The secret to looking youthful is to do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do, says Dr. John Demartini, an inspirational speaker and featured guest in The Secret, a movie that many say is life-changing. He will be in Dubai next week to 'wow' audiences.
What a wonderful idea it would be if our image make-overs were to be by accompanied by an internal make-over as well, right?
Imagine peeling off layers of negative emotions, exfoliating the scabs of pain, vacuuming away the tatters of anger ... and replacing everything gone with a sense of peace and positivity? Bonus: a suddenly-acquired awareness to treat every day like the gift it is.
Well, the good news is that you might be able to get just such a treatment in Dubai courtesy Dr John F. Demartini.
One of the teachers featured in the hugely popular movie, The Secret, Dr Demartini is a leading light of the personal and professional development industry.
He is bringing to Dubai his signature Breakthrough Experience as well as a workshop on Financial Mastery. He will also give a talk on 'The Secret Revealed'.
Demartini has spent 35 years pursuing what he calls the Universal Principles of Life and has created The Demartini Method, a copyrighted revolutionary method derived from the study of Quantum Physics, designed to reduce stress, resolve conflict and open the heart and mind to a new perspective on life's challenges.
Demartini himself seems to be an ideal poster boy for his workshop. His youthful looks completely belie his age - he's 53. "I've been asked this countless times," he says, in a telephone interview from South Africa.
"The secret to looking youthful is to do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do."
If you thought he stumbled upon this truth in some motivational course or the other, you are wrong. He learnt this with life as his his taskmaster.
At the age of six, he was told by counsellors that he would never read, write or communicate because he was diagnosed with symptoms of dyslexia.
A devastating verdict at any age but at that tender age, it seemed like the door to a happy life had just been slammed in his face.
However, Demartini made it through elementary school with a great deal of help from his classmates.
But when his parents moved from Houston, Texas, to rural Texas similar peer support dried out. He failed his exams and dropped out of school at the age of 14.
He drifted along in life for a while and after nearly four years of living on the streets ended up on the beaches of Hawaii, surfing the waves of Oahu's famous North Shore.
It was during this phase that an incident happened that changed the course of his life forever: Demartini, 17 at the time, had a near-death experience due to severe strychnine poisoning.
"I realised that I had been given a second chance to live and decided to dedicate my life to becoming a teacher, a healer and a philosopher,'' he says.
His search led him to Dr. Paul Bragg, a wise teacher and proponent of holistic living, then 93 years old.
Paul Bragg's work with his students inspired Demartini tremendously.
He decided to follow in his path and studied to become a chiropractic and clinical researcher so he could
His journey led him to study nearly 28,000 texts in various disciplines ranging from psychology, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, neurology and physiology.
While Demartini realised his calling in life fairly early, a lot of us are not so lucky. Figuring out what you want to do is perhaps the single biggest challenge.
Like a pebble in your shoe that you just can't get rid of unless you stop, remove the shoe and find it, the feeling that you want to do something but don't know what that something is, is a familiar frustration.
We change jobs, shift houses, relocate to different cities, countries, even continents; we acquire newer cars, mobile phones; we change our looks, hair colour ... yet the pebble in the shoe continues to hurt as you walk.
Eventually we settle for the illusion that there is something better out there but it is out of our reach. Simple. The pebble wins.
But not if you are a Demartini. "Deep down we all know what we want to do but we have seven primary fears that prevent us from admitting this to ourselves,'' says Demartini.
"The first is breaking a moral or spiritual (principle); the second is not being smart enough, intelligent enough or not having a degree; the third is the fear that you might fail at it; the fourth is that you might not make money at it or might even lose money doing it; the fifth is losing loved ones or fearing that you may lose the respect of loved ones; the sixth is the fear of rejection; and the seventh is the fear that we don't have the body, the vitality or the looks it may take to do it.
"These seven fears cloud the clarity of our thoughts. Deep inside, we know what we would like to dedicate our lives to but these fears ... make us lie to ourselves saying we 'don't know'," Demartini says.
But if we don't have the body or the brains for the task we have set for ourselves, we are not going to make it, right? "Not necessarily,'' he says.
"The quality of your life's success depends on the quality of the questions you ask. If you ask yourself questions such as: 'how is the body that I have going to give me the leverage to do what I love?' Or, 'how is my intelligence and education going to help me achieve my goal?', you will find that there is a way you can reach it with your given equipment and qualities.
"I worked with a gentleman in South Africa. He is a businessman who never got through high school and felt that he didn't deserve success as much as other businessmen who had degrees. I asked him: 'How is not having an education giving you an advantage? How does it make you special?'
"He thought up 39 ways in which his lack of education actually gave him an advantage over people who had an education.
"Among them: he was more driven, he interacted with people better, he met their needs better ... When we got through these reasons, he said 'my gosh, I do deserve my success and my work'.
"So it's not what happens to us on the outside; it's how we perceive it on the inside that determines our success in reaching our goals."
28 questions and the answers are with you Demartini has formulated 28 questions that help a person get rid of emotional baggage. He calls this the breakthrough experience because it propels us into the present with a fresh perspective.
"This is essential to growth because we are addicted to a one-sided mind and a one-sided life. We want happiness without sadness, give without take, kind without cruel, pleasure without pain. But life always has two sides.
"We have nice and mean, easy and difficult in our lives. What makes my breakthrough experience unique is that I'm not trying to teach people a fantasy from which they will fail. I'm instilling in them a realistic, balanced perspective so they can lay a strong foundation (for themselves)," he says.
Demartini suggests that we write down our goals straight off the top of our head as they come in spontaneous no-particular-order.
The next morning, read them and reorganise and refine them. Then read it again the following day ... keep adding, refining, tweaking and prioritising the list.
Apart from this, we also need to write down seven action steps. "Ask yourself what action steps I can do today that will allow me to get one step closer to my goal tomorrow. At the end of the day, take stock of what you've done and strike those steps off your list.
"The next day, write seven more actions steps. Some of them may be repeats but that doesn't matter. With each day, you will find more clarity in your goals and you will notice that your are taking corresponding action steps."
Demartini believes our goals evolve with age and hence achieving them becomes the journey, not the destination.
"Those who persevere towards what they love eventually create the life they love,'' he says.
"If you take one or more action steps everyday towards it, you just keep progressing towards the life you want to live.
"I've dreamt of travelling the world and setting foot in every country on the map. There're some countries I still haven't got to ... but at the same time I've been (realising) my dream and it's been very fulfilling."
Demartini's own steps towards achieving his goal began with learning to read because until the age of 17, he couldn't read properly.
"At 17, I picked up my first book and read it cover to cover. I had dyslexic symptoms and until five years ago they still were pretty strong. But they have faded since I've been developing my methodology, 'The Demartini Method', to help dissolve them. Now I work a lot with dyslexics,'' he explains.
The Demartini Method
The Demartini Method, in a nutshell, assists people in integrating their mind to help their brain function better. The Method is a series of questions that the individual asks himeself.
"The probing questions are intended to bring balance to your perceptions and open the heart so that it can fill with gratitude and love and allow you to appreciate who you are and the people around you.
"It removes emotional baggage from within you and around you. It allows you to be more inspired by your life.''
Does that mean that I am the captain of my own ship?
"The reality is, we have the capacity to alter our own course,'' he says.
"I was almost dead when I was 17 years old and I learnt a new thing and I changed my course. I've changed my course many times since. We have the capacity to perceive an event in innumerable ways.
"And it's how we perceive it that determines what direction we take. So even though there is a divine design, we have the capacity to tune into it and have our human will match it."
To illustrate his point, Demartini takes us back to when he was 17 and ate a plant that had strychnine.
"I almost died of strychnine poisoning. I had neurological problems and it took me 12 years to get rid of the symptoms. From that point on, I never even smoked cigarettes. I just focused on learning the laws of life. So almost dying changed the course of my history.
"I went to a class where I met Dr Paul Bragg. He taught me about the body, the mind ... I was so inspired that I wanted to do the same thing with other people - share ideas that could help them expand their life and lead meaningful lives."
By the time he was 24, Demartini had earned a degree in Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Houston in 1978. By 28, Demartini received a Doctorate from the Texas Chiropractic College and graduated magna cum laude.
He started practising as a chiropractic. In 1984, Demartini began his speaking career, predominantly addressing healthcare organisations. In a couple of years, his speaking career took up so much of his time that he decided to go full time into it.
Secrets of financial mastery
Demartini's scope of wisdom extends to business and financial areas as well. He talks about investment versus speculation as a means of creating wealth.
"I'm not interested in teaching people how to speculate. You can't guarantee wealth that way ... there's too much volatility. I teach people how to build a foundation on top of a foundation on top of a foundation that can't fall. People who do this (course) don't rise and fall, they just keep growing.
"I'm bringing the secrets of financial mastery to Dubai because I can show you not only how to extract more income but also to offer more service in order to get more income from your present job or to open up a possibility of becoming an entrepreneur and creating your own company.
"I also teach people how to extract more dollars to save without losing out on lifestyle. The more money you save, the more opportunities you get to attract money."
He says a lot it depends on good negotiation skills.
What is his take on commitment in relationships?
John contends that there's no such thing as commitment to a relationship.
"Every human being has a set of values and you are committed to those values. If a person does things that challenge your values, you start withdrawing from him/her. If they are in sync with your values then you stay with them.
"So it's not that you are committed to the relationship, you are committed to your values.
"For example, if you are married to somebody and he one day squanders all your money, cheats on you and treats you meanly ... you start withdrawing from him.
"So you are not committed to him. You are committed to your values. As long as your spouse does things that are within your tolerance zone and support your values, you are going to stay together."
John Demartini's work has attracted a lot of attention in South Africa and he has run programmes for teenagers and young college students on value determination and how to link curriculum, goals and jobs to values. The entire value driven system is being incorporated in the school curriculum.
Demartini says this has impacted in the school attendance rate shooting up. Students are more interested in reading and retention has gone up.
They know how to set goals and their confidence levels have gone up. They are learning how to communicate more effectively so there's less conflict too.
So if I were a parent, how would I use this theory to become a more effective parent?
"You want to link what inspires your child with what you want to teach her. For example, if your child loves video games, you don't want to knock that. Because they always like to learn what's inspiring to them, not what's inspiring you ...
"So if it's math or geography that you want them to learn, it's your responsibility to find out how you can teach this through a video game."
Isn't it a lot of work?
"It's not really,'' he says, "Once you find out how to link the two. Forcing them to learn something is a lot of work. You've got to get creative but the fun of getting creative allows you to communicate with your child and that opens the doorway to other positive emotions and learnings."
'The world' is his oyster
John Demartini travels almost 300 days a year, sometimes aboard a luxury cruise ship named The World, where he conducts workshops. He has homes in Houston, New York and a few in Australia, but he's rarely at these homes; he constantly travels.
His wife passed away unexpectedly about three years ago of cancer and he has recently found love again.
He has three children, daughters Alana Joy, 22, and Breccia Aurora, 20, are already in college. "I never force them to do anything. I tell them I live my life by example. You follow what I live by and you decide what you want to do in life.
"My son Daniel David, 17, who will enrol shortly in college, wants to be a rock star. He writes music, lyrics and sings. Alana Joy wants to do what I am doing - she is involved in philosophy and marketing and business development. And Breccia Aurora wants to be a fashion superstar."
John brings to Dubai his 35 years of studying human behaviour and maximising human potential.
"I am going to help inspire whoever happens to be in front of me to live their lives absolutely to the fullest. I certainly believe that's doable provided they are committed to follow the principles. I also want to see Dubai. I've heard amazing things about the city and I am curious to take it all in. I have never met anybody who went there and didn't say 'wow'."
Note: To know more about John Demartini's workshops in Dubai, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Demartini will be holding his workshops from January 30 to February 3, 2008. The event is by invitation of The Zone, Dubai.