From Failure to Passing with Flying Colours First Time

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Where it really all began . . . . . . .

I often share the story of how my PhotoReading journey got started.  Although people listen with interest, a few have confessed that there is a little part of them that finds it difficult to believe and that a turnaround from such a dire state of affairs could:

  1. Be true.
  2. Be turned around so quickly and in such a dramatic and life changing way.

When I first embarked upon my NLP Practitioner Training I was desperate, although I wouldn’t have recognised or admitted as much.  I was desperate because my partner had just had another affair, desperate because I was in such a poor state of health with the chronic tiredness leaving me sleeping anything up to 12-15 hours per day and still feeling exhausted.  And desperate because despite trying to throw myself into my ACCA Accountancy studies, my memory was so bad that I eventually wound up with a medical certificate from my Doctor which gave me extra time in my exams to try and help compensate for the medical condition which mimicked the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease.

In an attempt to overcome some of the issues that were plaguing me I embarked upon an NLP Practitioner Training and was slightly annoyed that it came with a pre-test.  With everything else I was trying to cope with in the run up to the December accountancy exams, it was the last thing that I needed in addition to having to take a week off to attend.

“Is she lazy or stupid?”

When I turned in my NLP Practitioner test I later found out that the trainers thought I must be either lazy or stupid because it was so bad, and much to my annoyance, it wasn’t just a case of handing it in and going: “Oh well, I tried, and failed”, I was having to take that darn thing home every single night for 4 consecutive nights to try and bring it up to scratch.  This was not a good state of affairs following 12 hour days in the training room and having to travel 4 hours each day to attend that training.  As you can imagine, I wasn’t best pleased, and at the time, failure seemed like a far easier option.

I only attended to NLP course to improve my communication skills.  Someone had suggested that it might be a good way to overcome my shyness and self esteem issues after it became apparent to me that being a Accountant still didn’t mean that I could hide behind a desk all day and that I still might actually have to talk to people.

Despite my reservations and downright poo pooing of the course initially (I mean Hypnosis?  Time Line Therapy?  Huna?  Really?  Does anybody really believe that such things can change your life?  Na, just give me the communication bits that I came for and let me go home!”)  These were my prevailing thoughts as I impatiently sat through the first couple of days of training.

The ‘Aha’ Moment

And then someone asked a question of the trainer.  The NLP Trainer leading the course was quoting names, dates, references and case studies, and a fellow delegate asked how he managed to remember all of that stuff.

He answered that he read 20-30 books a month!  Not a year, or on his subject, but per month.  Now even for a regular person, and even students for that matter, 20-30 books per month is a LOT.  And just to put this into context, this man was pulling 12-14 hour days, often working 7 or 8 days straight with no weekend off, and was putting in a good 120 days per year training/stage time.

Now when someone pulling that kind of schedule says that that they still find the time to not just read but also retain 20-30 books per month it begs the question: “How on earth do you do that??????”  Which is what someone then asked.

My flippant, under my breath answer was: “Well he obviously doesn’t get out much!”

He answer was that he PhotoReads.

“PhotoReading?  PhotoReading?????”  Hold on a minute I thought, “I have those tapes (yes, they were cassette tapes back in the day) sat at home gathering dust, and doing a good rendition of what I call ‘shelf development’ as opposed to self development.”

Yes indeed, I had purchased the PhotoReading tapes 2 years prior but because it didn’t all immediately make sense to me or fit in with my model of the world and what I thought I know about academia, I cherry picked one or 2 bits that fit with what I already knew, applied those few bits half heartedly, and ignored the rest, telling myself that the claims were too outlandish and that it couldn’t possibly work.  And that is how it remained until that fateful day in the NLP training room.

“Mmmmmmm” I thought.  “I wonder what would happen if I went home, dusted off those tapes, and listened with an open mind instead of disregarding everything that Paul Scheele said if it didn’t make sense to me?”

In that moment I decided that not only would I go back an listen to and apply the tapes with an open mind, (and yes, you will be pleased to know that they are now on Home Study CD), I would also apply it to my Master Practitioner test which was not only longer than the Practitioner test that I’d just failed miserably, but was also much more in depth.

From failure to passing with flying colours

And rather than having that test returned to me every single day full of red marks and crosses, I decided that I would apply this PhotoReading stuff, complete the NLP test, and do it to such a standard that it would come back to me only once and that was to say: ‘Well done, you’ve passed.’

It seemed like a slightly tall order given my performance and results at the time, however the training was encouraging us to focus on what we wanted and to put goals out in our future time line so I decided to go for it.

I went home after the Practitioner course and I listened to the PhotoReading tapes and applied the techniques to the NLP Master Practitioner preparation and test for the workshop that was to start a mere 3 weeks later.  I completed that test.  I handed it in.  It came back to me only once:

NLP Master Prac Test

My NLP Master Practitioner Test: “Excellent Work Marilyn. Completed.”

Now when I share this story I say that it came back to a big tick in the right hand corner saying: ‘Well done.’  In fact, having just found the test in the back of a cupboard as I was having a clear out I saw that those words weren’t quite right because it in fact had a big tick and the word: ‘Excellent work Marilyn.  Completed.’


Now as one of my old mentors used to say, I say and share this not to impress you, but to impress upon you what is possible when you put your mind to something.

That result and outcome was my first inkling that there was something to this PhotoReading lark.  Something that went beyond mere chance.  Something that meant that this ‘reading at the rate of 25,000 words per minute’ and being able to Activate and remember and recall what you’d read was more than just fancy marketing words.


The next goal that I’d set myself, having changed my life so dramatically in the space of a couple of weeks was that I was going to sign up and become a Certified Trainer of NLP.  Not only that, the goal was that I would complete the 1-day 8-hour closed book written test in just 3 hours and not just complete it in record breaking time, but also pass with flying colours.

You can see how that went in my previous blog post.

You can also read about how to PhotoRead a book without even seeing it and the type of intuition that opens up for my PhotoReading students . . . . click here.

So, for those who had their doubts about these tales of seemingly superhuman feats, this serves as a reference to say that anything really is possible.

And, keeping in mind that my certificate from my Doctor was still valid while all of this was going on, and that when I embarked upon both the NLP and PhotoReading Training I was still struggling with what is termed ‘brain fog’, this is also here to remind you that if you aren’t suffering from any of these ailments or conditions, you are way ahead of me already and can most certainly achieve the same and more.

Happy PhotoReading!

Marilyn x



Marilyn Devonish is a Certified PhotoReading Instructor, Certified Trainer of NLP, Certified Trainer of Time Line Therapy, Certified Trainer of Hypnosis, Certified Soul Plan Reader, Angel Tarot Card Reader.  She is also a Practitioner of EFT, EmoTrance, Hawaiian Huna, Positive EFT, Archetypal Profiling, DNA Theta Healing, Energetic NLP, OTH (Opening The Heart), Reiki.  Marilyn is also a Business Studies Graduate, Management Consultant, Corporate Trainer, Prince2 Project Manager, Freelance Writer, and Keynote Speaker.

She embarked upon her NLP Training in October 2000 and has been running private coaching and therapy session with private clients ever since.  She completed her PhotoReading Instructor Training in March 2002 and has been running public and private PhotoReading Workshops since then.



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About the Author:

Marilyn Devonish has been described as the UK equivalent of Oprah Winfrey, Marianne Williamson, Anthony Robbins, a dash of Doreen Virtue, and the trio from Charmed all rolled into one. I (Marilyn Devonish) have admit that was too big of a statement for me to own, but I equally admit that I do like the sound of it and it did make me smile. Marilyn Devonish - Herself since Year 2000.

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