Urbanette Magazine Interviews Landmark Forum Graduates About What it Takes to be Happy
Here is an excerpt from the article:
So what’s all the fuss about?
Urbanette Magazine asked four women who’ve done the program to share some of the Landmark Forum Education takeaways that have enhanced their quality of life and had them emerge, well… happier.
1 | Accept who you are and work it.
What if you gave up trying to hide what you consider flaws and just let ‘er rip? That’s exactly what Katy Sullivan did, with extraordinary results. Born without legs, the 31-year-old actress in Los Angeles had become very skilled at hiding the prosthetics she’s used all her life. It wasn’t until she did The Landmark Forum, however, that Katy had the courage to pursue her dream of being a runner. “I got to a new level of acceptance of who I am and living life from that place instead of trying to hide something that is part of me,” says Katy, who now competes at the top levels of Paralympic track by using carbon fiber prosthetics that are designed for performance, not appearance. “I’m now completely authentic about who I am,” she says. “People look at me and appreciate me for the kind of person I am, not because they’re noticing I have a disability.”
2 | Separate your story from what really happened.
Consider that the quality of your life is determined only 1 percent by what happens, and 99 percent by how you react to what happens. And we do have some control over how we react. What we don’t usually recognize: regardless of what circumstance we’re dealing with, we almost always add a conclusion to what happened, such as, “I’ll never be able to do what I really want to do,” or “I’m so mediocre.” Even if we don’t say it out loud, this can start to become REAL, always there in the background coloring our thoughts, feelings and actions. What gives us power as individuals and as couples is separating what happened from our stories about what happened. Then you can create a powerful plan for how to move forward. “As human beings, we tend to overcomplicate things,” says Katy, who learned to give up some of her own disempowering stories and conclusions. “If we can step back for a moment and look at fears and other emotions for what they really are, it makes things less scary. It makes things achievable.”
3 | Get more committed to being happy than being right.
We humans are hard-wired to being right – who hasn’t sacrificed good will and harmony in a relationship at some point because we just had to underscore how right we were about something? That automatic impulse is worth taming, says Josselyne Herman-Saccio, 44, a Landmark Education communication expert who works as a personal manager in New York City. “I’ve been with my husband almost 18 years, and we’ve had a total of four fights,” she says. “That’s because we both agree that it’s more important to be happy than be right, so we don’t get stuck in our view with each other.” When you remind yourself that “winning” and insisting on being right can cost love, affinity and happiness, it’s easier to consider others’ points of view as being as valid as your own.
4 | Get present to what really matters to you.
In our rush to accomplish everything on our to-do lists and meet all our obligations and responsibilities, it’s easy to overlook the things we care about most. Take a few minutes to jot down a top-of-mind list of things that really matter to you. You’ll find the clarity that results has you noticing and grateful for aspects of your life that are inspiring and satisfying. What’s more, you can look to see what actions you could take to further some goals and dreams that are near and dear to your heart, but which have been ignored or put on a back burner. “Many of us take our lives for granted,” says Joy DeMichelle, an entrepreneur and actress who lives in Los Angeles and who considers health, imagination and the ability to create among those things that matter most to her. “I believe that we all have inspired dreams that are waiting for us to step into and make a difference with this life we have been blessed with.”
5 | Give credit to others.
One of the things that Dawn Duffy, 43, got out of The Landmark Forum was the power of acknowledgement, and she now makes it a point to regularly express her appreciation for the difference other people make in her life. The bonus: When you focus on acknowledging someone else for their role in making your life great, you almost can’t help but be happy. “It never gets old and always creates a very powerful place to operate inside,” says the former research scientist who is now married with four children and loves being at home with her family. “When you acknowledge the source of any power you have versus taking credit for it, you’re left with more power, and so are they. Everyone wins.”