Yes there are two paths you can go by:
- Being X in the mind and in reality—One part of success is going around announcing yourself as a certain kind of person, with certain skills, in the midst of a group that agrees with you, that says “Yes! You are a great X!” The other part is actually doing the work necessary to satisfy the criteria of being a great X. Combine these, and a miracle happens. Your self as it really is really becomes a real X in reality. Your self as it really is is how you are valued by others.
- Being X in the mind alone—Another method, less direct, is to be X in your self-description alone, without really doing the work necessary to realization and without exerting the requisite effort. You can be doing-your-schtick in public. You can go to Whole Foods and play-act that you are a great or budding X.
We can now distinguish between true being and false being. True human being is a compound of doings that satisfy all empirical criteria for actually being an X. For example, you are announced on mainstream media as being an X. Wikipedia says you are an X. You have an accredited certificate calling you an X. All intelligent people agree that you are an X. False human being is being an X for others that have known your for five minutes, or even days, based solely on your self-description.
It is fairly evident that something pleasurable happens when you get others to agree, without evidence, that you are an X. When you “enroll others into your having gotten” a certain identity, or into your having succeeded in becoming a certain high-value vocation—the kind of thing you language as “I am an X”—your personal hoped-for reality gains something analogous to mass. It gains the mass of social reality. It gains the reality of agreement, it exists as a reality.
Landmark alleges that enrolling others into your being an X furthers the translation of this hoped-for human being into real human being. This seems like a great idea, but does it work? Does Landmark help or harm your chances of achieving your goals?
Well, we now know from empirical testing that a gain in social reality is actually correlated with a loss in real reality. In other words, when you “enroll others in your having gotten,” your hoped-for reality does not gain real reality, it loses it. In the technical vocabulary, social reality widens the intention-behavior gap.
What is the difference between the socially real self and the really real one? The difference is that in the really real self, effort to become has been exerted, work has been done, contracts have been signed, scales have been practiced, isolation from social fun has been suffered, and self-adjustment has been made in response to criticism. Revisions have been made, pain of failure has been felt and recoveries have been made. There has been, in sum, a lasting encounter with recalcitrance and difficulty. There has been persistance in the face of difficulty.
When you enroll others into your having gotten X-hood, into believing that your claim “I am X” has mass, your personal hoped-for reality acquires social reality. We now know that an increase in social reality correlates strongly with failure to actually become X. We can call this the Gollwitzer effect.
This effect can vary in strength. Telling your best friend that you are a great X has less strength than telling a group at a party, and this has less strength than telling a hundred Facebook friends. And all of these have less strength than Landmark, which makes a point to saturate you with affirmation that you are a great X. Being rewarded by feelings of inspiration and hope just for showing up at a Landmark meeting is poison. First, it diminishes your momentum towards goal completion. Second, you are rewarded more for registering people for courses rather than accomplishing your goals. This motivates many people to substitute the former for the latter, and they become lifelong Landmark functionaries. What Landmark sells is not just any love bombing, but precisely the love bombing of accomplishment that could have been used as bait to actually accomplish your goals.
Social reality is a proxy reality, a substitute for the real you, a false human being. The Landmark community is trained and engineered to make your social reality tangible and strong. The meaning-making that goes on inside the Landmark community makes a perpetual Gollwitzer effect chamber.