It’s Lewis aka Nerd #2.
One thing the Chief and I have come to notice is that a ton of people who buy our notes have an interest in consulting or coaching in one form or another.
As a matter of fact, every one of the people who joined our elite coaching program wanted to get into or was already in a business doing so in one form of the other – the biggest commonality being people who wanted to teach offline businesses how to get found online.
And these people naturally gravitated to our group. It wasn’t like Dan Kennedy hosting his “Coaching & Consulting”seminar and herding people with that interest into a room. It just worked out that way.
So, if you’re a person who feels you’re unique gift inside of you can be used to help other people get the results they want, via services or coaching, you’re gonna want to definitely pay attention now.
Last night I was doing some busy work and I had Dan Kennedy’s super expensive “Business Of Copywriting Academy” that he hosted for the folks over at AWAI playing in the background.
This seminar is a lot of what’s covered in Dan’s “Advanced Coaching & Consulting” Seminar with copywriting client specific stories and contracts that he goes over.
Something grabbed me in the section where he was talking about how to manage clients and the ways people screw this up and end up with feast and famine, roller coaster income because they can’t keep a client, and how not to let your clients turn into problem children.
Here’s the notes on the snippet I thought would be extremely valuable to you called…
Refusal Or Inability To Work With You As Agreed
The key words here are “As Agreed”.
This whole agreement process with the client of, “Here’s how things are gonna work,” is very important to have so that you can refer to it when the client starts to deviate.
Trying to fix them as bad behavior surfaces, that weren’t discussed to begin with, can’t be done. This is why you want an agreements process.
If you’re not familiar with “The Book of est” go find it. This is an inside account of going through the est personal transformation program. Werner Erhard, the creator of est, and his crew mastered “Sell it by zealot” probably better than anyone ever has.
Get this book. It’s irrelevant what you think of est. They probably had the best agreements process. Something like the first 3 hours you spent with these guys was focused on the agreements process. And it’s in the book almost word for word. So it’s worth getting so you can see a good agreement process.
An agreement process with the client is important. And it needs to be paper trailed, not just spoken. In Dan’s correspondence and contracts you’ll see this because then when clients start to deviate you get to play fair by saying, “Here’s what we agreed to,”.
The Ever So Masterful est Agreement Process
Okay, I found the book and I’m giving you what Dan thinks is so crucial to have for your business success. I saw it and fell in love with it too. You can and should still get the book for yourself for all the other benefits in it (Joe Vitale calls it the best personal development book ever) but here’s the agreement for you to preview…
“MY NAME IS RICHARD MORRISON AND I AM HERE TO ASSIST YOUR TRAINER,” suddenly booms out a voice over the room. A tall, slender man dressed in neat clothes with light blue shirt and unbuttoned collar is standing on the platform looking at the audience.
A hush falls over the room. The 254 trainees are now arranged neatly in the eight rows, each row with two middle sections of eleven seats each and two side sections of five or six seats each, the sections separated by three aisles each five feet wide.
The trainees look up intently at Richard. Behind the trainees’ chairs stand seven or eight assistants, three of whom have microphones in their hands. In back of them are two more assistants seated at two tables. At the back of the room are tables with pitchers of water and paper cups.
“IT IS NOW 8:37,” announces Richard in a loud voice. “YOUR TRAINING HAS BEGUN. Werner has developed certain ground rules for the training which you have agreed to follow. These ground rules exist for one reason: because they work. Following them will permit you to get the most results from the training. We want you to choose to follow these ground rules. In fact, you have already made agreements with est. You have agreed not to bring timepieces into the room. If you have a watch or a timepiece in your possession at this time stand up now and go to the back of the room. An assistant there will take your watch and give you a ticket. Is there anyone in the room still possessing a watch?”
Two people raise their hands. One of them, a slim, attractive woman in her twenties, says to Richard in a soft voice:
“I’ve got a watch in my handbag, but I promise during the training not to look at it.”
“YOU HAVE AGREED NOT TO BRING WATCHES INTO THE ROOM. GO TO THE REAR AND HAND IN YOUR WATCH.”
“It’s in my handbag,” says Linda, “that’s not the same as wearing it.”
“THE HANDBAG IS IN THE ROOM. THE WATCH IS IN THE HANDBAG. YOUR AGREEMENT IS NOT TO HAVE A WATCH IN THE ROOM. TAKE YOUR WATCH TO THE BACK OF THE ROOM.”
Flushed, the woman abruptly turns away from Richard, picks up her handbag, and marches quickly to the back of the room.
“LOOK AT THE PERSONS SITTING ON EACH SIDE OF YOU. IF YOU KNEW EITHER ONE BEFORE THIS MORNING, RAISE YOUR HAND… GOOD. WOULD THE PERSON SITTING ON THIS SIDE OF THE OTHER [Richard points to his left] STAND UP AND GO TO THE BACK OF THE ROOM.”
“I’ve only known this person a few days,” announces a woman named Anna. “Just since the pre-training meeting. Does that count?”
“IF YOU ARE SEATED NEXT TO ANYONE YOU KNEW BEFORE THIS MORNING RAISE YOUR HAND. THE PERSON SITTING ON THIS SIDE OF THE OTHER IS TO GO TO THE BACK OF THE ROOM.”
Three or four individuals, after a brief period of confusion, go to the back of the room, where they are directed to new seats.
“You have all agreed to remain in this room as long as the trainer requires. THERE WILL BE NO BATHROOM BREAKS FOR ANYONE until the trainer says so, except for those with medical reasons, which we’ll go into soon.
There will be no smoking. There will be no reading in the room. There will be no note taking or tape recording devices in the room. No chewing of gum. There will be no talking.
If you wish to communicate with the trainer or share something with the other trainees, raise your hand. If the trainer acknowledges you, you will stand up and wait until a microphone is brought to you by an assistant. You will take the microphone, hold it three inches from your mouth, and then communicate what you wish to communicate.
Except when you have been acknowledged and are standing with a microphone, you will not talk. Is that understood? Yes, David. Stand up. Take the mike.”
“Ah… yeah,” says David, a tall distinguished looking man in his thirties. “Look, we went over all these agreements during the pre-training meeting and frankly I haven’t paid two hundred and fifty bucks to be reminded for half an hour that I can’t smoke. Could we please begin the training?”
“THE TRAINING HAS ALREADY BEGUN. I AM HERE TO ASSIST THE TRAINER AND TO REMIND YOU OF ALL THE AGREEMENTS YOU HAVE MADE. IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN HALF AN HOUR.”
“It seems pretty stupid to me.”
“Being reminded of agreements always seems stupid to people who don’t keep agreements. I get that you think it’s stupid. Do you get that my talking now is part of the training?”
“Someone said it’s possible to get your money back some time. Is that true?”
“That is true. The trainer will eventually communicate to you about leaving and getting your money back.”
“Thank you.” says Richard. “You will remain in your chairs at all times except when instructed to move from the chair by me or the trainer or except when called on to communicate. At the end of each break you will take a different seat. If you feel you have to vomit, raise your hand and an assistant will bring you a bag. If you need a tissue, raise your hand and an assistant will bring you a tissue. If you have to vomit, hold the bag close to your face and vomit. When you have finished vomiting an assistant will take your bag and give you a fresh one. You will not be excused to go to the bathroom except during specific breaks announced by the trainer. You may not smoke in this room. During the course of this training, the next ten days, you will not drink alcohol, or use any drug, hallucinogen, or other artificial stimulant or depressant unless you have a medical prescription and the drug is absolutely necessary for your health. We recommend you not practice any meditation during this period. Yes, Hank.”
“It’s part of my business to have a friendly glass of beer or wine or scotch with clients. Can I be excused from that particular part of the agreement?”
“YOUR CLIENTS WILL SURVIVE IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A BEER. KEEP THE AGREEMENT.Thank you.
Some of you, because of medical disabilities, are on what we call the special permissions list.” Assistant Richard spends fifteen minutes getting those on the special permissions list to move to the back row center.
There are several more questions on subjects like smoking, alcohol, vomit bags, knitting, being able to move one’s suit jacket, chewing gum, closing one’s eyes, timing of the breaks, length of the days sessions, arranging for rides home, the definition of meditation, and a reminder by Richard of two or three other minor agreements made by the trainees.
Then, as suddenly as he had appeared, Richard marches off the platform down the center aisle to the back of the room. The platform is now vacant. The trainees remain respectfully if not fearfully silent.
The stage remains empty. A few stir restlessly, but most, subdued by the long and repetitious reminder of the agreements and the frequent and often trivial questions about them, sit quietly. As four, five, then six minutes pass, a nervous tension mounts. The silence deepens. An occasional car horn from outside the hotel is all that can be heard.
And then, at last, a second man comes briskly up the same center aisle, mounts the platform, goes to the small lectern, and opens up a large notebook he has brought with him.
He is young, in his early thirties, neatly dressed, dark, and handsome. The name tag on his chest announces Don.
He looks out over the audience briefly, his look neither friendly nor hostile, then looks down at his notebook and begins leafing through the pages. His pants are pressed so well the crease looks as if it could cut through paper; his shoes gleam. His shirt is open at the collar. He doesn’t look like Werner Erhard.
He studies his notebook at least a full minute, the silence deepening yet more.
Then, a second time, he looks out over the trainees. He looks to his right for a moment, then straight ahead at the center sections, and then to his left. At last he speaks, his voice, like that of the assistant Richard, unnaturally loud, firm, and dramatic.
“MY NAME IS DON MALLORY. I AM YOUR TRAINER.”
He pauses, and something about his total confidence and ease, the inordinate loudness of his voice, and the word trainer seems to send a small shiver through several of the trainees.
The trainer’s face shows no expression whatever, neither warmth nor of coldness. Amazingly, through the next several hours, it will never show any emotion.
His voice, however, unlike those of the assistants, will vary; he will shout sometimes; he will be normally loud most of the time; he will lower his voic dramatically at others. He will mimic voices and play parts, but always his face will remain stoically indifferent to everyone.
“I AM YOUR TRAINER,” he continues in his intense, penetrating voice, “AND YOU ARE THE TRAINEES. I AM HERE BECAUSE MY LIFE WORKS AND YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE YOUR LIVES DON’T WORK.”
He pauses and takes a single relaxed step to the right of his small lectern on which rests the notebook; he is looking slowly from right to left at the attentive trainees.
“Your lives don’t work,” he goes on firmly. “You have great theories about life, impressive ideas, intelligent belief systems. You are all – every one of you – very reasonable in the way you handle life, and your lives don’t work. You’re assholes. No more, no less. And a world of assholes doesn’t work. The world doesn’t work. Just remember the madhouse of a city you’ve just come through to get here this morning and you know the world doesn’t work. Just look at your won fucking lives and you know they don’t work. You’ve paid two hundred and fifty dollars to take this training so your lives will work, and you’ll spend most of the next ten days doing everything you can to make the training not work so your lives can go on peacefully not working. You’ve just paid two hundred and fifty dollars to be here and you’ll get nothing from this training.”
The trainer again pauses and paces back now in front of the lectern, his dark eyes moving attentively over the trainees.
“Richard has just reminded you of the agreements you’ve made to participate in the training, and I can tell you from experience that we know that you all, ALL, are going to break some of them. Most of you already have. We asked you not to talk in this ballroom after entering and what happened? [A ripple of nervous, self-conscious laughter flows through the trainees].
“It’s quite simple. You all break agreements. That’s one reason your lives don’t work. You all live your lives under the theory that you’re somebody special, a privileged character, and are thus free to cheat—on income taxes, stop signs, wives, husbands, expense accounts, and certainly on little trivial agreements with est. ‘Sure,’ you’ll say to yourself sometime next week, ‘What’s the big hassle about a little glass of wine?’ or ‘Why should I bother to do without a friendly joint?’ ‘est is square and uptight, I don’t have to play their game.’ It’s not reasonable to keep an agreement when it won’t seem to hurt anyone when you break it, and since you’re all reasonable people you’ll break agreements.
“You’ll all break them. You can’t keep agreements, and your lives are so messed up you don’t even know that you can’t keep agreements. You lie to yourself. And the definition of a friend is somebody who agrees to go along with your lies if you’ll go along with his. It’s beautiful. And nobody’s life works.”
The trainer’s voice is penetratingly intense, cold, and he moves his eyes over the trainees as if he were capable of looking through each one.
“I’m going to tell you what to expect in this training,” he goes on. “There are two parts: I talk and you talk. Right now it’s I talk; I talk and you listen. But let me make one thing clear; I don’t want any of you assholes to believe a word I’m saying. Get that. Don’t believe me. Just listen.
“What you’re going to experience during the next ten days of this training is everything that you normally try hard not to experience. You’re going to experience anger. Fear. Nausea. Vomiting. Crying. Submerged feelings that you lost touch with decades ago are going to come up. They’re going to come up. Of course, you’ll try hard to avoid them. Oh, how you assholes will try to avoid your real feelings. You’ll go through boredom, unconsciousness, sleep. You’ll experience incredible resentment, rage even, at me, at the other trainees, at the agreements. You’re going to fall asleep. You’re going to feel you have to piss in your pants. You’re going to feel that if you don’t get a cigarette or eat that piece of candy you snuck into the training, you’re going to scream. You’re going to feel that this training is the biggest ripoff since you last bought the Brooklyn Bridge. You’re going to want to leave. Oh, how you’re going to want to leave. Anything, anything, anything, to avoid having to BE HERE NOW with your actual experience. Anything to avoid having to give up your racket, give up your acts, your theories, give up the beautiful structured reasonable un-working mess you’ve made of your lives. You’re going to experience the whole gamut of negative emotions until you begin to get that you’ll do anything to keep from ending your acts and experiencing what’s happening right here and now.”
“You’re also going to tell me all the rational reasons that what I say to you is stupid and I’m going to stand here and call you an asshole and you are going to continue to be an asshole.”
The trainer pauses yet a third time and moves back behind the lectern with his notebook. Although he uses his arms to emphasize certain points during portions of his rap, they hang now loosely at his sides. When he gestures, he gestures; when he doesn’t, his arms and hands seem totally at peace. The trainer seems utterly nerveless, without mannerisms or habits.
“If you don’t think you can take all this, then I want you to GET OUT. Go to the back of the room, turn in your name tag and get out. We’ll refund your money in full.
“But if you choose to stay, then you’re choosing to keep the agreements and to experience the anger and nausea and boredom I’ve just described to you. And if you choose to stay and keep your sole in the room [He gestures toward his feet] and follow instructions and take what you get, then I’ll guarantee that on next Sunday you’ll get it. You may sleep half the time and be angry the other half, but if you just keep your sole here in the room and follow instructions you’ll get it. It will blow your minds…. “Not that you’ll get better. You’ll leave here exactly the same as when you began. Only you will be turned around one hundred and eighty degrees. You see, one of your problems—you’ll admit it may cause a certain amount of difficulty—is that you’re driving the car of your life using the rearview mirror to steer by. You’re zooming through life with both your hot little hands and your hot little eyes glued firmly to the rearview mirror. A few accidents and wrong turns can be expected. And some of you ten days from now will begin to talk about how est performs miracles, when all we do in some cases is intro-duce people to the possible usefulness of the steering wheel…. Yes, Kirsten? Stand up. Take the mike.”
Kirsten, a slender brunette with a slight Scandinavian accent, stands up and, bright-eyed, speaks rapidly into the microphone.
“I’m an actress when I can get work, in TV commercials, and I’d like to share—isn’t that the word?—that I’m both excited and nervous about being here. A girl friend of mine took est and it changed her life, it really has, but what I want to say is that I’m afraid I won’t get it.”
“Kirsten,” the trainer responds as he moves over to the side of the room from which she is speaking, “all you have to do to get it is keep your sole in the room and stay with your experience.”
“But I’m afraid my resistances are really tremendous. I mean I’ll try to do what—”
“DON’T TRY TO DO ANYTHING,” the trainer interrupts loudly. “You won’t get it because you’ve tried to get it, you won’t get it because you’re intelligent and bright and reasonable, you won’t get it because you’re a good person. You’ll get it for one simple reason: Werner has created the training so that you’ll get it.”
“Thank you,” Kirsten says and sits.
“By the way,” the trainer says, moving back to the center of the platform. “Kirsten has shown you what to do when you wish to say something. Now I will tell you what to do after someone has finished communicating. You do this. [He claps his hands together several times.] It is called applauding. You will acknowledge each trainee who has finished speaking by applauding. Do you understand? Good.
“I’m telling you all that you’ll get it,” the trainer resumes. “But don’t think it will be easy. You assholes have been messing up your lives for from fifteen to seventy years and we can be quite confident you’ll do your best to mess up this training the way you mess up everything else.
“The first way you’ll try to mess it up is to pretend you’re here because your husband wants you to be here, or your wife, or your Uncle Henry is paying for it, or the boss told you to take it, or a magazine article said it would be good for your asthma. That’s asshole thinking. If you stay in this training I want you to get that you’re here because you choose to be here. Right here, right now, I want you to choose either to be here in the training or to get out. If you choose to stay you’re going to feel yourself insulted and harassed, you’re going to get upset, you’re going to want to leave, but you’ll get it. But don’t stay here because somebody told you to or because a magazine article or psychiatrist recommended it. Stay here only because you choose to stay. Otherwise, get out. Do you get that? I want you all to … All right, yes—Jack, go ahead. Take the mike.”
Jack, a burly man with bushy hair and a colorful suit, stands up and speaks into the mike, his voice almost as loud as that of the trainer.
“I’m here because several people I respect, one of whom is a psychotherapist, recommended est, and their recommendation is good enough for me. What’s wrong with that?”
“There’s nothing wrong with that,” says the trainer. “Do you choose now on your own to stay in the training?”
“Well, frankly, from what I’ve heard so far, I, well, might not, but no matter how stupid it seems up to now, since they recommended it…”
“YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE, JACK. That kind of thinking leaves the responsibility squarely in the lap of your friends. We want YOU to take charge of your life.”
“I am in charge.”
“THEN QUIT LETTING YOUR FRIENDS RUN IT. Do you choose, here and now, to stay in this room and take the training?”
“Sure, I just said…” begins Jack. “And you choose to stay because YOU … CHOOSE … TO STAY. Do you get that? Not because Tom, Dick, and Harry recommended that you stay, but because YOU CHOOSE to stay. Do you get that?”
Jack is briefly silent and then replies: “Yeah. Well, yeah, I guess I understand. Yeah, okay… I’m staying because I’ve decided to stay.” “Good. Thank you. [Weak, scattered applause as Jack sits and the assistant with the microphone scurries down the aisle to his station at the back of the room]
“All right, assholes, less than half you acknowledged Jack.
I want to see EVERY ONE of you acknowledge him. You can either applaud or throw money towards the stage. Either one. Got it? Let’s hear it. [Loud applause, no money]
“Good. You’re learning. Jack has chosen to stay. Big deal. I don’t give a shit whether he stays or leaves. I don’t give a shit whether any of you leave or not. There are twelve thousand people waiting to take the training. It’s your lives, your aliveness that’s at stake, not mine. My life works whether you take the training or go to a porno movie.
“It’s up to you. It’s up to you to choose to stay, to choose to transform your life. I’m not going to do it for you. Only you can do that. All I can do is play the trainer in the training. As a matter of fact you’re perfect just the way you are, but you can’t get that yet. But in any case we know you can’t change your life trying the way you’ve been trying because that’s why your lives don’t work. All you can do is choose to take the training, keep your sole in the room, follow instructions, and take what you get. Or you can get out. Now. Full money back. It’s your life, your choice, not mine…”
The trainer pauses and looks slowly over the room. Two hands are raised.
“Tom,” the trainer, calling on one of them. “Stand up. Take the mike.”
Tom, a young man, bearded, with glasses and prayer beads, has trouble holding the mike, then speaks:
“I was told this training was a Zen like enlightenment program,” he says in a gravelly voice, “and instead all I’ve heard for an hour is a very un-centered person—namely you— making a lot of stupid generalizations that may apply to some people but certainly not to all. I don’t understand what’s going on.”
“That’s great, Tom. You’ve already made more progress than most of the people in the room. If you assholes think you understand what’s going on, you’re living your assholeness to its fullest. And you. Tom, have come into this training with a beautiful theory about what est is—namely, a Zen like enlightenment program—and you’ve decided not to pay attention to anything that doesn’t fit your beautiful theory. Guess how much you’re going to get out of it, going through life that way?”
“Maybe I’m mistaken about what est is supposed to be,” says Tom, frowning. “But you’re all wrong when you talk about nobody’s life working. I know a false generalization when I hear one and I don’t like it.”
“Fine! I get that. I’m going to modify my false generalization. All the trainees except you are assholes because they live in belief systems that prevent them from experiencing aliveness and having their lives work. You’re the exception. You’ve got a beautiful belief system and so we’ll agree to call you a beautiful asshole.”
Tom is stunned, and for a second, silent. “You can call me all the names you want,” he says after a moment. “The fact that you have to insult me is simply a symptom of your not being a centered person.”
“I get that, Tom,” the trainer says, walking to the edge of the platform and staring down at Tom, who is standing in the third row. “You believe I’m not a centered person because I call people who are assholes assholes, right? Tom, that’s just another theory of yours. Another part of your belief system. Your mind tells you, ‘Centered people do not call other people assholes.’ That’s your belief. Great! I get that. Now you can sit down knowing that I know you believe that I’m un-centered. And I can continue to stand up and be the trainer who reminds you people that you’re here because your lives don’t work. Okay?”
Tom, scowling, but his gravelly voice quite steady, replies: “What good does it do to keep harping on the fact that our lives don’t work? I thought est was supposed to create safe spaces so people could talk about themselves and you put down everybody who opens his mouth.”
“The space in here is safe,” the trainer says, stepping down off the platform and standing in front of the first row opposite Tom. “There’s nothing wrong with being an asshole. Some of my best friends are assholes. [Nervous laughter] In fact, all of my best friends are assholes. And I don’t put people down. I just make statements. If some of these statements make you feel down that’s your contribution, not mine.”
“It just seems to me that a Zen master wouldn’t spend the first hour of darshan calling his disciples assholes.”
“I wouldn’t count on that, Tom. I’ve heard of some pretty tough Zen masters. A lot of them I know when they’re not batting their monks over the head, certainly do a lot of yelling. But look, if you want a Zen master, find a Zen master. If you want est, take est. The reason I keep telling you assholes that your lives don’t work is simple: YOUR LIVES DON’T WORK! If they did, you wouldn’t be here. I harp on it because you’re all carrying around a whole lot of beliefs that try to convince you that your lives do work, that you’re right, that you’re right on. Unless a tiny glimmer of your stuckness, of the unworkingness of your lives, gets through to you, you’ll continue to hide in the lies you live by, the lies which prevent your lives from working.”
“But you can’t change people by lecturing at them.”
“Right! I get that. That’s why I tell you not to believe a word
“Then why are you saying them?” Tom asks.
“I’m saying them because Werner has found that the
trainer’s saying them works.”
This answer silences Tom for a moment, but then he resumes: “So we just sit here and take it?” “Or stand up and take it. Either way. It works either sitting or standing. It probably works a bit better for people who stand: erect assholeness is always easier to see than seated assholeness.”
“Jesus! You are one arrogant bastard.”
“Great! Anything else, Tom?” Tom stands slightly slumped with his head lowered for a few moments. “No,” he finally says. “I guess arrogant bastard sums it up.”
“Thank you, Tom,” says the trainer and Tom sits. The applause that follows is rather light.
“Okay, you assholes, you’re not applauding. Either coins or clapping, I want you all to acknowledge Tom. Let’s hear it. [Loud applause]
“Jean. Stand up.” Jean, an attractive, matronly woman in her late thirties, conservatively dressed, takes the microphone and speaks. “I don’t understand why there’s all this fuss about applauding everyone who speaks. Couldn’t we do without it?”
“No, we can’t do without it.”
“But why do we have to do it?” “You have to do it because it’s one of the ground rules.
Look, I want everyone in here to know that he or she can stand up and say whatever he wants and no matter what he says, when he’s finished we’re going to acknowledge him with applause. We’re not applauding someone because you agree with him—shit, that would just be assholes applauding assholeness — but rather to acknowledge his sharing with us his experience or his point of view — whether you like it or not. That’s all.”
“It seems silly to applaud someone who simply asks if he can take his suit jacket off, like that man did earlier.”
“That’s okay, Jean. Learn to live with silliness, that’s what est is all about. Thank you. HEY! WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?!”
A young woman has arisen from the front row and walked hastily across the front of the audience towards an exit in the rear. Looking pale and holding her hands to her mouth, she is led back to her seat in the front where she stands unsteadily.
“I’m going to vomit! I’m going to vomit!” she says.
“Take the mike, Marie.” “I want to go to the bathroom! I’m going to vomit!”
“The assistant just gave you a bag. If you have to vomit, vomit in the bag. Hold the mike for her, Richard.”
“I don’t know how to use it,” says Marie, fumbling with the bag.
“You take the bag in your hands,” says the trainer, seating himself for the first time in one of the two upholstered stools on the platform, “and you hold it up near your face. You can’t miss. Go ahead, do that.”
“I can’t!” “DO IT!” [Silence] “I can’t breathe,” announces Marie in a muffled voice with the bag over her mouth.
“Hold the fucking bag a few inches away from your face.”
“I won’t be able to hit it!” “I don’t care how good a fucking shot you are, put the bag closer to your face.”
“I won’t be able to breathe!”
Look,” says the trainer, leaning back in his chair. “If you want to breathe, breathe. If you want to vomit, hold the bag close to your face and vomit.”
“Please, let me go to the bathroom.”
“Sit down. Play yo-yo with your vomit bag, and don’t try and see how good a shot you are. Thank you.”
As Marie sits there is nervous applause.
“That girl’s sick!” a voice shouts from the back of the room.
“SHUTTUP!” the trainer shouts back, and he stands up and moves to the front of the platform.
“If you want to speak in this room you raise your hand and you don’t speak until I call on you and the assistant has brought you a mike. You may then stand and speak anything you want. Get that, assholes?”
The question is answered with a complete silence. Then a hand is raised in the back of the room.
“All right,” said the trainer. “John. Stand up. Take the mike.”
The man who stands is the same one who shouted out earlier. He is an older man with thinning gray hair, glasses, and a slightly stooped posture.
“I’m upset,” he says in an emotional voice. “I see no reason whatever for you to be so rude to people. You could have told that girl how to use that bag without insulting her and making fun of her every step of the way.”
“Got it, John,” says the trainer, ambling back to his chair and sitting down again. “But let’s see what happened. Marie wants to vomit. We give her a bag. We throw in free instructions on how to use it. You feel like standing up and defending outraged womanhood; Marie feels like feeling she has to vomit. We’ll treat you both the same. You get a mike. She gets a paper bag.”
“I’m not sick,” says John.
“Great! No vomit bag for John.”
“You could be polite. You could have helped her.”
“Sure. That’s just the game Marie’s probably used to having people play when she creates a sickness: ‘Poor Marie! Has to puke. Poor baby!’ In est if somebody wants to puke we say ‘Fine! Here’s a bag. Have fun.’ Amazing how few people end up actually choosing to use it.”
John stands uncertainly for a moment and then sits.
“Thank you for sharing, John. [Applause] I think we failed to acknowledge Jean who was talking before Marie tried to leave the room. Would you acknowledge Jean? [Applause]
“All right then. Let me remind you before I go on that I don’t want you to believe a word I say over this weekend, just listen. Because the reason your lives don’t work is that you’re all living mechanically in your belief systems instead of freshly in the world of actual experience.”
The trainer stands up again and moves towards the right hand side of the platform. “You don’t look at reality and then construct conclusions, no. No, you did that decades ago. You assholes are roboting through life with your conclusions, and with your conclusions developed decades ago you’re constructing reality! No wonder you’ve lost all aliveness. No wonder your lives don’t work.
“Look. If we put a rat in a maze with four tunnels and always put cheese in the fourth tunnel, after a while that rat will learn always to go to the fourth tunnel to get cheese. A human will learn to do that too. You want cheese? Zip zip zip down the fourth tunnel, there’s the cheese. Next day you want cheese? Zip zip zip down the fourth tunnel and there’s the cheese.
“Now after a while the Great God in the white suit moves the cheese to another tunnel. Zip zip zip goes the rat to the fourth tunnel. No cheese in the fourth tunnel. The rat comes out. Goes down the fourth tunnel again. No cheese. Rat comes out. Goes down the fourth tunnel again. No cheese. Comes out. Down the fourth tunnel again. No cheese. Comes out. Eventually the rat will stop going down the fourth tunnel and look elsewhere.
“Now the difference between rats and human beings is simple: THE HUMAN BEINGS WILL GO DOWN THAT FOURTH TUNNEL FOREVER! FOREVER! HUMAN BEINGS COME TO BELIEVE IN THE FOURTH TUNNEL. Rats don’t believe in anything; they’re interested in cheese. But the human being develops a BELIEF in the fourth tunnel and he comes to MAKE IT RIGHT TO GO DOWN THE FOURTH TUNNEL WHETHER THERE’S CHEESE IN IT OR NOT. The human being would rather be right than get his cheese.
“And you people are, unfortunately, human beings, and not rats, and thus all of you are RIGHT. That’s why for a long time now you haven’t been getting any cheese and your lives aren’t working. You’ve got too many beliefs in too many fourth tunnels.
“Well, that’s fine. That’s why you’re here. To blow up all your life-denying, cheese-denying beliefs so that you can begin locating what you really want. We’re going to help you throw away whole belief systems, totally tear you down so you can put yourself back together in a way that lets life work.
“But don’t think it’s going to be easy. You’ve been dedicated assholes for decades, and you know you’re RIGHT; your whole life is based on the principle that you’re right. And the fact you’re miserable, that your life doesn’t work, that you haven’t gotten much cheese since you were in the fourth grade — that makes no difference. You’re RIGHT. Your fuckin’ belief systems are the best that money can buy or minds can create; they’re the right belief systems and the fact that your life is all messed up is just an unfortunate and unrelated accident.
“BULLSHIT! Your correct, intelligent, reasonable belief systems are directly related to your not getting any cheese. You’d rather be right than be happy and you’ve been marching down fourth tunnels for years to prove it.
“You know you’ve been spending your time in empty tunnels because every now and then—accidents will happen—you experience some cheese: a freedom, a joyfulness, an aliveness so different from your usual flow that you wonder whether some-one slipped some acid in your morning orange juice. And ‘Wow!’ you say to yourself, ‘This is great, I’m gonna hold on to this,’ and you reach out to get a good grip on it and POP! it disappears. The harder you try to get it back again the worse you feel.
“YOU ASSHOLES, you’ll NEVER get it by trying to get it where it just was. The Great God of Life in the white suit is always moving the cheese. You’ll never be happy by trying to be happy, because your trying is totally channeled by your beliefs about the right place for cheese to be. As soon as you have an idea about what you want and exactly where it is, you’ve ruined your chance of being happy and alive, because an idea or belief destroys experience and you ain’t never gonna be alive unless you live in the realm of experience…
“Yes, you there, Betty. Stand up.” Betty, an attractive young woman with red hair and bright orange slacks, stands up and in a definite Bronx accent speaks into the mike:
“I don’t get why an idea about what I want should make it so tough for me to get it.”
“Oh, you’ll get it all right. You got an idea about what you want?”
“For sure.” “What is it?” “I’d like to have my own house in the country for myself and my children.”
“But you say that the idea will stop me from getting it.”
“The idea will stop you from experiencing it. You may get a house in the country all right, but as long as you hold on to the idea of the kind of house that will be right for you and the types of experience the house will give you, you’ll never experience the actual house you’re in, and because you don’t experience it, you’ll never be happy with it. You’ll spend your time trying to live in the house you have a belief in and never get to enjoy the real mud on the real rug in the real house.”
“But I don’t see what my wanting a house has to do with looking for cheese in a fourth tunnel.”
“Well, Betty,” says the trainer, striding across the platform to stand nearer to her, “that’s not an easy thing to see because you yourself got stuck in your particular fourth tunnel a long time ago. Exactly why you think all the cheese is located in a house in the country is not something we can trace right now. There are a lot of people living now in the country who think that if they lived in the city, life would be better. Later, when we do what we call the ‘truth process’, you may want to take as your item the tenseness or dissatisfaction you feel living where you do now and maybe you’ll be able to re-experience what’s so with you about houses.”
“Why can’t I believe that living in the country would be better for me and my children than living in the goddamn Bronx?”
“You may someday experience that country living is better, but until you’ve learned to make it in the Bronx, you’ll never make it in the country. Every belief you have about something kills it. Have a belief about the kind of house you want, BANG! No house. Have a belief about God, Bang! No God.
“EXPERIENCE, you assholes!” the trainer shouts out at the trainees as he moves away from Betty. “You live so much in your fucking minds you’ve probably never lived in a house in your whole life. Thank you, Betty. [Applause]
“All right, you there. Jerry. Stand up.” Jerry is a big man with a brush cut. He must weigh close to 240 pounds and he looks like a truck driver except that his voice, when he now speaks, is quite fluent and precise.
“That is the most ridiculous piece of nonsense you’ve spoken so far,” he says intensely.
“Which is that?” the trainer asks amiably. “That having a belief in God kills God.”
“Gets Him every time.”
“One must have a belief in God in order eventually to experience Him.”
“One must NOT have a belief in God in order ever to experience Him.”
“But that’s utter nonsense,” Jerry says passionately, holding the mike too far from his mouth but being heard anyway because of the loudness of his voice.
“All of the most religious figures in history have had great belief in God.”
“BULLSHIT, Jerry. They had experience of God,” the trainer shouts and moves to the edge of the stage nearer Jerry.
“Do you have a belief in the existence of human beings?”
“That’s a silly question.” “YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT IT’S A SILLY QUESTION!
You’ve experienced human beings directly; you know them; beliefs are totally unnecessary.”
“But I can have a belief in God and experience Him too!” exclaims Jerry.
“If you experience God, really experience God, you’ll probably find that you can’t come up with a single worthwhile belief about what you’ve experienced.”
“Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote seventy-three volumes about God!”
“Well, we can be damned sure he didn’t have much time to experience Him then. Look, Jerry, don’t give me your god- damn belief systems. They don’t work. If you want to share with me your actual experience of God, that I would be interested in, but ideas about God are deadly. They’re so deep in the scale of non-experience they’re less substantial than ghosts.”
“I believe God exists,” Jerry says loudly. “That belief does not cause God to cease to exist.”
“For you, as long as you live in your belief, it does, Jerry, it does. Look,” says Don, coming down the aisle to stand right beside Jerry. “Let me tell you a little story. A friend of mine was studying and meditating with a Hindu yogi that’s a very high being, and one day, after he’d been fasting for about twelve hours and meditating about six hours, he suddenly experienced a rush of the most dazzling and all pervasive light he’d ever even vaguely heard about. He was overwhelmed. I mean this guy had tripped on every drug known to God and Timothy Leary and never experienced anything like the long overwhelming flood of light and joy he got that afternoon.
“So,” says the trainer, walking back towards the platform and now addressing the whole audience again, “this guy naturally tells his best friend about his experience, his yogi being at that time in Europe.
“ ‘You saw God!’ the friend tells him enthusiastically. ‘And if you fast some more and meditate more, you’ll see Him again.’
“Well, my friend, who may have had a genuine experience of something we might want to call God, now develops a few definite ideas about God: He’s bright, He’s glowing, He’s overwhelming, He comes after meditation and fasting. So he puts these beliefs into practice and guess what?”
The trainer pauses, looking slowly over the trainees and then stopping with his eyes back on Jerry.
“Guess what, Jerry. God ceased to exist. My friend has been meditating and fasting now off and on for two years since that experience, and he’s gotten no further experiences of God. Of course he’s got ideas about God, beliefs about God, but ask him if he’d trade them all in for one single minute of the experience he once had and you’re damned right he would.”
Jerry is silent now for almost a half minute. “What did the yogi say to your friend about this matter?” he finally asks.
“The yogi just said, ‘Good, you saw God. Don’t try looking for Him there again.’ Remember, Jerry, God gets around. If we try to pin Him to light or mountaintops or guys nailed to crosses or skinny brown guys in loincloths sitting in the lotus position, we’re just being assholes. Later today I’ll make it very clear that those things we’re really certain about, the things we really know, are way beyond belief systems. The only things people believe in are things they don’t know. Ghosts, flying saucers, reincarnation, a perfect society, a faithful husband…”
“But we have to have beliefs,” Jack is saying a half hour later.
“Who says so?” replies the trainer.
“I do, for one.”
“Well, that’s one of your beliefs, Jack, and that’s one of the reasons your all fucked up.”
“But you have a belief that all beliefs are bad.”
“Who says so?”
“Well, that’s just another of your beliefs, Jack, and just another reason that your life—”
“But don’t you believe that all beliefs are bad?”
“Do you believe that most beliefs are bad?”
“What do you believe?”
“NOTHING! That’s what I’ve been saying for the last hour.”
“But you either believe something is true or you believe that
“You may believe, not me.”
“You’ve got to believe.”
“I don’t believe a thing I’m saying and I don’t want you to either.”
“Oh, well, then you’re just playing with words.”
“That’s right, Jack. I’m playing with words and my life works, and you believe in words and that’s why they play with you and run your life.”
I imagine myself in that room laughing. Laughing to myself thinking, “This is FUCKING GREAT!!! It’s gonna be scary as fuck but it’s gonna be awesome coming out the other side!!!”
There’s 40 more pages of this I’m not including here but I’m sure you’ve gotten the point by now.
If you can’t see the powerful of the pre-frame here to let people know the rules of the road so that you get full compliance from you clients, me, Dan Kennedy and Werner Erhard are beyond helping you.
I’ll be back for Part 2 of this where I want to give you some of the specific rules Kennedy sets up that let him have authority in his relationships with his clients which what ultimately leads to them being happy and him being happy.
Note Taking Nerd #2