Landmark Education and the Landmark Forum

April 13, 2010

Assignment: Go Make the World Work

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , , , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 9:35 pm

Those who are well acquainted with Landmark Education may know that Jerome Downes died a few months ago from heart disease. Downes both led the Landmark Forum, and headed up Landmark’s operations in Asia and was extremely well known by many people I know who took Landmark’s programmes in the Pacific Rim.

I didn’t know Downes, but I did have the opportunity to read comments posted on his website that were apparently the very last things that he said while leading the last course that he ever led (the Landmark Forum in Thailand, in November 2009). His comments were basically a charge to go make the world work. Here’s my favorite part:

Here is your homework assignment. Go make the world work. Get your family to work. Get your company to work. Get your community to work. Get your country to work.

If it’s not you, who is it going to be? If this is not it, when is it going to be it?

I know for myself that is that it is quite easy to pursue the illusion of being happy someday when the rat race is won, as opposed to realizing that in the present moment, real satisfaction mostly comes from making a difference for other people.

I strongly recommend that readers read the whole thing on Downes’ website, which powerfully expresses the urgency of making a difference now.

April 22, 2009

What it Takes to Make a Difference

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, Graduate Projects, inspiration — Tags: , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 3:21 pm

There’s another website out there, Landmark Education News, which tends to write about projects undertaken by people who take Landmark courses which then end up in newspapers. I usually don’t try to do what they do, but I noticed a story about a basketball project on their website a while back, and then I received another story about the same project. I’m running that second story here because I think it shows something that is often missing when we hear about someone who does a great charity event or makes a difference in a big way somehow: what it really took to make it all happen. This story gets into the details of what this man was committed to, how he looked around for a way to make a difference, and how he became a partner of the local community to do it. Have some patience for it’s a bit of a long story – It’s from a newspaper titled the Mansfield News Mirror in the United States.

Mansfield athletes have it good.

Real good.

The facilities in the district are top-notch, most are new. They have on-site training facilities, with weight rooms and trainers to deal with any injuries.

When Mike Jones, a former Mansfield High School basketball player, was taking part in a leadership training course for his job at ESPN that required a community project, he knew he wanted to get back into basketball.

Jones didn’t know what to do at first; he just knew that he wanted a service project that involved a low-income school and his Tigers.

He began to drive around Dallas, knowing that there were areas “that needed some help.”

He stopped at James Madison High School in Dallas in October and asked a parent wehre he could find a school that needed help with its facilities for a project he was working on.

The answer surprised him.

“I talked to Winfred Moore, a parent of one of the Madison players. I saw the boys walking back to the gym after leaving the track one morning. I asked if he knew of any schools that might be in need of help,” Jones said. “The parent said ‘Right here, help this team.’ And so I was led into the gym and into the locker rooms, and I could see that they needed help.

“The whole time I was driving around looking for a school, there was Madison right in front of me. It was a blind spot.”

Jones went to talk to the coaching staff and the principals and then the athletic director, asking what they needed.

The locker rooms needed some upkeep. The coaching staff’s office was small, and if the kids wanted to watch film, they had to crowd into a tiny room with a tiny television.

And so “Basketball United” was born.

The idea behind the project is to rehab locker rooms in need of help. Madison has 15 varsity players and 27 junior varsity players crammed into a place intended for much smaller teams.

They have carpet floors, old lockers and broken blinds. The project calls for putting down tile, putting in cabinets and bringing in new and improved video equipment.

But Jones wanted to include his alma mater, at one point coming up with the idea of helping Mansfield High School in the project.

“I knew I wanted to involve Mansfield, and I called up coach (Richie) Alfred and passed the idea by of helping out one school and helping out the Tigers,” Jones said. “Coach Alfred was all over the idea, but insisted that we help out the Madison kids, because the Mansfield kids already had great facilities. He liked the idea of his kids involved in something outside of basketball, and has been a big supporter of community service in the past.”

So on the last Saturday in January, Mansfield will travel to Madison to help some fellow gym rats.

It also comes with a hidden bonus for both Madison and Mansfield players.

“We are actually going to be hosting a basketball skills camp on that day in the gym. We are going to have the kids rotate between working out and working in the locker rooms,” Jones said. “Cameron Hill and Bob Hill are going to run the camp. They have been around college basketball for years as players and coaches, so the kids should just get phenomenal instruction from the Hills.

The project will cost approximately $5,000 to complete. Most of that money has come in the form of donations, but supplies for the project have also been offered.

Radio Shack donated a television, stereo and DVD player for the locker room. Pizza Hut will donate the food for the players and workers, and Jones feels confident that other supplies will be donated in time for the work day.

“We are still raising money, but we are getting a lot of stuff donated,” Jones said. “Everyone involved has been great and helpful. James Madison has been great, the parents from both schools have been great and the booster clubs have been very supportive.”

And once the project is complete Jan. 31, the work might not stop.

“Right now, I’m very focused on this. Once it is completed, I’m sure there is something else we can do,” Jones said. “I was recently attending a booster club meeting, and the track coach at Madison explained that there is only $1,000 available in the budget for spring sports.”

The $1,000 goes toward every sort in the spring, including track, baseball, softball and others. The money is used to register for tournaments and meets and buy equipment for the athletes.

“To just go to a track meet, it is going to cost $300. And that doesn’t include lodging or going out of Dallas for a meet, which could cost $5000,” Jones said. “After growing up in Mansfield where we could go anywhere for meets or games, that is amazing to me. I never thought that could happen anywhere.  It’s crazy, but situations like this really inspire me to help.”

September 30, 2008

A Lifetime of Making a Difference (thoughts on Randy McNamara)

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 6:59 pm

It was many years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday: a man named Randy McNamara led my Landmark Forum. My life and the closeness I have with my family have never been the same. I mention Randy McNamara specifically because I saw him on a website a little while ago and he appears to still be leading the Landmark Forum – The article talks about Randy Mcnamara leading the course in Singapore.

It got me thinking: Mcnamara appears to have spent most of his adult life leading these Landmark Education programs. Most of us, I think, have a way we look at a Landmark course that we take: If I take this course, I will improve, get better, at my own life and making a difference for others, and then I won’t “need” these courses any more.

I think about Randy and here is clearly a person who has gone beyond “needing” to lead any more courses. He must be close to 70 years old; I’m sure he could retire a happy man. But it got me thinking about what it was to have one’s whole life be about making a difference, not to get somewhere, not to make the world better and then be able to stop doing it (though I’m sure a life dedicated to making a difference does make the world better), but just because that’s what an inspiring and fulfilling life would be? It certainly would take a lot of the pressure off. Earlier today I put up a blog post about practice – What if life was the practice of making a difference. That’s my thought for the day!

June 6, 2008

Making a Difference

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 3:13 pm

Tonight I came across a Live Journal entry that was cool in and of itself, but it linked to a movie that was even cooler. I share both with you here!

Arbit Strokes Blog

Today while surfing the net, I came across a movie that moved me. It was a brilliant example how much can we be wrong even when we are absolutely sure that our opinion is perfect. Watch it at:

http://www.makeadifferencemovie.com/

I saw the shrunk version of it. I have yet to see the full version but the insight was great.

We live in our own worlds, the world which makes us look good and the other person look bad or rather worse. We see the world and events through kind of filters of our mind, filters that are reflection of our presuppositions, past and preconceived notions. All those things come up in our mind just like a background voice which rarely love to shut down. Everyone of us i think must have noticed this (voice from back of the mind). So in a way some event happens and what we understand what happened might be two entirely different things depending upon how much our head intervened. I believe if we stop making the voice heard and get the matters cleared the approach would be kind of perfect.

PS – I acknowledge the role of Landmark Education for getting such insights. It was the forum that opened my mind.

April 30, 2008

More Inspiring Quotes

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 5:42 pm

Here are some quotes about making a difference, the desire for which is why I’ve done Landmark Education’s programs.

Sometimes a man imagines that he will lose himself if he gives himself, and keep himself if he hides himself. But the contrary takes place with terrible exactitude.
–Ernest Hello

In giving you are throwing a bridge across the chasm of your solitude.
–Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.
–Horace Mann

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.
–Albert Pike

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
–Mohammed Ali

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.
–Betty Reese

April 14, 2008

Making a Difference

Filed under: Graduate Projects — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 10:43 pm

Over one million people have done the Landmark Forum and I think one of the big reasons it is so popular is because people get in touch with the unique difference that they (and each of us) make.

Here are a few examples of things that I have come across:

Teaching Wounded War Veterans to Surf Again

This was created by a man while taking a course at Landmark Education called Team Management and Leadership.

G.O.P.A.T: Giving Older People a Thrill

This was created by a New Zealander to contribute to older people living in retirement communities. Imagine a motorbike club meeting at a retirement village to spend a day taking the residents for a spin on motorbikes. This was created by Max Vodane while participating in another Landmark Education course called Self Expression and Leaderhip

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