Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Failure to Please

Hello All,

I listened to Jack Canfield's monthly teleseminar today and felt compelled to share his answer to a question that I am definitely struggling with at this time.

The question was related to finishing projects - the person who asked said that she gets about 90% finished and then loses interest and doesn't finish. I certainly can relate, although sometimes I feel like I get 30% there and then quit!!

He said that he integrated an exercise from Werner Erhard who inspired the programs of Landmark Education. Within our first six years, something happens to us and we make the decision "I can't win". (He told a story of when at 3 yrs old he did this great drawing that he was so proud of and showed his parents, who just fawned over the picture - told him how great it was. The next morning, seeing some of his pictures on the refrigerator and knowing that was where good art hangs, he took some magic markers and on the wall next the fridge, started drawing this beautiful picture of the ocean - totally self-expressed...Of course his father finds him using magic markers on the walls and flips out and sends him to his room and in that moment, as a confused 3 year old - he decided that he couldn't win - he obviously didn't have the distinction that the wall wasn't an appropriate place to draw on - he just saw that in one moment creating a picture had made his parents happy and in the next, it had made them miserable.)

So we all have this experience - this time in our lives when we decided "I can't win". And since no one wants to be a loser, we came up with some strategies on how to avoid losing and there are specifically 8 strategies that we use to avoid losing. Be honest and see where you fit!!

1. Don't play. I can't lose if I don't actually play the game.
2. Quit if it gets too hard. Just pick up your ball and go home!
3. Destroy the game. Kids do this all the time in a literal sense. I can remember many a monopoly board all over the place.
4. Keep others from winning. Terrorists, sabotaging someone else's win...
5. Become the problem. If I suddenly need to be cared for, I can keep others from winning and have an excuse to avoid losing.
6. Be perfect. If everything needs to be perfect, then I am constantly stressed about having everything perfect, that even when I do win, I don't.
7. Be the judge. If you are the critic, you don't actually have to make a movie, you can just assess everyone else's movies.
8. Never finish anything. That way I can't be judged.

Patty's Challenge:
To powerfully get beyond these limitations, think back to the earliest time (generally from 0 - 6) that you had the experience of a failure to please. You actually want to get back to that moment, and experience those powerful emotions, reconnect to those feelings and then in that moment, re-decide the outcome. Jack's: "it wasn't about me and that I couldn't win - I realize that my parents were trying to be perfect and so I couldn't please them in that moment, but it didn't have anything to do with me."

I encourage you all to take advantage of Jack Canfield's free teleseminars the first Wednesday of the month - you can register at and if you want to hear Jack describe the failure to please exercise, you can access the archives to today's teleseminar for $10 at

Here's to finishing...

Love to you,

P.S. One other thing that he mentioned which I found fascinating was that there are apparently studies out there that prove that one hour of inner work (visualizing, meditation, affirmations) equals 7 hours of external effort. Just a thought when you are creating your priority/to-do lists...

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