Lessons Learned from Jack Canfield

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“Most everything that you want is just outside your comfort zone.” — Jack Canfield

One of the interesting people I met this year is Jack Canfield.

Jack Canfield holds the Guinness Book World Record for having 7 books simultaneously on the New York Times Bestseller List, beating out Stephen King.

I didn’t realize who Jack Canfield was until somebody mentioned Chicken Soup for the Soul

Jack Canfield is an Extraordinary Author of Success

I later realized Jack Canfield is also the author of The Power of Focus: What the Worlds Greatest Achievers Know about The Secret of Financial Freedom and Success, which I’ve had on my bookshelf for years.

It turns out Jack is a top success coach and the author of many successful books, including The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Success Principles turned out to be the heart of the presentation.

Since I didn’t connect the dots on who he was, I didn’t really have any expectations going in.   All I was planning on doing was making the most of the session.  It turned out to be an incredible presentation, jam packed with little nuggets of insight.   I ended up taking a lot of notes, but here’s my distillation.

10 Top Highlights of Jack Canfield’s Presentation

Here are my favorite points from the talk:

  1. Success is a combination to a lock.  You need to find what works for you.
  2. Use the 30 Day Principle.   Practice 30 days with no interrupt to sink in a new habit.
  3. Use the rule of 5.  Take 5 actions each day towards your goal.
  4. Summon a waterfall.  When you need extra strength, summon a waterfall to surround you.  It’s a visualization technique to lift you up against negative thinking.  Picture it like the fountain in front of the Belagio.
  5. If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.
  6. Give up all blaming and complaining.
  7. Make an irritation list.  List all the things that are bothering you and then work your list.
  8. Olympic athletes use visualization to improve their performance.  You can too.
  9. Who’s worrying you? You are.
  10. It’s not what people say to you, it’s what you say to yourself.

Keys to Success

At the end of the presentation, Jack outlined a crisp set of keys to effectiveness:

  1. Take 100% responsible for your life.
  2. Be clear on what you want. 
  3. Align with your purpose.
  4. Visualize – open up possibilities.
  5. Action can be wrong.   That’s OK.  It’s important to take action, learn, and change your approach.
  6. Respond to feedback: 1) what did I get on a scale of 1-10? 2) what would it take to get a 10?
  7. Get your steps in a row.
  8. Persevere.  For example, Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected by 124 publishers.
  9. Celebrate, give thanks, and appreciate .

Key Take Aways

Here are some key points from my notes:

  1. Find the combination to a lock.   if you know the combination to the lock, it doesn’t matter who you are; it has to open for you – Orrin c. Hudson – chess champion.
  2. How to get yourself to do it.  The key to sustainable results is taking action.  Get back into inspired action with renewed energy and inspiration.
  3. 3 secrets of success.  1) getup early 2) work hard 3) find oil – J.Paul Getty
  4. Learn the 64 success principles.   It takes 2-3 years to master these .  The promise is that you’ll 1) double your results 2) reduce stress and 3) have more balance and fun.
  5. If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.  Take 100% responsibility for your life and your results.  "You can’t delegate push ups." – Jim Rohn
  6. Think positive thoughts and visualize.  Decide what you want to vision
  7. Learn visualization.  Olympic athletes use it to change their game.
  8. Ask for better feedback.  Ask for how you rate out of a 10 and ask for 3 suggestions on how to get to a 10.
  9. Eliminate the phrase I can’t.  Your power is your ability to respond.  Act as if it’s a choice!  Attitude is everything.
  10. Take responsibility for what’s showing up.  Whatever shows up, ask, how did I let that happen?  How do I continue to let that happen?  1) Allowing  2) contributing
  11. Give up all blaming  If you’re a victim, then no power.  Some people are late to everything and always have an excuse.  Don’t blame, respond.
  12. Give up all complaining.  Martin Luther’s speech wasn’t – “I have a complaint.”  Complaining is a bad mental habit.  If you complain you stay stuck.  You end up talking to somebody who can’t do anything about it.  You talk about your wife at work and you talk about work to your wife.  Get out of complaining mode into action mode.  To take action, 1) ask what do I want? and 2) ask what will it take to get it?.  Identify 3 action steps and get suggestions from friends.
  13. Take a 21 day challenge.  Give up all blaming, complaining, justifying, defending, excuse making.
  14. Learn the Success Formula.  The success formula is Event (+) Response = Outcome … or in short form, E+R = O.  The key is to change your response to events
  15. Don’t blame the event, change your response.  Does it make sense to blame the event?  No.  Change the response.  Your power is in your response.
  16. Model success.  Find somebody who already did it.
  17. Change your approach.  Don’t get caught in the trance of habitual response.  What are you doing to make that come true?
  18. It’s not what people say or do, it’s what you say to yourself   Don’t fall for perceptual handicaps.  Don’t let other people limit you.  It’s not what Jack says to Laura, it’s what Laura says to Laura.  Who’s worrying you? You are.  You upset yourself.  Watch out for boundaries and expectations you haven’t set.
  19. You have 3 responses.  Your response are 1) say or do 2) thoughts and 3) images in your head.
  20. Truth is power.  Your brain was not designed for lies.  Your muscles go weak.
  21. The greater good is more powerful than selfish goals.  The law of attraction comes faster, when you come from service to others than from self.  Goals beyond yourself lift you up.  For example, you can get stronger as you increase your goal from family, to customer, to the world.
  22. People send a signal you can pick up.  Positive things lift you up, negative things bring you down.
  23. Your thoughts are affecting you.  Don’t be resentful, always ticked off.  When you send negative energy you’re weakening you.  When you give thanks, you feel better
  24. Imagine a wall of water.  This is a technique for how not to let negativity make you weak.  For example, if people are being judgmental or negative, you can imagine a wall of water.  Imagine yourself standing in the center of water.  The ater is full of light energy.  It surrounds you 360%.  Picture the water like the fountain in front of the Belagio.  The water rushes up, full force and it lifts you up.
  25. You’re limited by what you see in your mind’s eye.  According to Henry Ford, whether you think you can or can’t.  Napolean Hill teaches us that if you conceive it and believe it, you can make it happen.
  26. See past your limits.  If you see it first, you can make it happen.  Start seeing what you never saw before. Envision goals as already complete.
  27. Don’t let what you know get in the way.  Sometimes it’s not what you don’t know; it’s what you do know that gets in the way.   Your beliefs can limit you.  The Cliff Young Shuffle is the story of an old farmer who set new records for a 7 day race.  Cliff Young set a new record because he ran at a different pace (the Cliff Young Shuffle) He ran right by everybody who knew better.  He didn’t know anybody so he didn’t have any limiting beliefs in his way.
  28. Don’t let other people tell you something can’t be done.  A good question to ask yourself is, “what belief would I need to make it?”
  29. Don’t let desire, result and doubt collapse each other.  Consider doubt vs. certainty vs. confidence.
  30. Give up all your excuses and find a way.  Take 100% responsibility.
  31. Decide what you want.  People who don’t have goals end up working for other people who do.
  32. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.   Too many people have a wish list of what they don’t want instead of what they do want.  The brain doesn’t understand “not.”  Eliminate “not” or you’ll attract exactly what you don’t want.
  33. Make an irritation list.  What are you tolerating?
  34. Dream big.  Have big visions.  It doesn’t cot you anything extra to have a bigger vision.  According to Walt Disney, if you can dream it, you can do it.  According to Gen. Wesley Clark, if you’ll dream, why not dream big.  You’ll get 85% of them. tells you your subconscious you don’t believe it can come true.
  35. Use the Rule of 5 on your breakthrough goal.  The rule of 5" is to take 5 actions each day.  Just do 5 things.  Prioritize.  It’s not all or nothing.  List the most important.  Work on the first one, in rank order.
  36. Use the power of visualization.  Here’s an example from a study of 3 scenarios: 1) don’t practice (no improvement) 2) practiced every day for 30 minutes (24% improvement) 3) visualized for 15 minutes a day (23% improvement.)
  37. Use the 30 Day Principle.   Practice 30 days with no interrupt.  NASA did an experiment and found it took 25 days for a new representation to be believable to the unconscious mind.  When they interrupted the study part way through, it was like starting from scratch.
  38. How to visualize.  Think of a vision already complete twice a day.  This results in 1) shift in perception 2) expanded creativity and 3) increased motivation.
  39. Create a vision board.  Figure out what you want to accomplish.  For Jack, it was book of the year. Jack offers a digital vision board screen saver.
  40. Beware of perception filters.  Jack showed the test your awareness video.  How many gorillas passed the ball?  Who are the gorillas in your life?    Your perception is limited by your beliefs. 
  41. Don’t be so focused you don’t see the ideas, opportunities, and solutions.  You can’t see everything at once. Your Reticular Activation System (RAS) filters your world.
  42. Think of the internet as the Inner-net.  Your thoughts travel around the world.
  43. The power of a force field.  John Hagelin, Ph.D. Physicist, demonstrated the power of a force field.  The power is the square of a number of people holding the same intention at the same time.
  44. Take action. Put what you know into practice.  Asking is an important action, but follow up with action.
  45. Become an Inverse Paranoid.  Think the world is plotting to do you good.  You act differently.  The way you get rid of poverty is you help other poor get rich.  Uplift through education.  Stay motivated with the masses.
  46. Stay focused on the positive, not the negative.  If it’s negative, don’t share.  As you get stronger, you can handle the negativity.
  47. What are the keys to personal coaching?  Hold the coachee accountable on action steps.  Get rid of negativity.  Focus on goals.  Take action steps.

Wrap Up

We shook hands and spoke briefly.  I’m glad I got to meet him. 

The more I research his work, the more I’m impressed. 

Jack Canfield has obviously dedicated a lot of his life to studying and sharing success, and he’s a top success coach and presenter.

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      13 COMMENTS

      1. I bought a Jack Canfield tape series about 20 years ago. One product that absolutely changed my “wiring” was the Tri-Sync-Integration tape. This tape uses three voices that provide affirmations. Since the three voices are coming from different spaces in your headset your concious mind can not process them all. As a result, the other afformations slip into your unconcious. After about a week, I began to notice a shifts in my behavior that were sublte but at the same time startling. Combative and defensive behaviors were minimized as my unconcious was able to provide a better response to the stimulus.

      2. @ Mike

        That sounds pretty incredible.

        I like to think of a lot of our behavior as a collection of little rules that drive our decisions and actions. Things like “a stitch in time saves nine” … “no time like the present” … “look before you leap.” Some of these things we picked up support us. Some work against us. It sounds like you found the perfect way to tune and prune these rules. Thanks for sharing.

      3. I didn’t realize Jack Canfield had other books, except for the “Chicken Soup” series. Very cool, I’ll have to check out some of his work! What a great list you’ve put together here, JD! My favorite on your top ten list – if it’s meant to be, it’s up to me. Great point to remember – that our success is up to us – not someone else. If we really desire something, we need to go after it – it’s not just going to happen automatically.

        Thanks, JD – great stuff here today!

      4. Those are some great insights. Jack Canfield is a bright man. I can’t believe his “chicken soup for the soul” was rejected 124 times. I bet they all regret that choice.

        My favorite insight was “Who’s worrying you? You are.” I sometimes blame other people for my worrying when it’s all my fault. Owning up to your own choices is the best way to release them and move on.

      5. Jack’s a great guy who grew up just down the road form me in Wheeling West Virginia. Very down to earth with tons of practical wisdom. You’re quite the note-taker. Thanks, this was a great primer on the beliefs of a great man.

      6. @ Lance

        I like that line too — it’s precise, insightful, and actionable. Overall, I was seriously impressed. I really liked his focus on taking responsibility and action.

        @ Karl

        It’s pretty amazing isn’t it. I wonder how many people would give up after the first five rejections.

        It’s so powerful to own our reactions. Each time I catch myself fall into a worry mode, I remind myself it’s my reaction, and now I ask myself what do I need to learn for a better response.

        @ Tom

        He struck me as down to earth. He could easily be caught up in his success and showmanship, but he came across as an ordinary guy doing extraordinary things. He also struck me as somebody who practices what he preaches.

      7. My favorite is:
        “Persevere. For example, Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected by 124 publishers. ”

        Reminds me a lot the Nike commercial with Michael Jordan where he says something like “I failed over and over and over again in my life… and that is why I succeed”

      8. @ Alik

        It’s definitely an interesting pattern. I think it falls into the Dip category. Leaning into the Dips they hit paid off. It also reminds me of the growth-mindset over the fixed-mindset.

      9. […] personally or professionally.  Talent alone won’t make you a success. The formula for success is different from one another.  Even though action and previous preparation is the foundational key to all success, other […]

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