The Landmark Forum & The Advanced Program

A few days ago, I finished The Advanced Course in The Landmark Forum. And as much as I hate clichés, my life has “changed for (what I believe to be) the better.” If you didn’t catch the Wicked reference, you clearly haven’t heard the song “For Good” enough times.

​Anyway, in the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I was skeptical going into The Forum (the first program), even though my mom, and lots of family and friends have done it (or its predecessor, EST) with great success. My mom had told me about this a few years ago, and I said I didn’t need it because I was happy at the time. I think that if I had gone then, my life might have been better, but there is no such thing as “too late” here. My Forum had people as old as their mid-80’s attending, and besides possible health reasons, there’s no excuse for someone even older to not come to the Forum.

The reason I agreed to finally go to the Forum this summer, at the beginning of July, was because my freshman year of college was a hard one. And at that point, I figured that it couldn’t hurt to try this, and worst case scenario: my life wouldn’t change. My skepticism lasted the first two days of The Forum, partly because I wasn’t learning anything new (that’s what you get when you’re raised by people who have already done it—it’s naturally integrated into their parenting style). But the third day opened something up for me that made me glad I had stuck through it up until then.​

Despite having a breakthrough, I wasn’t going to continue to the curriculum with The Advanced Course (“The Program”) because I didn’t think I needed it. I was still much farther ahead than most of my fellow Forum-classmates because I had grown up in it, and had really only hit my second rough patch in what was otherwise an amazing life. But one Advanced Course alumna shared that she had a breakthrough with money and stopped arguing with her mom after The Program, and I knew that I wanted that, too. I should say that I don’t argue with my mom a lot, and when I do, we always resolve it quickly unlike some people who shared about having been estranged from their parents for years (which always makes me sad to hear, given my close relationship with my mom).

So, I signed up for The Program at the end of July, and had about 2.5 weeks to come down from the high of The Forum. It was tough the first three days, and then I fell back into my regular routine, but maintained my happier attitude until the last week, when I felt myself slipping back into my depression I experienced at school. I was really glad when The Program started, and was even gladder to see that the group skewed younger (starting with 18-year-olds, and with a few fellow 19-year-olds).

The Forum helped me, but The Advanced Course blew me away. If I had to sum up the difference between the two, The Forum helps you identify issues in your life, and The Program helps you fix them. I think one of the reasons I loved The Program though was because of my leader. My Forum leader was effective, but sometimes abrasive, and a little too sales-oriented. But my Program leader was so patient, kind, and when he recommended we do the Self-Expression and Leadership Program (“SELP”), I believed him when he said he was saying it with our best interests at heart.

I won’t lie, I had another drop after the Program, but once I leveled out, I was (and still am) happier than I even was after the Forum.

Does that mean I think everyone should do this curriculum? Yes. Does that mean I’m going to shoe-horn this into every conversation I’m going to have in the future? Nope, because that’s my biggest pet peeve about Landmark’s operations—the pushiness. But it was definitely worth my time, and it might help change your life, too.

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