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Breaking our limits

lifestyle / Arts and Books
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Breaking our limits

Corporate strategy expert to speak on how to generate cooperation and good fortune


How we stamp ourselves is how others see us. Someone who, even unwittingly, considers himself limited, or doubts that he deserves to attain his dreams, generates precisely that level of vibration about him. Thus, success and happiness will remain elusive.”

Ken O’Donnell, Brazil-based international consultant on personal and organizational development, observes that this “unnecessary” predicament can occur on the individual, professional and cultural levels.

“On the other hand,” he says, “when we clearly define what we have to offer, all things around us organize themselves to take advantage of the benefits. Even people outside of our immediate circles are bound to recognize our value. This translates to better opportunities, maybe increased wealth, definitely more success and happiness.”


O’Donnell, best-selling author of 15 books on leadership and strategic planning, is Manila-bound to speak in a public program on the subject “Breaking Our Limits” at the Mandarin Oriental (Makati) Hotel Ballroom on April 23.

Reversing habits

Developing our highest potential, he notes, is often a process of reversing previous perceptions, habits and patterns. He does not say this only of people, of course. O’Donnell, 61, has worked with some of the biggest companies in five continents and given global seminars that draw substantially from his fields of expertise.

He received the Personality of the Year award from the Brazilian Association of Training and Development in 2009 and co-designed the program “Leading High-Performing Teams” (2010-12) for Telefonica Corporate University in Barcelona.

Born in Australia, O’Donnell has been a meditation teacher since 1975 and coordinates the activities in South America of the India-based Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga university. His upbeat lectures on otherwise serious topics that tackle spirituality are marked by clarity, practicality, and a healthy dose of levity.

O’Donnell gave Inquirer an advance interview by e-mail:

How do we attract prosperity?

A prosperous life is one that is not based only on the relationship between earnings and expenses or volume of material possessions. This is a profound example of a limited, and limiting, point of view. When we set unselfish goals and dedicate our talents to the task of providing the best for others, we attract what is commonly called luck, or good fortune. Actually, this is the universe (matter and men together) rewarding what we do.


But isn’t it true that money buys happiness?

If this were true, millionaires would never be sad and the poor, who are the majority everywhere in the world, would never be happy. Happiness depends as much on what we have as how we use them, and how we relate to our resources.

Is good purpose enough to attract wealth?

The higher one’s goals, the more the universe contributes to one’s material achievement. Those who pursue selfish ends hardly ever receive lasting cooperation.

On the other hand, when we set out to improve our own financial situation and do something that helps many others at the same time—for instance, opening a business that creates jobs—this directs positive energy in our favor. When we are useful to the world, the world will always have a place for us.

How does one know he has enough?

He should recognize the connection between sufficiency and security within himself and not externally. Material goods are not good anchors of security because when they run out, the whole structure crumbles. One is always better off cultivating inner resources.

Inner pleasure and sense of achievement depend on thoughts, words and actions being equal. A creative person forced into a routine job will feel very frustrated, very limited, no matter how good the compensation. On the other hand, voluntary service can be very liberating and rewarding.

What should we be giving others?

Our gifts need not always be something that people can hold in their hands—this is also a very limiting attitude. Time, attention, care, for example, are worthwhile and valuable gifts that are always appreciated.

When we give something to someone, we automatically lend our energy to that gesture and therefore share responsibility (and reward) for the outcome.

If we donate money, it is a good idea to keep track of where it will go. Misguided street children can use it to buy drugs or even a weapon. We should be very discerning. Good intentions could still have negative results.

Wouldn’t habitually using such a “sensor” dampen our drive to give spontaneously, and therefore limit our chances to empower others?

Just keep in mind that empowering is the opposite of enabling. To empower someone means to help him become the best person that he can be, and it starts with priming him for responsibility.

Admission to O’Donnell’s lecture, which starts at 7 p.m., is free. Please RSVP on or before April 20 by calling 8907906  and/or 0927-2808363. He will speak on the same subject on April 25 in another public program at Madrid Casino Español de Cebu, Cebu City, 7-9 p.m.

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