How to Redefine Adversity and Unleash Creative Potential

by Inga Yandell

“It is not where you are from, but where you are going that is important.”

–Robert Ian Bonnick

Natural born entertainer Robert Ian Bonnick aka RiB has had an enviable career and glamorous life rubbing shoulders with the famous and elite. He danced for M-People, Womack and Womack, recruited for Madonna, and modelled alongside Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Eva Herzigová. Travelling the globe, hosting events for the world’s biggest stars—a lucky life one would assume. But luck was not the catalyst for his success—instead adversity was his ally as an artist.

Rob started out with almost NOTHING. He suffered a tumultuous childhood, abandoned to an orphanage before his first birthday. For the next 18 years at the orphanage, Rob was faced with a choice. Would he choose to reflect and follow the path of fellow orphans who ended up in jail or dead, or instead choose to step into his greatest potential as a human being?

In his first memoir Soul Survivor, Robert shares his exploration and study of what connects, inspires and motivates us as human beings.

The book relates Robert’s philosophy on adversity through what he calls ‘the five keys’ and relates the lessons of 20 years studying with some of the best educators and thought leaders on the planet. The sum of his experiences provided him with the opportunity and purpose of finding ways to bring together vastly different groups of people by inspiring them to learn more about themselves and each other.

Written with humour and humility, the book has much to offer anyone seeking a constructive anchor for the adversities which touch us all.

BE Journal asked Robert: How to Redefine and Adversity and Unleash Creative Potential

I’m becoming more and more aware that growing up in two orphanages for eighteen years gave me the key to unlock the door to discover my purpose and thus unleash my creative potential. For example, if my purpose is to inspire people to realise that it’s not where you start in your life but where you are going that matters. Despite all of the incredible things that you can achieve in your life—it would all be for nothing unless you learn to accept or love yourself. Finally, to support diversity and inclusion wherever I go. To celebrate what makes us unique whilst bringing us; people of different ideologies colours and views of life, together around our humanity creating greater compassion for one another in the process.

If all the above is true (which it is)….then l had the perfect start!

I experienced what it was like to be the youngest of eighteen children at any one point in time in an orphanage and be subjected to racism, classicism, bullying, fellow peers being killed and beaten. I know what it’s like to suffer major identity issues and challenges; for twelve years I identified with caucasian values and appearances even though I am 6 ft 3 inches tall black man of Jamaican heritage. I know what it’s like to fail to recognise the beauty of my own people, unless they had caucasian features. To have people say things like “oh you sounded like a white guy on the phone” and “I don’t like black people but you’re alright” and being proud of that! Then realising this was all due to my failure to accept myself.

I had the opportunity to study over two decades, self development and human potential with some of the most well known thought leaders in the world. This allowed me to understand the process not only of embracing who I truly am but who we truly are too regardless of race, colour, and ideology then, as a Keynote Speaker, Coach and Trainer, how to bring others into this same state of awareness as well.

I had the opportunity to mix with celebrities and high profile people to realise we are all truly the same—in that we all have our specific challenges in life to overcome… if we choose to. I became a successful, model (working with Supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Eva Hertzigova and Christy Turlington), worked with Madonna, danced for (Womack and Womack, The Word – Channel 4, M-People), Actor (I Guastafeste—the Italian Candid Camera) Night Club promoter (one of the venues I was heavily involved in was voted number three in the world), As an athlete (played basketball for England and National League and in Europe), more recently, speaker, trainer, author and family man.

As a result of my upbringing learning how to meditate and all the lessons I learned along the way with through the support of some extremely charitable people, I found five keys:

1. Get Yourself A Dream or better still A Purpose

2. Accept where you are today (You Can Change it)

3. Visualise, Visualise, Visualise to the point of Insanity

4. Overcoming the Speed humps of self-sabotage

5. Surrender–Timing

When I followed these, I have always satisfied the innermost desires of my heart each key of which I go into detail giving you a chance to road test for yourself in my book.

As a result of what many of my fellow orphans passed on to me, I created three fundamentals truths which I always live by and have always served me well. 

1. I never forget where I’m from. 

2. I never forget who helped me to get where l am today.

3. I always give back where l can without the expectation of gaining anything in return.

Connect with Robert via: robertianbonnick.com or @robertianbonnick

Soul Survivor (New Holland Publishers) newhollandpublishers.com

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
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