Have you ever played the Game Boy Advanced? It was this handheld console created in the early 2000s that was an upgrade from the Game Boy Color. This device was 'backward compatible' which meant that it played the games from both the Game Boy and the Game Boy Color, but it also had its own Game Boy Advanced games.
I bring it up because not only do both the Advanced Course by Landmark and the Game Boy Advanced have the word 'advanced' in their names, but because the comparisons between the two can help you see through my eyes how I felt about the course. Yes, be prepared to learn about Landmark from a gamer's perspective.
You should read my first entry about Landmark first before continuing.
Let's start talking about Landmark's advanced course
You are the first Game Boy before participating in the Landmark Forum. Your life is without color, you are a piece of clunky machinery that doesn't look pretty, doesn't sound pretty, but yet you are still functional. Depending on what game you have plugged in, you can be really fun.
The Landmark Forum slims you down by making you face your issues with your past head on. As you take on each of the areas of your life and listen to the experiences that others in the Forum experience, you start to slim down. You feel lighter and you start seeing color in your life again. The world is vibrant and full of possibilities. Not to mention, all the cool new games.
The Advanced Course by Landmark is not a simple upgrade
When you attend the Advanced Course, you do not just go from Game Boy to Game Boy Color. You go into the room thinking that you are going to be a Game Boy Color 2.0, but the reality is that you become something totally new by the time you get out on Sunday evening. A Game Boy Advanced.
The game we were taught to play in the course was 'everybody wins'.
Unlike the Landmark Forum where it was all about upgrading you. This was all about incorporating your community for self-improvement. See, no matter how much work you do on yourself, if your environment doesn't change, you don't change. This is a big reason why a lot of major life changes such as quitting a bad habit or starting a new one tends to fail overtime. You can watch all the motivational videos you want, read every book on the subject, but if your environment does not change, history is just going to repeat itself.
When I say environment by the way, I mean like your physical surroundings and the people that surround you.
our landmark advanced course was our community
We had to practice this new game of 'everybody wins' with the people in our class. We walked in as complete strangers and by the third day we were a very unique family. Now this kind of bonding is not foreign to me. In high school I was a big fan of the our phrase, "Whatever hurts my sister hurts me" which meant that I was all about the concept of 'everybody wins'. Though Landmark took it to the next level.
I won't spoil the juicy details for you, but let's just say that the game of 'everybody wins' both frustrated and inspired me. There were times that I was just like, "Come on, like really?! Like really really really?!" and there were other times I was like, "YES! We are the best! Our Advanced Course team needs a name so we can celebrate!"
Landmark made me realize I'm really really attached to labels
As you read, when the entire room 'won', I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to call my boyfriend and tell him, 'Our Landmark Advanced team won!'. Though saying Our Landmark Advanced team was really long and I felt so compelled to just give it a label. Anything. Like Landmark Advanced Group Number ###? Or just shortened to LA Group ###.
Even when we were split up in even smaller teams of 6 on the first day of Landmark, one of my questions were, "What are we going to name our group?". It was wild to know that my heart really didn't feel attached to the group as a whole until we began to brainstorm names.
Major props to our group leader Jennifer for humoring my Group Name suggestion.
While everyone else in the Landmark Advanced course didn't name their groups, we actually found a name we all loved, "Sawyer's Odyssey" and it was awesome. And it was great figuring out that part of myself that I never realized was attached to names and labels.
my favorite landmark advanced course exercise
Speaking of names/labels, one of my favorite exercises during the Landmark Advanced Course was the one where we spent five minutes writing down all the individuals in our communities. After all, the Landmark Advanced course was all about 'everybody wins' so this was a quick but critical exercise.
While I do consider myself a social butterfly, I never ever realized how many people I have surrounding me in my life. It's wild to know that I have so many people who interact with me on a daily basis or who have affected me in the course of my life. We had to write down everything from family members, significant others, friends, organizations, acquaintances, vendors, and more. It was such an eye-opening exercise that I continued to fill my page with more and more names and people.
Life is not a one-player game.
There are so many people that affect us and whom we affect. I kind of already learned this lesson when I was in Miami, but seeing all the people in my life on a single sheet of paper made that lesson even more apparent.
Do I recommend the Landmark Advanced Course?
If you are an individual who does not 'play well with others' or who wants to learn more about the importance of being apart of a community, then I highly recommend this course. If you are a person who loves community and believe you already know how to be a major team player like me, I still would recommend this course. I just felt this course overall was much more fulfilling and enriching than the Landmark Forum.
The Landmark Forum was basically working on yourself. Which is great. It's a good starting point and without helping yourself, you definitely cannot help others.
However I felt way more satisfied walking out of the Landmark Advanced Course than I did with the Landmark Forum. There are naturally parts that I would want more of, and other parts I'd want significantly less of... But it's definitely an investment and you really need to be willing to give it your all to benefit from the course.
You cannot just sit through the course and expect 'magic' to happen
It's a financial investment and an investment of your time. You really need to want to get the results to really benefit from this course. Or any class really. If you ever invested in college, you'll know that any class is an investment of time and money. You either make the most of it or you simply graduate with a sheet of paper and a handshake.
Not that you have to be mega eager while going into the course like I was, but you certainly have to be willing to participate. There were a few breakthroughs made by several of my classmates at Landmark that either didn't want to be there, felt like they weren't getting anything on the first days, or outright detested the Advanced Course leader... But all those individuals who stood up and spoke their minds about it and actually put in the work while in the class, they grew.
And I grew too.
Have you ever gone through a three day intense program?
It could be Landmark, it could be Global Game Jam, it can be whatever your heart desires. Three day intensive courses that force you to face your problems and your lessons head on from morning till dusk really push you to your limit and help you grow as a person.
If there's any that you've gone through or recommend, let me know. I'd love to hear from you.