Switch on to your Inner Strength - book foreword


When Sandy was a young cadet at Duntroon, the Military College where he was educated, he learnt one of the most important maxims of leadership theory. It was drummed into his head over and over for the four student years he spent there. The words were, "Never ask a soldier to do something which you would not be prepared to do yourself."

 Sandy lived by this rule when he became a Tunnel Rat in South Vietnam in 1965. On arrival, as the man in charge of the first Australian Engineers sent to that conflict, Sandy found that the standard procedure for the American forces was to just blow up the entrances to tunnels when they were found. Up until then no one had done the unthinkable that is, nobody had gone down the tunnels after the enemy.

Sandy knew this had to change.

When Australian troops found the entrance to tunnels in War Zone D in October 1965 Sandy saw the chance to send our men down there. But who to send first?

For Sandy the answer was simple and, armed with a 9mm pistol in one hand, a bayonet in the other, and a rope tied around his ankles in case he was killed or wounded, he went in! After this feat of leadership it became common for Sandy's men to go into the tunnels and this yielded a rich reward of documents, weapons and other supplies. Sandy had led from the front and it was reasonable that his men would do things which he had shown by example.

But that was all a long time ago and far removed from Sandy's life now, in which he teaches people about learning techniques, thinking skills and the deliberate use of their inner strength.

The important thing about what he teaches now is that he still leads from the front! And the example of leadership he has given us in his personal life is far more powerful than that which earned him a Military Cross in Vietnam!

In January 1987 a tragedy of the worst imaginable kind struck Sandy's life suddenly and senselessly. Without any warning, three of his daughters were viciously murdered in the safety of their own home in a hail of shotgun fire. They were the innocent victims of the crazed rampage of a young man with a gun. There was no rhyme nor reason to it, there was no way to prevent the crime and, worst of all, there was no way to say "Goodbye".

Sandy was driven to the edge of emotional collapse by this. But in this crisis he reached down deeply into his soul to find reserves of inner strength that he hardly knew existed prior to the crisis. Sandy connected with his own wells of inner strength, tapped them and overcame the debilitating effects of a great personal trauma.

It usually takes a lifetime to gain enough experience of life's turbulent course before one can claim to have a modicum of wisdom _ the old are the wise. What a pity it is that we become wise often only at the end of our lives. It is invariably too late to influence others; the "wisdom" may be there, but the drive and energy to take the message to others is often gone.

I believe that for some people the "getting of wisdom" is telescoped down to a shorter time frame than normally comes through the "wisdom of age". Some people get it when they are quite young. This telescopic effect is usually through dire circumstances, requiring a difficult period of introspection. It is not usually through choice. The benefit for the rest of us, when it happens this way, is that the drive and energy to take the message to others is still there. To my mind it all begs the question of whether there is a purpose to suffering.

It would not be possible to find the person who has not suffered something somewhere in their lives. One of the problems with this suffering that we all go through is that it is impossible to put a gauge on suffering. It is impossible to compare one person's pain with another's. What may be a minor incident to one may be a major catastrophe to another.

Sandy MacGregor's tendency to leadership, combined with just a trace of flamboyance in his personality, make it natural for him to want to make the link with all of us; to find the common ground between us. Sandy's idea is to go further than just establish the fact that we share common experiences. His idea is to look into the question, "So what?". His idea is to examine the possibilities that the mental processes we find from somewhere in a crisis, can be extended into our everyday lives.

Can we use these processes, this inner strength, to get rid of the ghosts in our cupboard, the things that hold us back. Can we use this strength to assist with healing? Can we use it to direct healing? Can we use it to think creatively? Find solutions that had previously evaded us? Explore spiritual purpose? Once we open our minds to think about it these are some of the interesting questions that face us. Sandy's first book Piece of Mind is about how to relax in 30 seconds and using an eight step process to word and achieve goals faster. Switch On to Your Inner Strength is about how to use a deeper state of mind where even more clarity is reached. One outcome of this clarity is that you can examine issues in your life which lead to your goals. As the number of true stories in the book show, Sandy has certainly been successful in reaching out and making a link with many many others. We all stand to benefit from this.

Many of the great ideas start out as uncertain fantasies; flights of the imagination; tentative hypotheses. Science often catches up later on with the imagination of the dreamers. In the field under discussion in this book the gap between the dreamers and the scientists is not as great as one might at first think. Scientific interest in the power of our inner strength is growing continuously.

No one has an exclusive right to special knowledge in this field. As the presence of the various personal stories shows, this book is not just about one person's reaction to trauma. It is an inclusive work about how a large number of people are discovering the same things that Sandy has found out. This book can be about you too.

Sandy now writes, conducts seminars and accepts speaking engagements to lead other people to discover their own inner strength. He uses the techniques described in this book in his personal and business life every day and believes that they can be adapted to a wide range of other fields. He has built a vibrant and successful business and still follows one of the principles he learnt at Duntroon: "Never tell anyone to do something which you would not be prepared to do yourself."

David Mason-Jones
Singleton, New South Wales


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