As A Man Thinketh
Assessment by Adebayo Stephen Folorunsho (Nigeria)
1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the Book?
The main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book is that man is a product of his thinking. If he is the type that always thinks positively, He will always act positively. But, if he is the type that always thinks negatively, he will always act negatively. He will be backward. Man has the power to make himself or mar himself. As the saying goes, ‘you are what you eat’. In the same vein; man is literally what he thinks. Man also has the power to make himself what he wills. Man makes his characters.
2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one -as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.
(i) Man can change his life by his thought – A man is literally what he thinks, our future and fortune are shaped by what we think. A plant springs out from the seed and not without the seed, so every act of man equally comes out from the hidden seeds of his thought, not without it, and with his thought, he can make or mar his destiny, with his thought, he makes or destroys himself, with his thought man can bring to himself happiness, joy and blessings or sorrow and problems. Man has a total control over his thoughts to achieve anything he wishes to achieve, man is the maker of his character. If he assumes good character through his thought pattern. He moulds, builds and shapes his life to his tastes or desires. I came from an extremely poor family where no one has ever gone to school, I decided to be educated the day I saw the students of St Joseph’s College in their neat uniform passing, in their big school bus. I later went to the very same school and I made it to the University by my thinking. I became employer of labor with over 50 employees by my thinking and with the help of God though.
(ii) Consciously selecting good thoughts: – I learnt in this book that a man can decide to carefully and consciously select a set of good thoughts for his own betterment, it has been proven that good thoughts have benefit towards our physical, spiritual and social well being. So, for a man to keep fit and healthy at all times, a man should always think positively. I read a book sometimes on power of positive thinking. So, ever since that time, I tried to dissociates from pessimists and make optimists my associates, it helps my business improves while the business of those pessimists that used to be my friends went under. I am improving day by day as a result of consciously selection to always think positively.
(iii) Purpose: – Man must be purposeful in life, there must be something He is living for, if a man does not have something He is living for then such a man is not worth living. He should choose to die immediately. Man should discover, uncover and recover his purpose; He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. It was once said that “what is not worth dyeing for is not worth living for” that is purpose; you should be able to die for the course you believe in, that’s what makes you a “real” man. Man may fail over and over again in accomplishing his purpose. He should not give up, for failure is not in falling down, but in refusing to get up to try again. In the year 2004, I spotted a strategically located Glass House edifice most suitable for running a school; I knew it will boost my business, though it was very expensive, I went for it. I pulled all resources together, I even went as far as borrowing to rent the building, the estate agent milked me dry when He saw the fire in my eyes, I never gave up. After securing the building, the progress I made in the building for 2 years triples my progress in Ten years since I had been in the business. I had always been grateful to God for taking the bull by the horns, my status changed, I bought my choice car, built my own house and my senior pessimist colleagues were coming to me for free consultations.
(iv) Determination, Dedication and Discipline: This book taught me that there is nothing your willpower cannot achieve, there is no mountain your willpower cannot surmount, when there is a will there is always a way, if the principles of determination, dedication and discipline are put in place. After a man has identified his purpose in life, the next thing is to apply the principle of the ‘3ds’ – Determination, Dedication and Discipline, without these three values, a man may not achieve his purpose in life though identified. Everything in life has a prize tag which should be paid before it could be gotten. Abraham Lincoln knew his purpose but has to employ these 3 keys before He could achieve his purpose after failing woefully severally.
(v) Power of Exercise / power of purpose/power of focus. A man should discover his purpose and set out to accomplish it (purpose can be discovered and still not be accomplished). He should always picture it in his heart and steadily focus his thought upon it. Man can train his body, his mind and his spirit to align and co-operate with him in achieving this purpose. He should even be confessing his purpose to himself; by this it will sinks into his bone marrow and become in-seperatable. This will make him to be focused. It will make him not to drift aimlessly about but be resolute and achieve his dream.
(vi) I learnt through this book to always accept full responsibilities for anything that happens to me and stop casting or shifting blames on other people because I have the power through my thought to determine what I want to happen to me. All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts. A man condition is his own and not another man’s. His suffering and his happiness are evolved from within. As he thinks, so he is. Eureka! I am no longer in bondage. I am free like “Jonathan Livingstone seagull”. I have the power to order what I don’t want to go from me and invite what I want into my life through my thinking process. No man can determine how my life should be anymore not even the president of my country, only me and God can.
(vii) Vision: the Bible says that where there is no vision the people perish, God himself is a visionary God, we must have vision like God, and ideas (vision) they say ruled the world. I am encouraged in this book to go on dreaming big dreams and to also cherish my dreams and my ideas. My vision is the promise of what I shall one day be. I am encouraged here in this book to go ahead and have realizable great dreams and even put date beside it. Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve.
3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?
These ideas would help me to have a change of character and attitude. It will also help me to improve in the way I relate with other people. Now I understand that, I can change my own world by my own thought, and henceforth, I will not hold anybody responsible for whatever that happens to me, because I now understand that I already have the power to choose whatever I want to happen to me by my thought, by always loving, caring and forgiving.
4. Quotes. Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.
(i) “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts” – The physical value or worth of a man and his character cannot be dissociated from his thought.
(ii) “Man is made or unmade by himself” – man has the ability to make himself rich, poor, to be loved or hated but often unknowingly by his thought.
(iii) “Man is the maker of his character the molder of his life and the builder of his destiny” – man’s future is in his hands.
(iv) “Men do not attract that which they want, but which they are” likes beget likes, birds of a feather will naturally flock together. Naturally and unknowingly a man’s character dictates and attracts what fits him.
(v) Clean thoughts make clean habits – out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh says the Bible, whatever character or habits a man exhibits is from his thoughts, so if a man choose to have clean thoughts, his habits would be ‘clean’.
(vi) “Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment” If a man does not meditate and think about his purpose daily or often as the case may be, he may not achieve it.
(vii) “As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking” — building good thoughts is scientific, it could be consciousely, systematically and strategically built.
5. Is there anything in the Book that you do not understand or are unclear about or are there ideas which you disagree with and if so why?
6. Did the Book contain exercises for the readers to complete? If so did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?
7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so please comments.
Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good, one is poor
A. How interesting was it read? 10
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Assessment by Adebayo Stephen Folorunsho (Nigeria)
1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?
We can become or achieve anything we want to become or achieve in life. We have got the power, we’ve got the ability, we have got everything we need, they are within us, we have got to break the chain of our thought and all things shall be possible for us.
2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples for your own life.
(i) One of the ideas which are personally most important to me is that, I learned in the book never to be complacement. I learnt to never be comfortable with the status quo or tradition, I also learnt how to do new things or how to improve in whatever I am doing, I should not be comfortable with my low estate or be contented with crumbs, fish head or stale bread for survival but decided to choose whatever I desire and get it for myself. We lost our parents at a very tender age in 1986, our extended family members took over our father’s little cocoa farm and used it to train their own children, we were called upon one day to choose a trade to learn because there was no money to continue schooling, but I stood my ground, I told them education was the only trade I choose. When my elder sister that was already married saw my seriousness and determination she took me from Ondo State to Ibadan, Oyo State,( her place) to continue my education. My other siblings choose a trade each. I am the only educated and most successful today among us all. All glory be to God.
(ii) Practicing and Experimenting, they say practice makes perfect, I learnt through the Book that, by constant practicing and experimenting we can discover our latent potentials, become perfect and be master in whatever we do, when I was younger, I used to stammer when speaking, later, I discovered that the problem was not as a result of a major defect from God but from my inability to be patient and be gentle while speaking, so, I decided to always practice taking it cool while speaking. I tell you, it worked out, now I speak fluently without stammering after long practice.
(iii) Stand out from the crowd: I learnt in this Book to stand out from the crowd, there are many mean men in our society – men of easy virtues – common men, I should learn to be uncommon- an eagle among birds, a Jonathan among thousands seagulls, a man of vision and purpose. A preacher once said, there are no more spaces on the level ground, it is crowded with people, but there are spaces (vacancies) on the top, because only few uncommon men can get there. This Book has challenged me to get out from the place of the ordinary man and push my way to the top which is the place of the uncommon, noble and visionary men who can defy challenges, frustration, and discouragement. When my sister decided to take me to Ibadan, a new state entirely, I was discouraged by these same set of people, and was remembered of what it takes to get used to a new environment and that I will definitely suffer hunger and care, but I told them I like experimenting new things. I deferred all the discouragements and followed her.
(iv) Never succumbs to defeat or failure, don’t give up whenever you fail, tough time never last but tough people do. Masquerades are referred to as supernatural creatures from heaven in my tribe (Yoruba) and there is a local adage which says that whosoever is being chased by Masquerade should persevere and not give up, as you are getting tired, our ever strong supernatural creature is also getting tired too, He will soon turn back. Though he is from “heaven”. In order words, when you have problems, persevere, confront it, it will give way someday though it seems to be tough, it will get tired and leave you.
(v) Be a good follower and take instructions:- if you want to be a leader you must be a follower first, there is no shortcut to leadership. Jonathan was initially receiving instructions and training from some people, later He too became an instructor – A leader. To become a good leader you must be a good follower, you must be humble and obedient and be teachable, know that there are stages in life, when you finish a school another higher school is already waiting for you, you can never ever graduate from the school of life, there is no leader without a leader – Obama, the number one citizen in the world has a mentor – a leader.
(vi) Have a large Heart – when Jonathan came back from Heaven to help other seagulls learn how to fly, He was magnanimous towards them, he was able to accommodate all of them though they once hated him and banished him. Though they hated him, he loved them instead. I learnt in this Book to live for others and show them love, instead of Jonathan to continue enjoying himself in heaven, he decided to come down to a place of imperfection, a place of filth and dirt to live for others. This is actually difficult for me to practice I have not been perfect in this area. I hope to improve by and by.
(vii) Humility: A proud person feels he knows it all and he cannot learn anything. For you to learn, you must be very humble and patient. We can make more friends by being humble, if you are not humble, you cannot be a good instructor and a good leader like Jonathan. I have been able to attract and win good people to work with me through my humility. of course, I have heard it said from them time without number that what attracted them to me is my humility and that they are really learning from me, of course, I learn from them too.
3. How would these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so how?
The ideas I learnt in this book would make me to be a better person, it will make me to be fulfilled in life, it will also make me live longer, if I can forgive all my enemies, show love to them and even help them to overcome their problems I will definitely live a fulfilled, happy and longer life.
4. Quotes: Are there any statement which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.
(i) “We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence, intelligence and skills, we can be free! We can learn to fly!” We can achieve the unimaginable through seeking knowledge and learning, we can achieve our goals
(ii) “Who is more responsible than a gull who finds and follows a meaning, a higher purpose for life?” A man who has not discovered his purpose is not yet living, finding one’s purpose in life is the ultimate. It is the highest level of responsibility.
(iii) “There is more to life than eating or fighting or power in the flock”. if a man devotes his life to sincerely helping people solve their problems, instead of competing with them, he is automatically their leader and they will worship him with their substances and resources.
(iv) “One school is finished and the time has come for another to begin”. There are stages or level of learning in life. We learn from the day we are born till the day we enter into the grave. When you finish a school, another higher school is waiting for you. You can never graduate from the school of life.
(v) “The gull sees farthest who flies highest” the more you seek knowledge, the wiser and better your approach at solving problems and in identifying opportunities.
(vi) “If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood” space and time (things, substances, gifts, conditionalities) will come and go but friendship and love is more important and it should be valued and respected.
(vii) ‘Break the chains of your thought and you break the chains of your body too’. You cannot be absolutely free until you are free in your thoughts.
(viii) “We’re free to go where we wish and what we are”. All that we need to become, what we need to become is within us.
(ix) “You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now and nothing can stand in your way” I have the power to choose whatever I want and get it, problems and discouragement notwithstanding.
(x) “The only true law is that which leads to freedom” – we should dare to challenge unprofitable superstitions and traditions. Who told you seagulls never falter or stall or that an outcast never returns, seagulls better falter and stall over and over again if it will make it to learn how to fly and feed fat on the rare and tasty fish that schooled ten feet below the surface of the ocean instead of depending on the stale bread for survival.
5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about or are there ideas which you disagree with, and if so why?
6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so did you complete all the exercises and did you find them helpful?
7. Was there anything that you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so please comment. None
Please rate the following questions in a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good One is poor.
A. How interesting was it read? 10
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 8
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give to it? 8