John DeMartini is a world-renowned educator, human behaviour specialist and author, but his road to success has been one that’s less travelled on.
Speaking to host Roshan Thiran on The Leaderonomics Show, DeMartini says he struggled with learning difficulties as a child, describing his younger self as a “street kid” who was told he would never amount to anything.
Given that he wasn’t able to read until the age of 18, the cruel prediction didn’t seem entirely without substance. Nevertheless, it’s a prediction that turned out to be flat-out wrong.
Meeting his mentor at the age of 17, DeMartini was inspired to become an educator and travel the world. The aspiration was so strong, it literally became his dream. And he worked hard from that point on to make it happen.
As he stresses on the show, “People have more capability than they realise,” and with a strong realisation concerning his own potential, a love for learning was born.
To help make his dream come true, DeMartini told his mother that he wanted to “fill his mind with the greatest thinkers.”
This desire would lead the aspiring educator to develop a voracious appetite for reading – a habit that led him to devour thousands of books over the past 40 years.
Watch this video interview:
When asked about his purpose in life, the performance and behaviour expert responds by insisting that we all have something great within us waiting to come out – we only need to realise what’s truly important to us and connect our learning and growth with those values.
“I’m not a motivational speaker. I don’t want to motivate people; I want to help them access what inspires them from within,” says DeMartini.
In short, he leads people towards achieving extraordinary things. But if we all have potential greatness within us, why are many people unable to access this on our own? For DeMartini, it comes down to the way we set goals.
“Any time someone sets a goal which is not congruent with what they value, they will self-depreciate. The self-depreciation isn’t a symptom of something wrong with them; rather, it’s a feedback that’s letting them know they’re trying to be somebody they’re not.”
DeMartini (left) with The Leaderonomics Show host Roshan Thiran
He insists that “envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide”, adding that we aren’t here to be like somebody else and come second, but to be the best version of ourselves and come first through our success.
To help people unlock their potential, DeMartini – author of The Values Factor – leads them to first identify what’s truly valuable from their perspective. From there, they are encouraged to identify a specific void they could fill through utilising their skills and abilities. To ensure continuing growth, he advises people to set metrics for themselves on a daily basis, so that there’s a clear pattern of accomplishments.
“When you do that,” says DeMartini, “you have something to be grateful for every day. When you have gratitude, your heart is more involved in what you do. When people know what they really value and they connect what they want to learn with their highest values, they become more engaged and produce more profitable results.”
Thinkonomics challenge with John DeMartini
Q: What is your all-time favourite book?
A: The Syntopicon (An Index to The Great Ideas), volumes one and two.
Q: Is the world better with or without reality shows?
A: I think that our decision of how we interpret the reality shows is what makes the difference. There are benefits and drawbacks to reality shows, depending on what they’re trying to display.
Q: What are the two most (seemingly) impossible things you have done in your life?
A: Learning how to overcome my learning problems, and becoming a teacher and travelling the world as I’d dreamed about.
Q: Which is stronger: willpower or fear?
A: I think that the power of our mind when it’s congruent is more powerful than fear – it has the capacity to transform fear into opportunity.
Q: How would the world be if everyone could sense and read other people’s thoughts?
A: We would probably have a silent world, because we’d be shocked by what we read.
Q: If you had a chance to empower a certain community, which one would it be?
A: I love sharing my message with people from all walks of life, so I don’t know if I would limit it to any one group. I love interacting with everyone.
Q: What it the greatest invention in history?
A: The power of our mind, the awareness that we have the capacity to transform our lives by changing our perceptions and attitudes of mind.
Q: Would relationships be better without technology?
A: Life without technology would probably not advance as far as it could with technology, so thank God for technology; I’m very grateful for it.
Sandy is a former Leaderonomics editor and is now a freelance writer based in Malaysia, and previously enjoyed 10 years as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK. As editor of www.leaderonomics.com, he has been fortunate to gain valuable insights into what makes us tick, which has deepened his interests in leadership, emotions, mindfulness, and human behaviour.