This week we have the pleasure of hearing from Jack Canfield.
“As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre – and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of more than 123 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise (and over 500 million copies in print worldwide), Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success.
Behind the empire Time Magazine called the “publishing phenomenon of the decade” is America’s leading expert in creating peak performance for entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, managers, sales professionals, corporate employees, and educators. Over the last 30 years, his compelling message, empowering energy and personable coaching style has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals achieve their dreams.
Affectionately known as “America’s #1 Success Coach,” Jack has studied and reported on what makes successful people different. He knows what motivates them, what drives them, and what inspires them. He brings this critical insight to countless audiences internationally—sharing his success strategies in the media, with companies, universities and professional associations.
Jack is a Harvard graduate with a Master’s Degree in psychological education and one of the earliest champions of peak-performance, developing specific methodologies and results-oriented activities to help people take on greater challenges and produce breakthrough results.
His proven formula for success reached global acclaim with his most recent National Bestseller, The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. This new standard in self-improvement contains 64 powerful principles for success utilized by top achievers from all walks of life and all areas of commerce. The Success Principles —and the entire empire of “Principles” books, products, coaching programs and branded retail merchandise —is Jack’s most recent offering to the more than 100 million readers he currently reaches worldwide.
Jack is a multiple New York Times bestselling author. His other best-selling books — The Power of Focus, The Aladdin Factor, Dare to Win, You’ve Got to Read This Book!, and The Key to Living the Law of Attraction , — have generated millions of bookstore and Internet sales, and have launched complementary products such as audio programs, video programs, corporate training programs and syndicated columns to enthusiastic individuals and corporate buyers. His audio program, Maximum Confidence, has sold more than 350,000 copies through Nightingale-Conant alone.
He is the Founder and Chairman of The Canfield Training Group in Santa Barbara, California, which trains entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders and motivated individuals how to accelerate the achievement of their personal and professional goals. Jack is also the founder of The Foundation for Self-Esteem in Westlake Village, California, which provides self-esteem resources and trainings to social workers, welfare recipients and human resource professionals. Jack wrote and produced the Goals Program, a video training program for California welfare recipients. To date, the program has been responsible for helping 450,000 people get off welfare.
Jack is the founder and former CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul® Enterprises, a billion dollar empire that encompasses licensing, merchandising and publishing activities around the globe. Jack’s nationally syndicated newspaper column is read in 150 papers worldwide, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul® radio shows are syndicated throughout North America. Chicken Soup for the Soul® has also been a featured television program on both the PAX and ABC networks.
Jack’s background includes a BA from Harvard University, a Masters degree in Psychological Education from the University of Massachusetts, and Honorary Doctorates from the University of Santa Monica, Parker College of Chiropractic and St. Ambrose University. Over the past 30 years, he has been a psychotherapist, an educational consultant, trainer and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem and peak performance.
Jack Canfield holds the Guinness Book World Record for having seven books simultaneously on the New York Times Bestseller List. He also holds the Guinness Book World Record for the largest book-signing ever for Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul. And he’s the only author to have won both the ABBY (American Booksellers Book of the Year) Award and the Southern California Book Publicist Award in the same year — honoring him as both an outstanding writer and a consummate book marketer.
Jack has also been a featured guest on more than 1,000 radio and television programs in nearly every major market worldwide – many of them on a repeat basis. A sample of these shows include Oprah, Montel, Larry King Live, 20/20, Inside Edition, The Today Show, Fox and Friends, The CBS Evening News, The NBC Nightly News, Eye to Eye, CNN’s Talk Back Live!, PBS, QVC and many others.
Jack is a featured teacher in the movie “The Secret”, “The Opus”, “The Cure”, “The Tapping Solution”, and “Yes IS the Destination…No is How You Get There.” He has recently been filmed for inclusion in two more films entitled “Discover the Gift” and “Awakening.” His Dream Big Collection infomercial has also been seen on television stations across the United States and Canada.
Jack is the founder of the Transformational Leadership Council, an international professional organization for owners of transformational training and coaching companies and thought leaders in the field of personal and organizational training. He has conducted more than 2500 training groups, workshops, and seminars and has consulted with and spoken to more than 500 school systems, universities, corporations, hospitals, professional associations and mental health organizations in 32 countries around the globe.
Some of Jack’s distinguished clients include: Virgin Records, Sony Pictures, Merrill Lynch, Monsanto, Hartford Insurance, Glaxo Smith-Kline, Scott Paper, Coldwell Banker, Federal Express, TRW, Ameritech, NCR, Young President’s Association, Chief Executives Organization, General Electric, U.S. Department of the Navy, Siemens, Cingular Wireless, Accenture, Children’s Miracle Network and hundreds of others.
He has been inducted into the National Speakers Associationʻs Speakers Hall of Fame, is a recipient of the Rotary Clubʻs Paul Harris Fellowship, is a recipient of the Golden Plate Award from the National Achievement Summit, and received the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Massachusetts. He has also been named Motivator of the Year by the Business Digest twice, received the Speaker of the Year Award from the Society of Success and Leadership and received the National Leadership Award and the Champion’s Award from the National Association for Self Esteem.”
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Jonathan: Hey, everyone, Jonathan Bailor back with an extra-special bonus Smarter Science of Slim podcast. We have a gentleman with us tonight who has not only had a profound impact on my life personally, but has pretty much set the standard. If you want to change people’s lives for the positive, this is a man who has been involved in the creation of over half a billion books, has written 40 New York Times Bestsellers, actually set the Guinness Book of World Records for having seven books on the New York Times Bestseller list simultaneously.
A lot of people don’t know this, but he also graduated from Harvard and he has a Master’s Degree in Psychological Education. We have none other than the founder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the author of the most recent The Success Principles book, and the man, Jack Canfield. Jack, welcome to the show!
Jack: My pleasure, Jonathan. Thanks for having me.
Jonathan: Jack, it’s such a pleasure to have you on. I want to just start the show off by thanking you. I’m sure you’ve experienced this; there’s probably 10 to 15 moments in your life that you can always remember. If someone were to say, “Tell me about some of the most impactful moments in your life,” these would come to mind.
Very, very quickly, I remember when I was in university, I was walking on a treadmill reading one of your earlier books, The Power of Focus. And I remember stopping on the treadmill and stepping off to the side so that I could highlight something. It’s a phrase that has stuck with me literally for over a decade now, and that is, “What would you do if you weren’t scared?”
Jack, I have to tell you, I mean, just a personal thanks and we will move on with the show. I’d love to know where that came from in your mind, because it has had such a profound impact on my mind.
Jack: I’m not sure where I got that. Probably someone said it to me once and it totally affected me, because I realize that – most of my life growing up until probably I got to be 30, I had a lot of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of looking foolish, fear of losing my money, fear of losing face, whatever.
Then I realized – someone once said, “How’s that working for you?” Evidently not as well as I liked because I didn’t have all things I wanted. What’s it look like to live a fearless life? Fear does come up; I can’t say I never experience fear, but I now know how to handle it.
Whether you feel the fear and do it anyway, which is one of the wonderful principles of success, or whether we use things like the Sedona Method, or Byron Katie’s Work, or EFT, there’s so many technologies now for releasing fear much faster than we had 20, 30 years ago. I was reading the other day, someone said, “Fear is expensive.” It costs you a whole lot.
For me, it is what would you do if you weren’t afraid? Almost everyone has something they would do. They would start a summer camp for kids, they would write their book, they would travel to Europe, they would get married, whatever. So that’s a great question to get underneath, what do people really want to do if fear isn’t stopping them.
Jonathan: The thing that was especially profound in that phrase for me, Jack, was not only is it powerful on the macro perspective we’re describing here, like just in life, what would you do if you weren’t scared, but there are very few rules that I have been able to apply even on a micro scale, just like literally in this interpersonal interaction, you may be dissatisfied. What would you do if you weren’t scared, even in the littlest things, what would you do? It’s so helpful, so I appreciate that very much.
Jack: You’re welcome.
Jonathan: Jack, you’ve obviously written many, many, many books. In your most recent, you distilled down decades and decades and decades of success principles that you’ve created. Can you tell us a bit about the book and then, if you don’t mind, I have five that I really, really like that I hope you could share with our listeners.
Jack: I’d be glad to. Basically, the book came about because I had had a huge amount of success in my life, especially with Chicken Soup for the Soul and Secret. So many things were happening in my life, I was like, “Whoa, why am I so successful?” I remember sitting in bed with my son next to me, he was about 12 at that time. We both had laptop computers we were playing with. It was a Sunday morning at about 10:30. I just started to write down, what are the principles that have been the secret of my success?
I ended up at about 114 of them, which was way too many for a book. I started combining them, figuring if I can only have maybe 50 or whatever, I’m going to cut this one out, that one out, this one out, that one out. Then after I looked at that and said, “Okay, these are the secrets, if you will, of my success.” I said, “But are they just idiosyncratic to Jack Canfield, or are these really universal principles?”
I then interviewed 75 of the most successful people in North America: platinum songwriters, Emmy-winning actors and actresses, people that were football champions, people that were top salespeople, CEOs of companies, inventors and so forth.
I asked them, “Here is what I think was helpful for my success. Look at the list and tell me what you think.” Almost everyone said, “Yeah, that one, that one, that one, that one, that one and that one.” I interviewed them for examples of stories of how they had applied that principle in their life.
That’s what, I think, makes the book so rich, is it’s not just my stories, but it’s also other people’s stories that illustrate these 64 universal principles of success. I really wanted to write a book that said, “If you could only read one book your whole life, but if you did what was in it, it would guarantee you success, could I write that book?”
I will brag and say I kind of think I have, and I’ll tell you a quick story. I was over in Manila, in the Philippines, running a workshop about five years ago. I was being interviewed the night before in a bookstore where I did a book signing for the book. The guy, at the end of the signing interview, I said, “Jonathan, that is the most interesting interview I’ve ever had. You’re amazing.” I said, “How long have you been doing this?” He said, “You’re my first interview.” I said, “Well, you, my friend, are a natural.” He told me this story about how he was totally broke, had lost his restaurant that he owned, his girlfriend left him because of that, he didn’t have a car.
A friend had dropped him off, he was going to pick him up later. He was couch-surfing, meaning he didn’t have his own apartment. I said, “How much money do you have?” He said, “A dollar and thirty-eight cents.” So I gave him a $20 bill. I had to buy a copy of my own book from the bookstore since I was in the Philippines and I didn’t have any with me. I gave it to him and I said, “I want you to attend my one-day workshop tomorrow,” and he did. I said, “The deal is, it’s not for free. You have to write something about it if you like it. If you don’t like it, no problem.” I come back two and a half to three years later, and in walks Jonathan in a beautiful suit.
He’s got five people in polo shirts with logos on them walking behind him. They were his entourage. He had become the number-one motivational speaker in the Philippines. He was making over $1 million a year, had two homes, two cars and a boat. I said, “Jonathan, how do you explain this amazing, quick transformation?” He said, “I read your book and I realized if my life wasn’t working and yours was, I was going to give it one year. I was going to do everything you wrote, every single thing in the book and if I didn’t become successful, then I wasted a year. But,” he said, “I did every single thing in the book, and now, I’m a multi-millionaire and I’m the number one top-selling speaker in Australia. Thank you very much.” I said, “I guess these principles work.”
Jonathan: Certainly an inspiring story. Did you dig in with him the business practices he put into place? Because I think so often individuals may say, “Oh, he just got lucky.” How would you respond to that?
Jack: Well, I don’t believe in luck. I think there are fortuitous events that probably occur, but I’m a big believer that everything has happened if we have created it from the past, about how we thought, the law of attraction kind of thing, the actions we’ve taken, the images we’ve done, the affirmations, the belief we have, the forgiveness we’ve done, et cetera.
But he literally said – the first chapter of my book is to take 100% responsibility for your life. He said, “I did that. I quit blaming my ex-wife, I quit blaming my ex-business partner, I quit blaming the economy. I decided what my purpose was,
I created a vision for my life. I chose to believe it was possible,” because it’s just a choice, believe it’s possible, believe it’s not possible.
He said, “I became an inverse paranoid,” which is something I teach, which says you believe that the universe is plotting to do you good instead of plotting to do you harm. He said, “I set goals, I went out there and I basically did the affirmations, I did the visualizations, I acted as if it was all going to come true. I started doing what you said to do. I took action and I responded to the feedback from people who gave it to me. If someone rejected me, I just said, ‘Forget it, I’m going to ask someone else.’ I persevered.” I think those were the basic ones, there’s a lot more in there. But he said, “I did every single – out of all 64 principles, I did every one.”
Jonathan: Jack, I’m glad that you brought up that principle number one. I’m so glad you put it as principle number one in your book, because that is the first I have on my list here as well, and that is take 100% responsibility for your life. I know you probably have myriad stories you can share with this one, but I’m wondering if you might be able to focus it a bit more on health.
Because I think oftentimes, it’s very easy for us to think that we are victims of something else. While that may or may not be true, if we don’t accept that responsibility to change it, then it’s never going to change. Can you tell us about taking 100% responsibility for our lives?
Jack: When you’re a young child, you’re six years old, you can’t say you’re responsible for everything that goes in your body. Your parents are feeding you what they feed you. But by the time you get old enough to read, you know, 16, 18, 21, whatever, then you are responsible for what goes into your body, whether or not you exercise, whether or not maybe you do a cleansing fast.
I do a cleansing fast one day a month. I eat organic food, I drink ten glasses of filtered water or mineral water every day, I get eight hours of sleep, I exercise. There’s so much information out there. We’re not victims. Whether we are obese or have diabetes, I mean, maybe if you had it at birth that’s one thing.
But second-onset diabetes, I know lots of people who get that and they drink too much alcohol, they eat too much sugar, they eat too many refined carbohydrates. I don’t like to sit in judgment of people who get cancer. I have a little phrase in my book or a formula, E + R = O. There’s events, plus your response to the events, equals an outcome. It’s not how many times we have to see that if you keep using a cellphone next to your ear, if you’re wearing one of those little Bluetooth things on your ear, you may, in fact be overheating the brain, which may infect or down the road possibly give you a brain tumor.
You know about EMFs. Are people wearing something like a cue link or a bio link or whatever around your neck that helps neutralize EMFs. Are you cleansing yourself? Do you live next to a toxic waste dump? Do you drink filtered water? As I said, I don’t know everything about why cancer happens. I think a lot of times we see in the research, and I see in working with people in my own seminars, they haven’t forgiven people.
There’s a guy actually in Massachusetts who mapped out the body and, based on certain emotional and communication styles, he can tell you if you’re going to get cancer, where you’ll get it. He’s basically mapped that out, and it’s pretty much the way it is. I think that whether you’re dealing with weight, or you’re dealing with chronic illness, or you’re dealing with anything, lack of flexibility, lack of strength in your body, all those things are things that we do have the ability to change our behavior, change our thinking, change our emotions, and produce a different result inside of ourselves.
Jonathan: Jack, did you ever have a moment in your life where you – what was the hardest moment in your life for you to take responsibility; did you have one?
Jack: Before I was fully conscious with this stuff, I bankrupted a company. I would have liked to have blamed my other partners, easy enough to do. But I chose those partners, I didn’t speak up when I should have sometimes. I think in retrospect, as you become more aware of these things, that blaming and complaining don’t really serve you.
Here’s the thing. If you take the position, I call it acting as if you’re 100% responsible, then what happens is every time you don’t get what you want, you get to ask yourself the question, “How did I create, promote or allow that?”
Sometimes I created it by doing – you know, if I cheat on my wife and then she divorces me, I created that. Sometimes we just promote it indirectly. We contribute to the pollution of the world, we are not the only one doing it, but we are helping promote that.
Or we don’t go out and we don’t elect politicians who are more aligned with our values. And then we wonder why we don’t get what we want. We don’t work for people, we don’t campaign for better food, we allow Monsanto to genetically engineer our food and then we don’t speak up about it, and then we wonder why we’re having problems.
So sometimes we’re a little piece of the problem, sometimes we are the whole problem. Sometimes we are just allowing things to go on because it is uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable to change your diet, it’s uncomfortable to get up and exercise in the morning. It’s uncomfortable sometimes to go to bed and get the sleep you need, or drink all the water you need, or to exercise when you don’t feel like it, whatever.
The reality is we have the responsibility to be accountable for ourselves. Am I saying it’s easy? No. It’s easy to write the formula E + R = O, but you’re dealing with 40 years of habits, cultural press, people telling you, “Oh, come on, just have a glass of wine,” or whatever it might be. One has to develop strength, one has to overcome one’s emotions. We eat very emotionally sometimes, but there’s things you can do in some of the principles that come later.
Jonathan: Jack, how do you explain to individuals, because obviously you’ve spoken to millions and millions of people around the world, that it might be uncomfortable to do this. It might be uncomfortable to eat higher-quality of food. It might be uncomfortable to drink more water. It’s also very uncomfortable to be diabetic. It’s also very uncomfortable to have cancer. It’s also very uncomfortable to be significantly overweight. How do we in our own minds help to realize that we’re going to be uncomfortable no matter. Life is not always comfortable, so is it just picking your pain, for lack of a better term?
Jack: Exactly. Well, Jim Rohn, who was a wonderful motivational philosopher, once wrote the words, he said, “The pain of discipline is less than the pain of regret.” I had a ruptured disc in my back, and I think it came from not drinking enough water, playing football and rugby, and running in marathons and things for years. I can’t blame anyone for that, I have to take responsibility for it. It was a very uncomfortable period of my life while that got healed. I know what pain feels like.
My brother died recently of diabetes. He was 62 years old, my youngest brother. The pain of his death, for him, he’s no longer here. And the pain in the family, the pain with his daughter, his wife is still distraught; this only happened a couple months ago. Shakespeare wrote a line once, I don’t have it memorized, but it was something like, “You can go walking willfully through life, or you can be dragged through life.” It’s your choice, but you’re going to have to pay the consequences if you don’t pay the bill up front in terms of exercise, eating healthy, doing all that. There’s no question that when you shift – we know, for example, that when you go off coffee or sugar or wheat or anything, it takes about 30 days for your body to adjust to that.
Sometimes those are really uncomfortable days. I remember my first wife quitting smoking and what a hero she was. It was a very complicated and difficult thing. She began to notice that when she smoked, she also drank coffee. So she had to give up the coffee at the same time so she could disconnect these two as kind of anchoring each other into her behavior.
It’s definitely uncomfortable to get up at 6:30 and go exercise when you’d rather sleep until 7:00, but think about how much better you feel all day long. You’ve had this experience, you work out and you take your shower, and your body is kind of zinging with energy, and you feel that great thing.
But you have to go through that awkward stage, this uncomfortable stage. I always say to people that everything you want that you don’t have is just outside your comfort zone. So the money you want, the relationships you want, the body you want, the health you want, the thinness you want, the attractiveness you’d like to have but because you don’t weigh your ideal weight, the relationships. I can remember I went through a period in my life where I’d put on about 35 pounds I shouldn’t have.
When I’d make love to my wife, she complained about how heavy I was. When I lost that weight she said, “Ah, much better.” I think there were times when she probably said, “I don’t want to make love because it’s too uncomfortable.” And she had a bad hip, so it wasn’t about her being on top. So the reality is that there’s a lot of benefits that come from going through that discomfort, getting out of the comfort zone. If people could remember that – just draw a circle and write “comfort zone,” and then write all of the things you don’t have outside of it: Relationship, money, health, freedom, whatever. And it’s because you’re not willing to do what you have to do.
Jonathan: I think such a big part, at least for me personally, Jack, of getting the courage to do what you need to do is not only accepting that responsibility but that transcendence of fear. It can be a kick in the face if you have to accept total responsibility. That can be frustrating but at the same time you now take responsibility, the burden is on you. If you can do what you would do if you weren’t scared, that’s a much more positive place to be in, it seems.
Jack: It is, and I think the thing too, Jonathan, is that there’s a lot of ways to ease the pain, if you will. Number one, if you visualize yourself being on the other side of it, being your ideal weight, being better, having more money, fitting into your clothes, looking in the mirror and feeling excited, looking at your scale and reading 124 if you’re a woman or 175 or 180 if you’re a guy, whatever.
Then also if you get what we call a partner, it’s much easier to exercise with somebody than it is alone. If I know I’m going to meet you at the gym at 7:00 in the morning or 5:30 after work, whatever, two things happen. One is I know I’m not going to be there alone, I’ve got someone to talk to. If we’re both a little overweight, I know I’m not going to be the only one in the gym looking like that.
Secondly, you expect me to be there, so now I’ve got this accountability built in. It just makes the whole ride a little easier. If I would go on a diet at the same time my wife does, or do a lifestyle change, which is even better than a diet, and have my wife do it with me so we’re both cooking quinoa or going on the paleo diet or fasting for two days, or whatever, it’s easier.
That’s why people do it in groups. That’s why people go to Weight Watchers, that’s why people go to boot camps, it’s why people go to spas, because you’re not the only one. So there’s a lot of technology we know, just in terms of human psychology, that can make it a lot easier.
Jonathan: This relates heavily to the 20th principle in your book, which is commit to constant and never-ending improvement. I want to talk about that a little bit, and I also want to talk about a paradox which I experience in my own life and I would love your insight on, Jack. I totally believe in committing to constant, never-ending improvement, but can you take that too far and live a life of dissatisfaction because you never perceive anything as good enough?
Jack: Well, the idea of improving doesn’t mean it’s not good enough. We don’t expect third graders to be performing like eighth graders, but I expect them to continue to grow. So maybe constant and never-ending growth might be better than improvement, because improvement may have the subtext that you need to be improved, so you’re focusing on what you don’t have instead of appreciating what you do have.
I’m a big believer in constantly acknowledging all your process and feeling good about where you are, including when you fall off the wagon. When you eat that chocolate cake at somebody’s birthday party, or you have too many glasses of wine and then you ate dessert because you weren’t sober anymore to think about it, forgive yourself and appreciate the fact that you didn’t eat the whole cake or whatever. Then make a new choice, “I want to continue moving.”
I’ve probably struggled with weight for the last, I don’t know, ever since I ruptured my disc. I couldn’t exercise the same way I used to, but I didn’t stop eating the way I used to. And now in the last year or so, I’ve been able to start exercising the same way on the elliptical, and with a bicycle, stationary bike and so forth. And also I’ve got a jumper now that I can actually do some work on. I do burst training on an exerciser, which is like a miniature stairstepper.
So there are things I can do now that I couldn’t do for a while. I know the pain of not fitting into a pair of pants and going through five of them before you go out on a Friday night, because you’re going to a party, before you find one that fits. But every single year, I have made progress in terms of my lifestyle changes.
Now, I take a 15-minute walk after every meal. There are statistics now that show that that’s a really good thing to do to lower blood sugar, to get the lymph systems moving, for cleansing. I drink a lot of water. I’ve got my iPad program to go off. I wasn’t doing that a year ago. So all of those things, you’re just constantly moving in the direction you want to go and really acknowledging yourself for the little baby steps, because it’s those little baby steps day by day that, I think, make change happen.
Jonathan: That gradual, over time is such an important thing, Jack. That’s what I like about the commit to constant and never-ending improvement. I’m wondering if you have any techniques, because it seems, or maybe it’s human nature, I don’t know, to say, “I’m just going to change everything tomorrow,” and then it doesn’t work because it’s too hard.
If we were to just say “I’m going to make a little bit of change every day, and if I do that for 365 days in a row, where will I be?” If I can do this for 3,650 days in a row, we likely have no concept of where we’ll be. I think we tend to underestimate the amount of things that we could get done in five years but we overestimate the amount of change we could make in five days. What do you think?
Jack: Here’s the big deal. I think trying to go cold turkey on almost anything, unless maybe it’s heroin, is a real big mistake, and people fail. Then they feel really bad about it and they say, “This doesn’t work, screw it,” and go back to their old behavior. But saying something like, “I’ll take a 15-minute walk after dinner every day,” or five days a week so you can’t fail if you miss one. I don’t like it when people say every day, because you miss one day and now you’re a failure. I think that little steps over time are huge. I remember calculating once, because I was working with some people who drank a lot of sodas on my staff, and if you were to cut out one Coke a day, it’s about 120 calories.
In ten days, that’s 1,200 calories, which is about an average day for a woman’s eating. That means like you’re fasting every ten days for a day. That adds up over time. Going to bed 20 minutes earlier so you get that – research seems to show that the HGH kicks in in your body at about sixth-and-a half to eighth hour of your sleep. So if you’re getting six hours, which a lot of us do, you’re missing out on the human-growth hormone which would take the protein in your body and help turn it into muscle, which we all know burns more calories and so forth, it doesn’t happen.
There’s lots of little things you can do, just putting a sign on your computer that says drink more water, or having an alarm go off twice a day so you get up and stretch or go for a 10-minute walk. A thing that I have, I walk up two flights of stairs, I walk down three. I don’t take an elevator if it’s only a couple of floors up. Little things like that over time really make a difference.
Jonathan: Jack, I also think it’s beneficial when we take these little steps, too. It has to do with another one of your tips, and that’s keeping your agreement. And this is principle number 54 where every time we make one of these, let’s call them healthy choices, it’s deepening a rivet in our brain. It’s actually changing our neurochemistry and deepening the “I’m a healthy person” grooves into our brain. Do you think that the more we see ourselves as a healthy person, the more these choices become easier and easier because if we don’t do them we experience cognitive dissonance and no one likes that?
Jack: Well, the three things that – we say it creates neurochemistry. What it does, as I understand it, is when you think the thought, see the image, feel the feeling or take the action, all three of those things, assuming we are talking about the same action or the same thought of “I’m going to exercise” or whatever, what happens is that it actually thickens the neurons. Think of the neuron like little grooves on the side of a bowling alley. When the ball goes over there, which it does and we don’t like it, it never jumps out, it stays in it. The deeper the groove goes, the harder it is to get it out.
We’ve seen cars get into a little rut on the side of the road and we drive it out. But if you get into a six-foot ditch on the side of the road, you ain’t getting out. So we want to basically deepen that groove. And we do it by using affirmations.
Here’s a point, too. We talk about results goals and process goals. So most people go, “I’m joyfully celebrating my 125-pound body,” or, “I’m feeling alive at 125.” They visualize the 125-pound body in the mirror, they visualize the 125 pounds on their scale when they look down, all that is very good. These are results goals.
Equally important, and I’m beginning to think maybe more important, are what we call process goals: Visualizing yourself actually exercising, affirming, “I am eating only protein and vegetables and nuts and fruits as opposed to refined sugars,” or whatever. So we are affirming it with our affirmations that we repeat every day. We’re visualizing ourselves eating that healthy meal. Then every time you choose to eat that healthy meal, you’re actually doing the same thing.
So all three of those activities. Because the brain can’t tell the difference between a real event and a vividly-imagined event; it has been proven over and over with all kinds of technology of measurement in the brain. The action, the visualization, the affirmation are all three ways to deepen that and, as you said, change the neurochemistry, change the neural pathways in the brain.
Jonathan: Jack, when you mentioned process versus results goals, I literally got a little bit of chills because that is something which, during my time here with food and with exercise, I’m seeing that as just more and more important. Because with many areas of life results, in my estimation, are not always linear. In fact, very infrequently are they linear.
So if you focus on results, you might have a good week. And then if the next week, you have a bad week, maybe it isn’t a bad week, maybe stuff was just happening below the surface, where the third week will be exponentially better. What are your thoughts on the importance of focusing on that process because results aren’t linear, and if you are expecting linear results, you are just going to be disappointed and stop?
Jack: Yeah. We’ve all seen ourselves plateau when we’re losing weight and get frustrated by that. We’ve seen ourselves backslide, gain a little back, you know, five steps forward, three steps backwards, but you’re still two steps ahead. When I’m running seminars, I will draw a line that looks like an up-and-down line, like it’s a wave, but it’s going up the side of the page at a 45-degree angle.
That up and down is kind of how our life goes: We make some progress, we backslide a little bit, we make some progress, we fall back a little, make some progress. But we’re still moving upward. Eventually our lowest lows are higher than our highest highs used to be.
It’s simply a matter of getting back on the saddle. I was in a workshop yesterday, I was co-leading with another friend of mine for authors. We had 20 authors in a room for two days. We were helping them figure out how to become bestsellers with their books. There was a guy there that had a book called There’s Just Two Choices. This was very valuable, I thought. He said every choice you make is either taking you toward your goal or away from your goal.
Every choice you make. If I eat this baked potato tonight, is that taking me toward my ideal weight? Is that taking me toward my ideal health? Or is it taking me away? If I sit here all day long at my desk and don’t move, is that taking me toward my ideal feeling of aliveness, or is that taking me away? If I judge myself for eating something, is that taking me toward where I want to go, or is that taking me away from where I want to go?
Am I forgiving myself or not? Everything is a binary choice. Do it, don’t do it, eat the cake, don’t eat the cake, exercise, don’t exercise, go to bed now, don’t go to bed now. I think that when we make the choices that take us where we want to go, we’ll feel great. Sometimes we’re going to make a wrong choice.
But sometimes you have to make the wrong choice to know it’s wrong. As I got more pure with my eating over time, I would have a protein bar that had too much sugar in it, because most of them all do. A half hour later, I wouldn’t feel that great. Or if I had a glass of wine with dinner, I noticed it the next morning. If I had a little bit of sugar, I started noticing it.
The more pure you get, the more you notice it. When you’re not so pure at first, you don’t notice it, and that’s part of the problem. We kind of get numbed out to our own sensitivity to the things that are good or not good for us.
Jonathan: Jack, that illustration of it, it’s either yes or no and there’s only two decisions, I think, typifies the message that we’re working on over here a little bit, which is the difference between the simple and easy. When you break it down, you’re either moving towards your goal or away from your goal. That’s very simple. But it doesn’t mean it’s easy to always move towards your goal.
Jack: No. I mean, listen, I still have the challenge. I’ll open the freezer to get some blueberries to put into my smoothie in the morning maybe, which I’m drinking less of those right now, too, because I’m realizing that it’s still too much sugar. But nevertheless, I’m going in there for what I think is a healthy alternative, and there’s a pint of ice cream my daughter brought home. She’s 18, she still does that. I mean, I have to look long and hard not to open it up and take a bite.
But as long as I’m holding this question, is this taking me toward or taking me away. But I do have the bite, okay, I had the bite. Don’t compound it by then making yourself feel bad about it. It’s not easy.
A lot of us are eating emotionally. We’re trying to cover up feelings we have. I grew up in a family where when there was bad news, you drank about it. My father came home, “I had a tough day, I need a drink.” My brother died, I need a drink. I lost my job, I need a drink. Then it was like you ate about it, you know, “I’ve had a shitty day, I’m going to feed myself a great meal to make up for it.” Well, then you ate too much. So basically, that was my programming. Was it easy to overcome that? Absolutely not. As I said, your body – go back to neurochemistry.
Your body has a chemical wash in the brain every time you eat certain foods. For about four years, every night at 10:00, I would have a craving for peanuts. I later found out that peanuts actually is a food that serves the brain. There’s certain chemicals in the peanut that are actually good. And I’m thinking late at night because I’m writing.
However, I have a little mild allergy to them and also they’re fattening, especially the number I was eating. What happens is I found out that there are better things to eat that are healthier. But for weeks when I decided to stop doing that, at 10:00 this craving would come over me.
Literally, the brain was going, Where’s that chemical wash we’re used to? It’s the same thing with people that have road rage. If you get on the road every day at 5:30 and you’ve given people the finger and you’re honking your horn, you’re secreting a whole bunch of hormonal and biochemical stuff, neurotransmitters are firing off in your brain, you get used to that.
So at 5:30, it’s like, Well, who can I get mad at? Because the brain is going, Where is that adrenaline? We’re used to it, we’re addicted to it. Basically, there’s a withdrawal period, just like coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, whatever it might be.
Jonathan: Jack, it seems like there are individuals in life who have a natural penchant towards self improvement, and this idea of constantly improving is just innately appealing to them. But then there are individuals who don’t. You must deal with this all over the place. You are like the man when it comes to these kinds of self-improvement messages. But then again, there is this counterculture in which it’s cool to not care, and these self-destructive behaviors. How do you react? Do you engage? How do you react to that?
Jack: Well, if someone comes in my workshop, I address it. If I’m doing a seminar in-house for a corporation, I address it. I don’t go around the world beating people up in social situations that didn’t ask for me to be their consultant, I gave that up a long time ago. When the student is ready, the teacher appears kind of thing. So I’m always available, but I’m not going to be pushing things down people’s throats. There was a wonderful book written – gosh, I cannot remember the name of it right now – but there was a woman, I think her name was Carol Dweck. She wrote a book…
Jonathan: Oh, yes, MindSet. She was on our show. She’s wonderful.
Jack: And basically, she’s answered that question. There are people who believe that working on yourself doesn’t actually accomplish anything. That’s a belief, that’s an assumption. That’s a context they live their life from. Other people like me and you, and most people listening to this show, believe that if we work on ourselves, we actually get value, we can improve, we can raise our IQ, even.
A lot of people are in that mindset that there’s no point in trying, it doesn’t work.
The other thing you have to be careful of is that some of us love this world of human potential. But there might be a guy down the street who is just working on his car every night and he’s a little overweight or whatever, but he’s reading magazines on how to soup up his car, he wants to get better at that, he wants to be able to drag faster than anybody else. Most people are always looking to improve, but maybe just not in the arenas we think they should be.
Jonathan: Absolutely, absolutely. Jack, what do we do when – because I hear this a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, especially with the lifestyle changes involved with exercising and eating. What do we do when we are trying to take responsibility for our lives, we’re trying to overcome fear, we’re trying to constantly never-ending improve but those who matter most to us don’t support that effort, what do we do?
Jack: Say, “Thank you for your contribution,” and you ignore them. Because see, what happens is we’re so addicted to other people’s approval. We’re so addicted to having no friction in our life. You talked about sometimes life is hard, sometimes change is difficult. And sometimes family relationships and friends and work, there’s conflict, there’s teasing, there’s judgment. That’s just part of life.
We have to give up our need to have everyone approve of us, love us. My daughter wanted to have a party tonight, she’s 18. She wanted to have alcohol there because her boyfriend’s 21. And I said, “No. They can come over, you can have fun but there’s no drinking in the house because there’s too many people under the age of 18, it’s not good for your brain development. And secondly, more importantly, I’d be liable if anything happens to them, legally, if they drink here and get in an automobile accident on the way home. I’m not willing to expose myself to that.” She didn’t want to hear that. She kind of walked out like, “Boo, you don’t love me.”
I do love her, she doesn’t get it yet on that particular issue. Someday she will, perhaps. But I don’t need her to love me every minute to feel like I’m okay. There’s an interesting disease among single parents, it’s called emotional incest. It’s when you’re getting your emotional needs met from your children instead of from another adult. You see that happen a lot because women or men don’t want to go out and risk again.
So they start asking their children to be there for them in a way that they shouldn’t be there. I’m not talking sexually, I’m talking emotionally. I don’t want to upset my son by saying no because then he might not like me. The same thing is true with anything. I remember when I wanted to start my foundation. My wife said, “You can’t start a foundation, you don’t have any money, foundations are started by rich people.”
I said, “Well, we’ll go out and we’ll raise some money.” “You don’t have the time, we don’t have…” I said, “Well, thank you for your contribution. I know you really care, you’re trying to help me, but right now it’s not the kind of help I want, and I appreciate you sharing your opinion with me.” And I went off and I started the foundation. That foundation has got over 500,000 people off welfare in the state of California. It’s just called so what, do it anyway.
Jonathan: I love it, I love it, Jack. Honestly, I could talk to you for hours and hours and hours, but I know that your time is incredibly scarce, so I really want to be respectful of it. Folks, obviously, if you want to learn more about Jack, there is no shortage of books he has written or material he has created. But, of course, there is his website, jackcanfield.com. Jack, you have an upcoming success training seminar in August, right?
Jack: Yes. To go back to one of your questions, it’s easy to talk about this stuff and it is harder to do it, I want to acknowledge that. So we have created a seminar, it’s five days long, only do it once a year, so this is the only time we do it. This year it’s August 5th to 9th. It’s in Tucson, Arizona. It’s at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
But we get the rooms for $95 a night because it’s August in Tucson. We do everything inside but it doesn’t matter, it’s a great property. We’ll get a couple hundred people and we spend five days not talking about this stuff but actually doing exercises, guided visualizations. One of the things that a lot of people that overeat, they have low self-esteem, they kind of fill up themselves with food instead of esteem, and they’re not getting the hugs they need, they are not getting the attention they need from other people, they’re not tapping into their essence through meditation and visualizations.
So we go through the week teaching people how to get in touch with their purpose, clarify their vision, believe that it’s possible to do. We really use a lot of new technologies like EFT and Sedona to release any limiting beliefs that are in the way and any negative emotional trauma. We can go back – you know, 85% of what’s blocking people are decisions and beliefs they took on between the age of three and eight.
We now have the technology that within 20 minutes we can go back and identify that and release it so it never runs you again. Plus creating accountability partners; we talked earlier about the importance of having someone to hold you accountable, to do things with, et cetera.
So all of that happens during that week. I’ve had people lose six pounds during the course of the week. I’ve had people lose 65 pounds in the six months afterwards just using the principles and techniques that we teach, but you’re experiencing them and not just hearing about it.
It’s a transformational training. It’s called Breakthrough to Success. Because it really is a dramatic breakthrough. Just go to, as you said, canfieldtrainings.com, or you can go to jackcanfield.com and hit the button on trainings. We’d love to see you there. If you’re listening to this call and you call my office with the phone number that will be on the website, we can actually give you a couple hundred dollars off on the price. Just mention that you were on the call with me and Jonathan.
Jonathan: Thank you so much, Jack. I appreciate that you used the word “transformational” there. I think so often, whether it be physiological or psychological or even spiritual, we just try to do the same thing over and over again and we wonder why we get the same results. It seems like what you are trying to do in this five-day seminar is it’s going to give you a whole new system that you can work with.
Jack: Correct. And that’s really the key, I’m glad you brought that up. It’s a system. A system is something that produces a predictable, consistent result. You have a system for cleaning your car at the car wash, it always produces a clean car, as opposed to my teenager with a bucket, it’s not as consistent because there’s not a system there. Basically, it is a system. Anything that anyone listening to this call wants more of, we can help you get it.
If there is something you want less of, we can help you produce that. It really is profound. Go to the website and look at the success stories that are there. There’s about 50 of them listed from the last couple of years. There’s also an interview with Marci Shimoff and myself, two of us from the The Secret, that you can download for free just for going there and getting into the site. Lots of valuable resources. My book’s also there, self-esteem and peak-performance tapes. And thanks for the opportunity to let people know about them.
Jonathan: Thank you so much, Jack. Again, I’ll give one other plug, and that’s for one of your earlier books, The Power of Focus. I really, really like that one. While you’re up there, grab a copy of Power of Focus as well, all right?
Jack: Thank you.
Jonathan: Thank you, Jack. And listeners, I hope you enjoyed today’s call as much as I did. And please remember this week and every week after, eat smarter, exercise smarter and live better. Talk with you soon.
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