Jack Canfield in Dublin – It’s all part of the SHAM


Jazz Biscuit had a post yesterday about a ‘guru’ that Oprah is championing at the moment, and reminds me that seeing Jack Canfield’s giant, smiling face on the side of a Dublin Bus last week along with ‘The Secret’ logo almost made me believe I was in California for a moment.

Sunshine, check. Scantily clad blondes laden down with shopping, check. Self help guru advertising on public transport, check. Whoah – hold on a sec there buddy. This is Ireland – what’s all this about self help gurus? We survived British rule, the famine, civil war and Glenda Gilsen’s eyebrows – we don’t need any of this self help stuff. Or maybe we do?

If you’ve not heard anything about “The Secret”, it’s a film released in 2006 that got a bunch of talking heads together to impart their wisdom on the subject of The Law of Attraction. In a nutshell, this ‘law’ says that your thoughts attract either positive or negative things into your life. I do think there is an element of truth in this insofar as if you only see negative things in your life, you will miss out on opportunities that present themselves because your mind is not receptive to the opportunity in a negative state.

Just think about the ‘Friday feeling’ for example. Compare and contrast the Friday feeling with the Monday morning feeling. Your work day is probably going to be pretty much the same, but the colour in that day is very much dependant on your frame of mind. A joke a colleague tells on a Monday morning will be 10 times funnier on a Friday afternoon won’t it? 😉

The ‘Friday feeling’ could be used as an example by a self help guru to prove the point that there is a universal law that ‘thoughts become things’. To the self help guru, if bad things happen to you it’s because you are not sending out the right signals to the universe and you have ‘attracted’ the bad things or situations into your life. This is where the whole premise of the Secret and The Law of Attraction wears a bit thin. Taken to it’s logical conclusion, people starving for want of food or water in the world today have attracted the situation to themselves.

The Self Help and Actualisation Movement (SHAM) is a billion dollar industry and the only people getting rich out of it are the “gurus” and “teachers”. Gurus such as Jack Canfield, who writes the “Chicken soup for the soul” series of books that have sold in their millions. In fact, he’s just released another one today because, presumably, the others he wrote didn’t work for anybody so far?

I mentioned I had seen his face on the side of a bus recently. This is because he is in Dublin at the weekend for a day, to speak about his Success Principles. I don’t know if this bears any relation to ‘The Secret’ or not, but the advertising is clearly making the link. The price for attendance at this seminar is €445. That’s a huge payday for Mr. Canfield I’ve no doubt. I also have no doubt that ‘The Secret’ bandwagon will continue to roll and keep taking people for every penny they’ve got.

The bottom line is that success is all about discipline, focus and hard work. Nothing more, nothing less.

Want to read more about SHAM? There is a very good book called SHAM, How the Gurus of the Self Help Movement Makes Us Helpless by Steve Salerno. It’s on Booksunlimited for €10.14 or Eason for €12.15. Well worth it, at either price!

“Look into my eyes” photo by Spanaut and modified under a creative commons license.

One comment

  1. I read “My Stroke of Insight” in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it’s a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her TED.com speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I’ve ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.

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