Archive for the ‘On the Law of Attraction’ Category

Like many others, I’m avidly following the case of James Arthur Ray. Whatever the courts find will have an impact on the billions of dollars currently being “earned” by the Law of Attraction gurus. Okay, so it might just make a tiny dent in the big picture. While I think the likes of Canfield, Robbins and Katie are avidly glued to their sets, I don’t think the typical student is even aware.

When I “fell” down my rabbit hole and landed in state of bankruptcy, my “teacher” (earlier referred to as Missus) made it clear that I was fully accountable for my own outcome. On the surface, I agreed with her as no one held a gun to my head and forced me to make the bad investments that I did. But something underneath bothered me. And slowly it boiled up and now it’s spilling over.

I’m now of the mind that education is a two-way street: The student agrees to be open (hence vulnerable) and the teacher agrees to contribute genuine knowledge delivered in the best interest of the student. The very nature of learning, after all, is suspending your disbelief and trusting your teacher.

Back in the day, I was a motorcycle instructor, and those two aspects (genuine knowledge and student safety) were embedded in our teaching philosophy. For example, some students were terrified of revving their engines. As teachers, we had genuine knowledge to the contrary, and consequently required the student to suspend her disbelief. Trusting us was imperative to her learning.  And we had to respect that trust and ensure safety, so we taught in in a safe environment — the parking lot — at relatively slow speeds. We had to minimize the potential for harm. (And should harm befall them, we were all trained in first aid.)

When a student could not perform effectively as a student (ie he couldn’t suspend his disbelief and rev his engines), we as teachers were then required to act in that student’s best interest and discontinued him from the course. It was our job as good teachers to monitor their safety. It was not their job as a student to choose their own situation. If we let them do that, we’d loose our job. They did not yet know what they didn’t know (to state the obvious) so they couldn’t make a sound decision in their best interest.

When CBC’s Marketplace found the Robert Kiyosak course practicing questionable teachings, it was because the contracted instructors were claiming false experiential expertise (claimed a tract of land was earning them passive income when in fact it was a dead investment) and consequently were not acting in the best interest of the student. Following their teachings could land them in the same dire straights as their teachers (who were, it seemed, using teaching as the tool to dig themselves out of financial despair).

I do agree that it was a tragic accident. It was never a planned event. However, categorizing it as an accident does not eradicate accountability (and landing it in the laps of the dead students is a travesty — and a slippery escape from accountability). I hope true accountability lands in the lap of James Arthur Ray (JAR). The students job is to be open; the teacher’s job was to protect their safety (this usually goes without saying) while imparting genuine knowledge.

Becoming a teacher is serious business. It can’t just be a money-making factory. It can’t just be loaded with “good intentions” (which, BTW I think JAR had). It also requires a tremendous amount of expertise that goes beyond the experiential background of just the teacher her/himself. And it comes with a very high degree of responsibility.

So while my “financial” teacher, Missus and her snake-oiled partner were teaching with good intentions, they lacked the expertise in BOTH their own experiential background and in light of the entire financial industry. I am responsible for signing the document, and they are responsible for putting the option in front of me in the first place, and for guiding me to the “learned” belief that these were good investments (they all failed, one by one by one).

The awful reality comes down to this. When it comes to dealing with the results, that lands squarely on the shoulders of the student. It is only me who can step forward with my current financial reality. The teacher remains untouched. Untouchable. I think the James Arthur Ray case is an attempt to make an ethically bad teacher (ie he failed to keep his students safe, and he failed in being genuinely knowledgable) be responsible for the outcome.

I wonder how many people, like me, sit in financial despair because of the teachings of the gurus. I don’t think that litigation is the answer. And I also don’t think regulation is either (since when is the government truly representative of the people?). I think  the real answer lies in awareness and education.

And this blog is my small kick at that big can.

Well, today is my birthday. Today is the day that I turn 46. Today will also mark the beginning of my blogging about my own process.

For anyone following this blog regularly, you will know that I too was taken in (“scammed” is another great word for it) by the Law of Attraction. My husband and I were “students” of what I now call quasi-gurus (those who had learned from the gurus and decided to make their own little fist-full of money teaching their watered down version of it … subconsciously perhaps having come to the realization that what made these gurus wealthy in the first place was not their own entrepreneurial ventures but their teachings).

The thing is, the whole reason why I fell for these quasi-gurus was anchored in the fact that I had known the husband of the woman teacher for about ten years. I trusted him implicitly — indeed I looked up to him — and through him I trusted his wife. The wife who I’ll refer to as Missus, had taken seminars from Robert Allen (Real Estate guru). She teamed up with another gleaming-toothed salesman (who I’ll call Snake) who had taken a number of T. Harv Eker courses (I’m assuming the one on teaching seminars as well). The two, I now know, were armed with their little success, which they puffily expanded in their free introductory course.

Selling us on a myriad of products, ranging from tax strategies to paper investments, the pressure was on to “start now,” as nothing was worse than financial gains delayed — nay lost — due to failure to act NOW, in the moment when an opportunity presented itself.

Before this, I had a pretty good financial situation in life. I had a credit rating of 825, which is in the top 15 percentile. Me and my husband had bought a condominium (mostly using my funds that I have saved for the down payment) that had doubled in value over three years. And thanks to a private contribution from my father given in perpetuity against my inheritance, our mortgage was pretty much paid off.

So I really thought I had a good foundational understanding of how money worked. And what the quasi gurus taught us made sense. And I’m one to shoot from the hip if it feels right. And their information felt right. They were very convincing. And even though I had little voices sounding off in the back of my head, we wanted the future they promised us. For us, but also for our newborn daughter. We wanted to secure a future for her. So on the “good” counsel from Missus and Snake, me and my husband tapped out our credit (their mantra is getting rich on OPM — Other People’s Money — which in this case meant the bank’s). We tapped into the “cheap money” available in our home (took out a second mortgage). And we purchased a range of “products” from their snake-oil business (which btw promised intentional wealth).

For about a year, we were held in the high esteem of these quasi-gurus, featured as star students for the other classes that came behind us (my husband was in their first seminar group, and I was in their second). They even went so far as to have me as a guest speaker on one of their many free seminars they held for bootcamp grads.

Fast forward a few years. One by one, slowly and painfully, each and every “product” or investment purchased from this “wealthy by intention” group flailed, then failed. They stopped touting our success as it was essentially a recognition of their profound failure. At first, Missus told me to stay the course. I just needed to stay strong, keep my mind on course. I could let a few failures make me stop investing (and of course the ultimate sales pitch is the frenzied cry, “If you stop, you’ll never get rich”), or I could stay the course. Believe it, and I will conceive it.

I got poorer and increasingly bitter. The relationship between me and my husband became strained. The quasi-gurus changed their tactics and started moving away from third party products and towards real-estate. And they definitely stopped looking in our general direction. We went from being their star students to being dust bunnies, frantically covered over least anyone should see us.

In our final consultation with these quasi-gurus, I distinctly recall Missus not-so-gently reminding me and my husband that no one forced us to make our decisions, that it was us, not them, who signed on the dotted line. And note that the Law of Attraction gurus are all notoriously good at this one: Failure can never be attributed to the teacher but rests solely on the shoulders of the student. (I am keenly following the James Arthur Ray trial to see which way this goes.)

I’ve given this a lot of consideration over the years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the teacher also holds a portion of responsibility. By virtue of being a teacher, you step into a trusted position of authority. If a teacher abuses her or his trust (say by teaching unethical concepts or practices), that teacher is also responsible for the outcome. If I as a teacher teach my students to hate a certain category of humans, and then one of my students goes out and kills someone, I might not have pulled the trigger but I am guilty of directly contributing to the death of another person.

Likewise, this particular agency presented their success under false premises. Missus and Snake each proclaimed they were financially free and were teaching this course from the goodness of their hearts. We later find out that that proclamation might have been true for a month or two, but not as a perpetual state of living. They also taught us the “five pillars” upon which all successful investments were based, and then showed us how each of their products lived up to at least four of the five (and they always had a great way of spinning the fifth). And then they’d backed it with the claim that their financial successes were all based on previous versions of these products. (In some cases, the revisioned versions were to salvage the first iteration. So essentially they were selling products in the hopes of salvaging their own original investments. Aka a ponzi scheme. Again, something we found out at a later date, when it was much to late for us.)

So, yes, we did sign on the dotted line. Not that accountability is an issue, as every single day I am confronted with the results of my signing on the dotted line. I have to live with my decisions, and I have to try to move forward each and every day. But without their “goodly” (snake-oil) guidance, we never would have made the decisions we did.

Fast forward to today. I’m working with a bankruptcy consultant. Our monthly cost of living is upward to $13,000 a month. It is unsustainable.

In an attempt to protect the money my father contributed toward my mortgage, I explored putting up their loan as a lien against our house. I consulted a lawyer. (Two emails cost me $180!!) In wanting to at least protect his investment, I  finally had to tell them, him and his wife, about my financial outlook. Not the details, because I’m still incredibly embarrassed and ashamed about having gone from almost mortgage-free with a credit rating of 825 at age 41 to bankrupt at age 46. But I did state that I wanted them to register a lien against our house so that they would be paid back should we have to go that route.

Turns out, the money came from his wife, so my dad turned it over to her. And she laid into me today, telling me how disappointed and troubled she is, that I’m trying to get them to register a lien on an already fully mortgaged house. She seems to have spun this around into me further taking advantage of them. And she’s laying it on thick and heavy.

Sadly, there’s nothing she can say or do to make feel worse than I’m already feeling. She cannot rake me over the coals anymore than I’ve already raked myself. I’ve lived in the depths of utter despair. Suicide had been a serious contemplation for months.

The money was given by them against my future inheritance, and it was given without a repayment plan. As the house increased in value, so to did their share. And whatever the value of the house was at the time of their demise, that was to be taken from my inheritance. We all signed papers to that effect, without lawyers.

And now my step-mother feels cheated, hurt and angry, and deserving an explanation. And I stand here in my midlife knowing that I’ve screwed up beyond repair. I’ve squandered my future, and I’ve also damaged my daughter’s financial future. My relationship with my husband is strained. And while the money was given with an initial intention of being permanent and without payment, it turns out there are tremendously thick strings attached. So when all this is said and done and put squarely behind me, when I can finally laugh about, “Oh, and remember the time where I got screwed over by … hahaha oh wasn’t that something,” I am determined to get this last financial monkey of my back. No idea how I’m going to do it yet, but I am going to pay that woman back and free myself from the burden of her disappointment. And firmly close that door behind me.

So the disintegration of family begins. Bankruptcy is truly just the beginning. And as far as the first day of my 47th year in life goes, it truly sucks.

I’ll keep you posted, because the only thing I have left is my story. And maybe it can help someone else travelling this same path beside me. Or prevent someone from going down that path in the first place.

21
Mar

Law of Attraction and Japan

   Posted by: Britt

Did Japan get what was coming to them? After all, they’ve obviously spent a lot of time preparing for earthquakes, especially apparent when a 9.0 earthquake does very little structural damage.

Okay, so before you get your backs up, the bottom line (and the top and the middle and all the spaces in between) is no no no no no. One blogger put it nicely in their posting, Japan and the Law of Attraction, asking the gurus to back off with their fervor and accept that there are natural acts that are beyond the capacity of any individual.

I can accept that how you think affects your world view, and in that sense, your thoughts shape your world view. Grumpy people encounter other grumpy people; happy people encounter other happy people. If I leave the house in a bad mood, I might be more snappish, rude and abrupt with others, thereby tainting (not controlling) how others respond to me; if I leave the house in a jubilant mood, my attitude may be infectious and also shape how others respond to me.

But the only earth-moving events an individual can actually impact is probably when they have an intimate encounter with another person. And then, depending on the size of that person’s … um … imagination, the actual experience of “earth-moving” may or may not be shared with the other person involved.

Naming Attraction a “Law” is enormously erroneous. As I mention in an earlier posting, a law can be only one of two things. First, it is an irrefutable fact that you cannot simply choose to defy. Try defying gravity when you get out of bed tomorrow. Given a certain environment (like existing within a certain atmosphere here on earth), a certain act will produce repeatable results. If I drop an apple, it will fall to the ground. End of sentence. The law only changes when that environment changes (if you were floating in space). You cannot mis-apply a law.

When your LOA teacher tells you that you are just thinking the wrong thoughts, back away my friend.

The second type of law is one that has social agreement, like the law that says killing people will be punished. This law changes based on situation (ie war, self-defence). Last I checked, there was nothing in the books about our universe  being legally obliged to reward a positive-minded individual with wealth and other forms of ridiculous abundance.

Naming Attraction a “Law” is ridiculous, really. At best, we should actually be calling it a suggestion. The Idea of Attraction, the Philosophy of Attraction, the Principles of Attraction, the Influence of Attraction all work for me. The Law??? Rip it up, run it through the shredder, scoff at it (and don’t worry, you won’t be hit by a truck in the seconds that follow).

There are things which are definitely beyond individual (and yes, even collective) control. Such as the weather, the thoughts and actions of a single tyrannical leader (Pol Pot of the Khmer Rouge, Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany, Moammar Gadhafi of Lybia, and on and on the list goes), or the sadistic child molester.

What is within our control is what we do with what has happened to us. No, we probably didn’t deserve what happened to us. No, we didn’t attract it. And if it kills you, there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. But if you survive, it’s really what you do with it. And pasting a smile on your face and faking PolyAnna isn’t exactly the way either. Before you can infuse the world, the universe, with your so-called positive energy, you’re first going to have to do the hard work of fixing what was broken. Physically and mentally.

And then you get on with the hard business of living.

It seems we’re well enough into the year where New Year’s resolutions start drip-dropping out of our minds. We let go of them quite easily with the adamant promise to ourselves that NEXT year will be different. Oh yessiree next year. But for now….

  • Gym memberships get placed in the drawer and forgotten.
  • Dreams of self-employment get overshadowed by the debt incurred at Christmas time
  • The vegetable crisper gets emptier and you once again have to push really hard to close the door on the processed foods cupboard.

I remember listening to the audio tape of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. In it she says that at one point (after childbirth I think) in her life she got extraordinarily heavy (140 pounds — I’d KILL to weigh 140 pounds again). And you know how she lost the weight? That’s right my friends, she “thought herself skinny.” She visualized herself at a certain weight and sure enough she achieved her goal in no time flat.

So what’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with me? Whatever our New Year’s resolution was, why have 98% of us already dumped it? Why do we do this every single year, so consistently that fitness companies thrive yearlong based on the reliability of January sales? Are we daft? Do we fail to visualize properly? Do we lack mental clarity? Or is there more at play? Is Byrne presenting only the tip of the iceberg, showing us the point of arrival and keeping the real process submerged?

It’s the same with self-employment. There’s a wonderful plethora (abundance if you will) of guru’s who are ready to “teach” you the “secrets” of instant success. Just drop $900 here, $5,000 there, and if you really want to succeed, buy the full package for only $49,995.

We’re so driven to secrets of instant success that the addiction part our brain does the quick math ($50,000 of knowledge will buy me $100,000+ of annual success, so how can I fail?) and quickly overrides the logic part of the rest of our brain.

In my book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman, I talk about accountability. Accountability, in a nutshell, means own your own shit. Law of Attraction gurus sell this as “You have attracted everything that has happened to you in your life.” Which is bullshit plain and simple.

Accountability means you own (ie respond to, deal with) what has happened to you. Then, you draw a thick line in the sand that distinctly separates what happened to you from who or what did that to you. So if you were abused, your responsible for dealing with what has happened to you and moving on in life; the perpetrator is the one with the serious problem that requires intensive therapy. If you’re overweight, your responsibility is to eat better and exercise more; what got you into the situation is bigger than you, and is a whole separate issue.

(Food orgs are corporations with a legally mandated obligation to increase their shareholder’s investment every year; human consumption does not increase at the same rate as shares, so food becomes more manufactured, more addictive — eg msg triggers neurons to want more even if the stomach is full — and more attractively packaged and marketed). Weight loss (from pharmaceuticals to gyms) is a multi-BILLION dollar business. The tax base is great. So why would governments want to regulate food and health into lower profits?)

Start looking within yourself folks. The gurus who promise you secrets and instant success are simply reaching into your pocket. Entrepreneurship is hard. That’s my most people work for someone else. Weightloss is hard. That’s why the industry generates billions of dollars every year.

There is no “easy button” in your brain. There is no easy button in life. The adrenalin you feel when you walk on fire or walk into an arrow or “survive” a sweat lodge is nothing like the dogged momentum you need to run a business, doing the same mundane thing everyday, facing rejection after rejection after rejection. If you want to walk on fire or walk into an arrow or do a sweat, great.

But don’t expect that hyped adrenalin to see you through the solitary slog actually required to get to where you want to go! and don’t expect “thinking” will achieve the same result as “doing.” Especially when your goal requires some really tough doing.

Sit in an empty room and “visualize” your favorite gourmet meal all you want; if you stay sitting until you’re achieved your mental goal, you’re going to die of starvation. Chew on that for a while.

So there’s this company out there called Butterfly Global. The actual website has come and gone, and the only thing still in existence seems to be a Facebook fan page.

It’s somewhat obscured, but the main driver behind it is a fellow by the name of Bret Treadwell.

When I first started down this “rabbit hole” in 2007, I was introduced to LOA, financial wealth “education” and Bret Treadwell (at the time, known under the ABF–or autobiographical feedback– banner). It was all new to me. I hadn’t heard of Anthony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, James Arthur Ray, Jack Canfield or any other of their ilk. (In hindsight, I was better off NOT knowing about them. Oy, the tuition of life….)

Bret Treadwell was introduced to me by the people running the “Financial Wealth Seminars” I was attending.

In his intro (which as in all LOA Guru cases is free), Mr. Treadwell tells the story of being inspired by God. He was taken (up) by God who told him many a secrets, and told him the ultimate way that people can hypnotize themselves into a state of permanent happiness.

It was a secret method used by the monks, the mere human was told. And then God whispered in his ear and told him this:

The monks had a secret. The monks had a system of anchoring all positive messages into everything they saw. When I am done with you, you too will know this system. And it will become incumbent on you to pass this along to all other plebes who deign to give you thousands of dollars for the secret.

The secret, God went on to say, is to anchor you messages into numbers. For numbers are all around you. And whenever you see a number you will recall a particular message.

The number-system you need to know, God concluded, goes thus:

# Sound Example
1 S, Z, C, X city, xylophone
2 N, KN, GN know no gnome
3 SH, CH, J, G shame change john’s giant
4 B, P better pay
5 R run
6 T, D to do
7 M money
8 K, C, X, Q, G kissing cats exist quit God
9 F, V, Ph for various pharmaceuticals
0 L, Th love that
Vowels, YHW and ING are free

This system is then further anchored into body and into a total of seven different places. For each additional layer of depth, another tuition must be paid.

I admit it. I fell for it. Hook, line and sinker. I paid something like $10,000 to attend this fellow’s “university.” In hindsight, I now know he is essentially teaching a re-packaged version of Tony Robbin’s NLP (neurolinguistic programming) melded together with Deepak Chopra’s enlightenment spiel, using T. Harv Eker’s train the trainer style. This fellow has done the circuit as a student and now figures that he too can teach it. Any why not? Really, Jack Canfield, James Arthur Ray, Byron Katie, they’re all knock-offs from the same system, just each brings in her or his own twist.

Here’s the kicker though. Years after I paid this fellow (and he consequently fizzled and died and is nowhere to be found on the Internet), I find what’s called the Mnemonic Major System, which has been around for about 500 years now. I stumbled upon it quite by accident. You see, I had paid Treadwell Technologies several thousands of dollars for a wide range of courses. I had taken the free one, and a second was eventually offered a few years later. So I set out to find him on the Internet. And I did it by plugging in his trademarked system, using the numbers 0-9 to copy all the constant sounds in our alphabet.

You can image my shock (and yes, dismay that I’d been had) when I stumbled across this Mnemonic Major System (MMS).

It goes something like this:

Numeral Associated Consonants Mnemonic
0 s, z, soft c “z” is the first letter of zero. The other letters have a similar sound.
1 d, t d & t have one downstroke and sound similar (some variant systems include “th”)
2 n n has two downstrokes
3 m M has three downstrokes and looks like a “3” on its side
4 r last letter of four, also 4 and R are almost mirror images of each other
5 l L is the Roman Numeral for 50
6 j, sh, soft “ch”,
dg, zh, soft “g”
a script j has a lower loop / g is almost a 6 flipped over
7 k, hard c, hard g,
hard “ch”, q, qu
capital K “contains” two sevens
8 f, v script f resembles a figure-8. V sounds similar. (some variant systems include th)
9 b, p p is a mirror-image 9. b sounds similar and resembles a 9 rolled around
Unassigned Vowel sounds, w,h,y These can be used anywhere without changing a word’s number value

So really, this one fellow’s “divine intervention” and subsequent conversation with God turns out to be a re-organization of a 5 century old system that I can only assume he found and thought he’d tweak, and sell back to the hungry masses.

MMS

Numeral

Associated

Consonants

Treadwell’s # X-ref

with MMS

0 s, z, soft c l, th (#5)
1 d, t s, z, soft c (#0)
2 n n, kn, gn (#2)
3 m sh, ch, j, g (#6)
4 r b, p (#9)
5 l r (#4)
6 j, sh, soft “ch”,

dg, zh, soft “g”

t, d (#1)
7 k, hard c, hard g,

hard “ch”, q, qu

m (#3)
8 f, v x, c, x, q, g (#7)
9 b, p f, v, ph (#8)
Unassigned: Vowels, w,h,y Free: Vowels, w,h,y

In trying to find out why Butterfly Global had dropped out of the Internet Universe (okay, so I could find cached bits, but nothing current), I came across this posting (which is also copied here and here), which reads:

This is a response to this question: (1) Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and Tony Robbins are all great. So is Michael Beckwith. However there is a “new guy” on the scene that I should warn anyone about…he name is Bret Treadwell and he is the founder of a website named Butterfly Global. This is a guy you should be aware of and be careful with, unless getting sucked into paying a ton of money to a guy with right wing political apsirations is your thing. See below:

As someone who knew Bret Treadwell (and this whole Butterfly Global project/website – AKA Treadwell Technologies) for many years I can honestly say that despite the outward appearance of th Butterfly Global website, there is another agenda. Bret Treadwell told me personally when he was working in landscaping and housesitting on Whidbey Island in 2001 that he seeks to “become a multi-millionaire within 5 years”. Well, that clearly didn’t happen. He told me then that his ultimate goal was to “never work again”. Back then he kep living in other people’s homes, suriving on his charisma and ability to charm others. He rarely “worked” and in fact bragged to me that it was amazing that he could get pretty much everything he needed without actually have a job.

Although I was his friend, it was clear to me then that his aim was to re-package Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins and others and “re-sell it”. What is more disturbing is that he also has a political agenda that is far right of the Tea Party activists, although he will rarely admit this publicly. I used to be his close friend. When I questioned his agenda and methods on Facebook, he quite aggressively attempted to silence me by sicking his “followers” on me, and when that didn’t work, he blocked me. Open debate was not invited, au contraire, it was discouraged, but in the must cunning of ways. “I invite debate” he would say – all the while enticing his loyal lemmings to verbally assault every quesiton I posed…and over time the effect of my questions was interferring with his attempt to bring in new followers, so I was blocked.

I never thought I would ever find myself warning anyone in the world about another person I know. However one of his ex-students wrote to me recently on Facebook and said, and I quote “I just spent a buttload of money on this guy, and discovered sadly that he simply reconditioned a bunch of other people’s work, sold it as “revolutionary” and when all was said and done, I was like “oh my god, what a con artists”. I wish I knew in advance, but self-help people are like boxed surprised, you never know if you are getting the real deal or a bunch of repeats at a premium cost. Only afterwards do you really see what just happened. I am sure some people like his “stuff” because Bret Treadwell is like any con artist, charismatic, talkative, controlling and he never lets you see it. He makes you think he is on your side, as his hand is in your pocket. Oh well, lesson learned!”

…So beware folks. As they say in the used car business, “buyer beware”. I used to be a close friend of this guy, and if he was simply reselling other people’s stuff and making money, I would probably not say a word. It is his life, his karma. But when he uses that money to then support right wing politicians, the outrageous tea party folks and crazy Ron Paul – all in the guise of being a self-help expert, then I think he is doing more harm than good.

Bret Treadwell and (his Butterfly Global project) is nowhere resembling “guru-status”, but is instead a salesman operation, a very charismatic, self-absorbed, very deceptive salesman operation. As I said above, “buyer beware”.

Noah Levine

I have a few concerns with the posting. First, I disagree that Chopra and Robbins are “good” gurus. It’s all snake oil as far as I’m concerned. Second, I’m not too sure that “Noah Levine” is the actual name associated with the writings.  But having said that, it echoes my own findings, that he is a copy-cat guru, selling a system loosely wrapped into a garb that’s over 500 years old.

Here’s the cached information from “Butterfly Global”

Hailed as the “Darwin of Personal Development” Bret Treadwell is best known for his contributions to the fields of human potential, peak performance and spiritual development with his proprietary integration processes of Autobiographical Feedback™ (ABF) and the Language of Enlightenment™ (LOE). Both of these integration systems are designed to create ‘instant’ as well as ‘sustainable’ change for individuals and the collective consciousness of people worldwide.

Bret’s work comes from a deep desire to significantly contribute to humanity through the fields of cellular biology, body-mind communication and conditioning, self healing, social engineering, psychoneuroimmunology, theoretical physics, the neural linguistic sciences and cell regeneration. In addition to his breakthrough ‘integration processes’ Bret also works diligently to create community support systems designed to assist his clients, himself and society as a whole through the emotional, physical and psychological challenges of personal growth.

At age 25 Bret was inspired to sell his first business and begin putting attention on his life purpose and hearts passion when he was told he had softball-sized tumor in his back. For the next 10 years Bret focused on the study of self-healing, peak performance and the creation of Autobiographical Feedback™ and the Language of Enlightenment™ in order to address what he saw as a ‘soft spot’ in the personal development industry and a way to contribute to humanity as a whole.

Bret recognized an undeniable abundance of great information that had the ‘potential’ to affect a more common experience of personal and global empowerment, yet he also witnessed that the ability to realistically and sustainably integrate that knowledge was leaving clients and instructors in the industry with results far beneath the potential of what was offered.

In 2002 Bret set out to BETA test Autobiographical Feedback™ and the Language of Enlightenment™ in order to see if what he had created could be a contribution to what he saw as the ‘soft spot’ in the industry and a benefit to peoples lives. In 2007, after 5 years of BETA testing across the US and Canada Bret saw that what he had created had the potential to do everything he had hoped for and more. Bret took the next few years off in order to refine and improve the support systems within ABF™ and LOE™, launch his new business Butterfly Global and spend time with his young boys Percival and Cincinnatus Treadwell.

For over 2 decades Bret has had the honor and privilege of working with organizations and individuals from all walks of life, including investment banking, indigenous peoples, military and police leadership academies, “at risk” and youth leadership programs, Fortune 500 companies and rehabilitation facilities across the board.

Bret has shared the stage with many peak performance leaders including Dr. Deepak Chopra, Mark Victor Hansen and John Assaraf. In addition to working from the platform Bret has also co-stared in the educational movie “Pass It On!” with Dr. Denis Waitley, Les Brown, Mark Victor Hansen and is included in the best selling anthology “Seizing Your Success!” with Greg Reid, Wayne Dyer, and John Assaraf.

Certified in a wide variety of change technologies and recognized as an expert in how the human body-mind interacts with the biological and cosmological rhythms. Bret lives a lifestyle that is congruent with the message that he shares. His idealistic intentions, willingness to fail, steadfast commitment to excellence and consistent action both on and off the stage are what separate him from the pack, draw attention to his message and set a standard for humanities potential.

Bret has dedicated his life to the betterment of his fellow man.

Behind the Scenes at Butterfly Global

It takes a tribe and Butterfly Global is no exception. Along with Bret  the visionary and creator, Tanja Diamond and Max Bellasys are in the background of Butterfly Global.

The technology behind Butterfly Global is so immense and pioneering that it has taken many starts and stops and different people’s input to will it into existence.

After many years of attempting to get Butterfly Global to fly Bret met Tanja and Max.

Tanja Diamond is Bret Treadwells’ right hand woman at Butterfly Global. Tanja is the Project Manager, marketing director and confidant.  Tanja brings a very unique skill set to the project as a life strategist and business/marketing consultant. She is the creator of Tantra for Business ™ www.tantraforbusiness.com and Modern Tantra ™ and is a co-owner with Max of www.Diamota.com

Max Bellasys owner of StarLogic Systems www.starlogicsystems.com, and Head Above Code www.headabovecode.com is a  technology systems architect. Max is the  needed brilliance to bring Bret’s dreams of the Geronimo system into action.

You will be seeing more and more of the amazing technology ButterflyGlobal has to offer in the future. Stay tuned as we bring you one of the most amazing systems for human transformation there is on the planet.

The makings of a false god. Watch for the trappings. Fought immortality and won. Selfless, though charges copious amounts for redundant information. Stolen wares. Heightened claims (not too sure who calls him the Darwin of Self-Development!).

I guess my point here is really do your research before spending money stupidly in pursuit of wealth. Much of the crap out there is repackaged stuff, and if you look into what it is that the so-called originators are preaching, you can find a ton of cracks in their logic.

Or, you can do what I did. Spend like an idiot. Then look on stupidly afterwards and wonder how in the hell you’re going to explain it. And look to see if you can find a cheap saddle in a second hand store so that you can actually afford to get back on to your horse — your own goddamn horse — and move just one step forward today.

Addendum

Mr. Treadwell was also a small contributor to a virally-intentioned book called Seizing Your Success[1]. You can read his two page auto-biographical story here. Note the shared attributes of all the other gurus: childhood suffering, severe adolescent rebellion, extreme “street smart” (this becomes the official “degree” for many, see Bill Bartmann), despair, whispers of suicide (aka wandering on the cliffs, contemplating one’s future) and the intervention of God saying something divinely beautiful, finding the one true path to happiness, and teaching it to others.

Note that I do not think Mr. Treadwell is an evil monster. I don’t think that of any of the gurus. I honestly think that each believes they are doing good for others, and have no issue with reaping the financial rewards. And there’s nothing wrong with reaping financial rewards either. But I do think that each is susceptible to mis-interpreting their own existence with that of God, or at the very least, a divine messenger of God’s. A critical self-analysis might turn up a success rate of less than 5%.[2] These gurus typically blame it on the student.

The reason why I am posting this really is so that those contemplating this path of self-development, and those deigning to do an ounce of research before they spend wads of money, don’t get sucked in as I did. Bret Treadwell is one name among many. I can’t blame a person for pursuing wealth on easy street because if we were all honest with ourselves, we too would be beating down that door. What I can do, though, is to put out a warning flag for the consumer.

If you brought a book written in ink that only 5% of the population could see, you’d demand your money back. If you purchased a product that worked only for 5% of those who bought it, or went on a cruise that could only house 5% of those who paid … well, you get the picture. Yet, for some reason we think this is different.

It’s not.

There is a gem in what each of these gurus offer. And these gems are readily available everywhere. These fellows (and ladies) know how to hide it behind a veil of secrecy and then charge $2,000 to $10,000 to $sky’s-the-limit for the unveiling of these secrets.

And let them. That’s the nature of capitalism. They have that right.

But you don’t need to buy it. You can surf the Web, you can buy a $20 book, you can go to the free information seminars. Just leave your credit cards at home…

NOTES

1. Throughout the Web you’ll find notes claiming that he “co-authored” this book, but really, his is a two-page essay inclusion. Co-authoring, in my books, is about sharing the writing of an entire book, not contributing two pages.

2. Apparently, Tony Robbins still “winces” that only 5% of his students get it.

21
Oct

How perspective chances our grandeur

   Posted by: Britt

Here’s a YouTube video called “The Powers of Ten.”

Watch it, and try to hold old to that misguided Law of Attraction” philosophy (or “Law”) that the world was created for you. We are but a spec of dust my friends. A magnificently irrelevant spec.

And the most fascinating part is that when you travel into that spec, entire new universes unfold.

Our so-called consciousness is only paper-thin. We cannot take in what is beyond us, just like we cannot take in what is within us.

It is the height of arrogance to think that everything exists solely for one rice-paper-thin sheet in the gigantic volume known as the universe.

We can’t even respectfully use our resources that measure only one kilometer high and one kilometer low in a sustainable fashion; we deplete the earth’s resources 25% faster than it can regenerate them. We shamelessly slaughter human kind in the name of religion. We watch mass murderers slaughter others in the name of themselves (and, yes, as Vancouver Eastside will readily attest, we watch). We stand by as other nations cut off women’s noses and ears for deigning to leave their captors (husband and his family). We let full grown adults enlist armies of children and stand at a polite distance in the name of politics. We invent the concept of money and then become slaves to it. We create governments to guide us, and then bow in servitude.

Image, the power of 10 only forty times, and all of this, yes, even you and me, all of this becomes insignificant.

Addendum

Just after writing this entry, a friend (yes, one who believes in the LAO) posted the following video. She finds comfort in this, so I’m not about to crash down on her house. But it irks me how much we anthropomorphize (give human characteristics to) the entire universe. It’s as though we were to pick up a spec of dust and define ourselves by the characteristics of this spec of dust. Heck, we kill a mosquito without giving it a second thought. That’s how much we value life that is not ours.

And another thing … while I’m ranting about this video … notice how the colour blue dominates? That is exactly what is wrong. The only reason why we see blue is because the sun is reflecting off of the moisture in our air. There is no blue sky that surrounds us. In fact, if you zoom out beyond the paper-thin layer of our existence (say, the power of 10 forty times), you’ll see only vast emptiness periodically interrupted by the shining of a star.  And each star will one day vanish. Leaving only emptiness in its wake. Not a rainbow. Not a blue sky. Not an English speaking God. Nothing.

(Which isn’t to say that our lives are futile. That’s not what I’m saying. Indeed, we’re lucky to have it. Let’s just put it into perspective.)



“Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in.” – Confucius

“Yes,” says the little man with the big fat wallet, “but if you just think of a roast duck and taste the roast duck and hunger for the roast duck and believe in a roast duck, it will indeed drop in to your open yaw before you know it. It is a law. I have decreed it so. My circle of uneducated gurus have decreed it so too. ”

“But,” says the fat man with the little wallet, “what if I stand on the hill with my mouth open for a long time and it still doesn’t come?”

“Then,” says the little man with the big fat wallet, “you are obviously not thinking the right way. Come with me my little fat man, let me show you how. But first, show you me your wallet.”

“Ah,” says the fat man with the little wallet, “but you have already emptied it.”

“This,” says the little man with the big fat wallet, “is how your talk of negativity fails to produce the duck. Surely there is a credit card in there somewhere. If you really love yourself, you will pay for your education. That is an investment with endless returns. Come, and let your wallet be one with me. And I will show you how pigs can fly.”

“Oh dear,” says the fat man with the little wallet, “I thought we were talking about ducks.”

“There you go again,” says the little man with the big fat wallet and a big fat knowing smile, “thinking too small. Thing big, big man, think big.”

The Law of Attraction is not a singular belief. Like religions and philosophies and musical tastes, we have a spectrum of flavors from which to choose. It ranges from the power of positive thinking to the belief that the universe is entirely of your own making.

Nor is it a singular course. Many (to most) of its teachers focus on wealth acquisition and accumulation, ranging from understanding your money blueprint (T. Harv Eker, Garrett Gunderson) to buying real estate (Robert Allen) to managing investment portfolios (Robert Kiyosaki). Others focus on personal growth (Byron Katie) and spiritual development (Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch).

The following table is an approximate overview of the personal responsibility assumption made to varying degrees in the Law of Attraction courses currently raging throughout North America and beyond.

I’ve tried not to pass judgment, as I am convinced that you can learn from just about anyone. While I would not personally take courses from some of the educational forums listed below, I would never go so far as to say they have nothing to offer. Each “teacher” in your life presents you with tools. What you do with them, how you apply them (if you choose to), and what you derive from them, is entirely up to you.

It is included here so that you can see the range. However, it is not definitive. What will make it definitive is your experience (direct or in-direct) with it.

Educational forum promoting…
partial personal responsibility substantial personal responsibility total personal responsibility
Philosophy You have some control over the outcomes of your life. You can shape the outcome of events that impact your life. You have created every aspect of your life.
Degree of action required Significant. Significant. Your thoughts are key, but only if you have the emotional desire to persist through and survive your trials and your failures. Insignificant. Your thoughts shape everything. That which follows is all a result of your ability to think the right thoughts.
Forums Books, counselling and therapy sessions, community workshops, one-on-one. Seminars, classes, leading to larger group. Large Group Awareness Training (LGATs).
Examples Positive-thought proponents, authors, counselors, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People

Events happen to you; how you respond to those events will have a significant ability to shape your future.

Jack Canfield’s formula E+R = O encapsulates it (Events + Response = Outcome).

Napoleon Hill advocated that you can receive what you conceive if you have an intense burning desire driving your action.

Landmark Education. Their philosophy is that personal responsibility begins and ends with one’s willingness to be central cause of all results in one’s life. Being both the cause and the effect is the ideal way to to live.

T. Harv Eker’s T > F >A > R formula encapsulates it (Thoughts lead to Feelings lead to Action lead to Results). It’s all you.

Extreme examples Your negative thoughts contributed toward your current situation. If you are down, it’s because you don’t believe you are worth better. Pat Robertson, an evangelical Christian suggests that the recent Haiti earthquake was brought about by the Haitians themselves in a deal they made with the devil to free them from the French.
Further research Irrelevant to the success of the relationship. Encouraged. The greater your exposure, the greater your chances at success. Not encouraged. The knowledge you will receive here is definitive. Stay away from the negative influence of fear-mongering newspapers and magazines.
Costs might fall into this range $20/book

Free consultation then typically $30-$50-$100/session depending on the type

Free intro nights

$100-1000/classes

$50-$500+/session

Free intro nights

$500-$30,000+/seminars

Seminars are frequently hosted by a high-profile success story, and run behind the scenes by volunteers.

Types Positive thinking

Therapy

Counseling

Community classes

Community classes

Seminars

Seminars

Several of the Large Group Awareness Training (LGAT) programs

Techniques Comfort zone is challenged

Guided learning

Journaling

Peer-led group study

Comfort zone is challenged

Mental breakdowns lead to breakthroughs

Call-and-response technique

Comfort zone is challenged

Mental breakdowns lead to breakthroughs

Deprivation (contact, food/beverage, bathrooms, etc.)

Group chants or call-and-response technique

Deviation from the group can lead to personal humiliation

Independent thinking is discouraged (you are here, after all, because you are a failure and you want to learn from the successful expert so shut up and learn)

Spirituality Not typically present unless specifically seeking religious or spiritual guidance Implicit or explicit religious overtones Implicit or explicit religious overtones
Qualifications/ Status Academic achievement Track record success Cult-like status of the guru

Group conversations discouraged

Challenging the teachings discouraged (you can be physically removed from the session)

The Interpretation of Failure Failure means you haven’t yet been able to turn it around and look at it from a different perspective. Failure means you are one step closer to success. Success is built on a succession of failures. Failure means you are personally being punished. You haven’t “played” at 120%. You are personally weak. Typically, more classes will help you achieve a better rate of success.
The Interpretation of Success You can live in your current circumstances and be a happier human being. You can persist through the rough times knowing that the plan and the journey will get you there. You will be rich.

The Law of Attraction, wrapped in its mantra of self-improvement in the names of God and Wealth, makes for a lucrative industry. In 2006, the research firm Marketdata estimated the “self-improvement” business in the U.S. generated more than $9 billion in sales—including infomercials, mail-order catalogs, holistic institutes, books, audio cassettes, motivation-speaker seminars, the personal coaching market, weight-loss and stress-management programs.[1] It’s also an unregulated field, which means it’s buyer beware.


[1] PRWeb (September 21, 2006). “Self-Improvement Market in U.S. Worth $9.6 Billion.” Press release. http://www.prwebdirect. com/releases/2006/9/prweb440011.php. Retrieved 2008-12-18. “Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent market research publisher, has released a new 321-page market study entitled: The U.S. Market For Self-Improvement Products & Services.”

The is an excerpt from my book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman (Chapter 8).

A lot of comments on my blog have been in reference to Byron Katie.

On the flip side, there’s been a resounding silence on the others, including Jack Canfield, James Arthur Ray, T. Harv Eker, and the “abundance” of Law of Attraction gurus out there. What’s up with that? Any ideas?

I followed Jack Canfield for awhile on Facebook, but dropped him after he commented that at a recent seminar he had one fellow come up to him and say that he had applied Canfield’s teachings for several years now and had exponentially increased his earnings.

Canfield actually had the audacity to brag about that.

Think about it. If their teachings were accurate and all you really had to do was change your thinking from negative to positive, then wouldn’t this comment be considered mundane? After all, pretty well everyone who attends these seminars (after dishing out thousands and thousands of dollars) has this level of success, don’t they?

Really?

Don’t they?

I suspect not. Else world hunger, poverty and war would be a thing of the past.

I’ve attended a four-day workshop given by T. Harv Eker. Well, not actually Eker himself but certainly a well qualified underling. I think he was well qualified. If magnetic means well-qualified.

Which is to say I endured the 30 minutes extreme hard sell infomercials scattered throughout the seminar. I, like many others, felt like an abject failure for not signing up, for not thinking with enough guts, for not really being committed to my financial success.

And if you study (ie read on wikipedia) the sales tactics taught by Robert Cialdini, you’ll recognize them at full strength at these events.

  • Reciprocity: Give your potential customer something for free (ie a four day seminar) and they will feel indebted to buy from you
  • Commitment: Get your potential customers to commit to participating at 110% (a mathematical impossibility by the way), then, well into the series, tell them that if they are really committed to playing “full-on” then they will continue to grow on this journey (ie sign up for a 8 thousand dollar course). An interesting application of this tactic.
  • Social Proof: Plant a few seeds in the crowd. Social proof would exist when you say that there are only 29 spots available for this particular deal, and only the first 15 who sign up will get the bonus gifts (whatever they are). How hard would it be to have a few volunteers in the crowd ready to make a rush for the back, inspiring those who are “thinking about it” to stop thinking and start rushing to the back with credit card in hand.
  • Authority: We’re all suckers for it. One of the worst offenders for this that I know of was an instructor for one of Robert Kiyosaki’s course (Rich Dad Poor Dad dude). CBC’s marketplace did an investigation on him, and all of the “investments” that he bragged about were actually abysmal flops or they didn’t really exist. If there’s someone on-stage telling us “this is so,” then we tend to believe them. By virtue of their job and their script, they have god-like authority. And they know it.
  • Liking: This is a measure of popularity. One of the first things that these seminar leaders are trained to do is to get you to vehemently agree with them two to five times in the first ten minutes of their presentations. One way they do it is to say that thousands had the opportunity to come here, and you were one of the few hundred who actually showed up. They make you feel special, so you like them. They’ll incorporate call-and-repeat chant’s (“I’m a money magnet”) to heighten your sense of success so you like them even more. And goddamnit of course you’re special. You special to their success, that’s why.
  • Scarcity: As mentioned in social proof above, you’ll often hear the “seminar special” being touted. But did you know that the seminar special typically happens at every seminar, not just the one in your town cause gosh-darn they love you? Or that you can phone their headquarters and “negotiate” (ie ask for) that same price.

Cialdini’s methods are all good. These gurus take them to extreme proportions to an exalted and exhausted audience. Indeed, you can blow the equivalent of a PhD’s tuition on these gurus, and not be further ahead than you are now.

I think it speaks volumes that Byron Katie inspires conversation while the other gurus inspire silence, both on the for and the against side. I’m not exactly too sure what it says, but it’s saying something important. Question is, are we listening.

The law of attraction “gurus” like to purport that all you have to do is look around you and you will see how abundant nature really is.

That’s a load!

Sure, you can look around and see the tallest trees in the forest, and you can see the dandelion pushing through the minuscule cracks in the sidewalk. But think about it. In order for that one tree to get as tall as it did, hundreds of saplings didn’t make it. Nor with others grow in the shadow of the great oak tree. And that incipid dandelion? How many dandelions got dozed over and cemented under before this one eeked through? Have you ever watched Planet Earth and seen the vicious struggle in the animal kingdom for the quest for basic survival? It ain’t pretty, my friends, and it certainly isn’t abundant.

The gurus view on Law of Attraction is from the top down. Napolean Hill writes of Andrew Carnegie’s success using thoughts-create-the-universe principles. Hell, Carnegie could have told him he ate nothing but mouldy watermelons and lo! that would have become the secret success formula.

It is our hunger for these secret formula’s that causes us to push the gurus high upon their pinnacles. And the irony is, for all their teachings, they are absolutely and utterly dependent on their followers’ lack of success, else who would be pushing them up skyward?

Consider Oprah, dear dear Oprah sitting from up high gazing down on her admiring masses. With a single show she can lift a motivational speaker from the grind of the circuit into the light of fame and fortune, as she did with James Arther Ray. But does she do that for all her followers? No, that would be ridiculous. Can she do that for all her followers? Of course not. Would she if she could? No, because then who would be left to feed (aka fund) her empire? Right. No one.

Yes, I know that Oprah started from the bottom. As did Carnegie. As did James Arthur Ray. As did Bill Bartmann. As did T. Harv Eker. As did ___________ (insert your favourite guru here). Yawn. The story is getting rather tired.

But what about the likes of the Trailer Park Boys? Or Earl and friends (from the wonderful show, “My Name is Earl”)? These are the dustbins of poverty, and these people portray the unfortunate saplings and rolled over dandelions you never ever see when gazing from the sun in godike wonder of the world you created.

The top needs the bottom to survive. The top needs the bottom as the platform to stand upon. And the top can spin it’s lovely sounding message that rings so sweet in my ear, but it makes it no truer than say the dramatics of the cast on a soap opera.

After all, have you ever noticed that the characters never even once watch TV never mind a soap? It’s because their adoring audience is doing it for them, they are creating the space for their existence. So they don’t need to perpetrate that truth (of watching the soaps) because their adoring audience is doing it for them. Likewise, we are creating the forum for the gurus to spin their golden threads because they do not want for money. That’s our job.