Arjuna: Jack, you are recognized as a great authority on success. In the last months, with changes in the economy, many people are re-evaluating what success is all about. First of all, it’s more difficult these days to make money and accumulate a lot of stuff because the economy is not so supportive. Second thing is that becoming extremely wealthy has become less fashionable with the collapse of the banking industry. I wonder if you have felt called to reevaluate what success is all about, with the changes in our economy?
Jack: I think with the changes in the economy, the recession, the Wall Street banking crisis, mortgage crisis and international meltdown in the markets, many people have lost a lot of money. I’ve had friends that lost their entire savings with Bernie Madoff and other people that had other foundations and sources of income that dried up.
Therefore, they have to re-evaluate what success means to them and what most people are finding out is, and I’m looking at this in my own life as well, that success isn’t just what you accumulate, not just the amount of money you have or the toys you’re able to buy, but true success is having time freedom, emotional freedom, the freedom to pursue your own spiritual and emotional growth.
t’s the time to invest in relationships and get close to people and to be able to do the things that nurture our souls. Most of those things don’t cost a lot of money. It might cost to fly to India to do a meditation retreat, but there are many meditation retreats available locally that we can also attend.
What I’m finding is that people are being forced to do the things they’re discovering are really the things that give them more fulfillment.
For example, during the boom times everyone would throw these expensive parties costing around $20,000. Now those same people are having potluck dinners and it’s much more fun, there’s less stress, we’re not all trying to impress our friends with how great we are at cooking or how much catering we can afford. People are bringing food they love to cook that they cook well and all the stress is off, people are sharing and there’s a lot of love and harmony coming through.
I just recently went to a four-day family workshop with my family and realized with my sons that much of what I was giving them were things they didn’t really care about. What they really cared about was more time from me and more emotional transparency.
I think people are finding that all across the board. We’ve been working way too hard to earn the money that is difficult to get, to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t care about. So, the reality is that people are dipping deeper into what really matters.
The other thing I see happening is that people are getting more into philanthropy. Many of us don’t have a lot of money to give, but we have our time. We see people dropping out of large corporations and getting involved in education in Afghanistan, Iraq and doing things like that, even going into the rainforest to work with the Pachamamma Alliance to save the rain forests and work with indigenous tribes. They’re coming back talking about how exciting and fulfilling it was for them to do that, much more exciting than being CEO of a company.
Arjuna: Beautiful. A lot of people know you, besides Chicken Soup for the Soul, from the movie ‘The Secret’, which was primarily focused on the law of attraction. I know several years have passed since that movie came out, have you deepened your insights about that topic since you did the material for that movie?
Jack: Since the onset of the movie ‘The Secret’ and the great phenomenon that it was, and my own understanding of the law of attraction then and now there’s definitely been an increase in my own awareness of how the law of attraction works.
Some of the things we’re seeing first of all were left out of the movie that should have been emphasized more, like the idea of action. I always tell people the last six letters of the word ‘attraction’ are ‘action,’ so a lot of people have been sitting on their couch watching ‘The Secret’ 65 times wondering why they’re not multi-millionaires already.
The truth is that you have to act on those intuitive impulses that come forward. You have to take advantage of the resources that show up, the creative ideas that mount into your consciousness once you focus on the things you want and create the vibrational match for the things you want.
So, I think there’s been a large distortion in that arena. I think the other thing I’ve been noticing is that it’s as important to notice what you’re attracted to in addition to what you want to attract into your life. Most people are focusing on attracting money, attracting their soul mates, the perfect job or the perfect clients, completely ignoring what they’re naturally attracted to.
The law of attraction says that you will find joy in being attracted to the things that will take you along the journey of your souls progression that sometimes look like the things you thought you wanted and sometimes maybe not, because your soul knows better what you need for your own progression more often than your ego does.
The other thing I find is when people are involved in service and their focus is on service to others, they actually achieve a lot more and a lot faster. I’ve been doing this exercise using kinesiology where I’ll have someone put their arm out and I’ll muscle test their arm, have them think about their goal and then I’ll have them think about how it will only serve them if they achieve that goal and their arm goes weak, I can push it down very easily.
Then I have them think about the same goal, but focus on how it will serve others if they achieve the goal and their arm is very strong. It’s the same goal it could be to sell 25 houses if they’re a real estate agent. It could be to make a certain amount of money. It could be to get their PhD whatever, but if they’re focused on how it will serve others, I believe what happens is the universe supports it faster, the body is more supportive of it in terms of the kinesiology and I think everything happens with more ease when you’re working from a place of service rather than from greed.
Arjuna: Great. So what is your secret? What is something about you that influences your life that most people don’t know about you? What’s the thing that’s most interesting about you that I’ve yet undisclosed?
Jack: I think the thing most people may not know about me that’s been a secret of my success is that I listen to internal guidance. When the Chicken Soup book came along that came as a result of lots of people on the outside saying ‘that story about the puppy, the girl scout, the one-armed tennis player’ is that in a book anywhere?
I’d always have to say ‘no’ and then I realize the universe was telling me to put those stories in a book, so after I got that message I started writing two stories a week and in 50 weeks I had written a book of 100 stories.
When I decided to put together the Transformational Leadership Council what happened was I was a transformational trainer who didn’t have any association to go to for meeting other people in the same business. So, I invited 30 people to my home and acted on that internal guidance, and now we have an organization of about 150 people from all over the world.
Everything that has come into my life that’s taken me to the next level like ‘The Secret’ came into my life because of the Transformational Leadership Council. We were meeting in Aspen and Rhonda Byrne said I’d like to come film a bunch of the people there and I think because of that I ended up in the movie. That changed my life and took me to a new level of international recognition, at least on a facial level. If I walk through an airport there’s always someone who says ‘aren’t you that guy from ‘The Secret’ and we end up having a great conversation.
So I think a lot of people have great ideas. The thing that’s made my life different is that I act on those ideas and trust the internal guidance that I’m getting, surrendering, not my will but thy will. I think a lot of people say those words, but they don’t really do it, especially if ‘thy will’ is uncomfortable.
If it takes them into an arena where they might have to give up something they think is critical in their lives, and I’m doing it again right now in terms of re-vectoring my career into a more spiritual depth of my work and also going into the Internet, which for a guy my age isn’t like a guy who’s 20 years old.
It’s being willing to follow that guidance and step off into the unknown without knowing if there will be something that supports you, but trusting that the universe is a beneficent universe that God is on my side and I’m constantly being guided to that which is going to take me to the highest level for my own highest good and for the highest good of humanity.
Arjuna: Jack, you and I have had some beautiful conversations back in 2003/2004, which were published in my book The Translucent Revolution, which is all about awakening. What does awakening mean to you and what is the influence of awakening in your life?
Jack: For me awakening has to do with awakening in our consciousness to a higher level, what I often refer to as the soul or high self level where we awaken to the deeper currents of spirituality that are emerging in an evolutionary way, the evolution of consciousness.
Therefore, instead of being unconscious we’re conscious, intentionally cooperating with that evolutionary stream. For me, that awakening occurred when I was in my early 20s, when I took a workshop where we meditated which I’d never done before, and I began to have an awareness that there were realms of consciousness way beyond my normal waking consciousness.
Right now, that’s affected my life in an amazing way and I’m a constant mediator now. For example, the title to Chicken Soup for the Soul came in a meditation. I asked God for a title, because we didn’t have one and I saw this chalkboard when suddenly a hand came out and wrote chicken soup on it.
I questioned what chicken soup had to do with this book and this voice, which I assume was the voice of God said ‘your grandmother gave you chicken soup when you were a kid when you were sick.’ I said ‘what does that have to do with this book it’s not about sick people?’
The voice said ‘people’s spirits are sick, they’re living in resignation and fear and doubt. They are stuck so this is chicken soup for their spirits, which evolved into Chicken Soup for the Soul and then a minute later I had goosebumps like never before, which I call God bumps.
So that’s how this title came and that title now is one of the premiere brands in the conscious and self-help movement in America and around the world. So, the idea of awakening to a deeper level of wisdom, higher order of consciousness, morality and ethics and qualities like love, compassion, kindness, generosity and service have certainly affected my life.
I think we’re at a period in time now where there’s a quickening of this awakening. We’re seeing people wake up all over the world through things like ‘The Secret’, mass movements of human potential, meditation courses, yoga classes so it’s an exciting time to be alive, because if you’ve ever been in a room where everyone was asleep and you were awake physically, it’s very boring.
You want more people to wake up so you can have fun. The more people that are waking up now, the more partners we have in this intentional midwifing of this evolution of consciousness that’s occurring at this time in history.
Jack Canfield is offering a “Breakthhrough to Success” workshop in Arizona. For more information, here is the link.