Growing up, Dr. Robert Flower had a friend who struggled through school, showing little interest in academics or the possibility of going to college.
Years later, when Flower crossed paths with his old friend, he was astounded to learn that he had become a master physics engineer for a nuclear reactor. The friend’s interest in physics and science was sparked by a magazine article, motivating him to pursue higher education.
At the time, Flower said he “almost fell off my chair,” but has learned that his friend’s transformation wasn’t an accident or a fluke.
“There’s somebody who probably didn’t even know their potential and then fortunately something clicked,” Flower said.
If anybody should know about helping a person realize their potential, it’s Flower. In 1982, he founded The Gilchrist Institute for the Achievement Sciences in Bronxville, a research center where he has developed a science-based system called the Laws of Potential, which strives to help people get the most out of life.
Unlike motivational approaches, Flower helps unlock potential based on the study of human behavior and natural intelligences that center on focus and creativity, among many others.
“When you focus on your life being about potential, a lot of bad things go away,” said Flower, 77, who has a doctorate in organizational and systems sciences. “You’re not a victim anymore. You understand things on a different level. You understand your life’s meaning. It comes to you a lot more vividly than if you sit there listening to some of the motivational gurus, and I’m not knocking them. Anything they do, or any program they have, is explained by the Laws of Potential.”
Flower, whose latest book, “Creative, Organizational and Life Skills for Success,” was recently released, said anyone from children to older adults can benefit from his approach. He has worked with private clients, corporations, golf pros, Olympic athletes and colleges. The institute also offers various workshops and seminars that are not only geared toward personal growth and tapping business potential but weight loss and smoking cessation classes are offered as well.
He has also started delivering seminars over various social media platforms.
The tools he provides people should be engrained by the time any student heads to college, Flower said.
It’s a simple formula that he calls the A+B=C rule, acronyms for awareness (or attention), belief and character.
“Whatever you focus on, whatever your attention is on and whatever your belief system is, that will equate to how you express it, your characterization of that issue,” Flower said. “So the greater your awareness and the broader your belief system is, the better your chances are of expressing it properly.”
That wasn’t always the case for Flower. Having grown up in the Bronx, his father died when he was 16. He spent the next six years searching in vain, having watched his mother take over the family’s funeral home business.
Flower eventually entered the real estate business and after a fledgling start, he was quite successful. But as he approached his 40th birthday, he realized that something was amiss with his life. He felt he wasn’t being honest with himself and needed a change.
“When I hit 40, I just hit a wall,” Flower said. “I said I don’t like what’s going on in my life, I don’t like me, I don’t like the way I’m handling things. There’s got to be more to it, so I decided to search for the truth.”
He said in order for his approach to work the person has to want to examine their weaknesses and be ready to make changes. It also means having a willingness to examine everything in their lives. Without that commitment, the program will be unsuccessful.
“The individual has to be open to changes,” Flower said. “You can’t force it on somebody. You can entice them. Basically, if someone does not want to, they will not. You can have an influence, there’s no two ways about it, but you know, it can have a negative influence.”
To learn more about Flower and his work, visit www.gilchristinstitute.com or www.drbobflower.com.