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Natural Awakenings

A Conversation with Jack Canfield: Success Coach and Author Shares Some Valuable Advice

Originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, Success Coach and author of The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Q: What incident in your life awakened you to the concept that we are all active participants in the creation of our own life story?

A: In 1968 I was a new teacher at an all-black inner city high school when I read Think and Grow Rich, by W. Clement Stone and Napoleon Hill. Eager to learn how to motivate my students so that they could achieve success, I took a seminar in the success principles of Think & Grow Rich. After a year of practicing the principles in the classroom, I consulted Clement to determine how I could challenge myself to prove that applying them produced positive results.

Clement advised me to set a goal so big that when I achieved it, I could be certain that it was because of the principles. In 1969, my total income was $8,000, so I set my annual earnings goal at $100,000. For the next three years I became an ardent student
of prosperity, writing about my goals in great detail. I held tightly to positive expectations, visualizations and affirmations.

When I reached my goal, I knew that the principles, which are the foundation of the Law of Attraction, were the reason I achieved it.

Q: How does having a clear vision help goals to materialize?

A: Only three percent of America’s population have a vision, a dream or an intention that they have taken the time to put in writing. Just having a clear vision that supports your goals makes you more likely to achieve them than someone who doesn’t.

The time we invest in envisioning— whether it is cutting-out supportive supportive images from a magazine and imagining what it feels like to already be living the dream, or reading a vision statement and talking about it as if it is happening now—signals the subconscious to solve a problem and produce a result. In terms of brain science, research has affirmed that the brain’s reticular activating system filters out things that are unrelated to an individual’s vision and allows things in that help them to achieve it. Without a vision, the subconscious has no direction. Envisioning works.

Q: What part does gratitude play in the process?

A: Gratitude amplifies thoughts and feelings, which are really waves of vibrations. When we think appreciative and grateful thoughts, we send out an energy wave that corresponds with the feelings we will experience when we have whatever it is that we want to manifest.

Q: Why is it so important to clearly write out a description of one’s vision?

A: Scientists, such as Masaru Emoto, have demonstrated how powerful our thoughts are. Writing a detailed description of what we want to create in our life sends a message to the universe. Individuals who daily read their intentions and imagine what it will feel like to live them are aligning with their vision, and sending out vibrations that attract synchronicities, opportunities, happenstances and resources designed to help them manifest the vision. Looking at a vision board that has images and words representative of the things desired amplifies the possibilities.

My wife and I set aside three days every January to write out our individual goals and create vision boards. My staff has a vision party. Even my children enjoy doing it.

We used to glue everything to poster boards and laminate them. Because they were such a mishmash of images from various magazines, we kept them in our bedroom and only looked at them a few times a day. Recently, I created the Dream Big Vision Book, a portable tool that creates a private, sacred space in which to define my goals and dreams. I take it with me when I travel and lay it open or closed on the coffee table, nightstand or in my office. It’s a visible reminder that my life becomes what I focus on and think about, and that my dreams are becoming a reality.

For information on Jack Canfield or the Dream Big Vision books for children, teens and adults, visit

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