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Faith
Foreword

in yourself

By Lorcan Flynn Some years ago, a friend introduced me to the literature of personal development. Since then I have been reading books and listening to tapes about the learning process. How to learn more than what to learn. The literature told me how to motivate myself and others, how to think positively, how to set and keep goals how to focus, how to manage my time and generally how to awaken, tap and develop the fantastic power that lies within me, you and all of us. The literature told me again and again I could do anything I wanted to do and be anyone I wanted to be. For a long time I thought the message was not only overdone, exaggerated and commercially exploitive but also repetitive. However, as I do a lot of driving and I enjoy reading I read and listened on always hoping I would hear or read something new, something that would make that big difference to me. I did occasionally come across “new” ideas, at least ideas which were new to me but mostly I heard the same message being presented in a new way by a new voice. Eventually, it dawned on me that the reason the message was being repeated was because it was and is and has always been true. Each writer and or speaker had found his or her window to this truth and had decided to share it. And gosh, here I am doing the same thing. One thing that used to keep me away from the “self-improvement” shelves was the sheer volume of books available and the thickness of many of them. Although I am now adding to the number of books, I have deliberately kept this one as brief as possible. The first section covers some motivation techniques, the second some learning techniques and the third some public speaking tips. While complete in itself, I hope this book will serve as an introduction to the literature which has given me so much pleasure over the past few years. I have listed a few of my favourite sources at the back.

Lorcan.Flynn@gmail.com ©

Among the numerous people I would like to especially thank I have to single out Linde Langeheine of Powbrain who unselfishly made her extensive library available to me.

I’m a believer
I thought love was only true in fairytales Meant for someone else but not for me Love was out to get me That’s the way it seemed Disappointment haunted all my dreams Most of us have felt like the young man in the song at some time in our lives. As a teenager, I remember thinking, “who will ever look at a skinny four-eyes like me? I’m not well built or strong like Tom, I’m not nearly as good looking as Dick and Harry can talk the birds down from the trees while my tongue tends to tie itself in knots when a girl looks at me.” “Then I saw her face now I’m a believer There’s not a trace of doubt in my mind I’m in love… MMMM I’m a believer I couldn’t leave her if I tried” Then like that lucky old son in the song, I found myself a mate and suddenly I felt 10 foot tall, attractive, charming and interesting. I thought love was more or less a giving thing Seems the more I gave the less I got What’s the use in trying? All you get is pain When I needed sunshine, I got rain
(Text from song by The Monkees)

However, some unfortunates aren’t so lucky. At least two of the guys I grew up with are still single. They “don’t believe in marriage.” They have had “too many” bad experiences with women. They’ve never found the “right” one. You probably also know many eternal singles or divorcees with similar attitudes based on their bad experience. Despite the millions of potentials out there, many never will find a mate. Who is to blame? One of the buzz words or terms I came across in my reading was the “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Apparently, if you are convinced someone is going to cheat you, to steal from you, to treat you disrespectfully or lie to you or whatever, you will look for evidence. You will find the evidence in a look which you possibly misinterpret, or in the small change which seems to be missing from your purse or in the postponed date. Finding the evidence will reinforce your negative belief and has the potential not only to damage or destroy your existing relationship but prejudice your next one. We all know about such carousels. With good reason, they are known as “vicious circles.” Are you on any similar merry-go-rounds?

Lorcan.Flynn@gmail.com © Well if you are, you at least recognize the fact that such carousels exist. After all, you already belong to a minority of people who not only believe they can learn something new but are prepared to do something about it. I suspect you are like I was when I opened my first selfimprovement book. My attitude was “well there MIGHT be something new to learn here. What is it going to cost me to look and see?

Do you believe in magic?
Let’s have some fun to start with. Let’s look at some of your fundamental beliefs and how they affect your life. Can you answer an immediate and resounding “Yes” to the following questions? Tick the most appropriate answer. 1. Do you have an excellent memory? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ well mostly _____ not really _______ 2. Are you very attractive? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ well sort of ______ not really _______ 3. Are you young enough to absorb and master new information quickly and easily? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ well mostly______ it depends _______ 4. Are you absolutely confident you won’t get lost on your way to work tomorrow? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ I think so______ possibly_______ 5. Can you personally do something to improve procedures at work? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ I think so______ possibly_______ 6. Can you sing beautifully? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ well sort of ______ not really _______ 7. Are people generally good? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ well sometimes ______ not really _______ 8. Are there 9 planets in the solar system? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ I suppose so ______ no personal evidence _______ 9. Are you a great learner? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ I think so______ possibly_______ 10. Do you speak excellent English? YES ABSOLUTELY_____ yes___ I think so______ possibly_______ Don’t worry if you hesitated to respond with an immediate and resounding “yes” to most questions other than number 4 and 8. However, it is worth pausing to consider that the most complex computer systems in the world have only recently become able to deal with the immense amount of information we must recall to carry out the “simplest” of tasks, such as making our way to work. Think about all the things you “automatically” remember to do even before you leave your house and then “forget” the idea that you have a bad memory. As to

Lorcan.Flynn@gmail.com © number 8, modern science tells us there are 8 planets in the solar system. 100 years ago modern science said there were only eight. Then Pluto became the ninth planet but it has recently been demoted. How many planets were there in the solar system? However, some more interesting questions are, where do our negative beliefs come from? Have they always existed? Are they objectively true? What do these beliefs have to do with motivation? More importantly can I change them and if so how? I believe you can and I will show you how. Well, to answer one of the questions (and I hope you have more) I believe that beliefs have everything to do with motivation. The following pages will help you to understand how some of our beliefs are born and how to begin eradicating those that disempower us.

What is a belief?
I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows “If you believe you can it’s true If you believe you can’t it’s true” - Henry Ford A belief is just an idea in our head. Unless you are starting a new job in a new location, you are doubtlessly sure you can find your way to work tomorrow. In my own case, I have made the journey so often I’m certain I could follow the familiar route blindfold. Essentially, this sense of certainty about an idea is what we call a belief. Our beliefs, both positive and negative are usually some kind of route map or pattern that has formed in our mind. Once formed, it often rests there unquestioned for the rest of our lives. When the brain comes across one of these patterns it goes into automatic pilot. Otherwise, we would have to consciously think about each of the movements associated with tying our shoelaces or using a washing machine. Unfortunately, this pattern forming also applies to our negative beliefs about our abilities, our environment or ourselves. You don’t consciously think about whether you can sing well or not because maybe, like me, some teacher kicked you out of the school choir. That was a painful experience. I can still recall the pain I felt when I was told that I should go rejoin my class. Was my teacher’s assessment correct? Well I never tried to form a rock group because I never questioned his assessment of my talent when I was 10 years old. Luckily, Albert Einstein was not equally influenced by his teacher’s assessment of his mathematical abilities. Who knows, my music teacher probably deprived the world of a second John Lennon. In fact, I am pretty sure he did but now I believe it is too late for me. L Any experience can make us feel good or bad, positive or negative. Any event can empower or disempower us. The difference lies in our interpretation of the event. The difference is the value we attach to the event or what we believe it to mean. “It ain’t necessarily so” A basic truth is that our beliefs, no matter how long cherished and established, are not necessarily true. We owe it to ourselves to question whether they are objectively true.

Lorcan.Flynn@gmail.com © The following story is an example. Please note, it has to be read with your tongue firmly in your cheek? In an ancient monastery in a faraway place, a new monk arrived to join his brothers in copying books and scrolls in the monastery's scriptorium. He was assigned to be a replicator on copies of books that had already been copied by hand. One day, he asked Father Florian (the rather ancient head of the Scriptorium), "Does not the copying by hand of other copies allow for error? How do we know we are not copying the mistakes of someone else? Are they ever checked against the original?" Father Florian was taken aback by the observation of this youthful monk. "A very good point, my son. I will take one of the books down to the vault and compare it against the original." Father Florian went down to the vault and began his verification. After a day had passed, the monks began to worry and went looking for the old priest. They were sure something must have happened. As they approached the vault, they heard crying. When they opened the door, they found Father Florian sobbing over the new copy and the original ancient book, both of which were opened before him on the table. It was obvious to all that the poor man had been crying his heart out for a long time. "What is the problem, Reverend Father?" asked one of the monks. "Oh, my God, my God," sobbed the priest. "In the ancient book of the sacred rites of priesthood...the word is 'celebrate.' This is just a joke but it serves to demonstrate that beliefs are definitely not the living, powerful entities we sometimes treat them as. Good or bad, they are usually our (or someone else’s) subjective interpretation of some experiences or the way we understand the information we are provided by our social and educational environment. For example, like many other young teenagers in the sixties, I started smoking because I believed it was what cool guys did. Had my belief not been so strong, I would never have forced myself to overcome the disgust I felt on first inhaling a cigarette. Does anyone actually enjoy his or her first cigarette?? That belief certainly had no legs. Luckily, I came to believe I could give up smoking and eventually did after 15 years. Taking price increases into account, let’s say I spent $1 a day for 15 years. That’s $5475! My, what I could do with all that money now. On a more serious level, some people believe one race is superior to another. While such people are now, thankfully, an endangered species, all the paraphernalia of many societies used to reinforce these beliefs. When such “truths” are so widespread in society they are called paradigms. They simply represent the way the world is and has “always” been in the eyes of that society. For example, we would have thought the world was flat if we had lived 500 years ago. Obviously, such paradigms are difficult to change but not impossible. Great individuals come along and teach us new ways to look at the world. Keywords

Lorcan.Flynn@gmail.com ©   Are your beliefs objectively true? Beliefs can and should be questioned