Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sam Chauhan is a fraud

It's not that I really had any doubt about the conclusion in that headline before today. In fact, I thought it was rather obvious from the first time I started hearing about him. But reading his latest column in Bluff magazine seals the deal for me and, I think, for anybody who was left with any degree of uncertainty about the matter.

Sam Chauhan, in case you don't know, is a "mindset coach" who in the last couple of years has picked up some high-profile poker players as clients, such as Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth.

Quotations are from the May, 2011, issue, pages 48-49.

"We are all made of energy."

No, we are made of matter. It is true that matter can be converted into energy and vice-versa at the ratio defined by Einstein's famous equation, but that does not make it true that we are "made of energy."

"All things have energy that we can measure and calibrate."

OK. Measure my "energy." Go ahead. What kind of energy is it--electromagnetic? Nuclear? What instrument are you going to use? It's surely true that I possess a certain amount of thermal energy that can be measured with a thermometer. Also, when I move I convert chemical energy into kinetic energy, in quantities well defined by classical physics based on my mass and velocity. But those things surely are not what Chauhan is talking about.

"I meditate empowering energy to my clients and create a powerful frequency through vibration of the powerful mantras."

Oh really? What is the frequency, Kenneth? 142 megahertz or something? You claim that it can be measured and calibrated, so tell us precisely what it is. And you vibrate mantras? What the hell does that even mean?

"Then I focus on creating intention for that particular person to achieve the outcomes they [sic] may desire. I have created a formula that has worked consistently with a majority of my clients."

The idea that thoughts can affect something or someone at a distance has been claimed by countless people--some sincerely deluded, some charlatans--for hundreds of years. But nobody has ever been able to prove it under controlled conditions, even though there's a million dollars available to anybody who can demonstrate such ability.

Chauhan saying that he "meditate[s] empowering energy" to his clients sounds harmless enough, though, right? Well, what if he said in this column that his technique was to throw a penny into a fountain and make a wish for each client's success? What if he said that he used voodoo dolls resembling his clients and showered dollar bills on them in order to bring prosperity to the people they represented? What if he said that he prayed to Apollo or Zeus on his clients' behalf, or sacrificed chickens and smeared the blood on himself in order to bless their lives? Surely you would conclude that he was either daft or a fraud--right?

Well, saying that he meditates and sends out energy to his clients at powerful frequencies using powerful words or phrases is exactly the same thing. Don't be tricked into thinking there's actually something to it because he steals from physics words like "energy" and "frequency." It's pure rubbish, utter nonsense that you'd have to be a fool to believe--and a monumental idiot to be willing to pay for.

"Have you been around someone who will make you feel down and depressed? What created that? That was the energy you felt from that person. You can also be around someone who is so positive and will make you feel empowered. The difference is energy."

Poppycock. That's basic human psychology at work. We are programmed, deep down in our DNA, to recognize and respond to the emotional states of other people. There is no transfer of "energy" going on. You can prove this to yourself by the simple recognition that you can get the same effect from an audio or video recording of a dead person. Do you feel happy at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life"? That ain't Jimmy Stewart's ghost transferring positive energy to you; it's empathetic resonance with what you recognize his character is feeling. The fact that it's a fictional character in a fictional situation further demonstrates that our capacity to feel particular emotions can be deliberately manipulated in ways that have nothing to do with one person's life "energy" being influenced by proximity to another.

Taking an example from the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, several weeks ago the great radio program "This American Life" played tapes of interviews that a reporter did with a depressed friend who had survived one suicide attempt, but later died in a second. I felt profoundly sad listening to those tapes, partly because of knowing his later fate, but also because depressed feelings--like feelings of joy or mirth or fear--are naturally contagious among humans. The guy's "energy" was not affecting my "energy." He had no energy at the time I was listening to his voice. He was dead.

I am not disputing that states of mind affect poker results. They surely do. My ability to make sound decisions is dependent on my mood, and can be thrown off by being angry, discouraged, tired, distracted, or bored. People who can't recognize when their mental state is preventing good decision-making will tend to lose money when they play poker. There are several good books in print about the psychology of poker--e.g., those by Alan Schoonmaker and James McKenna. I not only don't consider those men charlatans for putting their observations and advice into print, I think there is tremendous value in learning to monitor and actively change one's own state of mind. But those authors stress that your state of mind is up to you; they won't try to tell you that they will be influencing it from their home offices by burning incense for you, or any such rot.

To the extent that Chauhan's methods draw on similar principles of psychology (and I'll readily admit that my only knowledge of how he works is the columns he writes for Bluff plus occasional things that his clients say about him), I have no argument. But when he claims that he influences his clients' mental states or their poker outcomes or financial success or anything else about their lives by his own mental energy projected from a distance, he's lying. He's a fraud, a scammer, a con artist. He's laughing all the way to the bank at the people who pay him for such services.

Well, I suppose I should qualify that. There's always the possibility that he is frankly delusional, clinically insane, and needs to be on powerful psychotropic medications to control his psychotic fantasies that he is controlling the lives of other people by his thoughts. There's also the possibility that he is incredibly stupid, that he was taught these things by somebody else and is just too low on the IQ scale to apply even a morsel of critical thought to them in order to see how ludicrous they are. So I'll expand my denunciation to include three possibilities: He's a fraud, or insane, or a moron.

But I'd put my money on fraud as far and away the most likely.


briguyx said...

This story echoes the story of one Vladimir Shpunt, who the idiots who until recently owned the Dodgers paid to send good energy to help the team win and then paid off six figure bonuses when they did. You can fool some of the people some of the time... but really, all you need is one!


Grange95 said...

Fraud is too kind a word for this yahoo. Charlatan? Scam artist? Grifter? None of them seem strong enough.

edgie212 said...

LOL, so I take it you're an atheist?

Anonymous said...

Grump seems grumpy. Havent seen the gf in a while, grumpo?

Wolynski said...

Wouldn't this be the same principle as a higher power in AA?

I admire his moxie - anyone who figures out how to make a fortune selling blarney...

the man said...

Wonderfully put, sir.

NT said...

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Mark Twain dealt well with a guy like this:

Lucypher said...

I always thought it was obvious that he was a fraud. He did manage to con some supposedly intelligent poker players out of a lot of money, though. You know what they say about fools and their money.

Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Instead of commenting, I spent some time meditating empowering energy to you and creating a powerful frequency through vibration of the powerful mantras.

But I wasn't sure you were paying sufficient attention, so I decided I better just say "good post" and be done with it.

Anonymous said...

i think the most powerful concept for self help, or improvement is the placebo effect.

so all the "crap" will not work if you do not believe it to work.

all im trying to do is empower myself, and if i can "trick" myself into falsely believe something that will have a positive affect on my life, who cares about the scientific validity.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Sam Chauhan is a fraud. Watch his videos. he talks out of his ass.. It's clear he latched onto NLP because of the potential of making a buck. Just meet the guy and you can tell he is a slime ball.

Anonymous said...

Yeah he got a 10k out of one my friends too. Apparently he does you favours and keeps you in his good books - but then takes your money. Fraud.

Anonymous said...

This guy was a shady loan officer for CountryWide back in 2006-2007 area.