With the current situation where we are in the throes of the Coronavirus pandemic, it may be hard to imagine how we can cope and deal with the challenges and rise above them. Today, Steve Farber talks with the legendary Jack Canfield who shares his success principles for these challenging times. Jack is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, entrepreneur, and the co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When we are all like sequestered in our homes and cannot travel, it’s making us look at our lives in a much more profound way than we usually do. Make sure you are more functional and more responsive to the needs of the times.
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Success Principles For Challenging Times With Jack Canfield
My guest is the legendary Jack Canfield. You may know him by name as many people do. The chances are maybe the name doesn’t sound so familiar. How about the title, Chicken Soup For The Soul? Everybody knows that. Jack Canfield is the coauthor of Chicken Soup For The Soul. Way beyond that, he is one of the most prominent personal development luminaries, which is not a word I use lightly, on the planet. He’s also a friend of mine. He’s the Founder of the Transformational Leadership Council, of which I am a member. That’s where I got to know Jack. He’s quite extraordinary. I asked him to come to the podcast and share his wisdom with us.
We did this interview at a time right in the throes of the coronavirus social or physical distancing phenomenon. A lot of our conversation focuses on these particular times but their principles are true for any and all times. He’s the Founder of Chicken Soup For The Soul Publishing empire, which is worth God knows how much. He’s written multiple New York Times bestsellers, including The Success Principles, The Power of Focus, The Aladdin Factor, Dare To Win, The Key To Living the Law of Attraction, Living The Success Principles, Coaching For Breakthrough Success. His new book is The Success Principles Workbook, which is quite extraordinary.
He has 2.5 million subscribers and followers on social media. He has sold more than 500 million books worldwide. He’s been a guest on over 1,000 TV and radio shows. He’s trained almost 3,000 Canfield’s Success Principle trainers in 107 countries. He’s been inducted into the National Speakers Association, Speakers Hall of Fame and way back when he graduated Harvard with a Master’s degree in Psychological Education. Above and beyond all that, he is an extraordinary, lovely, genuine, authentic human being. Here’s my conversation with Jack Canfield.
Jack, thanks so much for being with me. It’s great to see you.
It’s my pleasure, Steve. Thanks for having me.
There’s so much to talk about with you. We’re doing this in a very interesting time when a lot of us are under quarantine. I love these new terminologies. We’re sheltering in place, which sounds idyllic in some strange way. I’d love our conversation to address that, but also not be totally bound by that. I do think that the circumstances that we live in will not last forever. I don’t think that’s because I’m a perpetual optimist. These things are limited in time. They feel eternal when we’re in the middle of it. I suspect that the times that we live in are like a magnifying glass to enlarge certain principles that are true in all circumstances. It’s just that now, it’s bringing it into sharper relief.
It’s true, we’re all sequestered in our homes and we can’t travel. What it’s doing is making us look at our lives in a much more intense way than we normally do. We’re looking at the family. We’re looking at, are we working too much? Are we getting enough sleep? Are we meditating enough? Are we exercising enough? Are we eating properly? All of a sudden, when there’s this crisis or pandemic, everyone’s going like, “What do I need to do to survive? What do I need to do to thrive?” We should be asking that question all the time, “What do I need to be eating? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I serving my clients enough? What can I do that’s innovative and creative?” Many of us are realizing business as usual can’t go on. It’s not just in our businesses because we’re having to be online and do more of these kinds of things that we’re doing, but also the whole world.
There are a lot of people whose needs aren’t getting met and that’s being highlighted. Our lack of preparation in our medical system, for example. The fact that we’re not able to serve all the people that need to be served right now. The supply lines that are fragile, so much of our material are coming from China, India and so forth, and realizing that when those supply lines are cut down, everything stops. People don’t have the things they need to manufacture. We don’t have the pharmaceuticals, which we realize many of them are being made in China and so forth.
There’s a lot of emphasis on, “Should we be eating more locally? Should we be doing more local businesses? Should we be focusing more on the community than we are? Who are the leaders?” All of us like you and myself are being asked to stand up and be facilitators of calm and innovation, help people be creative, not to freak out and panic, and to take this time which we always have. You always hear people like Michael Gerber, The E-Myth guy saying, “You’ve got to work on your business, not just in your business.” A lot of people right now can’t fully work in their business, so it’s a good time to work on your business and on yourself.
You can work in your business in a completely different way.
When you’re working in a different way, you’re working on it in a new way to make sure that it’s more functional and responsive to the needs of the time. The fact that everyone’s at home and people are cocooning. They’re bored out of their gourds. Many of them are not able to focus the way they normally do. A lot of people are realizing, “I need to be online more. I need to be teaching more. I need to be serving in a different way, rather than always trying to make money from people.” We can talk about this at great length. One of the things that leaders and business owners are being forced to do is to say, “I may not be able to make as much money right this second as I was making two weeks ago.” Some people were making more. I know people that are 30% up this year-over-year, this month because they have courses online or they have things they can deliver. A lot of MLMs, network marketing are doing good. I do consult for a company that sells essential oils and home cleaning products. They’re cleaning up literally speaking.
For many of us, if we’re not able to do that, we need to be reaching out to people and letting them know we care. We need to serve them in some way that we can, so that when this is over, we hit the road running and people go, “These are the guys that cared about me when things hit the fan. I’m going to be a loyal customer for them because they care. They’re not just in it for the money.” There are a lot of options and opportunities here for innovation and growth, building our mailing list, building our client base, building greater customer loyalty and so forth.If you're of service over and over and over, everything's going to take care of itself because love comes back multiplied. Click To Tweet
It also brings into sharp relief that in times that are characterized by fear for many people, if not most people, that love takes an even more prominent place in the front seat. It always takes a place in the front seat. These times when people are feeling isolated and uncertain, to have anybody else reach out with an open heart because, “I want to help,” not because, “If I culture this relationship now, it’s going to pay off for me in the future.” That may be true but if the motive is, “I’m reaching out because I want to be there to support you regardless of whether we do business in the future,” people respond to that in a deeper way. That’s is authenticity, as long as it’s authentic.
One of the more successful people in our world of training and personal development is Deepak Chopra. He says his prayer every morning is to ask God, “Show me how I can be of more service to more people. More service to the people I’m already working with and be of service to more people that I’m currently serving.” If you do that constantly and you’re of service over and over, everything’s going to take care of itself because love comes back multiplied. It may not always come back in the form of money. It may come back in the form of ideas and people supporting you. It may come back in the form of all kinds of opportunities that open up to you that you have to then harvest. I believe that whatever you put out comes back multiplied. If you’re coming from a space of love, people respond to that.
I remember when I was buying a house for the first time in California, which was shocking because I sold the house for $150,000. It was 11 acres of land bordering a 2,100-acre forest. It had five bedrooms. It was a huge house, 30×30 living room. In California, a 1,750 square-foot house was $525,000. It was shocking. When I finally had enough money for a down payment, I remember we went to about fifteen open houses and signed all the books you signed when you go in. Only one person contacted us after that and it was a woman. She said, “I saw you signed in, so you’re looking for a house. Obviously, the one you looked at isn’t what you needed or you would’ve talked to me. Can I help you find your ideal house?” She wanted to help us find the ideal house that had a good school for our kids. We ended up in a house right across from a school. I walked my six-year-old across the block to the school. I never had to worry about anything. It was perfect for us. She did it out of caring for us, not out of like, “I need to make a buck.” I bought 2 or 3 other properties with that same woman.
What it makes me think of is a lot of people look at love and profit in the context of the business as the intention with each other or maybe even mutually exclusive. I should either love you or I should profit from doing business with you. It’s both end scenario that one is the way to the other. If I reach out because of love, I want to help, I want to give value to you, I want to help you solve your problem. I’m a business person. I ultimately want to make money as well. If it’s the nuances, that’s not the reason I’m doing this. It’s the outcome for my doing this.
It’s hard to separate the two. I go to the store to buy food and I have a need. At the same time, I’m thinking about what’s going to be good for my family to eat, what’s not going to be good to eat and so on. Love is the actual place that we’re all supposed to come from. When we do that, everything works. It’s the essence of who we are. The sun just shines. It doesn’t decide what’s going to happen as a result of it, if it’s doing good, why they’re growing stuff on Earth but not on Mars or whatever. It’s called the sun does what the sun does. One of my teachers once said, “It doesn’t look down on New Orleans and go, ‘You’re all sitting down there. I’m not going to shine on you today.’ It just shines.”
You know when you meet someone who’s coming from pure love. You meet Mother Teresa. You meet the Dalai Lama. You meet certain people that are in the business world. Tony Hsieh wants to have a good time and love people. In the process, money’s going to be made selling shoes. Shoes is an excuse to develop a company where everyone does good and have a good time. A classic story of Zappos where there was a guy on a call with a woman once for eight hours and it was a sales call. Most companies go, “You’ve got four and a half minutes to make a sale on the phone.” That’s not true there. The funny thing about that is here I am talking about it. I’m giving them brand building because they’re a loving company.
If I can be so presumptuous as to quote myself, “It’s just damn good business.” There are a couple of things that I’ve been thinking about in the context of the day. I’d love to get your take on and it relates directly to The Success Principles. You tell me if it does or not. It seems that these days of what I’ve been referring to as physical distancing, not social distancing because that’s what we’re doing. It creates these interesting paradoxes. There is the inner landscape that we’re dealing with and the outer. The inner is whatever is going on in my own internal environment, my own optimism, pessimism, fear, anxiety, whatever it is.
As an executive leadership coaching, I have to manage that not just for my own well-being, but because it’s going to enhance my ability. The better I can harness that and make use of it, manage it or whatever terminology you want to use, the more capable I am to reach out and connect. My inner landscape is going to affect my ability to connect with people, which is my job as a leader. People are looking to leaders now to give them hope and encouragement. We’re able to do that to the degree that we have hope and we feel encouraged. We’re focused on the inner and the connection. Ironically, it’s pretty obvious that the fact that we’re physically separated is almost forcing us to figure out ways to connect more deeply. We’re connecting in ways that we haven’t connected even when we weren’t physically separated. That’s one dynamic I want to set up.
The other dynamic is the tension between now and later, between present and future. When we’re in the midst of a crisis, whether it’s one that we’re all globally experiencing or any challenge that comes up under so-called normal circumstances, we’re managing that present. Yet as leaders and as human beings in general, we’re inspired and drawn by the future. Not about accurately predicting the future but the future that we want to create. The inner and the outer, the now and the later. It seems to me that a lot of the principles and techniques that you’ve been teaching forever since the time a house in California cost $200. These are techniques that are going to help us in these times and beyond. I love to hear you speak to those ideas.
I have a chapter in The Success Principles book, now we have The Success Principles Workbook that’s come out after fifteen years of the book. There are six principles within it. The first one is to know thyself as a leader. If you’re not aware of who you are, what you are, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, what your attitude is, what your vibrational level of joy, peace, harmony and so forth, then you can’t be that good of a leader. What people are looking for now especially is stability. They’re looking for steadiness. They’re looking for hope. They’re looking for someone who has a vision of a positive outcome. They’re looking for someone that can help them maintain their calm, not get panicked and deal with their fear.
I look at Governor Cuomo in New York. He has emerged as a very vocal leader in this time for his own state at least. He gets more time on television than anyone else because he’s saying things that need to be said. He’s got a vision of what’s necessary for the future. He sees the wave of what’s coming and so on and so forth. What we need to do is we have to be clear who we are so that we can connect from an authentic, transparent place. We have to be managing our own vibration and our own emotional state. Are you in a state of fear or are you in a state of love? Fear is the opposite of love, not hate. When you do the work on yourself and the more you do it, the more you realize that the bottom of every piece of work is love.
Everything I’ve ever done, any meditation and any exercise I’ve ever done, when I get to the bottom of what I want, I want to love and be loved. If you look at it from a self-esteem perspective, we all want to love and be loved. We want to feel competent. We want the world to perceive us as competent and feel like we’re worthy of being here, and then compensate us for our competence, which is called making a living. In terms of the present and the future, it’s a combination of mindfulness being in the present moment and knowing clearly what is going on inside you first.
I’ve been recommending to people on a lot of these podcasts, calls and interviews that I’ve been doing lately, set your cell phone or your smartphone to one-hour increments for the alarm to go off. When it goes off, stop, take a deep breath and scan your body. How are you feeling? Maybe your legs are numb because you’ve been sitting there for two hours freaking out and figuring out what to do or working on your internet. Stand up, stretch, do a yoga posture, do some deep breathing, maybe walk around the office or around your house if you’re able to do that and then come back. You’re then in touch with what’s going on and be authentic. If you’re feeling fear, acknowledge it. Don’t try to press it down, but then analyze, “What’s the source of my fear?” It’s always thoughts or images of the future that are negative, “I won’t be able to pay my rent. I’m going to lose my employees. I won’t be able to keep my car,” whatever it might be.
We will come out of this. We’ve always come out of everything. Everybody reading this has survived everything that ever happened to them. Think about that. For me, it’s Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement when I was a teacher in a black school. I was kidnapped once when I was in Mexico. I could go on and on of all the things, three recessions. We all survived 9/11. We will survive this. The stock market has always come back. Jobs have always come back. People have always got back. Everything grows again. It’s not like when the volcanoes happened and life died out. We’re not in the ice age. We’re the opposite. We’re heating up but that’s a whole other story.If you get one idea from a book and you use it, that's worth the whole book. Click To Tweet
The point being is we can and we’ll survive this. We as leaders, whether it’s a company, a tribe, a group, your church group, we need to be giving messages of hope and positive intention. One of the other principles for a leader is you have to have a positive vision of the future. One that you know how to communicate through good storytelling, enrollment and humor, so that people believe with both heart, mind and soul that the future will be better. I’m convinced that there’s a deeper spiritual purpose for this whole thing. We are realizing we are one humanity at a level we’ve never realized before. We’re much more interconnected on every level than we’ve ever been before. We need to be more compassionate.
For example, you have states that are saying you cannot evict anyone for the next three months. We have banks that are saying you don’t have to pay your mortgage payment for the next three months. We have the government saying you don’t have to pay your taxes until July 15th. Landlords need to realize, don’t be evicting anybody for the next three months. Banks, don’t be taking your landlords’ apartment buildings and repossess them. Everyone needs to be helping everyone else. Consider this as a pause button on your remote control. You pause it and the movie stops. We go around and do things for a while. We’ve eaten our dinner or gone to the restaurant. We come back and we start the movie again. If we all play from that perspective, we’ll get through this.
If people get greedy and if people get into fear and panic like what they’re doing in India. They’re literally evicting doctors and nurses from their homes and apartments because they’re afraid. The neighbors are afraid that if they come back from the hospital, they’ll have the coronavirus on them and they’ll infect everybody. They’re beating people. People are supposed to be self-quarantining. If someone’s out, people are out there beating people with sticks to go back inside. That’s the panic behavior that we’re seeing. We as leaders have to remind people to calm down. We need to know the facts. What are the facts? How does it spread? What do we need to be doing? One of the things that most people don’t realize, they do realize the statistics, but very few people actually die.
Maybe there will be as high as 4%, 8% of older people who have preconditions. The reality is all of us, your age and my age, we’re going to survive. I’m healthy and you’re healthy. We can eat better, stop eating sugar, stop drinking alcohol, exercise a little more and meditate. When you get into fear, your immune system goes down. Our good friend, Dawson Church, has this thing called EcoMeditation. Research shows that if you do that meditation for seven days in a row, the immunoglobulins that run in your blood and in your saliva goes up to 113%.
It is about twenty minutes of meditation. It’s really simple. You follow along. If there are statistics to tell you it increases your immune system by 113%, we should all be doing that. We should be sharing these resources. We know that if you’re taking in Zinc and Vitamin C, if you’re keeping your diet alkaline, if you’re taking things like oregano oil. Go online and type in supplements for the Coronavirus. There are polysaccharides in certain mushrooms that mute the connector cells on the Coronavirus so that it can’t connect to your lung cells. Everyone needs to be self-educating. People like you and I need to be sharing with people what are the things that they can be doing. There’s a Chinese herb called Yin Chiao. It’s been used for years. The reason is it has these polysaccharides that help kill the virus.If you're feeling fear, acknowledge it. Don't try to press it down, but analyze its source. Click To Tweet
Along those lines, we all know that online is not in and of itself a credible source of information because it’s online. We know that now more than ever. How do we filter out what could truly be helpful and what is essentially made up out of whole cloth by some people?
You have to look at the sources if there are footnotes. I listened to a Gregg Braden interview. He was talking about these mushrooms. He had all these sources from medical journals because he’s a scientist, about polysaccharides and peptides and what they do. I have a doctor that’s one of my students in New Orleans who is a virologist and she was sending me things you can do. There’s a product called IntraMAX 2.0, which is 451 micronutrients, vitamins, herbs and all these things. You can get that on Amazon.com. It’s not been overbought.
Look at your sources. Are they the World Health Organization? We always have to be a little suspect. The pharmaceutical companies are always trying to make more money with pharmaceuticals and they’re putting down often holistic things. The Chinese were very successful in limiting the number of deaths because they were using traditional Chinese herbs along with modern medical techniques. If you read a lot about that, there are a lot of Chinese herbs that are effective. I look for patterns. If five people I trust are saying the same thing, then I start to say, “This would be good.” Everyone’s saying you should take Zinc 3,000 units a day. You start to see patterns and that becomes what you want to look at.
I notice this for myself. I am hyper-aware of my internal environment and I’m hyper-aware of my physiology. Some of that is good and some of it is not. It’s like, “What was that little twinge? Is it that or is it just a twinge?” I’m noticing how that affects my frame of mind and how susceptible I am to hearing little bits of news that can throw me off of my game. On the one hand, what we know is that given the nature of the virus, things are going to get worse before they get better. When I turn on the news and I hear there are this many deaths with that tone of voice, didn’t we say that was going to happen? There are a lot of people pushing the fear and panic button, which I always try to translate them back into our role as leaders.
It’s taking that end. It’s not denying it. It’s trying to make sense out of it, but then being there as a source of hope and encouragement for other people. That’s one of the things that define who you are as a person, Jack. Not only in your body of work but also the way you are. You and I have known each other for a few years through Transformational Leadership Council. It’s funny I usually say, “Transformational Leadership Council was a group started by Jack Canfield.” I don’t have to say that because you’re Jack Canfield. That thing, you started where we got to know each other. I’ve had the opportunity to see how you show up. That’s a great object lesson for all of us. Let’s put this in the context of your body of work.
You’ve got The Success Principles, which had been out for quite some time. Now, you have The Success Principles Workbook. As a student of The Success Principles, I was thrilled when that book came out. The way that I read, and I’m still in the process of reading The Success Principles, is via audiobook while I’m stretching or exercising. There’s so much great stuff in there and it’s gotten me to rethink how I think about my future and my goals. A goal is that intersection between the present and the future. We’re setting a goal depending on the virtue of where we are now, then expressing it in a way in terms of what we want to create and that’s future. It strikes me that given the strong tension between getting through today and connecting with tomorrow, I’d love to hear a couple of words of advice or maybe techniques or things to try because here’s my fear.
When we’re in a time of great challenge, the worst thing we could do is relinquish our desire for the future. For a lot of people, thinking about the future is the hardest thing to do. It’s the very thing that’s going to give us hope. One of the things that I’ve been suggesting to people is this is the time to get together with your team virtually and have the conversation. What do we want to create? When all this is over, how do we want our new world to look? New world in the context of as a company, a project, a team or a family. I’ll speak for myself. Some days more than others, it’s hard for me to pull myself out of, “What am I going to do today and tomorrow with my business?” Then think about, “All those plans that I have for the Extreme Leadership Institute, for example, they’re not gone.” We’ve hit a pause button in some sense and it’s given us the opportunity to rethink it in another sense. How can we better do that and help other people to do that?
It’s a matter of spending some time to figure out how much time you want to spend every day in terms of creating the future you want to live. That involves several things. Number one, you’ve got to take 100% responsibility for your life. That’s the first chapter in my book. That’s the first set of exercises in the workbook. The thing about the workbook is it’s like a coach between two covers of a book. I realized a lot of people would read my book but they wouldn’t change their life. Some people did. I’ve had people read my book and say, “I doubled my income and tripled my time off.” One person said, “I’m now a multimillionaire in three years because of your book. Before that, I was homeless.” That’s a pretty amazing story.
For most people, they read a book and they put it on their shelf and they ended up with what I call shelf-esteem. They don’t have a book that they’ve taken and actually done the work. The more important thing is I’ve acted on. If you get one idea from a book and you use it, that’s worth the whole book. What I’ve done with The Success Principles Workbook is to say, “There are seventeen chapters. These are the most seventeen core principles of success. If you do this, you could radically change your life.” A lot of people are sequestered at home. We’re looking at two weeks, two months, whatever it might be. If you were to do one chapter and do the exercise, give yourself an hour or two and maybe every other day. In 34 days, you would have gone through the entire book and outlined your future and come up with a plan.
You know exactly what you want. You would have clarified your life purpose or your business purpose. You would have come up with affirmations and visualizations that you’re doing every day. You would have established an accountability partner. You and I were accountability partners. We call each other every day and I tell you, “These are the five things I’m going to do to achieve my breakthrough goal.” Everyone should come out of this period of time with something that when you hit the ground running, it’s going to be a major breakthrough for you or your company. It could be in the area of finance. It could be professionally. It could be relationships or health, it doesn’t matter.
In order to achieve that, one of the things my mentor, W. Clement Stone, who was worth $600 million in the 1960s, what he told me was to do five things a day toward the achievement of your major goal. If you do that, by the end of the year, you’ve done 1,800 actions to achieve your goal. My accountability partner is the person that’s going to hold me accountable to make sure I do that. I couldn’t call you day-after-day in the morning, let’s say at 8:00 or checking in and go, “I didn’t do that again.” You’d go, “Come on, Canfield, are you willing to recommit or not?” Eventually, you’d be tired of hearing my excuses and I’d feel embarrassed to call you up. The government says pay your taxes by a certain date because they know if they don’t, we’ll never get around to it.
We have to have some deadlines in our life when we’re going to do things. You’ve got to take the actions. You’ve got to ask for feedback. One of the things I teach is you have to ask for feedback. In my relationship with my wife, I asked my wife every Sunday night, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the quality of our relationship?” Anything less than 10 gets a follow-up question that would be, “What would it take to make it a ten?” I usually get an 8 or 9, sometimes a 10. One night I got a 4. I was not happy to hear that. I said, “What would it take to make it a 10?” She said, “Number one, don’t interrupt me when I’m telling a joke because you think you can tell it better.” It is true that I can, but I’ve learned that it’s not good for the relationship.
She said, “Number two, I want you to put the kids to bed without me asking you to do it. I don’t care if there’s an NBA playoff going on or Monday night football. I get them up in the morning and get them ready for school. Your job is to put them to bed.” The third thing she said was, “Have you ever heard of foreplay?” I said, “Yeah.” She said, “You might want to revisit that concept.” Did I like hearing that? No. Did I need to hear that for the quality of our relationship? Yes. Would most men never ask their wife that question? Yes. Would they find out if their wife’s dissatisfied? Probably not. She just withdraws, gets pouty and angry, but she’s told her mother, her sister, the women at the nail salon, people at the checkout line, at Starbucks.
The reality is I can’t improve the quality of my relationship with my wife, with you as a friend, with my clients, with my staff, with my vendors, unless I asked for feedback. This is a good time to do something you’ve never done. Most people don’t do that. I have friends that are calling all their clients. They can’t be serving them because of the thing they do. Maybe they run a hair salon or a spa and they can’t be touching anybody. They’re saying, “I just wanted to check in. I’ve never asked you, on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the quality of my massages or my esthetician’s facials?” Having a conversation, “How’s it going without the massages?”
There are some things you can do, “I also used to study yoga. Here are some yoga things or here’s a good yoga course online you can go to or here’s a beach body program you might want to do.” The idea is that we have a lot of time to be studying, to be planning our future, to be developing some new tools and techniques, some new concepts, some new ways of being, some new systems in our companies, as well as reaching out and getting feedback and spending more time with people. I don’t know if you ever get this as you work from home. I work from home but my office is separated. I’m on the road sometimes for three weeks in a row. My wife’s always going, “I want more time with you.” We have that now.
It’s the old, “Be careful what you ask for,” scenario.
I’m being called by everyone I know. I got a call from Cynthia Kersey who you know. She’s saying, “Can you do a podcast with me this afternoon? My community is freaking out.” I’ll do that but my wife’s going like, “You’re home now. How about can I have at least two hours a day?” This is the time to spend with your kids.
You’ll talk about that on Sunday night, I’m sure.
I’ll hear about it. There are many things you can be doing. In my book, each chapter is filled with worksheets and what we call make a habit. If things don’t become habits, they don’t change your life. Benjamin Franklin said, “Learning has not occurred until a behavior has changed.” It’s one of the most profound things I ever heard. You and I can spot all kinds of concepts from books, but if we’re not applying that to our life, that’s not learning. It’s head stuff.
I started meditating when I was thirteen years old. I’ve been meditating the vast majority of my life. I spent a lot of time in my younger days with my eyes closed to the point where it felt liberating when I stopped meditating a number of years ago. It was almost like a reverse effect. I was devoted to it and disciplined about it that I was literally doing this meditation program at one point for an hour and a half twice a day. This was in my late 20s, early 30s by that point. What I’m finding is it’s back to that managing the inner landscape thing, and also inspired in part by The Success Principles that I’m going back to that. Not as long, not an hour and a half twice a day, but back to twice a day of just sitting in meditation.
I have a certain way that I approach it. There are many different ways to meditate. I’m using that as a platform to think about the future. Not think about the future in a fantasy way, but to think intentionally about creating the future. What I find is that it is both calming and invigorating at the same time. It literally raises my feeling of resilience in the face of all the stress that’s coming at us all in our homes. It’s a very simple principle and the principles that you teach are simple. Maybe because they’re simple, they could be easily misunderstood. For example, the whole idea of The Secret was very easily misunderstood. People interpreted that as well. If you sit around and think about what you want, then Aladdin will pop out of the lamp on your desk and answer you your every desire. Whereas we all know it takes a lot of work. It’s the old Sufi saying, “In a sandstorm, trust in Allah but tie your camel.”
It’s a great quote. I’ve said that myself many times. I studied with the Sufis for a year way back when I was in my 30s. I used to meditate for two hours a day after I went to a Vipassana meditation retreat once. It became burdensome and I stopped. I did something now called the Hour of Power, which is twenty minutes of meditation, twenty minutes of reading something uplifting or inspiring like your book, Love Is Just Damn Good Business or my books, then also twenty minutes of intense exercise like high-intensity interval training. If you do that, we all have an hour because we’re not commuting anywhere. You’ve got this hour and I find twenty minutes of meditation. What I do in my meditation, I end my meditation by asking a question.If five people you trust are saying the same thing, you start to say, “This would be good.” Click To Tweet
After I meditate where it’s pure focus, pure breathing, pure focusing on light moving through my body or whatever the meditation technique is, I then pose myself a question that has to do either with my business, my future or my life. I might ask a question like, “How can I be of greater service to my Train the Trainer graduates?” I got an influx of energy and intuitive information that was saying, “A lot of them are scared because you’ve trained them how to lead live training.” All of a sudden, “They can’t do that.” They have to train online and they have to coach online. I haven’t trained them on how to do that. I’m going to go out and I’m going to do some webinars for them for free showing them how I do it, what they can do, how they can take some of our courses that they already have access to and walk their clients through that online and get paid for it.
If I hadn’t asked that question, I wouldn’t be thinking about them. Any question you ever have like, “How am I going to deal with this? How am I going to deal with that?” There’s something called the HeartMath breathing technique, that good coherence. Anyone can do this. You imagine breathing in through your heart and then exhaling through your heart as you inhale for a count of six and exhale for a count of six. If you do that for maybe three minutes and then ask yourself a question or a problem that you have like, “How can I deal with this?” Research at the HeartMath Institute has done and I’ve done it with my own graduates where I’ve given them a problem. I’ve asked them, “What problem do you have?” I have them come up with all these solutions they can think of.
We then do the quick coherence technique and breathing through the heart, then focusing on something you appreciate for a minute, and then ask the question again. Everyone comes up with better answers because you’re now tapped into your intuition, your higher self to source energy, whatever you want to call it. This is a good time. My mentor, W. Clement Stone, was worth $600 million. He was a good friend of Napoleon Hill. He hired a guy and I only found this out about a year after I was working at the Stone Foundation. There was some guy on the sixth floor. We rarely ever saw him. We heard about him. Every once in a while, you’d see him in the cafeteria. He was by himself. He never talked to anybody. He was very introverted.
One day I found out what he was. Stone owns several companies. He owned a publishing company. He owned an insurance company. He owned a real estate development company. When he would come up against a problem, he would call this guy on the sixth floor and he would say, “Here’s my problem. I want you to come up with a solution.” This guy would sit in his room, turn the lights off, go into meditation. He might meditate for a day or two or three. He would come up with some phenomenal solution that would save Stone or make Stone hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. This guy was getting paid $50,000 a year when we were all getting maybe $10,000 or $15,000 a year, which back then was good money in 1968, 1970. We thought, “How is that guy getting paid? What is he doing?” What he did is he thought at a higher level because he was meditating and asking a higher power to come up with a solution. Stone was clear that was the way to work. He hired the guy to do that for him.
He could have done it himself. I’m sure one of the keys to being as successful as he was, was delegation.
He did do meditation. I used to say he was a reincarnated Tibetan monk in a Republican body. He was very wise and he meditated. He used to read a biography a week of somebody famous. Always inspiring himself to think a higher level of thought. He was quite extraordinary.
I want to stop and capture that, so people can get it because it’s a very simple technique. In a time of turmoil, we find ourselves very much looking for answers out there, which is natural for us. We looked at the news, we look to our politicians, we look to leaders, we look to friends and families and saying, “What’s the solution to this?” What you’re suggesting is that while that might have its value, we also have a tremendous value being able to ask and answer our own questions. This is a great time to practice that because we have the time to practice that. Let me feed it back to you and tell me if I have it right. Focus on the heart, breathe in through the heart. You’re visualizing yourself breathing in through the heart through a count of six. Exhaling through the heart to a count of six for several minutes.
What you then want to do is focus on someone, someplace or something you appreciate. For you, it could be the guitar behind you and the story of your great guitar. It could be your wife, your child, your pet, a place of nature, a spiritual teacher. Whatever it is, you want to be imagining and appreciating that person. If you want to take it a step further, you can imagine sending them love and appreciation coming out of your heart as a beam of light. When you’re in a state of appreciation, some great mystics who’ve been studying this stuff for years have said that appreciation and love are almost the same things.
It was Meister Eckhart, who was a mystic in Germany, that said, “If the only prayer you ever prayed was thank you, that would be enough.” It’s being in a state of gratitude. I always focus on my wife and I start to smile because I’m grateful for her. She makes me laugh before we get out of bed in the morning. She says things that blow me away. One night, I was upsetting her in some way. We’re in bed about to fall asleep and she says, “I don’t think you’re going to die of coronavirus. I think you’re going to die of stab wounds.” We both laughed for about two minutes after she said that. I love her.
You invoke that and create that feeling of gratitude.
How you know you’re in it is you’ll have a smile on your face, then you can ask the question, whatever it is, “How can I get my sister to take more responsibility for her life? How can I stay in touch with my kids so they feel not scared? How can I keep my staff from freaking out? How can I keep my business? How can I make more money during this crisis than less money?” I talked to three people who are 30%, 40% above what they used to make year-over-year. It’s possible but you have to ask the question from a place of believing as possible. That’s key, to believe that it’s possible.
I teach that beliefs are a choice. Most people look at the world and that determines what they believe. I believe that your beliefs determine what you see in the world. There’s a Jack Kornfield quote that I heard. He’s a meditation teacher. He was studying Buddhist meditation in Thailand. They were walking through a rice field, a bunch of twenty-year-old students with this probably 50-year-old teacher. The teacher looked at this large rock. None of them could have picked it up by themselves over in the field. He said, “Is that rock heavy?” The younger people said, “Look at it. It’s huge. It’s heavy.” He said, “Only if you try to pick it up.”
We are listening to the news all day long and only if we pick it up and keep holding it is it heavy. We’ve all had the experience of carrying a box that’s so heavy. If we’re moving into a house and it’s at 15th block. Our arm starts to go down like we’re going to drop the box because the tension in our arm is not strong enough to hold it anymore. It only is heavy if we’re holding onto it. We see some negative stuff in the news. Can you watch the news from a place of, “It’s just information and it’s not directly affecting me right now. If it is, I’ll pay attention to it. If not, I’ll let it be and then get back to my work, my family, my business, my spiritual practices, whatever it might be.”
You bring up another ironic twist if that’s the right way to describe it. One of the principles that you teach, which the process reminded me of it, is that I’m remembering it as the gratitude jam session because I’m a musician as you know. What do you call that it’s almost like forcing yourself to express gratitude for absolutely everything that you’re seeing in your environment?
It’s a rampage of appreciation.
What I love about that is under the theme #EspeciallyNow, in a time where many of us are focused on the experience of lack that we have, to take that even in the middle of that to find gratitude in literally everything around us by focusing on it and see what that does for our own frame of mind.
I’m sitting here looking out a window. I’m looking out at the palm trees and the oak trees swaying in the wind. I had a good lunch before this interview. I’ve got books all around me to read. I’ve got water I can drink. There are many things in the present moment that we can appreciate. Some things we can appreciate like we may think our kids are driving us crazy, but our kids are healthy. They’re home and they’re rambunctious. If they were sick, they wouldn’t be driving us crazy. They’d be in bed sad and couldn’t move. The reality is that there are always things to appreciate. One of the things that I have to always remind myself, if you’re making $100,000 a year as many of the people reading this are, you’re in the top 1/10th of 1% of earners in the world.
There are people in the world living on $3 a day in places like India and Africa. We get upset because we don’t have cold Perrier in the refrigerator or we can only buy three rolls of bathroom paper at a time now because they’re limiting those at the store or we have to put a mask on or we have to wipe our hands with Purell afterwards or whatever. The reality is, thank God we have the Purell. Thank God there are stores we can go to. There are a lot of people that have a lot less than we do. By nature, people always want more. There are studies that show this and that’s great because it keeps evolving us toward greater creativity and innovation. There’s a time to stop and say, “Do I have sufficiency in my life?” That’s something our good friend, Lynne Twist, teaches. Everyone reading this, with maybe a few exceptions, have what they need to get through the next week, two weeks, month, whatever it might be. Start focusing on what you appreciate and then you feel better.
As we start to bring this in for a landing, one of the things that I’m realizing and it gives me great hope in these days and in all days, but particularly now. As human beings, we are remarkably good at screwing things up. The flip side of that is as human beings, we are also remarkably good at problem-solving. I have to believe that in a time where virtually all of us are focused on the same problem, the collective we is going to come up with a great solution. Some of those solutions will be on the macro level in terms of treatments and vaccines and all of that. Most of those solutions will be on the individual level. You’ve given us such great many examples of how we can all start to do that in our own way and in our own practice. Thank you for that. How should people best connect with you? You offer many programs and many books. I mentioned in the intro how many books you’ve sold. I’m not going to rehash that. You’ve got a wealth of knowledge for us to tap into. What’s the best way for us to do that?
I’ve got this new book out, The Success Principles Workbook. I’d love for people to go and get that. My staff keeps saying, “Keep telling people it’s just four cups of coffee at Starbucks and you’re not going to Starbucks anyway,” so go online and buy the book and do the work. If you go to TheSuccessPrinciplesWorkbook.com, in addition to the book, there are a number of bonuses. We’ve got ten free videos leading people through some of these principles. I’m going to be doing a master class online for an hour. I’m going to be giving away my free $35,000 keynote that I do for corporations and conferences. I charged $35,000 for it. I’m going to be doing some free online processing workshops. I did this in January 2020 as a gift before this whole thing happened. I’m going to do it again. We had 2,000 people on these calls where I led them through a process of how to identify and release the limiting beliefs that are keeping you stuck. Normally, people have to come to my live workshops to do that. I’m going to be doing that.Take 100% responsibility for your life. Click To Tweet
Also, you can download the first chapter of the book before it even gets to you from Amazon unless you buy an audiobook or something like that. There are a couple of other things that are free for you as well. If you want to know about our other programs, go to JackCanfield.com. We have online programs, which are perfect now. We have the Breakthrough to Success Online program. We have Train the Trainer online program. We have our Your Extraordinary Life Plan program, which is our YELP program. We have a special on that. It’s normally a couple of hundred bucks. It’s $47. We’re trying to help people with stuff they can do at home. It goes right along with the workbook. A lot of things are the same. JackCanfield.com and TheSuccessPrinciplesWorkbook.com. If you want to buy the book that way, it will lead you to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and you also get the free benefits of signing up for our master class and other things like that.
Jack, you and I have spent a lot of time over the last few years in great conversation late at night or around a fire or after dinner at our TLC, Transformational Leadership Council meetings. I believe this is the first extended conversation we’ve had virtually as a sign of the times. Thank you so much for that. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with our audience. I appreciate it. I love you.
I love you too.
- Chicken Soup For The Soul
- Transformational Leadership Council
- Chicken Soup For The Soul – Publishing company
- The Success Principles
- The Power of Focus
- The Aladdin Factor
- Dare To Win
- The Key To Living the Law of Attraction
- Living The Success Principles
- Coaching For Breakthrough Success
- The Success Principles Workbook
- Jack Canfield
- The E-Myth
- The Secret
- Love Is Just Damn Good Business
- Breakthrough to Success Online
- Train the Trainer
- Your Extraordinary Life Plan
About Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield is the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He has developed 42 New York Times bestsellers, and holds a Guinness Book World Record for having seven books on the New York Times bestseller list simultaneously. Known as “America’s #1 Success Coach,” Jack has studied and reported on what makes successful people different. Over the last 40 years, his compelling message, empowering energy and personable coaching style has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals achieve their dreams. He has been a featured guest on more than 1,000 radio and television programs in nearly every major market worldwide. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.