actually had a LOT of breakthroughs in that twenty-four hour period.)  The first few hours of day two was a combinations of people talking about their breakthroughs and Landmark pushing its other products.

After Landmark selling its other programs and after the breakthroughs , they started talking about responsibility:  Personal Responsibility.  Basically it’s the aspect of a person taking responsibility for their lives and what happen in their lives.


If someone’s an alcoholic, what happens is they’ll often say to themselves, “It’s not my fault.  I only drink because my dad drank…or my dad beat me.  If he never beat me, I wouldn’t be an alcoholic.”

A lot of people had a lot of problems with day two.  They didn’t like the idea of having to stop blaming other people, and start taking responsibility for themselves.  No one’s father made they become an alcoholic.

It reminds me of the old story of twin brothers.  These twin brothers had a very abuse and alcoholic father.  Their dad used to beat them, neglect them, etc.  Both of the boys grew up.  One of them became a very successful businessman who used his riches to help other people in abusive relationships.  The other grew up to become a drug addict and alcoholic.  When the first twin (the successful one) was asked what motivated him to work so hard to succeed and then give back to charity, he responded, “Well, growing up with an alcoholic father who beat me, how could I not work hard to leave home and become a success, and then use my money to help others.”  When the other brother was interviewed (the drug addict and alcoholic) and was asked why he became a drug addict and alcoholic, he responded, “Well, growing up with an alcoholic father who beat me, how could I not become a drug addict and alcoholic.”

Same situation, different stories they told themselves.  One brother used his upbringing to drive him to succeed and the other brother used his upbringing as an excuse to blame his father for all his short coming and problems.

Day 3:

Day three started off with a LOT more selling of other Landmark programs.  Day three was also the day that was supposed to bring day one and day two together.  After all the promoting of Landmark’s other programs, the beginning of day three was, again, about people talking about the breakthrough’s that they’d had in the past forty-eight hours—there were a lot of breakthrough’s, and a lot of crying.

I can’t go into detail about all the breakthrough that people had (because we all agreed to keep things confidential) but people had breakthrough is every walk of life, from people going through divorces, people who were abused as children, people who lost their job, people who hadn’t spoken to a family member in twenty years.  There was a little bit of everything and they all benefited.

Day three was about living a life where we’re aware of the stories that we tell ourselves, and it was about living a life where we all take personal responsibility for our actions and our emotions and feelings.   Imagine a world where people didn’t fret about the “stories” that we tell ourselves and instead only dealt with the facts of a situation.  Imagine a world where people take personal responsibility for their actions.  Day three was all about perpetuating this in our lives.

The Positive: Landmark gave people an opportunity to look at their issues from a different point of view.  It gave people an opportunity to see whether the stories that they’re telling themselves are true or are just “stories.”  It gave people an opportunity to take responsibility of their lives—for the good stuff, and the bad.  A fast majority of the people who went to Landmark seemed to get something out of the training, although some people’s nuggets of gold were substantially larger then other people’s.

The negative: If you have a serious issue in your life that you need to get worked out, Landmark is the company for you.  If you’ve got a drinking or drug problem, Landmark is for you.  If you have an issue with your mother or father, or a brother or sister, Landmark is for you.  If you’re going through a divorce, Landmark is for you.   If someone important in your life passed away, Landmark is for you.

If you don’t have any serious issues: Landmark might not be for you, yet.  Yeah, you’ll get something from the program, everyone does, but if you don’t have any serious issues or problems, Landmark might not be right for you—at this time in your life—and might come across as a waste of time and money.  But if you do have a serious problem, Landmark Education is the place to go and it’ll change your life for the better.

For more information on the Landmark Forum, the following book is the best on the market. It details what Landmark forum is, from its founding, to what it’s become. It’s written by Luke Rhinehart, with a forward by Werner Erhard, and an introduction by Joe Vitale (bit redundant with an introduction, and a foreword, but still, it’s an interesting book).


Audio, Best Of, Self Improvement / Healthy Living, Self Improvement / Healthy Living

How to Build Your Self Discipline

military self disciplineSelf Discipline: Self Discipline is a person’s ability to get done, what they say they’ll get done.  If a person says that they’re going to wake up at 7:00am, then they get up at 7:00am—not 7:01, 7:02 or 7:03.

Like most things in life to get better at a skill, you’ve got to practice.  And since Self Discipline is a skill that can be learned, that means it’s a skill that needs to be practiced.  The more a person practices self discipline, the more disciplined they become, the less practice, the less disciplined.  Everyone has different levels of self discipline; if a person can look at a piece of chocolate cake, and if they can wait, even one second, between wanting to devour the cake, and actually doing so, then they have self discipline.  Some people can look at the cake, want to eat it, and not eat it.  They have stronger self discipline.  There are just different levels, and most people fall somewhere in-between.  The great thing, though, is that if anyone wants to improve their self discipline, it’s actually pretty easy.

(1)   The first step to building self discipline is to gauge where you’re current levels are.  Take a moment to think of areas where you are disciplined; then take a moment to look at areas where you’re not discipline.  Rate yourself on a 1-10 scale, and if you’re honest, you’ll have a good gauge of where your discipline is currently at.

(2)   Once you know your level, it’s time to give yourself a test.  It’s best to start easy.  Too many people, when starting to build self discipline, they will pick some huge outrageous goal.  For example: someone might say “I want to develop discipline to run five miles every day.”  They’ll motivate themselves, and pump themselves up, then on the first day they’ll run four miles, pull a hamstring, say it’s too hard, and give up.  Blah!

a.       If a person’s goal is to eventually be discipline enough to run five miles a day, then they need to build up their self discipline progressively.  If someone’s not a runner, first they’ll need to build up the discipline to walk five miles a day.  If someone can’t walk five miles, then there’s no way that they can run five miles.  For some people they might need to start even smaller and start off walking just one mile a day, then two, then three, then four, then five, then running a mile and walking four, then running two miles and walking three, etc.

b.      The same thing goes for time, as well.  If someone wants to run or walk every day, then they might want to first start off committing to walking or running three times a week, and see if they can accomplish that.  Then if they can do that, move on to four times a week, then five, then six, etc.

(3)   Once you start to build up your self discipline and can get to a certain level, it’s always important to try to branch out and either make yourself more disciplined or become disciplined in a new field.  If you’re running/walking five miles a day but are still eating two bags of cookies a day, then it might be time to start to build up your dietary discipline.

(4)   Repeat steps 1-3 until you’ve developed adequate amounts of discipline in all steps of your life.

(5)   Don’t become too disciplined.  I’ve heard too many stories of people who become so disciplined that they allow their ‘disciplined habits’ to run their lives.    There was one guy I knew in the Army who was extremely discipline.  He would wake up every day at 5:00am.  He would run two miles, do a hundred jumping jacks, and a hundred push ups.  He’d then shower for exactly 10 minutes.  Eat a healthy breakfast of a banana and oatmeal, back a nice protein shake for lunch, and then head off to work.  That was his day, every day, for the past ten years that he’d been in the Army.  The guy was one of the most tightly wound lunatics I had ever met.  He was so disciplined that he had no idea who to just let go, and stray from his daily routines.  He wouldn’t go out with friends because he had to be in bed at exactly 9:30 pm so that he could wake up at 5:00am.  He wouldn’t go out to eat because no restaurants could meet his strict dietary disciplined standards.  The stories go on and on.  He was a time-bombing waiting to go off.  So make sure to build your discipline, but don’t take things too far.

Self discipline won’t come easy, but that’s the beauty of it.  If it did come easy, then it would be called discipline.

Some of my favorite quotes on self-discipline:

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” –Jesse Owens

“Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind-you could call it character in action.”— Vince Lombardi
“Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.” –Elie Wiesel

“Nothing is more harmful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army superiority over another.”—George Washington

Related Posts:

What the Military Teaches About Self-Discipline

I will Never Accept Defeat.  I Will Never Quit.

Military Time Management: CARVER System

Target VS Mission: Smaller Goals VS Larger Goals