Many people considered Dr. Wayne Dyer as the "father of motivation". He was one of the most respected writers and speakers in the field of self-improvement and self-empowerment. In the twenty years since he published his first book "Your Erroneous Zones", his works have been translated into all the world's languages, he has been recorded on tapes, and has appeared on more than 5,000 TV and radio shows including Oprah and The Today Show and The Tonight Show. Dyer has traveled the world as a motivational speaker, holding thousands of workshops.
The advice Dr. Dyer shared in his books and seminars, one might presume he had a traditional upbringing with loving parents who taught him responsible traditional values. But you would be wrong. The lessons that Wayne Dyer taught were almost all learned the hard way.
Wayne Dyer was the youngest of three boys. Their dad was abusive and, after he abandoned the family, never paid one cent for their support. His father, in his own words:
“My father left right after I was born. He just disappeared, and he spent some time in prison. He was an alcoholic and he walked away and he never looked back. He never made a phone call. He spent years in prison and died of cirrhosis of the liver. He was basically a very abusive man in almost every way --- and certainly irresponsible. I look upon his role in my life as one of the most important; it wasn’t until I was able to get rid of my anger and hatred toward him and forgive him that I was able to get off a path of self-destruction.”
When Dyer’s father abandoned the family, his mom went to work as a candy girl for $17 a week. She was unable to support her young sons and decided to give them over to foster care until she could find a way to support them. Wayne Dyer spent the first ten years of his life in a series of foster homes and orphanages. Dyer drew a lot of strength from those days. He says, “When you’re an orphan you don’t wake up every morning and say, ‘Oh my God! I’m an orphan again today; how did this happen? Poor me! You get up – and you’re six- and you deal with being six and where you are. You can only deal with what you know and what you know is where you are.”
His early experience in foster care and orphanages gave Wayne a direction in his life. The former Author believed his purpose in life was to teach self-reliance.
“So I had the experience of relying on myself very early in life in order to have that knowing, because otherwise I would’ve just read about it. I think of it now as a great advantage that I had. It certainly taught me to rely upon myself at a very young age. And that’s what I’ve been teaching since I was a little boy. Growing up in Detroit foster homes and orphanages, I was immersed in opportunities to learn self-sufficiency at an early age. Of course, so were all the other children around me… I was aware, by age 10, that whatever happens to me, my own destiny was right in my very own little hands and in nobody else’s. That’s a liberating realization at any age. Being resourceful built my confidence and not only that, when I put on my little ‘Oliver’ act, I was so darn cute that doors opened constantly (laughs). Seriously, I can tell you that I cultivated a deep inner knowing, early on; a calm faith that God was with me, and everything would be okay.”
When he talked about forgiveness, he told about confronting his feelings after his dad died. “After he died, I went to my father’s grave and told him I don’t know what motivated you to run your life as you did, but I forgive you. Afterward, I felt a deep sense of relief and peace. Forgiveness is transforming.” He said, “I use the metaphor of the snakebite. It is not the bite that kills you; it’s the venom. When you hold a grudge, the poisons of anger and blame destroy you…”
When Wayne was ten years old, his mother remarried. She and her new husband regained custody of her sons. “But the new stepfather was an alcoholic.” Dyer says, “and living with an alcoholic was a great learning experience.” Dyer dealt with his less than perfect family by taking charge of his own life and immersed himself in work.
Keeping busy was always a way of life for Dyer. Starting at age 8, he delivered newspapers, cut grass and bagged groceries. He attended Detroit public schools, and by age 17, he had read 770 books. These weren’t comic books. The young Dyer was deeply influenced by transcendental thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. He also read and reread the New Testament (Dyer, however, doesn’t affiliate himself with any particular religion).
Dyer joined the Navy at 18, and served four years then went on to Wayne State University and the University of Michigan to earn his undergraduate degree and doctorate in counseling and psychology all the while working as a stock boy and cashier at a large supermarket chain in order to support himself. Wayne Dyer has been a schoolteacher, counselor and college professor.
Most recently, Dyer worked as a lecturer and writer. He produced video and audiotape programs on motivation, spirituality, and higher consciousness. What has been unique about his teaching methods was Dyer’s ability to use the challenges in his own life as examples, “I think acknowledging human frailty is an important key to the success of (my) self help books.”
Dyer said that, in spite of his huge success as a speaker and author, his children are what he was most proud of. He is survived by his wife and eight children with 23 years between the oldest and youngest. Dr. Wyane Dyer passed away September 1, 2015. He was 75.
More Quotes from Dr. Wayne Dyer
"If you take an orange and squeeze it and say, What will come out? Well, it’s orange juice, because it’s an orange. That what’s inside. If someone squeezes you – puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like – out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, anxiety, tension, fear, stress. It’s not because of who did the squeezing or what’s the instrument. It’s because of what’s inside.”
“Having a personal history keeps us from now. This is a radical idea perhaps, but I am asking you to consider the possibility of totally eradicating your personal history from your consciousness and simply living completely in the present moment.”
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about that is making you unhappy.”
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