My “Wizard of Oz Moment” (the rest of the story)

Someone asked me this recently, “What specifically happened in that ‘Wizard of Oz Moment’ that made such a difference for you?” and it got me thinking that I’d left some important details of the story out of the book. :-)

Seriously though, it’s the details that helped me see how the Inner Game really works. Possible they’ll be helpful for you, too.

So, that’s what this post is about.



  • The “startling” observation that changed everything for me.
  • What it has to do with the Wizard of Oz. :-)
  • Why it’s essential to understand the Inner Game mechanism (or any problem you’re trying to improve).
  • Watch/listen to get the full message.


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3) Free guide: “Three Things You Can Do Right Now To Start Loving Your Work (And Life) Again.” Visit to get yours today!

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Just finished The Saboteur, by Andrew Gross. Rough start, with all the Norwegian names, and not consistently great writing, but ultimately, couldn’t put it down. Recommended, and an interesting piece of history. (It’s based on a true story.)

Next, sampling ‘Lake Success’ by Gary Shteyngart. Not sure yet if I’ll go all in.

[ transcript ]

Hey, it’s David Levin. Author of Raise Your Inner Game, co-author QBQ, the Question Behind the Question, Founder of Raise Your Inner Game Academy.

In the introduction to Raise Your Inner Game, I tell the story of my Wizard of Oz moment, which is when I finally saw how the inner game really works, and because of that, started turning my life around. And the main lesson in the story, which is essentially the same one Timothy Gallwey talked about in The Inner Game of Tennis, and Eckhart Tolle talked about in The Power of Now, is that there are essentially two people inside of us, and that the other person is not really on our side. :-)

But I had someone ask me recently, “What was it about that moment that made you see that?” and I realized that the book doesn’t really tell the whole story. It gives you the take-home message, that there’s something else in there, in your inner world working against you. And that is the important piece. But the details of the story are what helped me see it. So I thought maybe I should share more of the details here, to do a better job of helping you see it. Because as I’ve said many times, this observation is the foundation of raising your inner game. The more clearly you see this, the more power you have over it.

So, as you remember, the situation was that I was on a diet, in part because I was sort of addicted to Coca Cola. So the first goal of the diet was to break that, and it worked. I got off the Coke, and had been for a few weeks at the time of the story, this was back in 1992. (It’s sort of funny now, to hear myself say “it worked” considering I’m still struggling with it 25 years later, but I guess that’s the nature of addiction.)
Anyway, a few weeks into the diet, I noticed I was now starting to be addicted to weighing myself. There was that moment I talk about in the middle of the day when I thought, “I wonder what I weigh right now” even though I’d already weighed myself that morning and the night before. That was the trigger event.

So, what I saw in that moment that got this whole thing started was that the pull I felt toward weighing myself was exactly the same as the pull I felt toward having a Coke.

Now, it wasn’t the same in content. In the one case, I felt a pull to have a Coke and then started hearing arguments that it was okay to do that. In the other, the pull was to weigh myself, with arguments that that was okay. So, the arguments were different, but the form of it—the structure, the experience, and mechanism—was the same.

And so that’s what I saw. Because of the similarities in the two experiences, my attention shifted to what they had in common and I saw how the inner game really works. It’s this mechanism of the pull and the arguments. And once I saw that, I saw it everywhere. This is how the inner game works. And if you’ve read Raise Your Inner Game, you know this is the foundation of that material.

And the reason that’s important and so powerful is because when you know how something works, you can figure out how to affect it, how to change it. And until you do, you really can’t.

The comparison I like to make here is with the germ theory of disease.

Before we understood how disease spreads, we had all sorts of crazy ideas for how people got sick and for how to prevent it. We thought for a time that it was bad vapors in the air from decaying swamps and cesspools. So the solution was to avoid those smells and locations. I never knew this but the reason the doctors back then wore those creepy looking masks with the long noses is because the noses were stuffed with aromatic herbs to keep the bad smells away. Obviously not going to work right? We know that now. But we didn’t then.
Another belief was that illness was the result of imbalanced humours in our body, there were supposedly four different kinds of substances in our bodies and when they got out of balance, we got sick. So this belief led to the treatment of blood letting, so you would drain a person’s blood to get the humors back in balance. Again, not effective. And sort of disgusting. But that’s what happens when you’re working with bad information. When you don’t know how something works, you can’t really know how to change it.

But as soon as we figured out how disease spreads, now we were able to come up with effective treatments. Wash your hands. Boil your water. In many cases, the solutions are incredibly simple. But you will only find them when you understand how things work in the first place.

So it’s the same with your inner game, and that’s what happened with me. Once I saw how it works, I started to be able to manage it. It really was that simple. And that’s what Raise Your Inner Game is about, both the book and the Academy. Part one is understanding how it works. Part Two is the skills and tools to control it.

So the next question is, what does this have to do with the Wizard of Oz? Why do I call it my Wizard of Oz moment?

It’s because, in that moment, when my attention shifted to seeing the mechanism, it felt like I was seeing another person, like that famous scene with the Man Behind the Curtain. I assume you know that reference. I’d thought things worked one way, but all of a sudden, I saw what was really going on. It had that same sort of shocking, startled feeling to it. Who is that? Where did he come from? What’s he doing here?
That’s also why I connect it to the stories Timothy Gallwey and Eckhart Tolle tell. Gallwey’s big Ah Ha moment was noticing his tennis students beating themselves up for a bad performance and thinking, “Wait, who are they talking to? There are two people in there.” Tolle’s story was he was in a deep personal crisis, he had the thought “I can’t live with myself any longer” and suddenly clicked, “Hey, there are two people in that statement. I, and the person I can’t live with.”
It’s exactly the same experience I had.
Now, I don’t think of it in terms of another person anymore. Though honestly it can still feel like that at times. But now I think of it as the inner game mechanism, and that it’s just a natural part of how our system works. But at first, again, it really did feel like there was someone else in there, someone who had surprising power over me, but now that I’d seen that, taken away the mystery, I was going to be able to get the power back, just like in the movie.

So that’s why I call it my Wizard of Oz moment, and that’s what I really saw that changed my life from then on. I hope that makes sense. I hope it’s helpful. It was the beginning of everything for me. And it’s the foundation of raising your Inner Game.

And this is one of the big reasons the book, and especially the Academy can be so transformational. With the exercises, and the quizzes in the Academy, and the chance to ask questions and connect with people in the forum, you really do have a chance to experience this for yourself. And you just will not believe the different it makes in your life.

So that’s it for this post. My Wizard of Oz moment, the rest of the story.

If you are hearing this somewhere other than my site, come on over— Grab the free download there—3 things you can do right now to love your work and life again. That’s an excellent piece. Plus it gets your name on my newsletter list, so I can let you know about new posts and offers when they come out.
Also check out the podcast – David Levin Show. Love to have you subscribe and join me there. Been hearing good things from people on that.

Of course, the launch of the Academy is still going on this week, depending on when you hear this. Please check that out. Links there. It’s a crazy great training. Nothing like it anywhere.

Otherwise thank you. Keep up the good work. And I will talk to you next time.

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