Monday, October 20, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to The Forum

I am sometimes hear from friends that they are going to the Landmark Forum. They want to know about my experience when I went in 2003. Here are some quick notes:

On balance I liked it and got useful ideas that have helped me since. The lessons I took away from it were:
- being honest and having integrity is a good thing
- being open to being loved and expressing it to others is also pretty important
- knowing what holds you back is v useful
- looking for greater meaning and purpose in life is important

Things that annoyed me:
- the persistent selling and self-promotion of landmark programs
- the one size fits all approach (especially the thing about calling friends and family during the weekend and apologizing for stuff - it works for some but generally it is self-indulgent. I resisted all weekend and was glad I did)
- their belief that their way was THE only way

Things that changed as a result
- I stopped attempting to date multiple girls at once (integrity yes, but my amusing stories to mates at the pub declined)
- set me off thinking about what were scientifically proven ways to make people happier
- made me realise how much I resist someone implying I am incompetant at something - it brings out the worst in me

Now I have studied the psychology in much more depth, it is clear they are onto the right big issues with integrity, love, rackets and purpose. They mention strengths briefly(or Strong Suits) but don't equip people with the taxonomy or language to really identify them (nothing on Strengthsfinder by Gallup or VIA survey available at

With a business hat on their selling techniques are absolutely first-class and should be written up in a business scool case study. I hated them but I also admired them

I once recommended the landmark forum to a friend who was not that mentally resilient. I regretted doing so. She found the whole thing hugely emotional, overwhleming and it was too much for her.

So I am not a net promoter (given that I haven't ever recommended it to friends or colleagues). But I am glad I did it and took away relevant lessons

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan,

A client of mine is a book author who recently published a book about very similar issues. He is also a former attendee of The Landmark Forum and talks about this in his book. I was wondering if you'd be at all interested in getting a review copy, or perhaps talking to him for the benefit of your readers.

Sorry to contact you through Comments, but it seems to be the most direct way.

If you would like to learn more, please drop me a note through the contact info on OpenID. Thanks!