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The Landmark Forum

by Eleanor on 02/25/2010 - About Me

in -Landmark Education,Landmark Forum

Editor’s Rating
Overall Rating
Integrity of Organization
Leader Training
Leader/Participant Ratio
Price / Value Ratio
Upselling Practices
Marketing Practices
Absence of Dogma
Physical Comfort
Psychological Comfort
Long Term Results

I took The Landmark Forum in Los Angeles, early on in my exploration of self-development programs. No one I knew was trying to convince me to go, but many of the people in my circle of friends who had taken it were up to big things in the world, like creating and running an organization that takes measurable steps toward world peace, or inventing a business designed to proliferate optimism, or pursuing whatever dream truly called them. At the time, I was re-evaluating everything about my life, feeling stuck in my career, unsure of my relationships, and mostly uninspired by life. I decided visit Landmark’s website and register for the program.

Little did I know at the time, my approach was somewhat unusual, since most of the people in The Landmark Forum have been convinced to go by a loved one, friend, or in some cases, a total stranger. Usually, people attend an Introduction to the Landmark Forum, a three hour session that has participants look at the areas of their life that they’d like to transform. These Introductions, usually led by the least trained and newest program leaders (called Introduction Leaders), are hit-and-miss. Truthfully, it’s not that easy to get someone to lay out $400-$500 to spend 3 grueling days having a multi-dimensional conversation about themselves, and many enthusiasts do resort to coercion and nagging in order to ensure that their friends don’t miss out on this spectacular experience. It tends to work out in the end, because most people leave The Landmark Forum lit up about life in ways they’ve never experienced, but these recruiting practices by participants, albeit completely voluntary, are a big reason why Landmark Education is sometimes accused of being a cult. But while Landmark does encourage people to responsibly invite friends and family to take the programs, as a means to get the most out of the programs, there are no consequences for not doing this, and it is ultimately optional. Landmark has taken commendable steps in the past year to make this process even more digestible, and I look forward to seeing how else they transform this process, since it’s the thing that trips people up the most when deciding whether or not to continue participating in their work.

As for my experience of The Landmark Forum itself, before spending those 3 days listening to 200 people share about themselves in the completely unadorned, fluorescent-lit, chilly room, I thought I had an inability to concentrate for long periods of time. This applied especially to people sharing long-windedly about their problems. I was gleefully surprised to discover that I spent the entire 3 days on the edge of my seat, making sure that I didn’t miss a word. It turns out that the program is orchestrated and paced so perfectly that pretty much everyone is able to give their full attention effortlessly. I have yet to see anything that comes even close to this level of precision. Clearly, whomever developed this curriculum wanted to create the most powerful experience possible. What is most remarkable is that on Friday morning, when the program starts, most of the people are not terribly excited to be there, and yet by Saturday night, just about everyone is thrilled to be there. It is adequately comfortable, physically, with reasonable chairs and enough stretch and meal breaks. Psychologically, it only gets as uncomfortable as the participant is willing to have it be. The more deeply they participate, the more “stuff” that comes up, and the greater the reward. And pretty much everyone “gets it” in the end, no matter their level of participation.

So what is the Landmark Forum? I’ve heard it described as everything from the “McDonald’s of Enlightenment” to “Spirituality for Non-Spiritual People.” In my own words and interpretation, it is a program designed to investigate how extensively the words we speak impact our lives, offering tools for people to transform anything in their lives, first by changing what they are saying about these things. One might even say it’s the yoga of language. It’s definitely one of those things that can’t be described nearly as well as it can be experienced. It does not require that participants subscribe to any belief system and there is no dogma, since everything presented is offered as an optional way to look at things, if it serves the participant. It is presented in a hard-hitting, no-nonsense, thrilling way by one or two Landmark Forum Leaders who have been trained for over 10 grueling years, and who have often been participating in the work for as much as 30 years. These Forum Leaders are the real deal. They are remarkably consistent, impartial, effective, efficient, and they seem to have an uncanny ability to “read” the participants to a stunning level of detail. They are available to answer questions during many of the breaks, which impressed me, given that they are leading so many people.

Landmark is not shy about telling people that it’s a business, and there is a lot of up-selling to the next program, in this case The Advanced Course. This can get annoying at times but is definitely effective. In reality, the Landmark Forum is whole and complete on its own, but one is left with the impression that they have barely scratched the surface of their transformation without progressing to the next level. In my experience, this was true, as I did get a lot out of the subsequent courses, but nothing had the same impact on me as The Landmark Forum. The thing about Landmark is that the tools they offer must be applied to one’s life in order to make any difference. No application, no results. And this needs to be continuous, which is why a free 10-week seminar is included in the tuition for the Landmark Forum. I have heard claims from other programs that their effects are long lasting and don’t require upkeep, but have yet to actually experience anything like this, so I appreciate Landmark’s desire to keep people ‘in the conversation’. That said, it sure would be amazing to not have to work at everything!

This may be their introductory program, but it should not be confused with a “basic” program. Even someone who has a lot of experience in the world of transformational programs could learn a lot about themselves by partaking in The Landmark Forum. Very few people are less-than-thrilled by their experience, and Landmark has a money-back guarantee for anyone who completes the program and isn’t satisfied with the results on the last day. For this, and many other reasons, it remains one of my overall favorite programs as well as the one I think is most accessible to the widest variety of people.

Official Website http://www.landmarkeducation.com
Duration 3 days
Price $415 – $420
Tips for success – Sit close to the front of the room
– Do all of the assignments exactly as instructed
– Raise your hand and participate at every opportunity
– Bring snacks and a lunch
– Bring a sweater
The Landmark Forum4.3571428571437Eleanor2010-02-25 23:33:58I took The Landmark Forum in Los Angeles, early on in my exploration of self-development programs. No one I knew was trying to convince me to go, but …
-Landmark Education,Landmark Forum$415 – $420The Landmark ForumI took The Landmark Forum in Los Angeles, early on in my exploration of self-development programs. No one I knew was trying to convince me to go, but …

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