Assumptive Dive Alumni Testimonials

Maurice Sweeney

Book Editor 

Normally one would expect the success of a programme like the Assumptive Dive to be simply measured by the amount of knowledge gained or skills learned. Ticking a series of boxes does not work in this case, however, since the impact is more of a qualitative nature, more concerned with how, rather than what, we think.

The Assumptive Dive demands that we think about thinking. It is consequently experiential rather than didactic in its approach, where participants are encouraged to arrive at their own understanding of how they form opinions. Reading is required but is engaged with in a way that I suspect most people (including myself) have not been used to.

I always believed that my approach to social or political issues was firmly grounded in rational thinking, and consequently I became frustrated when others could or would not see what I saw. What I now realise is that, as important as my ability to reason is, my thinking has been fundamentally shaped by a deep-rooted ‘vision’ of the world that I was not aware of. This realisation has led me to try to uncover the silent shapers of my thought, to understand why my thinking is programmed to follow certain paths when dealing with issues involving human nature and society. It also puts me into a new relationship with those who have opinions contrary to mine, since I can no longer dismiss, as one does so readily in the heat of debate, their arguments as the result of ignorance or wilful distortion of the facts. Instead, I must now accept that their beliefs are founded on a different, but equally intrinsic and silent, visions of the world.

The programme is a potentially liberating one. It can help free us from having to stay within the confines of our unexamined assumptions and to see theory and concepts not as faithful descriptions or blueprints of the world, but as tools we can use to expand and enhance our thinking.

I would highly recommend the experience of the Assumptive Dive to anyone who is interested in learning about how they think and arrive at judgements about the world. It opens new exciting territory for intellectual and personal development, obeying at least in part the aeons-old philosophical command, ‘Know thyself.’

Maureen Synnott

Solicitor, Dublin City Council 

I joined The Assumptive Dive because I had done The Keynes Centre’s Reading for Transformation Experiences Book Circle in 2015 and I loved that, I loved the idea of being on a course that’s not prescriptive learning but where it’s about your own journey, your own learning.

During the experience, I felt like I was expected to come fully present and ready to learn new meanings and concepts and to take them on where I was at in myself, compared to when you do a formal learning course where you don’t have to be fully present, where you are given the information and the syllabus, and you take them and repeat them. It was about where we were at and how we would go forward from there. It was about the direction we were being given.

With The Keynes Centre, every part of the whole person needs to be there. These experiences have allowed me to connect with that “deep down sense” and there is a lot of power in that. Connell and Assumpta were able to give us the vocabulary and language to connect with that sense. I really appreciate everything I got from The Keynes Centre.

I am also much more conscious of how I speak now. I was already conscious of how I speak legally, but now I am conscious of my thoughts and my thinking, and how I listen to others’ views. It’s a deep learning experience. I’m reading a book now and when the author is using the words ‘metaphor’, and ‘concept’, I have a better understanding of these words thanks to The Keynes Centre. I don’t use the definition of ‘metaphor’ that I was given at school, now I have a new definition and a new appreciation for what these words mean. They are key words in life that I never had a full understanding of, and now I have a better understanding. Half-way through your life, these kind of revelations are amazing. It’s a gift. Everything I learnt from the Book Circle and The Assumptive Dive had a very profound impact on my being, my way of being. There are words and meanings I have now that I bring into my everyday life.

It was a transformational journey, a transformational experience – transformational because it leaves an imprint in your psyche. And I would recommend the Assumptive Dive to everybody, but the person has to be in the right place to gain anything from it. You cannot come to take notes, you have to come prepared to engage in the conversation.

Together with the Book Circle, The Assumptive Dive has been the most authentic learning experience I have had in my 40 years of life in this world.  Books, films, newspaper articles and people have become a lot more accessible to me.  I have connected with a sense of duty within my own being as to how I want to be in this world both as a human and as a professional.

Amanda Brennan

Finance Manager of the Blanchardstown Campus, TU Dublin

I had already worked with Connell and Assumpta and found this type of learning and development really interesting. Other courses I have done have been basically techniques for dealing with individual issues such as interview skills, problems in the workplace and personality type questionnaires. The purpose of The Assumptive Dive was to increase our awareness of how we think. I think that it really focuses on us as a whole person in relation to everyone and everything else in the world, if we can understand why we are thinking the way we are and why we react the way we do, then we will have a much better chance of understanding ourselves and by extension other people and make decisions based on that understanding.

The sessions were always something to look forward to. The group sessions gave me access to much different perspectives and the one to one sessions with my peers was beneficial as it forced me to interact. I find that I am more of a listener than a talker, and the course helped me to confront the assumptions I have that stop me from interacting.

I am now thinking differently in that I have become more aware of some of my assumptions. For instance, I cannot always have perfect information to make a decision. Before, I was focused on knowing all the information before making decisions (in the current world, it seems that the wrong outcome brings huge judgement by others be that right or wrong and depending on the impact the outcome has on others). Now I am more focused on asking myself whether I have the capacity to understand where my thinking/accumulations are leading me and if I have the capacity to understand others’ opinions and where other people are operating from. This shift has made a big difference.

I would definitely recommend this experience. I found it very beneficial for gaining a better understanding of the relationships in my life and, actually, for making me feel more content in myself, so I feel it would benefit people in their work and in their personal lives. For instance, I have recommended it to a friend going through a breakup.

I am still at the start of this journey and feel these courses are hugely beneficial to me in progressing with my development, and I will be attending more courses by The Keynes Centre!

Freda Mills

School Principal, Kilcolman National School

I joined The Assumptive Dive based on past experience. I had already participated in The Keynes Centre’s Reading for Transformation Book Circle, and got a lot out of that experience for my job and for my personal life. So when I saw The Assumptive Dive advertised I decided to go for it.

What The Keynes Centre does is very different to many other courses. With other courses, you are given the information, you are told to learn it, and then you have the information, that’s it. When it comes to what Connell does in The Keynes Centre, there’s nothing easy about it, you have to learn things for yourself. It’s different in that nothing is handed to you, it’s discovery learning. I found this challenging, but I love being stretched and learning, so it was also enjoyable.

We went at a nice pace and Connell and Assumpta did a good job of walking us through and reassuring us with the challenging material. Assumpta emphasised observing ourselves and I felt that I was learning and reflecting a lot about myself, working on myself.

It was also a lovely thing to have during the lockdown. We are all at home and we’re not meeting other people. It was a lovely way to meet new people and hear new ideas and opinions.

I think everyone needs to stop and have a look at themselves and the people around them so everyone would benefit from getting involved with The Keynes Centre, everyone should be trying to develop themselves all the time.

And for future participants, I would say put the work in, it’s worth it.

Michael O’Dea

Principal Consultant and Director at BCM Risk Solutions Ltd

After 13 years of school, 4 years of a primary degree in Engineering, 2 years MSc, 2 years MBA, some Open University modules and multiple work-based development programmes (supervisory, managerial, coaching, etc., etc.) – this has been the most transformative development experience of my life (to-date). It has helped me find ‘a tool’ that I can use myself across all aspects of life rather than a narrow skill or some particular outcome.

The real value of The Assumptive Dive for me came from working through the difficulties and progressively digging deeper and deeper. Because of participating in this Keynes Centre experience, I have started to question many of my fundamental beliefs about myself and the world around me. And I know that I cannot close the box of this kind of development work once it has been opened.

Enlightening, challenging, disruptive, difficult, transformative and life-changing. I would highly recommend The Assumptive Dive. It has a real impact on people’s lives.

Kathleen Conolly

Formerly in Social Policy 

I really enjoyed the course and learned a lot. I achieved some new personal insights, increased my awareness, and put my toe in the water of consciously using and working with concepts. I would now question a bit more where people, including myself, are coming from and try to put myself in the others’ shoes. I’d be less likely to give a non-reflective response, I hope.

It’s certainly a bit different to the usual run of courses. The focus on increasing personal awareness was very important. And I found the multi-sensory approach used to be powerful: reading, listening, talking in the group and in pairs, as well as writing. Though it involves some time commitment and is challenging, the supports are considerable.

I’ve already recommended the ‘Assumptive Dive’ to others. It’s a quality product, amazing value and stimulating. It’s suitable for enquiring minds. And it was certainly a privilege to participate in the course from Greece.

Jeff Rope

Founder and Executive Coach/Consultant at Performe Pharma Consulting Limited
Have you ever thought about the concepts you believe in and how they shape your thinking and understanding of the world?


I did, I highly recommend you do the same…


Concepts are tools for thinking about how we see the world, they do not and should not own us. They are tools of thought. As Connell says,


 “A hammer is a tool, we don’t believe in the hammer, we use the hammer. The hammer does not tell us what to do or what to think…”
With the support of Connell, Assumpta and the interactive group, The Assumptive Dive explores your own relationship with concepts and how you use them, through a reading and thinking experience.

Michael Murphy

International Consultant in Agriculture

The Assumptive Dive definitely challenged me, made me think, and challenged me to think differently. It validated for me the idea that it is a lot more interesting in life to keep trying to develop your thinking and to develop your theories for more effective thinking until well into old age – perhaps 85 to 95 years old. And not only to be open to new thinking, but also to be prepared to completely discard long cherished beliefs when new facts emerge. The experience has enforced for me that we have the potential to be very different, and it has enforced it in such a way that it has made me be extremely curious about the best thinking that is out there in the world and to actively seek out and read these authors whose ideas might be useful to me.

It has also encouraged me to improve my listening skills and to listen more empathically. And equally, it has made me more aware of my use of words. I realised that sometimes I am careless and not as accurate as I would wish when it comes to describing my thoughts, and Connell helped me by challenging me to be more precise in expressing ideas.

The Assumptive Dive is very very different because, as Connell insisted, it is a lot better to think through things for yourself than have someone else spoon feed you. I would recommend The Assumptive Dive to people open to new ways of thinking.

Did I enjoy it? Hugely. Did I think it was worthwhile? Hugely. Overall, I would describe the experience as challenging but extremely worthwhile and stimulating.

Des Lucey

Head of Market Access with GlaxoSmithKline (Ireland) Ltd.

I joined The ‘Assumptive Dive’ based on my previous participation in The Keynes Centre’s experiences and for personal and professional development. It is nice to find a space apart to listen to and dialogue with others in such a shared experience.

The ‘Assumptive Dive’ Workout, along with other things that The Keynes Centre does, is different from other training because the concepts and tools for thought are introduced to the participant, however, the onus is on the participant to explore, practice and use these new tools in their day to day life. For example, I would very much now apply the tools of thought we worked with in The Assumptive Dive while reading an article or book, or while watching an interview on TV. It is also very much about a shared experience, exploration of personal insights and improved self-awareness. This course is adult education as it should be – you are not spoon fed but challenged by Connell and Assumpta and the other course participants.

Enlightening, enjoyable, challenging, interactive and thought provoking, I would recommend The ‘Assumptive Dive’ to persons who are interested in evolving how and what they think. Persons who are not afraid to challenge their fundamental beliefs and perceptions. You can come from any walk of life to get real and applicable insights and value from the workout.