‘I Can Believe in Myself’

Jack Canfield’s new book inspires self-confidence for kids

Jack Canfield, a pioneer in self-help literature, is releasing a children’s book with co-author Miriam Laundry. Mr. Canfield is the creator of the iconic “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, and his bestseller “The Success Principles” is revered as a self-improvement classic.

Jack Canfield, the creator of the iconic “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, is bringing his expertise in self-esteem to a new frontier: children’s literature. 

In a new book titled “I Can Believe in Myself” (Health Communications Inc., $15.95), Mr. Canfield and co-author Mirian Laundry tell the story of a girl named Molly, who feels anxious about presenting her show-and-tell at school. Through comic-book style illustrations and text, readers see how Molly overcomes her fear by replacing the words “I can’t” with “I can.”

The book, set to be released today online and at Chaucer’s on upper State Street, came to fruition after Ms. Laundry, a student of Mr. Canfield’s, was inspired by his teaching on eliminating the word “can’t” from everyday vocabulary. She began to ponder how she could teach her four children how to foster belief in themselves by using “I can” instead of “I can’t.” 

Mr. Canfield, revered as a pioneer in self-improvement and self-esteem development, told the News-Press it is important to teach self-belief to school-age children so they grow up with the necessary skills to be successful as adults.

“We don’t get the education (in school) that we need for the things that are most important in life, and that is how to be a successful person,” Mr. Canfield said. “And I don’t just mean making money, I mean how to be a successful spouse or successful friend or be successful with our health.”

As a Chicago public school teacher in the 1970s, Mr. Canfield saw firsthand how a lack of training in self-esteem affected his minority students. 

“What happened was that I realized that these kids, because they didn’t see themselves positively portrayed in the media, just didn’t have the sense of anyone they knew being successful,” Mr. Canfield said. “I realized I wanted them to be as successful as my life had been as a middle-class kid. I started to think how I could believe in them.”

As he began implementing belief-building practices in his classroom, other teachers in the school began to notice positive change in the students. They began to ask him what he was doing in his classroom to help students grow in self confidence. Essentially, he was helping them build self-esteem, or “the belief that you’re lovable, that you’re capable and that you’re significant,” Mr. Canfield said. 

A few years later, Mr. Canfield landed a position at the Stone Foundation and began developing self-esteem curriculum for teachers to use in their classrooms. 

The curriculum sold upwards of 400,000 copies in the first few years after its release and put Mr. Canfield on the map as a leader in the self-esteem world. 

Since the release of his first training, Mr. Canfield has authored and co-authored more than 150 self-improvement books, 66 of which were best sellers. His Chicken Soup for the Soul series rapidly became an iconic self-help source for teens and young adults, and his bestselling book, “The Success Principles” (2005), is revered as a self-improvement classic. 

As an active coach and seminar speaker, Mr. Canfield said the increase in self-help materials available now is very encouraging, especially when limited resources were available when he first began writing about self-esteem. Mr. Canfield said he watches at least one TED Talk a day for inspiration. 

With life coaching classes and self-improvement seminars on the rise, Mr. Canfield said it is well-worth investing money into learning skills that “create more happiness, more wealth and more health.”

“The bottom line is that the skills that we need to be successful, most people never learn. We need to invest time and energy into learning them as adults and teach people these skills.” 

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Jack Canfield’s new book, “I Can Believe in Myself” (Health Communications Inc., $15.95), is available today at Chaucer’s or at amazon.com or other online retailers. Chaucer’s Books is located at 3321 State St. in Santa Barbara and can be reached at 805-682-6787 (chaucersbooks.com).

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