A while ago, I was given a free pass to a 3-day Christopher Howard ‘Breakthrough to Success’ seminar, possibly because I do a lot of moaning. It is a ‘journey to self-discovery, empowerment and finding your life’s purpose’, using the ‘cutting edge sciences of Results Technologies’ including Neuro Linguistic Programming, cognitive re-imprinting and er, other stuff.
Originally Rosina agreed to accompany me, but with Brian in hospital, she had to pull out. Since I have no friends here, I went alone. Husband? I would have had to lash the man to a seat – assuming I was able to dope him sufficiently to drag him in the doors of the conference centre in the first place.
However, he did accompany me to register at the Bruce Mason Conference Centre. Outside the front door was a large poster of Christopher Howard, arms akimbo, looking as if he’d just punched out his two imaginary friends.
“This guy will commit suicide,” predicted Husband.
“Go ahead and mock,” I said, “but when I’m successful and empowered and profoundly positively changed through acknowledging my inner magnificence and stuff, and you’re, like, a part-time welder, you’ll be sorry.”
Before entering the auditorium, the participants were required to agree to Terms and Conditions, which included:-
I understand that this event includes loud music at times; if that should cause me any distress I will leave the room immediately.
I presume this clause was included because before every session, Chris Howard was introduced by his adoring assistant with thumping music and strobe lights. We were informed that Chris loves ‘noise and energy’. Personally, noise and energy don’t even make it into my top 100 – but perhaps this is why Chris Howard is (allegedly) a multi-millionaire who makes up to $3m a day and I recycle glad wrap. Anyhoo, we had to entice him on stage with lots of roaring and clapping and jumping up and down and then he had an obsessive compulsive thing going where, to get himself motivated enough to address us, we all had to go 1-2-3-YES! and punch the air.
The entire thing is probably best described as a cross between a rock concert and evangelical gathering. I was always vaguely disappointed Chris didn’t ride up through the floor on a thunderbolt with an inflammable billowing cape – and that there wasn’t more knicker-throwing.
Here’s the man himself. He is not blue, but does generally show that amount of teeth:
There was a lot of blither about how we were part of an elite group of people committed to success and achievement and how even turning up at this seminar was the first step.
“These three days will be one of the most exciting experiences you will ever have,” promised Howard. “It can change your life! You better believe it! Turn to the person next to you and give ‘em a high-five and say: ‘I’m in the right place!’ Yeah! All RIGHT! The only thing I ask is that you play at a hunner percent.”
I never really figured out what a hunner percent was, but it seemed to involve lots of high-fiving and group massage.
“It’s about how you show up, folks.” Chris’s dress code included three day’s worth of stubble and the top three buttons of his shirt undone, so I feel quite confident about how I show up. He also had the beginnings of a paunch, but the guy radiates the CONVICTION of sex appeal, which is almost as good as the real thing.
Some of the material presented was interesting – for example: you can’t think about what you don’t want to think about without thinking about it. That is, suppose someone says: ‘DON’T think about a blue tree,’ what’s the first thing that pops into your head? – a BLUE TREE. High five! – because the subconscious doesn’t process negatives. So someone who thinks, ‘I must not fail’ is focused on failure; it’s a completely different message from an expectation of success.
This goes a long way to explaining why there is so much killing and committing of adultery and bearing of false witness and coveting of neighbours’ houses.
As another example, you might think: ‘I WILL succeed’ is a positive, affirming message to stick to your bathroom mirror and repeat to yourself 50 times before breakfast – but no! It implies to your subconscious that you are not currently successful. High five!
Then there were a lot of sensible and even catchy things that you can probably get on a fridge magnet:-
Most problems are problems of imagination, most solutions are solutions of imagination
It’s not the events that shape our lives, it’s our response to those events
By looking at the world a certain way, we create the world
It’s not a question of resources, it’s a question of resourcefulness