Aloys Hakizimana – Assessments

As A Man Thinketh

Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What ideas were personally most important to you in this book? Do not simply list the ideas, but explain or discuss why they were important to you, using personal examples.

According to the author, every human being holds the key of his destiny between his hands. When God created the man and the woman, He gave them the power to govern all the beings existing in the world. This power lies not in physical force, but in intelligence. This beautiful gift enables them also to differentiate the good from the evil. Thus he must make his choice: to enter the realm of happiness or in the hell. Depending on his choice, he will have good or bad consequences. Between the two extremes, there is a scale which goes from good to bad conditions or vice-versa according to the selected direction.

To choose between the good and the bad conditions is not an easy business, because that operation requires an interior examination of oneself. It is thus by introspection that each one discovers treasures or impurities hidden in himself. But that requires also the acceptance of his own failures, in order to correct them. Anne Hope and Sally Timmel quoting Amilcar Gabral say that: “To criticize oneself is to reconstruct oneself with oneself in order to serve better” . But we know that the majority of human beings have a tendency to think that they are not faulty. A Rwandan proverb says that “each girl finds herself more beautiful than others”. We naturally have a tendency to put our faults in the bag on our back and the faults of the others in the front bag. It is better to be open with the environment so that it can be possible to receive critics from others. What people think about you? It is by this way that you can know if your acts which take roots in your thoughts are a problem or not for your environment. Even if this manner is effective, it must be employed carefully. As accentuated by Anne Hope and of Sally Timmel quoting Amilcar Gabral, “criticizing a person does not mean putting oneself against the person….the best critic can be achieved if you are also open to be criticized .

After discovering oneself, a man must then try to improve his inner conditions which can help him to control his relationships with the environment. As we know, the members of the family, the colleagues, the neighbours and the environment in general do not treat with the thoughts of a man. They meet your actions and judge you by the behaviour. And we learned in this book that each man has a choice: to forge the weapons for his own destruction or to fashion the tools for his heavenly mansions. Thus let us not condemn anybody about the situation which we live now.

It is known that heredity and education have their role in the modelling of a human being character, but it is not always sure that the “bad” persons are always met in the sinner areas, and the “saints” in the supposed better areas. This is why I can conclude by saying that God, by creating each individual gave him the capacity to throw himself in the bad conditions or to draw himself from them.

The author tries to describe what he considers as a “perfect man”. “A man is he who ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. He who adapts his mind to that regulating factor and who do not accuse others to be the cause of his conditions…” In a conference, where we dealt with problem of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, we posed the question of knowing the origin of this holocaust between the inhabitants of the same country, who share the same language, religion and… the same misery. The first idea coming to mind from everyone is the role of the colonialists. Indeed, they played a considerable role in the Rwandan conflict, but we, as Rwandans we must understand our role in the search for a lasting solution to our problem.

Each human being in general and the inhabitants of the underdeveloped countries in particular, have to learn much more from this book. We are accustomed to beg assistances of other countries and thus continue to walk in the manner they want. It is time to be released. A Rwandan proverb says that: “if you do not want to work pretending that you are hungry, you will remain famished all your life”. We must cultivate the thoughts of development in our spirit. I know that other conditions must be met, but as somebody said it, “if Congolese were placed in France and the French in Congo, do we think that Congo would continue to be an underdeveloped country and France, a developed country? I let each one the care to find the answer. But the development must be the business of each one, and it begins by the transformation of our minds.

It is not sufficient that the leader took the burden alone on his shoulders. That must be the concern of each inhabitant and each sector of development, in particular education. It is through the determination of each citizen that the dream will become reality. The author gave us some examples of the dreams which became realities, even if at their time, they seemed impossible.

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc?

I have an example of one of my colleagues at the Bank where I work who was always of bad mood, and no customer wanted to approach him, except if there were no other choice. Even the colleagues avoided him. This is a bad mark for a bank officer. He began to complain by wondering why the customers preferred to see other colleagues. Instead of seeking the problem in himself, he started to say that probably his/her colleagues told bad things against him. But everyone knew that it was due to his behaviour. One day, when we had a small party by welcoming a new colleague, I seized the occasion to approach the colleague and told him the truth about his behaviour. I think that the results, although not yet tangible, will be positive. At least, he understood that the solution was between his hands. Since then, he tries to greet customers and colleagues and to speak to them more humanly.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book?

The important new idea learned from this book is the theory developed by the author about the cooperation between oppressor and slaves, in ignorance. He said that sometimes, there are oppressors because there are slaves. They cooperate intimately. It is not sufficient to blame oppressor whenever the situation in which he is was influenced in any way by those who are supposed to be oppressed.

4. What ideas were personally most important to you in this book? Do not simply list the ideas, but explain or discuss why they were important to you, using personal examples

The most important idea in this book is that every human being is the master and the maker of his destiny.

The way you interact with your environment, you deal with your boss, colleague and customers; the way you introduce yourself to a new comer; how you manage your relations with your children at home or your students if you are teacher, will create a good or bad feelings to your interlocutor and have an impact in your personal life. Undoubtedly, those feelings will create a sentiment of acceptance or repugnance or aggressiveness from your partner.

5. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so explain

I appreciated the lessons drawn from this book. It gave me an occasion to rethink about the strength of our thoughts and their influence on the life and environment in general. It is another way to say, that depending of how you knock at a door, it can be opened to you. And depending on how you dig in your own soul, you can discover many treasures lying within you.

6. Are there ideas in this book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

There is something which was not highlighted by the author. It should be never forgotten that the heredity and environment play their role in modelling the character of a human being. The character structure is known as a product of genetic characteristics and education or environmental influence.

The manner of thinking is commanded by the genetics features and environmental influences, characteristics and education received. Sometimes you do not think that you have bad or good thoughts. Let us share some examples hereunder.

Sometimes it is not easy to make difference between good and wrong, when in some communities, the two notions have different connotations depending on the interpretation given by one group or another. In some communities, stealing is perceived a sign of courage when in others; it is a fault which can be punished by a death penalty. Other communities tolerate to have sex with a married person, when in others the sex out of marital condition is an enough evidence for the partner to ask for divorce. All those supposed “bad practices” are accepted within those communities. So they cannot be perceived as wrong, if the community believes them like that.

I think it is necessary to add in the idea that the thoughts in themselves do not influence the destiny of a human being, but it is how their fruits are perceived which influence the human life.

7. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

The book is helpful in all purposes. When you read it, the ideas developed by the author seem to be obvious so that it is a bit difficult to find what to say about them. But the most helpful is the comparison of our inner conditions like a mine of gold and diamond. If we want to become rich in our behaviour, we have to take courage and begin to dig deeply in our mind.

8. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey

A man or woman is what he thinks. From his inside, germinates the seeds who will give bad or good fruits depending on how he did manage them. Those fruits have an impact on the environment and will guide his destiny.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor
a. How interesting was it to read? 8
b. How helpful were the contents? 8
c. How easy was it to understand? 7
d. Would you recommend it to others? 9
e. What it is the overall rating you would give it? 8



Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What ideas were personally most important to you in this book? Do not simply list the ideas, but explain or discuss why they were important to you, using personal examples

When I finished reading the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” I got many ideas about it. But the two most important ideas I would like to share with you are: the importance of determination if you want to reach your purpose and the fight for the well-being of your own community.


The first item brings me to the question of whether a person can accept to sacrifice the benefit of living with his family, his community for the sake of his purpose. This is what did Jonathan Seagull.

In the history, we have some striking examples about that kind of sacrifice. The first example that needs to be developed here concerns Jesus Christ. His line of thinking did no please the great priests and other personalities. They tried to convince him many times to deny his parental link with God. But he persisted to tell them what he told before. One example could have been enough, but some people might reasonably assume that all that was possible for Jesus because he was the Son of God and almighty.

But, we know that history provides numerous instances of courage displayed by some other persons. Let us take another example of Galileo who continued to affirm that the earth turns around the sun until he was hung, even if the leaders of the Catholic Church supplicated him to abandon the theory for the sake of his life. He accepted to die and even before the last minute of his life, he said: “Nevertheless, it (earth) does turn”.

It would be naïve to affirm that everyone can take that kind of risk, if he has not a real strength of the heart. Jonathan also accepted to sacrifice all what he loved and went away to live a miserable life. He could even die of sadness and loneliness.

Fortunately, God blesses always the good enterprises and give forces to achieve them. When you are fighting for a just cause, you finally win. If not, your cause will win one day after your death.

Preoccupation for others

When Jonathan attained his perfection, he got the idea to come back to his flock, because for him, the ultimate goal was to share his knowledge with the rest of the flock.
In my native language (Kinyarwanda) there is an adage saying: “Water can boil, but it never forgets the realm of coldness”. This is to say, that one time it will return to the initial temperature. Jonathan did not forget the situation in which he left his brothers.

As far as the common understanding is concerned, nobody could think that it is possible for an outcast to think to come back to his community with a good intention. It would be easy to understand if Jonathan, with his strength to come back with the view of punishing all those who did not accept to listen to him and outcast him, and to take power and begin to govern the flock.

But according to the author, Jonathan thought of the flock with a feeling of pity. He wanted to transform the community habits little by little.

Undoubtedly, the lessons learned from Jonathan’s experience helped a lot all the seagulls, and brought them a better life.

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc?

In my country (Rwanda), for the great majority of people like to share straws when drinking traditional beers. It is accepted as a good custom bequeathed by the ancestors. Nevertheless, we know that it is a way of diseases transmission. When you try to convince them about the danger of transmitting diseases like tuberculosis, they treat you as a boastful. When you refuse to share the straw, you are told that generations and generations did like that before you, and nothing bad did happen. Even if authorities put a particular effort to remove it, the public in general think that it is the best practice of drinking beer. With a straw beer is good and it is better when you share it with a friend. When I go to visit my mother, even if I try to convince them about the danger and avoid drinking that kind of beer as often as possible, it is impossible to avoid it completely. I have not yet reached the courage of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Jonathan’s determination reminds me a personal experience. After I finished the secondary school, I passed fourteen years without a chance of going to university. First I was discouraged by my employer who used to tell me that she had never been to university, but she did not miss anything in her life. But at that time I did not break the contract biding me with her like Jonathan. I preferred to continue to be like other “seagulls”. My fear was due to the reason that she had much influence in government circle, and it was not easy to get a place in university. There was a risk to be outcast like Jon, and not to get a government bursary. Every student might be admitted by the government.

After the 1994 genocide, the university doors were opened to everybody. My intention was reborn again. But on the other hand, it was observable that people considered my decision as foolish. How an “old man” like me can dare to leave his children and wife, and go to school while there were many opportunities to get good salaries -but for how long time- offered by new-born NGOs. Fortunately, my wife was on my side. I refused to listen to them and went to study.

Before that, I was a primary school teacher. After my university studies, I got a better job. It was the fruits of my studies that encourage many of them to continue in the same way, because they could not get better jobs, if they don’t acquire a high level of education.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book?

The most important new idea concerns the perception of the author about heaven.
Following the assertion of the author, heaven is neither a place as some people think nor a time. It is the state of being perfect. Indeed, some religions think that heaven is place where souls will stay eternally after death. For some the wealth is already the heaven, when others think that it is more difficult for a rich person to enter in heaven than a camel in the hole of a needle.

According to lessons learned from the theologians “Heaven is the destination place of the faithful. It is not physical but spiritual, being in the very presence of God. God is a spiritual being that is impossible for human eyes to see. Heaven also is outside the boundaries and understanding of man as he lives in the physical universe”. If I understand well, it is not possible to go to heaven when you are still alive.

When you are still alive, it is not possible to reach heaven, because the day after, things can change about your perfection. So, the religious principles are true.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so explain

Yes it did. When I read it for the first time, it was like a simple fable talking about the life of a seagull that failed to obey the rules of the community and was outcast.

But I noticed that it is full of reflections about life. The lessons learned through it are applicable to any community. In my bank, we are facing now a great transformation. The bank has to get new shareholders from another country. People have to face change. I discuss with my colleagues to tell them the story and let them know that it is not the change of new shareholders that matters, it is the thought about that change which lay in our mind. If we want to be better, we will improve the bank with new techniques and new ideas and experiences brought by the new shareholders. It is not good to be statu quo.

The Rwandan community has to face many transformations so that it must follow or go hand in hand with other countries. The development can not be reached with a mentality like one of the Breakfast Flock. What is very encouraging in my country, is the easiness with which people accept change, even if such mentality is a double cutting sword. The people who follow instructions very easily, can also be led easily in the wrong way, when they are misled by a bad leader. It was the great problem we faced during 1994 genocide, when people killed simply, because the authority asked them to kill.

5. Are there ideas in this book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

Apart from the concept of heaven discussed above, there is no other point I disagree with the author.

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

What I found most helpful in the book is the resistance of Jonathan when he was near despair. Even abandoned by everybody in the flock, he did not give up. When you want to succeed, you must work with determination, not waiting on destiny. Tenacious people don’t rely on luck, fate, or destiny for their success.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey

The main idea the writer conveys is the determination and the necessity of breaking with bad customs if you want to succeed in life. Afterwards, the success should be of less interest if the leader does not share the harvest with his followers.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor
a. How interesting was it to read? 8
b. How helpful were the contents? 9
c. How easy was it to understand? 7
d. Would you recommend it to others? 9
e. What it is the overall rating you would give it? 8



Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What ideas were personally most important to you in this book? Do not simply list the ideas, but explain or discuss why they were important to you, using personal examples

The book “Success through a positive mental attitude” gives us many examples of successful men and women in America who reached their goal by using positive mental attitude. Those examples can be helpful to each person regardless of the part of the world he is living now, or the period of time.
Like the Bible, the lessons of the book “Success through a positive mental attitude” are applicable universally and will continue to be realistic in future.

As I progressed in reading, I found that the book is full of interesting ideas which can be used in our journey toward success. From the first phrase (there is no secret of success) to the last one reminding the reader that “where is a will there is a way”, all the ideas are very helpful. But, as far as I am concerned, I focused my attention on the importance of the power of our mind.

The authors recommend us to use it if we want to reach our achievements. He compares the success with a chemical reaction: the result will be positive if the catalyst is positive, or negative if you use an anticatalyst.
Such idea is shared by some authors like Robert Green. In his book “The 33 strategies of war”, this latter tells us a story of Greek mercenaries who faced the Persian army of Ataxarxes in 401 B.C. The philosopher Xenophon told them that the problem was not the Persian army, but their muddled state of mind. As stated in the same book, Robert Green compares life to a battle: “you constantly find yourself facing bad situations, destructive relationships, and dangerous engagements. How you confront those difficulties will determine your fate” (page 6).
On the same page, Robert Greene reinforces the ideas stated in the book “Success through a positive mental attitude” in these terms: “The barriers are not rivers or other people, your obstacle is yourself. If you feel lost and confused, […] you have only yourself to blame.

I met the same problem when I was about to build my own house. The cost estimate was too high that it was risky to begin such project. One of the religious I was working with discouraged me and told me to wait for enough money and I agreed with her. One of my friends, who had already built his own house, told me that if I don’t decide to begin, I will never get a house. “No bank or other institution will finance you if they don’t show them you’re willing to elevate a house”. He told me that what matters is not the sum of money available; it is the desire to get a house. “If your mind wants a house, you will use all the means to achieve it”. Effectively, after many efforts, I finally get my own house in which I live now with my family.

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc?

Some ideas read through this book remind me some stories of my personal life:

a. Burning desire to become rich

The lesson given by Fuller’s mother on page 4 concerning “the lack of burning desire to become rich” reminds me how my parents, who were very poor, surmounted the challenge of paying school fees for us (4 children), when we were admitted to secondary school. As the eldest, I was the first one to be admitted. Even if it was another expense in addition to a non comfortable situation, it was still bearable to pay scholar fees for one child. Things became more complicated when it was the round of my sister a year later. And year after year followed another sister and the youngest brother closed the list. The burden became too heavy, although my parents were proud to have so many children who succeeded a national examination. Yet they could neither lend money from neighbours nor ask aid from anyone else, because all neighbourhoods were poor. My native region, former “Gikongoro Prefecture” is traditionally known as the poorest region of the country. My parents told me later that during the holidays, when we were back home (we were in full board at our schools), the joy to see us again was mixed with the sadness, because they had to think about where to find scholar fees for the next term. When I grew older, I began to understand how difficult it was to pay for us.

One day, when I was about to return to school without any penny, my parents told me that I don’t have to worry “things do not have to remain like that” my mother told me. “We must try all what is possible to find money ourselves”. My mother had a sense of business. She began to buy bananas and make traditional wine and sell it to the pubs. She continued the same business until the end of our studies.

The courage taken by our parents became the foundation of our success, because we finished our secondary school studies and some of us continued to university. Most of all, they gave us a great legacy: the will to work hard.

b. A frightened boy who developed positive mental attitude

The misadventure of Ben related on pages 25-27 reminds me the one I met when I was around ten. I used to lead cows to the pasturage. Each family had his own piece of land and nobody was allowed to use the others’. One day, a group of five herdsmen of almost my age except one who was older, led their cows for grazing in our land property.

I asked them to leave our land immediately, but they did not. So I angrily went to them and began to strike beat their cows with my stick so that they could leave. The herdsmen came and formed a circle around me. I realized that I risked to be seriously wounded if I did not do something. I chose to keep an eye on the oldest, because the others seemed to wait for his order. Pushed by I do not know what, I decided to attack the first and targeted the oldest one facing me. I learned later from Robert Greene, in his book mentioned above, that the strategy is called “The center of gravity strategy”: To hit the enemy where it hurts. With my stick, the only arm I had with me, I hit him twice or more vigorously. He was so surprised, that he suddenly ran away. When the others saw him running, they did the same, and I ran behind them victoriously. They never managed to come back. My parents did not congratulate me because it was not good to fight against other children, but it seemed like my father was proud of my initiative to defend our property.
The attitude adopted to face the danger made me a hero.

c. Talents for surmounting problems

On page 34 and 252 the authors assert that “Everyone has many talents for surmounting his special problems”.

I agree with this assertion, because it reminds how I forced myself to remind a telephone number. I was going to visit a family in Quesnoy, near a town named Lille, in the North of France. Before leaving Le Havre (a town located near the Channel Sea-side, where I was studying), I noted the said family’s telephone number on a sheet of paper and put it in my pocket. I had to call them before leaving Paris and when the train will reach the last station, from where someone had to come and drop me up to their home. As promised, I called before leaving Paris and caught the train which had to reach the last station at 8:00 in the evening.

When I reached the last station, I searched for a public telephone to inform my friends that I was already there. Unfortunately, I tried to find the sheet of paper unsuccessfully. I realized that I had probably forgotten it at the telephone cabin in Paris. The remaining solution was to try to call the public information telephone. I became confused when they told me that they could not help me. The name of the person I wanted to know his telephone number was shared by many persons in the region, and I did not know the other name (first name).

My despair reached its peak, when the train station guard told me that it was impossible to pass the night within the station. Yet, I could not go back to Paris before the next day. I went back to the cabin telephone and made a prayer asking God to help me, because I had no other solution. Fortunately, the first number which came in my mind was the right one. It was a miracle for me because I only had used the telephone number not more than three times.

From that experience I dare to say that when you face a challenge, you find a solution at all costs. It is understandable that we, underdeveloped countries are not devoted to poverty. It is possible to find solutions to our multiple problems, if we seriously face them with a positive attitude, instead of desolation.

d. Using Other’s People Money

As a lawyer of a bank, in charge of recovering bad debts, I would like to give my point of view on the concept of “Using Other’s People Money”.

As stated by the author, it is commonly accepted that almost the great businessmen develop their businesses by credit. Many authors like William Nickerson in his book “How I turned $1000 into $3 Million in My Spare Time”, quoted in “Success through a positive mental attitude” on page 195 reinforces the idea of using other people money as a source of riches.
It was and it continues to be recognized that the United States, the more wealthy country in the world is also the more indebted.
The first thing that needs to be said is that the development of countries in general and individual could difficultly be imagined without credit. Many countries, especially those from the Third World have contracted many debts over their possibilities of repayment. They are now begging cancellation of those debts. It is the same for individuals. Some of them are over indebted, so that the banks are obliged to restructure their loan on many months, hoping to recover the debt without seizing the courts in view to sell the guarantees at auction.

Considering those problems, the authors advise us to use other people money wisely, because credit can hurt a borrower.

In my carrier, I effectively noticed that credit can hurt the borrower if he does not pay his attention, and consequences are harmful for the borrower, the lender and national economy. But borrowers can avoid bad debts. I agree with the authors that the following advices can lead lender and borrower to be on good terms: using the credit for its aim, paying on due date by sacrifice of the debtor until his obligation is finally fully paid and to take courage of approaching your creditor when the circumstances prevent you from making a payment.

For the main function of a bank is to lend funds, all the Rwandan banks attach a particular importance on the recovery of bad debts, which became a crucial problem after 1994. Even if my bank is among the newly constituted (1995), we are already meeting the same problem of bad debts, even if it is not with the same importance as the more aged banks. It is the reason why we have a unit in charge of recovering bad debts. During my short career in a bank (since 2003), I noticed that the following reasons make difficult the recovery of bad debts:
– Trial procedures are too long;
– Judges seem to give favor to the delinquent debtor to the detriment of the bank;
– The long procedure of selling houses given as securities;
– Debtors know that they have no risk to be put in prison;
– People have lost the sense of pride. Even if their names are published in the media, they are not ashamed;
– Lack of guarantees from some borrowers due to many reasons (importance of the client, failure of the credit officer…).

Fortunately, the government is aware about the bad consequences of the increasing of the bad debts portfolio within Rwandan Banks. Among the measures taken, there is the establishment of commercial courts. We hope that the trials will no longer last indefinitely. The other measure is the revision of the Rwandan business law.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book?

The most important idea learned from the book is the lesson from a child on page 24-25. “If a man is right, the world will be right”. It is a very surprising and useful lesson from a child. It demonstrates that we have many things to learn from children.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so explain

Even if a Rwandan old saying states that if you go to the well unwillingly, you will draw dirt water, I rarely attached an importance on the attitude adopted by myself toward my projects. I sometimes took voluntarily a negative attitude thinking that being pessimistic will help me to not be deceived if the result were negative. I had never thought that my pessimistic attitude could influence negatively the goal I wanted to reach.

Surprisingly, some other persons agree with me that it is not good to be very optimistic. Denis Waitley in his book “The New Dynamics of Winning” on page 103, underlined that “it is not good to be too high in optimism. If things goes wrong, your overload of enthusiasm can change into a dangerous excess of gloom and doom”. But the same author says on page 121 of the same book, that “To be optimistic is not in contradiction with to expect the unexpected”. The unexpected are the barriers you can meet during your journey toward your definite goal.

5. Are there ideas in this book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

I agree with the author about the result of a positive mental attitude, but it is possible to run his head against a wall. In this world and in my country particularly, it is not easy to be happy when the neighbourhood is in bad conditions. It is comparable to a person who lives at the bottom of a hill and undertakes fighting against erosion, when others who live upper do not want to dig anti erosive trenches. Either you must cooperate with them to find solutions to their problems or you attract against you all kind of hates. Sometimes the rich is more painful than the poor. Many persons were killed during the genocide and aftermath or were accused falsely of participating in it because of their wealth.

To give another example, many people had opted for the planning family in the view of a well-being for their spouses, children and themselves. But the consequences of the war and AIDS brought them many orphans from their relatives. It is not rare to see a family with 7 children, whereas their own born children are only 2 or 3.

Considering all those problems, I think that these lessons should be most helpful if taught to the whole population of a country, starting from the leaders. The latter could sensitize the principles among the population through programs to be put in place by the ministry in charge of the education of the population. The lessons should help in empowering the population in increasing their well-being and to subscribe insurances against unexpected events. The authorities should play a big role in explaining adequacy of that program.

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

When I read the book, I was encouraged by the joke of Mzee (Old and respectable man in Swahili) Benedun (on page 241), when he said that the formula to live long is to keep busy so that the years go by unnoticed. It gave me courage to continue to use my spare time for studying leadership, and to continue afterwards to feed my mind with inspirational books. It will keep me so busy that and I will not notice that the time is going. The Benedun’s idea is reinforced by my experience. I noticed that the persons who live long are those who have something to do. Here in Rwanda, they say that the retirement period does not last long. The reason is not that the age of retirement is very advanced, even if it is at 65 years, but the observation comes from that people noticed that unemployed persons are exposed to death more than active persons. I advise those who are in retirement to find an occupation, even if they are not paid for it.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey

Among the seventeen principles of success, positive mental attitude is the most important. When associated with each of those principles, your goal will be reached if you take the decision to start just NOW and awaken the sleeping giant within you. That giant is known as your conscious mind.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor

a. How interesting was it to read? 9
b. How helpful were the contents? 9
c. How easy was it to understand? 8
d. Would you recommend it to others? 9
e. What it is the overall rating you would give it? 9



Keys To Success
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What ideas were personally most important to you in this book? Do not simply list the ideas, but explain or discuss why they were important to you, using personal examples

In my view, the most important idea in this book is “how we can achieve success”.
What is interesting is that there is no secret to enter the realm of success. You must use the principles held in the book “Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success”. Like opening a safe box, you cannot use one key. The perfect success requires the use of the seventeen principles.

After reading this book, it is difficult to say that this idea is more important than another. Nevertheless, my attention was more focused on the following points:

No scarcity of opportunity

The first one concerns “opportunities offered to us”. According to the author, those who cry “No opportunity” are those who issue an alibi for their unwillingness to assume responsibility and to use imagination”. He emphasized his point of view in these terms: “There is no scarcity of opportunity; there is only a shortage of imagination”.

In my country, I meet such mentality around me. Although, our president’s speeches encourage people to initiate their own projects, people are not convinced that it is possible to become their own bosses, even if it is obvious that there are less and less jobs. The government is no more able to offer jobs to all the graduates and the big companies are not increasing their capabilities of hiring. It is needed more than ever to storm our brains and try to find ourselves the solution to our problems. Some people say that it is difficult to get a credit from the bank when you are just a beginner. Others declare that it is difficult to compete with those who have already a long experience in the field they intend to invest in. But I agree with the author that all of these explanations are alibis.

I have a personal example illustrating that “where there is a will, there is a way”. In 1992, my wife was working for a local Non Government Organization. She was not in good terms with her boss and her problems affected negatively the whole family. We found that the best solution was to resign from her job, but we needed also the money from her salary. We sat down and tried to find a solution. We lived in little town, where commercial activities were prosperous. But in these times, it was unimaginable to abandon a salary and start a trade business. When we made some calculation, we noticed that if she chose to put in place a little business and could sell only a set of 24 bottles of soft drink per day, it was possible to get a monthly profit of 12,000 Rwandan Francs (RWF). Her monthly salary was 17,000 RWF. The difference (5,000 RWF) and the rent fees could be covered by selling other items. I got a loan of 30,000 RWF from my boss and she began her business. After one month, we noticed that the profit was more than the double of her monthly salary. Two years after, the business was running very well and she was no more bothered by her former boss. Unfortunately, the goods were lost during the 1994 genocide and afterwards it was difficult to restart the business. She chose to be hired by another employer, but since last year she had recommenced her business.

Another example of imagination of opportunity is from a book I read many years ago. The story is about a young Ivorian who tried to get a job after his secondary school in Abidjan. After two years of desperation in searching for a job, he finally decided to return to his village where he lived before with his only mother in a miserable poorness. When back at his home, he said to himself that he must find a solution to his problem. He took a decision, which seemed ridiculous when taken by someone graduated from a secondary school. But it is the ridiculous idea which became later a source of great wealth. He approached the managers of the restaurants nearby and asked them for picking up dusts from those restaurants. They willingly accepted the proposal, but with the proviso that each restaurant will give him one piece of bread. It was meaningless as a salary, but he had no other choice. Instead of bringing the dusts in the public dustbin, he chose to bring them in his family garden so that he could improve the production of vegetables. His mother began to sell the bread given to his son. The young man took another opportunity during his way. He noticed that within the dust there were mixed non decomposable dusts like broken bottles and glasses which were not good for the garden. He embarked on selling them to builders for the use of protecting walls against robbers.

After few years, ignoring mockeries, he became a rich man, got a loan from a bank and bought a little truck for transporting the dusts from restaurants and other families to his plantations and products from the plantations to the market. It is a very meaningful example of taking an opportunity, no matter of others’ thoughts. It can serve as a good example of young graduates from our schools.

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc?

Mastermind Alliance with the family

I agree with the author when he says that all the family must be embarked on your project. It is a pity to drag the members of your family on an adventure they don’t know. Sometimes they have to bear consequences after your death.

In my country, Rwanda, we met many cases about the lack of cooperating between spouses or between parents and their children. After the war and genocide of 1994, many men were killed or have disappeared. Some of them had opened accounts or had taken loans from banks without informing their wives and children.

After the war (1994), the banks began to run after their properties for selling them at auction and the families were let in misery. I remember the story told me by one of the women concerned by that problem when I went to her for the recovery of her husband’s debt. She said that if she knew that he had a debt for the bank, she should not let him continue to waste money for non useful expenses. I did not know that the luxurious life was a product of the money borrowed from your bank.

Criticizing without destroying enthusiasm

I appreciated too much the strategy used by Carnegie to inform his employee about his failures. Unfortunately, many chiefs of enterprises don’t know that it is not by frustrating your subordinate that you can lead him to change his or her bad habits.

I used the same strategy with my colleagues and got a very good result without frustrating anybody. We had a problem of someone (a male person) who used to urinate without lifting the seat of the toilet. It was difficult to know who was the guilty. One day, during a conversation, I introduced the problem and asked who could bear to sit on a toilet wetted by another’s person urines. Everyone agreed that it was unbearable. So I took advantage to explain that it was not difficult to lift the seat. Since that time, we did not see the problem anymore.

Make yourself so useful that it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to replace you

One time, I was told a very interesting story of a gardener who was employed by Rwanda Central Bank. With his salary, he could not satisfy the basic needs of his family. One day his boss gave him money to buy chemical fertilizers. At home, his wife noticed the money and unfortunately picked it from his pocket, thinking that it was his own money. The day after, his husband realized that the money has disappeared. He said to himself that there was no need to return back to work, because he knew the sanction waiting him. Two days of absence without any reason was so exaggerated that his employer took a decision to replace him, waiting for recovering the sum of money afterwards.

A week later after hiring a new gardener, flowers began to fade. The new gardener tried all what possible, but the problem remained the same. They finally went to see the former gardener and asked him the reason of his absence. He told them his misadventure. They asked him to come back and not worry about the sum of money he missed. Many years after the first gardener took back his work, they learned that it was not enough to work eight hours a day in the garden. Sometimes, according to the nature of work, employees have to work overtime. The first gardener’s secret was to leave the Bank late in the evening, because he had noticed that a good watering is the one made in the evening.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book?

The most important new idea learned from this book is “The Cosmic Habit Force”. It is commonly accepted that “use is the second nature”. This assumption makes many people say that they cannot change their habits.

Some of those habits are negative and bother colleagues, friends and family members. Within any culture, there are habits which are so deeply rooted that they are very difficult to remove even if it is proved that they are harmful against society. In my assessment on the book “Jonathan Livingstone Seagull”, I gave an example of a bad habit of sharing the same straw while drinking beer in Rwanda. The problem comes mostly from old people. In his book “The 33 Strategies of War” page 18, Robert Greene says: “As we grow older, we become rooted in the past. Something that has worked for us before becomes a doctrine, a shell to protect us from reality”. There is now a large campaign of educating the population about the consequences of sharing straw, but people continue to use it secretly. The old parents continue to use their parental power on young people to maintain such habits.

Worst, bad leaders can create or sustain a “policy of bad habits”, and accustom one group of the population to hate another. As consequence such leaders lead people unconsciously to mass killings like what happened in Rwanda in 1994. The author teaches us how we can remove the bad habits and replace them by the good ones. He also gives us the astuteness of developing good habits, like the one of making money (page 204).

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so explain

The great challenge in this book concerns the quality of education in my country. The author noticed that one of the American’s wealth is education. He says: “Our most precious natural resources is not our mineral deposits or our beautiful forests. It is the mental attitude and the imagination of the people of every generation who have mixed experience with education to deliver goods and services that improve the lives of both Americans and people around the world. Our real wealth is the intangible power of thought”

This quotation made me think deeply about the kind of education we offer to our children, in Rwanda. I recognize that my country is poor and that we miss many tools to offer an education at the level of America, that our children have no computer games, no televisions. They don’t even have enough books. But Rwandan proverb says that “ If you don’t cultivate your land pretending that you are hungry, you will never can feed yourself”.

It is a great time to review the quality of education offered to our children. My question is not orientated to the content of the curricula, but the methodology used by teachers.
The system of education of colonialist schools was orientated willingly to “educate” obedient people who must execute blindly colonialists’ orders. The student was not asked to reason, but to memorize what has been taught like a parrot (psittacism). Unfortunately, after the independence the system continued in the same context, especially because it was still financed by the former colonialist country. Until now, the system remains the same. Teachers who studied in a system continue unwillingly to think that it is the best. It becomes a vicious circle. Teachers must adopt a system of reasoning and debating about the matters learned in class or read in the books.

We must train our student to be creative, to be self confident and arise their points of view without any timidity in group discussions instead of memorizing what is given in the notes. If human beings are made in the image of God, the great Creator, we are all made to be creative, say Anne Hope and Sally Timmel in their book “Training for transformation IV”, page 186.

5. Are there ideas in this book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

No, I agree with his ideas.

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

What was most helpful to me is “The law of increasing returns”. The quantity and quality of the extra service will come back to you greatly multiplied.

There is a story of a man who gave scholar fees to a child fired from his school. The child became one of the most important personalities in Rwanda. The sum given to the child was meaningless, but the then young boy continued to think about it, because the money helped him to pay scholar fees in a primary school. Many years later, the young boy who was a big boss met his benefactor. The last one could remember neither the young boy of long ago nor the fact of giving him money. The big boss called him to his villa in Kigali (the capital and biggest town of Rwanda) and bought for him 10 cows and a farm. The old man was so happy to have received a so big gratitude for a very meaningless act.

As a Christian, I believe that those who have respected the Law of Lord will get reward in the Kingdom of Heaven. The great rule is to love Lord your God and all human beings as you love yourself. The Holy Scriptures teach us that when the Lord will come at the last day, He will separate the sheep (good) from the goats (bad). He will say to the sheep: “For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink…” They will ask Him when they did that. He will reply “Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least of these brethren, you did it for Me (Matthew 25: 35-45).

Those who will get the reward of sitting at the right of the Lord would have rendered the service without any idea of returns. And what is remarkable is that, as said above, it is not necessary to make a great sacrifice to make others happy.

There is another story of a man who gave miserly one a grain of wheat to a beggar. When back home, he opened his bag and found one piece of gold. He began to say to himself: “If I knew it was You Lord, I would have given all the content of my bag”. Let us not regret on the last day!

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey

The book shows that everyone can inhabit the realm of success. But you cannot enter the main gate, if you don’t use the seventeen keys (principles) labelled as indicated by the author in the book.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor

a. How interesting was it to read? 10
b. How helpful were the contents? 9
c. How easy was it to understand? 8
d. Would you recommend it to others? 10
e. What it is the overall rating you would give it? 9



The New Dynamics Of Winning
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What ideas were personally most important to you in this book? Do not simply list the ideas, but explain or discuss why they were important to you, using personal examples

What I appreciated more in this book is the style adopted by the author. When you read it, it is like a letter sent to you by a friend who wants you to reach the realm of high performers. The book has that rare ability to relate to your problems and advise you on their solutions as said by O.G. Mandino in the preface of the book “Success Through A positive Mental Attitude” written by Napoleon Hill and William Clement Stone.

Surely, the lessons learned from this book are very helpful, but since I cannot discuss all them in this assessment, I will confine myself to the following ideas:

Similarities between running a business, coaching a team and being head of a family:

The author of the book gives an example of a corporation “Spartan Motors” which was managed like a family (page 72-73). George Sztykiel, the head of the organization used to see the workers as the members of the family. When the organization got benefits, they were shared by everybody as bonuses. In the opposite, when the organization met lean years, everybody had to make sacrifices. Surprisingly, in the said organization, there were no layoffs. The chief said that “You wouldn’t do that in your family… If you have ten children and times get tough, you would not send the three youngest ones out of the door”.

I chose to discuss the idea because the issue of layoffs is among the current events in our country. Many civil servants were laid off in view to increase salaries for the remainders and raise efficiency in public services. Even if some advantages were granted to those who were laid off, many voices raised up to protest against that policy.

On one side, Government complained about the inefficiency of the civil service. They explained that the raison which pushed them to reduce the number of civil servants is that their high number was inversely proportional to their productivity. The option was to maintain high degrees and youngest civil servants.

On the other side, labor unions protested against the government policy, because the employer (government) is supposed to be the “father” of all Rwandans. At the end of the day, the government might accept sacrifices and maintain those employees. As said by George Sztykiel, you can’t send some of your children, pretending that you have financial difficulties.

My personal opinion of this argument is that Government must reconcile the two different points of view, and they did it. Former civil servants have received bursary to study in universities of their choice in Rwanda and they received a support to initiate their own projects. We hope that no one will claim for lack of opportunities, as said Napoleon Hill in his book “Napoleon Hill’s Keys To Success”.

Another point that attracted my attention concerns how to face a big problem.

Stair-step method:

It has been established that many times, some people feel discouraged, because the problem they are facing is so big that they cannot attempt to brave it. The author gives us an advice: “If you tried to eat an entire steak in one mouthful, you’d choke. But by cutting it into smaller, bite-sized pieces it is digestible and enjoyable”. Even if the example given by the author on page 30 concerns a good matter (eating a steak), it is not uncommon to meet the dangers or problems that seem impossible to resolve.

In such a case, the author of “The 33 strategies of war, Mr Robert Greene in his book “The 33 strategies of war” proposes a strategy named “The divide and conquer strategy”. Even if the strategy is orientated to the war, it can be applied to any other problem in our life. He says on page 213, that “when you are facing troubles or enemies, turn a large problem into small, eminently defeatable parts”. I agree with Greene, because I am among those who think that nothing is impossible. There is always a solution to any problem.

I remember that the same advice was given to Rwandans after the war and genocide by the actual president (he was then vice-president) when he visited Gitarama region in 1995. He said that our country was facing many problems we could not resolve at the same time. He gave a mere example of eating a ripe banana. If you want to swallow the entire piece at the same time, there is a risk of choking. But if you cut it into many pieces, you can finish it without any problem.

For succeeding in life, there is no lift. You have to use the stairs.

Paying the price of success:

In this book, the author says that it is not an easy business to attain success. You must prepare it. A Rwandan adage says: “If you worship God seating near the fire (warming up yourself instead of going to work), He cannot give anything else than spreading ash on you”. And the Bible to say in II Thessalonians 3: 10: “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat”

If you want to succeed, you must accept to sacrifice many things: reading while others are watching movies, practicing while others are drinking a beer … If you don’t want to pull out your hands from your pocket, and roll up your sleeves, you cannot expect anything.

The example of Mary Lou given by the author (page 38-40) is meaningful. She left all what a person of her age could enjoy in the view of reaching a peak performance in gymnastic. Bill Toomey (page 114) began his preparation four years before the 1968 Olympics began. If you want to succeed there is no delay, begin just now. Procrastination must be erased from your dictionary. But beyond all the physical practice, there is something more, to put your mind in the mood of success by visualizing your victory and nurturing your mind with inspirational books, advices from experts and praying. Remember what is said in the Bible: “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7)”

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc?

Some of the ideas were discussed above, but I would like to give you my point of view on a concept commonly accepted, even by ourselves Africans as “African time”.

Time is money, but unfortunately, many persons in Africa waste that “money” deliberately. They don’t take time to watch their watches. Even if many people don’t have watches, it is not the mentality of Africans in general and Rwandans in particular to respect the time. It is not rare to hear from someone that he will come to see you on Saturday without precising any hour, although he knows the exact time. And worst, he can tell you 09h00 and unscrupulously come willingly at 11h00 or 12h00.

But what is more unacceptable is that learned people do not do better than them who did not attend the school. We are used to see it when there is a public meeting. It is not uncommon to see the person who invited the meeting coming one or two hours later than the time expected. The consequence is that the next time, those who came at time will think that they have a right to come one or two hours later. Fortunately, the President of the Republic reminds very often the authorities and the population about the problem of the non respect of the time in our country. As I said it in my dissertation presented at the end of my studies in National University of Rwanda, I underlined the problem of the non respect of the time within civil service.

My research came to the conclusion as follow: On one side, the respect of the time means to be at the post office at time stated by the internal regulation. At the other side, the respect of the time means also to transmit the reports at time, to respect the appointments… The person who cannot determine the time necessary to accomplish his work must also be considered as one who is not punctual. It is the same for the person who can not foresee the time necessary for an interview initiated by him.

The mentality of African time must be banished from our culture. It is one of the problems which undermine African development.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book?

The important new idea learned from this book is how to relax my body. I have just finished reading the book and I got no time to practice the exercises proposed by the author, but I think the exercises will be very useful for my mind-body.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so explain

The lessons learned from this book encouraged me in setting forth my project. The 30th day of December of this year, will be my fiftieth birthday anniversary. I already had planned to walk 50 kms from Kigali (where I work) to Gitarama (where I reside). But I was still hesitating, asking myself if I can succeed in walking such long distance.

I already took the resolution to succeed and I am already seeing myself entering Gitarama town victoriously. I do not plan to compete against other persons, the success will be to terminate that distance by foot. My goal is not to get a price, it is to encourage aged people to invest themselves in physical activities instead of staying all their free time before a bootle of beer in the pubs.

5. Are there ideas in this book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?


6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

The most helpful chapter in this book was the chapter nine titled “The quality of a leadership, but I am more impressed by the subtitle about empowering others. I was always anxious about the quality of work performed by my subordinates. But I learned to vanquish that fear and observed that by giving them more responsibilities, they became more efficient and I was liberated from many tasks.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey

The author advises me how I can benefit principles that helped many wealthy and successful people in America. If I put my mind in the mood of success, I will do. My commitment is that I am ready to begin just now to put those principles to work for me.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor

a. How interesting was it to read? 8
b. How helpful were the contents? 9
c. How easy was it to understand? 7
d. Would you recommend it to others? 9
e. What it is the overall rating you would give it? 8



Giant Steps
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

When I was a child I liked to listen the stories of Giant persons like the one named Ngunda who could cultivate with a multitude of hoes. All the hills and mountains in Rwanda are attributed to his fabulous work.

My infancy interest in those stories was awakened when I read the title of the book written by Anthony Robbins. When I began to read it, I found that I really can make giant steps, make move the mountains and reach the goals of great achievers. The only ingredient missing is probably the leverage as stated by the author on page 157.

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

In my point of view, the main important idea in this book concerns the power of the mind. Quoting Edmund Spencer, the author states that “It is the mind that maketh good of ill, that maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor”. The mind of a man has the power to create and the power to destroy.

History provides numerous instances of misguided national “heroes” who eventually did more harm than good. The world will not forget Hitler and other personalities who led their people in crimes and mass killing. Not late than a decade, we encountered in Rwanda one of the biggest holocaust in the world. All this occurred because of the minds of people with bad intentions. In a firing speech, one of the most important personalities in Rwanda incited the Hutus ethnic group to exterminate Tutsis. An argument given by the man in support of his idea was the history learned by all Rwandans about the populating of Rwanda. He said that Tutsis came from Abyssinia and since then, if they continue to harass the country in perpetual attacks, they have to return back to their original country by the shortcut way, Nyabarongo and Nile Rivers. To mean that they will be thrown in the rivers. The consequence of the speeches like this one was the genocide and mass killings in the country. The inescapable conclusion which emerges from those examples is that the mind of a man can fire and destroy the world.

Fortunately, the country or the world has personalities with a good heart. We have many examples of people who saved, at the price of their lives, their neighbours menaced to be killed during the Rwandan genocide. All over the world, nobody can forget the heroes like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and others who saved the humanity, with no other weapon than their mind.

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc.? Explain.


Once again, let me speak about Rwandan experience. We met a very painful holocaust which took roots from generalization. During the monarchy period, there was a cast governing and afterwards, people assimilated to that class continued to be persecuted for errors made by former leaders. The previous governing cast had inculcated in the beliefs of people that Hutus ethnic group were so dumb and deaf that you have to send many messengers to be sure that the message will reach the destination. In the opposite, the Tutsis were treated as wise and baddy so that you can never trust in them. The result was mistrust between the two groups.

When the war exploded in 1990 the government in place exploited those old beliefs and assimilated the RPF to the former monarchy regimen and convinced the people to eliminate their neighbours who did not know anything about politics. Years after years, the hate between the two groups took so deep roots that people agreed that the genocide was inevitable in Rwanda.

Kill the monster while it’s little:

I remember that one day my wife went to the market with our two older sons. They were about 8 and 6 years old. One of them picked a shirt in the market and hid it so that nobody noticed. When they arrived at home, the child thought there was no problem and displayed the cloth stolen. When asked from where it was from, he said that he picked it maliciously from a trader. Unfortunately, he did not remember where exactly he picked it so that we could give it back to the owner. He was severely punished and he was obliged to burn himself the cloth. Since then, I dare assert that he changed completely and we never notice an attempt of theft. I can affirm that he is now the most confident child we have in the family. Many people don’t notice that it is harmful to their children and themselves when they tolerate children’s wrong doing. Conditioning a child begin when he is still young. Like a hungry hunter dog which kills an animal and waits for his master until he comes and gives it the meat from that animal, a child who beneficiates a good education can never dare to take something when he is not permitted to do so. This is the beginning of honesty which is needed by everyone in life. Later in life, in some way, everyone has to manage things which do not belong to him. As said by the author, you don’t have to let your children think that what they do doesn’t matter. It is necessary to tell them the consequences of their actions. When they become adults, it will be too late to make any correction. You cannot teach new tricks to an old dog. In Kinyarwanda we say that “Igiti kigororwa kikili gito”(a tree is well orientated while it is still young). If you did not do that before, there is no need to try to straight it, because it became too strong.

Money is a good slave, but a bad master:

In today world, nothing is more wanted than money. Wherever you pass, people always speak about money. To get money became so stressing that some people forgot the sense of humanity when they are running after it. When you are pursuing money, anything which prevents you from reaching it, may be moved away or destroyed. The obsession for money can lead to many vices like dishonest and killing those who are considered as obstacles.
When a man is directed to the only reach of money at all costs, he will inevitably forget the sense of humanity. Money becomes his only obsession, and it is commonly known that nobody is satisfied by his wealth. Such attitude makes you forget God because you are so focused to acquiring riches that you turn your face from virtues. Money replaces God and begins to dictate you his commandments which are opposite to God’s. If you accept to be governed by money, you will become apparently rich but morally unfortunate.

In the other hand, without money, the life is impossible in today’s world. You cannot reap where you did not seed like birds. To get bread, requires paying. To get clothes, studies and other necessities is not possible if you don’t have money. It is the reason why money is necessary. But the money has to serve you and not the opposite.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.

Pygmalion effect:

It is a new concept for me. The definition read through Wikipedia Encylopedia on line ( states that: “Pygmalion effect commonly known as the “teacher-expectancy effect” refers to situations in which students perform better than other students simply because they are expected to do so. It is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, and in this respect, students with poor expectations internalise their negative label, and those with positive labels succeed accordingly”.

When I got more information on it, I noticed that I became a victim of it, but negatively, when I was a young student. I met the problem when I was studying in secondary school. One of my teachers had in his mind that I was so weak in mathematics that I could never succeed in that branch. I continued to think like that and failed in it and was obliged to repeat the year. Surprisingly, even if I was not a genius in that branch, I had never had the problem like that in the past. Since then I got fear of mathematics and until now, I still stay with that fear. One of the reasons I chose to study Law in university was to avoid mathematics. After reading the book, one of my purposes is to cancel that fear, and I know I will succeed. According to the author, the only limit I had is my imagination.

To illustrate the truth of this, let me give another example from the same school, I was attending. There was another student named “Kimasa”, meaning an ox. He was very clever in mathematics so that everybody needed his explanation after the class session. One time, he failed to resolve a problem and fell in the same case as mine. He fortunately did not discourage himself even if he received the bad notes (I think the teacher did not make any effort to correct the copies of supposed bad students). One day, the teacher was facing difficulties to demonstrate a mathematical theorem. After the failure of all students, Kimasa raised his hand. Despite of bad result expected from him, the teacher let him try. He succeeded and since that time, the teacher reversed his consideration on the student. The theorem received the name of “Kimasa Theorem”.

The Batwa is a very minority ethnic group (about 9% of the population if not less). They are considered as non intelligent. Even if I know that it is a false belief, when you observe their behaviour, you can be led to conclude that it is true. Yet, without a notion on pygmalion effect, you can never imagine that it is due to the label given to them by the society. When the expectancy of the whole community from them is mediocrity, they will be forced mentally to act in the same sense. It is unimaginable that a whole group can act so stupidly and stay in pottery activity which is not lucrative, when others are evolving in other economic sectors. Due to those beliefs, their children are not sent to school, because their parents are convinced that they cannot reach good performances like other students. It is now great time to begin to convince the whole society and the Batwa group that they can reach performances like others.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

The book has challenged me in many ways. We cannot understand the power of each of us and the gigantesque power we can produce if we combined our efforts.


On page 400, the author asks us if we realized that if everyone in his country were to volunteer just three hours a week, his nation would reap the rewards of over 320 million hours of much-needed manpower dedicated to the cause they are most about?

It is essential to realize that the response is positive. In our country, the government instituted a system of community works named “Umuganda”. It is a Kinyarwanda word that means helping and bringing materials to build or repair the surrounding wall or the house.
Institutionalized by the previous regimen, it was abandoned since the beginning of the war in 1990. Since the last three years, the Government urges again people to consecrate around five hours each Saturday or Sunday for Adventists to work together in many activities such as planting trees, preparing or entertaining roads, building houses for the survivors of genocide and other people in need like returnees from exile and so on.

The results are tangible, even if there is a need of sensitization of some people who don’t want to participate with others. Trees have been planted in all areas menaced by erosion, roads are created or kept in good state …

The current level of development in Rwanda, where 65% of the population live below poverty line, demands a lot of input on the part of the population instead of waiting for the external aid.

But the authorities must be careful and avoid confusing the community works with hard labour endured by the population during the monarchy and colonization. In that view, the population must be involved in the planning and evaluation of the activities at all stages.

Ordinary persons who became heroes:

Lessons from little people who reached great achievements give us lessons of how each person can become great achiever. As stated by the author, heroes are everywhere. He advises each of us not to look for heroes elsewhere, because you and me are heroes. The only thing to do is to act like a hero.

In 1994 genocide in Rwanda, every Rwandan was challenged by the need for life, a vital need indeed, but also the protection of your neighbours’ friend or any other human being. Many Rwandans failed to be courageous enough. Some refused to hide their relatives or killed their spouses, children or cousins to prove that they were not against the killers.

It is questionable if the story I want to tell here below reflects courage of a hero or a case of cowardice. It is a story which happened during the genocide. A man (let me name him Mugabo) killed a child, member of a family he was hiding in his house. He did not do that because of fear but, according to him, if he did not kill the child, all the family was about to be exterminated. Until now, the case is ambiguous.

What did happen? When the menace of killing Tutsis was imminent, a large family whose chief, let me name him Mvuyekure came to Mugabo’s home, to seek for refuge. Mugabo accepted kindly, even if it was dangerous to him and his family. Since that day, he began to forge and expand the false news that Mvuyekure and his family fled toward the neighbour country, Burundi. Everybody in the neighbourhood believed the news and began to loot their wealth and to eat their cows and other livestock. One day, Mvuyekure’s youngest child who was annoyed to stay in the house during days and nights and did notice how dangerous it was, went outside and began to play with other children at the commercial center not far from where the family was hidden. While playing there, a crowd of killers passed by there and one of them shouted: Is it not Mvuyekure’s son? Everybody who was there came to see what it was. Among them was Mugabo who was alerted by the fact of hearing Mvuyekure’s name. When he saw the young child, he immediately took a stick and hit the child on the head. The child fell and died.

He came home and told the sad story to Mvuyekure’s family. When I heard that one of the men shouting that the child was Mvuyekure’s son, he said, I concluded immediately that the child will be tortured and say where you were hidden. The only issue was to come here and kill you, without sparing my own family. In tears, he begged for pardon to them. When the night came he guided them through the bushes and wet swamp and helped them to cross the border and joined Burundi, the neighbouring country.

After RPF soldiers stopped the genocide and won the war over former Government’s soldiers, the trials of genocide’s perpetrators began. Mugabo was already arrested and put in jail. When the saved family came back, they claimed for his Mugabo’s innocence. The case is not yet sentenced, but there is a risk of being sentenced for voluntary homicide.

In my own point of view, it is a sign of courage over the limit not given to everybody. The sudden judgment of the situation and its consequences cannot suddenly appear to everybody. The story reminded me a film which was shown to younger secondary school student who solicited to join the army. The title of the film was in French: “Héros sans retour (Heroes who did not come back)”. One of the scenes that gave me a lot to think is when the rebels claimed for the liberation of their chief in exchange of a soldier they have captured. The captain refused and the rebels began to make fire under the soldier to burn him alive. When the captain saw that the soldier will suffer a lot before dying, he preferred to shoot him with his gun, while he was disapproved by the other soldiers under his command.

From the two events, I believe that a hero has sometimes to sacrifice his own life or others’. In Rwanda, we have many cases of men who died with the people they protected or were hiding during the 1994 genocide, while they refused to let killers enter their home. Even after the genocide, young girls studying in a school named Nyange refused to unveil their ethnic belonging (Hutus or Tutsis) and preferred to be killed by the infiltrators soldiers who wanted to kill Tutsis only. The students preferred to die instead of accepting the ignoble order given by their killers. There are so many examples of heroism acts accomplished by little people.

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

The whole book met my assent and even if some concepts are new for me, I agree with the author about how you can follow a path conducting you to great achievements. But among the cardinal rules of relationships (on page 363), the last rule is not applicable to our culture. Kissing is not permitted, even if it is now practiced due to the West culture influence. If you try to make statistics, you cannot find 10 per cent of couples who practice kissing. It does not mean that they don’t love each other. It is not accepted in our culture.

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

As a student of International Institute for Global Leadership, the book enforces the purpose of self improvement. It meets and strengthens the principles already acquired in the previous books.

Even if I could not respect the methodology proposed by the author in reading the book, one of the lessons I found most helpful is given on page 204, where the author says: “…just because you don’t see immediate results, it doesn’t mean you’re not making progress”. Since I began to read the books sent to me and made assessments on them, I was wondering if I was improving in my style of life.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey.

The book is trying to convince the reader that little by little, if you follow advices given through it, you can make big positive changes in your life. If you can assess your weaknesses and failures, the book is a booster to reach high life and to become more powerful.

Please Rate this book on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 7
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 8

Comments – The author recommends us to read the book within 365 days. I think it is better to follow his recommendations, but it was not possible in the case of student to wait for one year before preparing the assessment.



Psycho-Cybernetics 2000
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

When I read the story about Maxwell and Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, I was impressed by his discovery of the influence of the imagination upon the mind of a human being. Our imagination can lead us to success, but it can also throw us in a deep gulf. The imaginations have always their origin in our past lives, and for the majority of the cases, we cannot even know their exact sources. But we are often faced in our daily life with their effects. Sometimes, they take roots from the labels stuck on our faces when we were still young, and we grew with them. This led Rwandans to say that the name reflects the character of a person (Izina ni ryo muntu). The truth of the matter is surely that parents or relatives use to give nicknames to their children referring to some vices: weak, ignorant, glutton and so on. The writer asserts that our subconscious mind record them without any judgment. Afterwards, we adopt the behaviours in the same way.

Apart from the image given to us by other persons, it would be hardly an exaggeration to say that we have a key role to play in creating our self-image. It is undoubtedly advantageous if we give us an image of a successful or powerful person. The problem arises when you picture yourself with a false and negative image. In our daily life, it is not uncommon to hear from our friends saying that they cannot remember this or that. It is also often said by some individuals that in their family, nobody has reached such performance. This line of thinking is reinforced by a Rwandan proverb that let us believe that some persons cannot assume administrative or political functions, in the following words: “Hari amabara atabera imbwa”. (Literarily, it means that dogs cannot get certain colours – dog is placed at a very low category of domestic animals). This is to say that certain good colours are reserved to other animals, especially the cow. The really meaning is that some categories of people cannot assume certain functions and so those functions are reserved to other categories. This leads to a belief that a person who belongs to a certain category think that certain functions are reserved to another category, because he has never seen a member of his family exerting in the said places. I can conclude without any doubt that it is that feeling that continues to maintain a Rwandan minority group named “Batwa” in very miserable conditions.

If the problem happened to you, and no matter of how and when it came to you, the author recommends us through her own or others’ experiences, to enter a new program in our brain and save a good image of ourselves. It is now time to do something for our best future. From now, if we want our mind work for the better, let us give it the best image of ourselves. We have no gain to program it negatively, or to maintain the negative program. And it costs nothing than effort of imagination to wear the clothes previously reserved for other persons.

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

Our behaviour is the result of our own image and belief
When you continue to impress your mind with an image of inability for doing something, it will remain like that until you cancel that old program and adopt a new one different from the previous.

When I read the story of Geoff who thought he was sexually impotent (page 42), I browsed all events I met in my life remembered many situations like Geoff’s. Even if there are not always similarities between them, people meet in their lives different events which have effects on their behaviour because they have been engraved in their mind to become indelible. Sometimes it does not appear clearly how and when the problem entered in subconscious.

Geoff’s story reminded me a film I saw long time ago. It was about a mother who caught her son trying to make love with his girlfriend. The mother brought a knife, took her son’s organ and warned him that if he will try once again, she will cut the organ and throw it in the dust bin. The son grew without any apparent problem, but he always was incapable for making love like other young men of his age. He did not have any problem with erection of his organ, but when he was about to introduce his organ in his partner’s, the erection immediately failed. The scene of his mother menacing to cut his organ was forgotten years ago, but unconsciously, it was stocked in his mind. Whenever he attempted to penetrate his partner the subconscious awakened the woman with a sword in her hand. At the same time, the instinct of safeguarding the organism made fail the erection. He did not understand the phenomenon, but the problem repeated every time he tried to sleep with a woman. It is the psychiatrist who discerned the origin of his fear and helped him to cancel it.

In my country, when the same problem happens, it is very difficult to know the origin. Few people know that their psyche problems can take roots in their inward. In a case of impotence, the victim thinks that either he has been bewitched by a witchdoctor on demand of a malefactor (a woman he was used to sleep with who does not want to share him with other women), or a deceased member of the family who died unmarried and does not want him to be married before him.

Unbelievable though it may seem, those beliefs are until now accepted in certain families. In the first case, the young man appears normal and makes love perfectly with the woman supposed to have bewitched him and becomes impotent when he approaches other women. In the traditional beliefs, the only remedy was to kill the malefactor. If not, the situation would remain so until the natural death of the malefactor. By now, the judicial system cannot tolerate such situations, but certain people continue to believe that the only remedy is the disappearance of the woman source of the malediction. In the second case, the family had to celebrate a fictive wedding ceremony of the deceased. After the ceremony, the young man could recover his normal masculinity.

In my opinion, in the two cases, it is noticeable that there is always the cancelling of the first program inculcated in the mind of the victim. When he imagines that he has been ensorcelled by a woman he was used to sleep with, it is normal that the disappearance of that woman will erase her image in his mind. Even if it was a savage and brutal practice, the result could be positive for the victim. At the other hand, if the family convinced the young man that he was healed by the ceremony of marrying the deceased person, it is another program that takes place in his mind and can produce a good harvest for the victim.

But considering the lessons learned from the book, the author gives us to understand that the first step in the way toward healing is to be aware of the problem and accept to search for the medicine from the victim’s inward. The CRAFT method can be useful instead of continuing to waste the victim’s or family’s wealth to pay the witchdoctors.

Forgiveness: Antidote of Resentment

It is often said: “forgive and forget”. The fundamental reason for believing this assumption to be true is that people think that if you continue to remember the sin made to you by the offender, it is a sign to prove that you did not forgive. The resentment is still there, and any time, the victim can take revenge. This brings us to the question of wondering if it is possible to forget sins committed against us.

The first thing that needs to be said is that the Bible teaches to Christians to forgive those who offended them. But it is not said that you must “forget”. This is to say that forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting.

In some senses, for the great majority of the people, it is impossible to truly forget sins that have been committed against them. We cannot selectively “delete” events from our memory. The Bible states that God does not “remember” our wickedness (Hebrews 8:12). It is certainly true that God’s behaviour seems like he does not remember our sins, but this is impossible to accept that God does not remember when we know that God is all-knowing. God knows that occurred.

However, having forgiven us, He treats us as if the sin had not occurred. God does not hold our sins against us. In that sense we must “forgive and forget.” If we forgive someone, we must act as if that sin had never occurred. We remember the sin, but we live as if we did not remember it. In the words of Bobbe Sommer in the book “Psycho-Cybernetics 2000, we cancel the old program of the resentment against the person who offended us. Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”.

Another point concerns the fact of apologizing from the offender. According to the Bible, to forgive does not require that the offender seeks for forgiveness. The Lord’s Prayer “Our Father” teaches us only to forgive those who trespass us if we want to be forgiven in return.

On the other hand, the Bible does not leave the victim to be the only bearer of the burden of the sin committed against him. Even if the forgiveness does not require apologize, it is also recommended to the offender to apologize and repair the fault committed if he wants the Lord to listen to his prayers. According to the Gospel in Matthew 5, 23-24, “So if when you are offering your gift at altar you there remember that your brother has any grievance against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother and then come back and present your gift”. This is to say that God cannot listen to you if you do not apologize and repair your fault.

The two approaches are the corner stones of the reconciliation policy in Rwanda. It is asked to the survivors of the genocide to forgive those who offended them, but the perpetrators are also requested to seek for mercy and ask pardon humbly from those whom they offended. Since the fact of pleading guilty and apologizing is the condition for reducing the sentence of the accused, many perpetrators do not ask for forgiveness with the aim of obtaining mercy from the survivors, but with the objective of leaving the prison as soon as possible. This brings me to another point: the apologize must come from the compassion of the offender and his heart must regret what he did and he humbly takes the resolution to ask forgiveness. If it is an external option, there is a risk of obtaining a false reconciliation. Shad Helmestetter says it in his book, page 92 “What to say when you talk to yourself”, in these terms: “External motivation…may influence you to change, but it cannot make the change for you”. The author continues on page 95 giving advice to those who still have negative feelings [genocide perpetrators]: “A subconscious mind which has erased the old negatives and replaced them with new positives is the most fertile ground for growth and achievement we will ever find”.

The fact of the matter is surely that it was necessary to incite people for reconciliation in the view of a lasting peace in Rwanda, but it is also necessary to maintain the presence of the coach, if we don’t want the reinstallation of the old program of genocide ideology. It is the reason why the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission was created in our country.

When we speak about forgiveness, we can ask ourselves if there is a problem of refusing to forgive. In the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”, we recite “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us”. This is to say that you will be forgiven at the measure you forgive others who trespassed against you. Furthermore, in Kinyarwanda language we say that when you blame someone, you suffer from it more than the person who is blamed. Dr Wayne W. Dyer says it better in his book “Real Magic”, page 70-71 in the following words: “When you are bitten by a snake, there are two sources of pain. One is the bite itself ….The second source of pain is the venom that is now circulating through you. This is the killer… So it is like hatred and forgiveness. The event happened and it cannot happen again in your physical world. But the killer is the hatred and anger that continue to circulate in your system like venom… you any you only [the victim] have the power to send the killer venom out of you; that it is still present within you is your choice”.

Finally, another problem arises when the person forgiven for a very serious problem, does not in return forgive others who offended him more less seriously. In Rwanda, we met such a problem. Men accused of participating in genocide who have been forgiven for the acts committed were released. When they came back home after they were released, some of them found that their wives got babies from other men. One of the women apologized and told to her husband that she slept with the man who impregnated her because she was in need of money to buy some items her husband needed while he was in prison. But his husband did not forgive her and menaced to kill her if she does not leave the family house.

This sad story evoked in my mind the Biblical text about a person forgiven for a very harmful fault, but afterwards did not want to forgive the person who offended him less than what he did himself to his master. The Lord’s Prayer “Our Father” teaches us to forgive those who trespass us if we want to be forgiven in return. This is to say that that person cannot be forgiven in the Heaven. In Matthew 23-35, we read the said story of the man who begged for pardon from his master because he has no money to repay a big debt (10.000 talents, the value of 34 kilograms of gold) he has borrowed. After being forgiven and released by his master, he did not have a mercy for his fellow attendant who was not able to repay him a hundred denarii (one denarii was about the salary of a labourer per day)

Respect for others:

Beyond the self esteem, you cannot reach success if you do not think to other persons. As said by the author, successful persons recognize that every person is a child of God and are sorry for misadventures met by every human being.

Our egocentrism prevents us from thinking about our fellow creatures. Nevertheless, God’s high commandment teaches us to love every human being as we love ourselves. Do we respect that rule? How many times do we throw the rest of meal in the dust bin while in the neighbourhood people are sending children to bed without eating a single spoon of meals? As recommended by the author, it is a great time to be more altruists.

Last time, I read a very interesting joke comparing our brain neurons activity with a crowd of buffalos. The principle is that the group adapts its speed on the lowest member of the group. If one or many persons among our community encounter problems, it will slow our progress, because our attention will be focused on their problem, instead of focusing on our development.

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc.? Explain.

Emily’s problem in mathematics (page 23):

I discussed the matter in my assessment of the book “Giant Steps”. What I should establish is that I met the same problem as Emily. As far as my memory can go in the past, I remember that the problem originated during the school year 1975/1976. It was the first time I had a teacher who thought I was weak in any branch. Once, I failed to resolve a mathematics problem and since then he considered me as null in that branch. I received always bad notes and I thought he didn’t even make efforts to read my responses. Even if by chance I did not get the same teacher the following year and improved my results in that branch, I continued to fear mathematics. I considered myself not made for mathematics. But what is surprising is that the years before I did not get any problem in that branch. I was very good in all branches, mathematics inclusive.

I do not remember to have influenced my sons, but they have a weakness in the same branch. I really have to reprogram my mind about it and to help my children in reprogramming theirs.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.

The concept of “Psycho-Cybernetics” itself was a new one for me. When I took the book for the first time, I had no idea of what the term “Psycho-Cybernetics” could mean. When I opened my dictionary, I did not get more explanations. I took the resolution to let the book explain it itself. While progressing, what sounded weird became clear and I understood that the principles discussed through it are not so mysterious.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

This book challenged me in many ways, but what concerns me a lot is “Daring to take risks”. It is a challenge for me because I am one of the persons who don’t dare to take risks. It gave me a booster to break barriers in the future. Since I read the book, especially what has been said by Maxwell “Learn that the fear is often an illusion”, I took the decision to vanquish my fears. I became stronger in my commitment when the author continued in these terms: “Not every molehill is a mountain; not every challenge is a life-or-death situation. FEAR is no more than a False Evidence Appearing Real”.

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?


6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

The book is full of good advices for changing in the right direction, but what I found most helpful is about the self esteem as a keystone of success. I don’t know if it is by humility that I always had a low opinion of myself, but I learned from the book, that low opinion of myself is not modesty, it is self destruction. As I said above, I took the decision to avoid fear of taking risks.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey.

The author displays how the negative self-image can be destructive. Through the book, he gives us the means of how to change and/maintain a shape life for getting better life and avoid failure in the future.

Please Rate this book on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 10
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9



Real Magic
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

When you read the book “Real Magic” it seems like you are walking hand in hand with the author in the realm of your mind and discovering step by step the gigantic power in it. After exposing what you are able to do, he told you that you have not only to watch others making miracles, because you can do it yourself. The only condition is to believe that it is possible. The Bible gives you a booster in Mark 9:23, where we read that “…all things are possible to him who believes”. Since now, you can move the immoveable and realize all what you have wished to do. All that seemed impossible will be attained if you use the right ingredients proposed by the author. Through this book, the author gives us the right way and techniques to be used if we want to break the wall of limitations.

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

In the book, Real Magic, there are many important ideas, but I cannot discuss all them within this assessment. Let me share with you a few ones in the lines below:

The first thing to be said is that our relationships strengthen the power of our mind and are boosters for reaching great achievements. It is the reason why the author recommends us to love our brothers (in the broad sense) as a mother loves her child, and to keep our eyes and mind open so that we can listen to everybody, because we don’t know when and how the teacher will appear to us.

To give without expectations:

On page 171, the author gives us an example of a true love, a kind of a perfect relationship. In today’s world, we find rarely persons who don’t search an interest in all what they do. The first question they ask when proposed to do something is “What it is in it for us?”

The author regrets the situation and gives us an example of a true love; a mother’s love toward her child. In such a kind of relationship, the only gain is to make the other happy. For a mother what interests her is to see her child healthy and growing with a wise and intelligent character.

Long time ago, I read a book titled “Toutes les mères s’appellent Anita” (Literally, it means “all mothers are named Anita”). It is a very interesting story about a mother who accepted to give her heart for the sake of her child who was about to die. Even if it is a novel, the story reflects the reality. The great majority of mothers love their children with a special love. In Kinyarwanda, there is a proverb stating that men don’t love their children like women. “Imfizi irabyara ntivumera”, this means that a male does not have affection for his offspring like female.

What great miracle could we realize if we could make sacrifices for others like what do mothers do for their children? As Christians, God recommends us to love our brothers as we do for ourselves. He gave us a very meaningful example when He accepted the death of His unique son because of our sins. What is our resolution now? Are we ready to follow his commandment? Let us become real Christians. Even if we cannot reach the measure of God, we can commit ourselves to give without expectations. It is one of the path leading us to the realm of Heaven. Since we cannot see God physically, he always approaches us in the image of a human being, because we have been created in His image.

Once upon a time, a beggar was sitting near the road. When he saw a man passing by there, he asked him if he could not help him. The passenger was transporting a bag full of wheat. Without any shame, he only gave to the beggar one grain. When he reached his home, he was surprised to see one piece of gold within the bag. He remembered to have given one single grain of wheat to the beggar and regretted to have not given all the wheat. Since that time, he realized that it was Christ Himself who was sitting near the road. If we don’t want to give anything without expectations, we will not attract God’s grace.

Lesson from a child:

In the book “Success through a positive mental attitude” (page 24), we can read a very amazing story of a child who gave a very interesting lesson to his father. The latter has never imagined before that he can get a very interesting illustration of the effects of rightness of a man from his son. Through the lesson given by his child, the Preacher got a very interesting sermon for his next assembly “When the man is right, his world is right”. This is applicable to every person who thinks that he is so powerful that he cannot need a help from others.

Dr Wayne says on page 19 that “If you are willing, you will find teachers in every niche of your life”. Here below, I give you a testimony of how I became incidentally a student of International Institute for Global Leadership, the target was another person, but since I wanted to learn leadership, I profited the occasion offered to me.

Rejoice in the prosperity of others (p. 186)

“You cannot attract prosperity to yourself if you are filled with rancour, judgment, anger, jealousy, hatred, fear, tension or the like”, says the author. And the Bible to add “Love others as you love yourself” (John 13:34).

I remember a humoristic little story reflecting how people don’t rejoice in the prosperity of others. One time, two persons met a fairy who proposed them to bestow them wealth. I will give you all what you want, she said. But my offer is subjected to a condition. “If the first of you asks for something, it will be granted to him, but the second will get the double”.

When the fairy asked to the first man what he wanted, he hesitated for a long time. His problem was not what he needed, but the double to be obtained by his friend. “If ask for one million dollars, my friend will be granted two million. No it is not just”. When the fairy asked him for the last time, the man said: “Blind me one eye”. This little story reflects how people are suffering from the wealth of their neighbours.

Yet, the majority of us are Christians and that we are taught to love every human being as we love ourselves. We read in the Bible (John 13:34), the lesson from Jesus about love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another”.

What is diminishing in your wealth if your colleague gets an increase of salary, when you neighbour buys a new car or builds his own house. Unfortunately, we have the heart of Cain who hated Abel, only because he was congratulated by God (Genesis 4:5-8).

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc.? Explain.

Listen to your intuition:

Long time ago, when I was still a baby, my mother got a dream in which she saw a man trying to poison all members our family (since I am the eldest, we were only three). The next morning, the same man came to them while cultivating their piece of land. He asked them if they could get a few minutes to come to his home and share a drink. My father, like any other man in my country could have done, hurried to respond positively. Without inviting my mother to follow him, he let down his hoe and followed his benefactor. After walking some steps, my mother called him. She told him about her last night dream and advised him to pay an attention. First, my father rejected her advice, but an intuition came to him: If she were right! Why this unusual kind invitation?” On the way to the supposed benefactor’s home, he told to one of his friends to follow him, in case it will be a trap. After entering in the surrounding wall, he was immediately invited to enter in the house and sit on a chair. A recipient named “agacuma” in Kinyarwanda, full of beer was given to him. But contrary to the habit, the host did not drink on it before giving to the guest. This was a first suspicious gesture. While discussing about rain and sun, the friend of my father who followed them, warned them about his presence so that he can be invited to enter in the house, as required by the culture. The poisoner tried to take back the recipient, but my father caught it firmly. In despair, the poisoner saw that my father’s friend who did not wait for being invited to come in, was already with them asking to be given also the chance to drink, saying that he was very thirsty. My father and the poisoner were still struggling for keeping the recipient. When the poisoner saw that the third person wanted to enter in the struggle, he preferred to break the recipient and expand the liquid on the ground. The next day, without any explanation, the man leaved the region and went far away. Ten years later, he came back seeking pardon and said that he was paid for poisoning us (my father, mother and I) by someone who had a trial case with my father.

Given that example and many others met in everyday life, I agree with the author when he says on page 31, sometimes “…you will need to learn how to go way beyond your rational mind and enter the dimension of spirituality”. To become a real magician, you “…have to transcend the belief that cognitive knowledge is superior to intuition…” continues the author on page 85.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear:

I agree with the common saying that the state of a mind will often attract what you are focusing on. Since 2002, when I was working for the Unity and Reconciliation Commission in my country, I had a need to study “leadership”. The idea was left away when I began to work in a bank. But one year later, the feeling was refreshed when I applied for a job in IRDP, a local NGO working in the field of peace. Since then, I had that obsession.

The expected moment came the day when my wife asked me to check her e-mail box, because she was not able to go to a cyber café. I saw an e-mail sent by her friend and former colleague who lived in South Africa. The message was sent to local NGOs workers who used to work with Trocaire, informing them about the International Institute for Global Leadership lessons. After reading the message, she told me about the Institute, but said that she was not now available to follow the lessons since she was studying at University. I told her that I was going to subscribe, because I found the training very interesting. The teacher appeared to me in that way and I praise God to have put me in contact with International Institute for Global Leadership. If I were not thirsty, I could not have noticed that the water was there ready to be drunk.

Christ Himself only appears for them who believe in Him, but it is necessary to have eyes sufficiently opened so that you can see Him arriving. I remember a story of a man who prayed and asked Jesus in his prayer to pay him a visit one day. Jesus told him that he will come next Sunday at noon. When it was great time, they heard a sound at the door. When the man went to open, he saw a dirty man with old clothes asking to enter in the house. Without asking him who he was, he pushed him away and asked him not to disturb them while they were waiting for an important guest. The host waited the rest of the day, but the waited Jesus did not come. Next day, he prayed once again and asked Jesus to remember his commitment. Jesus told him once again to wait for him next Sunday at the same hour. When the clock strikes noon, there was a stir in the house, with the intention to please their guest as well as possible. At the same time, a disabled person appeared without knocking at the door. He was treated like the beggar of last Sunday. The guest continued to wait for Jesus until two o’clock and finally said to himself that his host was a liar.

When he returned to the church to ask Jesus why he did not respect the appointment, Jesus told him that he came, but his guest pushed him twice. The man remembered the beggar and the disabled man.

The lesson is that the host was not aware enough about how the guest seems like. When you don’t open your eyes, you will not see miracles happening and you will never create miracles yourself.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.

Buddha’s lesson about “Anger”:

Quoting Buddha, the author says on page 71: “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger”. You and you only have the power to send your anger out of you.

According to Wikipedia Encyclopedia, anger is an emotion, “subjectively experienced as an aroused state of antagonism toward someone or something perceived to be the source of an aversive event.”

Is anger good or bad? This question is very important, because the common understanding perceive anger as a very bad emotion. At the other hand, anger is seen as a normal reaction. The latter group says that it is dangerous to inhibit it.

The “good” anger is viewed as normal, because it is defined as “a natural and healthy response that has evolved to enable us to deal with threats”. In the Bible, anger is not always treated as a sin. God is angry sometimes (Psalm 7:11; Mark 3:5) and believers are commanded to be angry (Ephesians 4:26). Jesus Himself got angry over how some of the Jews had defiled the Gentile’s place of worship at God’s temple in Jerusalem (John 2:13-18).

But anger can bring irreparable scars. Hereinafter, let me give you a story illustrating consequences that can be brought by uncontrolled anger. (

Once upon a time there was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he should hammer a nail in the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. But gradually, the number of daily nails dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the first day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He proudly told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

“You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, it won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound is still there.”

This last kind of anger is destructive and can lead to misdemeanours. The damages caused by the person have bad consequences: to be sentenced and punished, but also to repair what is destroyed. It is the reason why Buddha said that the person is punished by his anger and not for his anger. To be angry is not bad in itself, the problem concerns its consequences. People don’t fear the black cloud in the sky; they fear the rain that will follow.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

Give 10% of what you see coming into your life:

In common understanding, nobody is satisfied with his wealth. People are always complaining about their poverty even if they appear rich in the eyes of the public. One of Rwandan singers asserts that those who claim to be poor are really poor, because to be rich is a state of the mind. He demonstrates his affirmation saying that when you have a bike, you need a motorcycle, a car, and so on. But as it was once said by a wise man, you worship your God to have no shoes when you met someone without feet. This is to say that God gave us riches in a certain way, but we are never satisfied.

“If you don’t want to give anything pretending that you are poor, in that case accept publicly to be among the persons who need aid”. This was told once to a rich man who refused to give his contribution to a charitable organization pretending that he was poor and had nothing to give to young collectors. After claiming his misfortune, one of the young men told him: “Sir, since we are collecting for poor, please take something in the bag”.

The man with shame and enters in his house and brought a check. He apologized for his act.

Don’t think we are poor. God granted us riches but we are blind enough to see them. The only persons who worship God for their wealth don’t have anything to put on their bodies to appear in public and give their testimony. The major gift which allows us to gain all what we want is our life. No one can miss something to give to another human being in need. As advised by the author on page 210, we must give at least 10% of what we see coming into our life. What is advised is not to waste all our wealth and let our families and ourselves in need and begin to beg ourselves or borrow what we will never pay. It is recommended to help others proportionally with what we gain. You cannot attract wealth, if you give difficultly.

What about myself? Do I have the heart of giving? To be objective, I recognize that it is a failure on my behalf. But the lessons learned from this book challenged me a lot and since now, I commit myself to help those who are in need.

If it works for others, it will work for me:

Since I read the books on self improvement, a light of courage illuminated my life and the shadow of fear disappeared progressively. I dare to say now that I was afraid of writing any dissertation in English. When I received the first books, I got many difficulties to read them and began to regret why I asked for those lessons in English. But since I had committed to myself and to International Institute for Global Leadership to learn Leadership in English, it should be cowardice to abandon. A question rose in my mind: Why do you think you can’t when others succeeded in it. When I gave myself a pretext of coming from a francophone country, I found a list of other students coming from countries like Congo, Algeria and others. I then caught myself repeating the same sentence as Dr Wayne W. Dyer on page 209: “If it works for others, why it could not work for me?” I considered my English skills not sufficient to allow me reading a whole book and to make any dissertation in English, but when I sent my first assessments, I fortunately met encouragements from Michael. Since then I felt strong enough to continue.

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?


6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

What I found most helpful in this book are the seven steps to manifesting real magic in my physical being (page 267&268. The seven steps are:
– Recognize that there is an invisible life force within you;
– Know that your thoughts originate with you;
– Realize that there are no limits;
– Know that your life has a purpose;
– Overcome weakness by leaving it behind;
– Examine what you believe to be impossible and then change your beliefs;
– Go beyond logic.

If you have convinced yourself that you are too weak to accomplish certain tasks as swimming or running long distances… you will never success. As an example, I committed myself to walk 50 km to celebrate my fiftieth birthday, and I did it.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey

Every human being, no matter of his origin, race or religious faith is capable of achieving goals beyond what others think is impossible. This depends on how he believes in the power of his mind and accepts to adopt a new way of thinking.

8. Please Rate this book on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
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

Comments – The size of character makes the book difficultly readable



What To Say When You Talk To Yourself
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

The achievement of each human being starts with a dialogue with himself. He conceives the project and presents it to the board of directors of his mind who hold a meeting and debate on the project. As we know, the attitude of the presenter and the words he uses when he presents his project will be for a great influence on the decision to be taken.

If the presenter is convinced that his project meet his own approval, he adopts an attitude different from whom who is not convinced about. The words will be well chosen and the speech well delivered. If he has doubts about his conception, he will not find words to express the contrary of what he thinks, because he will be always focused on what his mind is dictating. Nobody can agree with you if you are not yourself convinced about what you say. At the end of day, the project will be rejected, because you reap what you seed.

Now all depends on you, the two parties are sitting in a room named your mind. The presenter is at the same time the decision maker. What kind of speech will you deliver? The solution is now in your hands.

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

You are your own adversary:

In Kinyarwanda, my native language, we say that: “Usiga ikikwirukaho, ariko ntusiga ikikwirukamo” which means that you can run away from what is running after you, but you can never escape what is running within you.

Every one has the power and weapons to fight against him and to become vanquished and to perish. The great problem is that when you take weapons against yourself few people will prevent you from destroying yourself. Normally, we observe a tendency to help you to progress in the wrong way. Rwandans say that when you are destroying your house, people will lend you their machetes (Usenya urwe umutiza umuhoro). It is you, only you who can take the efficient decision to stop smoking, drinking … It is not uncommon to hear from a person that he knows that tobacco is dangerous to the organism, but that he cannot quit smoking. It is a voice within him that continues to push him in the gulf of death. While he knows that nobody died for not smoking, why does he continue to “exchange milk against a leaf of tobacco”? As said by a Rwandan proverb. The persons who don’t want to take courage and say no to their dangerous habits use to say that “instead of dying for desire, they prefer die in the process of medication”. It is better said in Kinyarwanda, where you notice the rhythm in the assertion (aho gupfa wifuza, wapfa wivuza)

Nevertheless, the same smokers know very well that tobacco is dangerous, and they know that smoking is not a need for the organism. Rwandan culture discourages smokers in one little fable of a hyena. One night, a hyena passing through a village was so hungry and tired. After walking a little time, he noticed a voice of a person whining in a house. The hyena stopped a little to well listen what the person was saying. It was an old woman who was saying that she probably will die that night because she missed tobacco. The hyena who was fed up of running all the night without finding a little thing to eat, thought it was probably better to wait for that soon coming meal (in ancient Rwanda, the dead persons were brought in the bush and eaten by animals especially hyenas). The hyena waited all the night and the sun raised without any dead person out of the house. He decided to run off and said: “No one can die for not smoking”.

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc.? Explain.

My wife, who does not eat fish, told me that when she was young, their mother did not bear to seeing fish at home. She told herself to her children that she has never eaten fish and she hated it, due also to her parents. It was a long chain of transmission of a wrong belief told by parents to children. My wife grew with that perception and never ate fish until now. After our marriage, I tried to convince her, but until now, after twenty years of marriage, she is not yet able to convince herself that she can eat fish. It is so deeply engraved in her mind that she cannot cancel it.

In my own life experience, I met a problem relating to Pygmalion effect read in the book “Giant Steps”. The problem happened when I was studying in secondary school. One of my teacher put in his mind the idea that I was too weak in mathematics, so that I could never succeed in that branch. He used to repeat it to me and to my classmates so that it was recorded by my subconscious and became almost a reality. Surprisingly, I had never failed in that branch before. I discussed the matter in detail in my assessment of the book “Giant Steps”

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.

The new idea I got from the book is the comparison between the human brain and a computer. The author explained very well how the process of entering or cancelling a program in a computer is like what happens in our brain. We enter the new programs in our mind like we do for entering a program in the computer. As the computer cannot make a difference between the good or bad program, our subconscious mind does the same. But, in the opposite, you can remove the program you want as you remove those entered in your computer. So, it is our choice to cancel the programs we don’t like and maintain that we like.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

What challenged me most in this book is what challenged the author on page 84. The problem concerns why people don’t change even if they had learned many lessons about positive thinking.

It reminds me many seminars and trainings held by authorities and NGOs to the Rwandan population for helping them to rebuild the country unity and to reconcile all Rwandans. But until now, you listen about hate between people. After reading the chapter 10, I understood that the most efforts to be made concerns replacing the old beliefs programmed in Rwandans minds.

If you deliver a good speech of unity and reconciliation, but afterwards, you plan the extermination of the other group you are not belonging to, your self-talk will never guide you to an achievement of unity. When you speak on a microphone about peace and conflict resolution and you tell to yourself that it would be better not to sit with those you hate, it is not a way to the peace in the country.

We, Rwandans are concerned more than others with cancelling our old program of hate between supposed ethnic groups, and enter in our computer a new program of unity and reconciliation. If not, we will continue to equip our mind with the old chairs labelled with hate, genocide and mass killing, because we have not yet installed the new furniture of peace, unity and reconciliation.

Pay the attention on how you treat your children:

There is a belief in Rwanda that “If your father gives you a bad name, it is a bad legacy, worst than refusing to give you wealth”. But people are not aware enough about the consequences of what is told to children about themselves. If you continue to give to your daughter the label of a wife for everybody, she will grow with that label and there is a risk that she grows with that feeling and begin to sleep with everybody in the future.

When you say to your son: he will not even be capable of getting milk from a dog, “Ntuzikamira n’ay’imbwa” what means that he is too lazy (you’ll never amount to anything”), there is a risk for him to become what you told him often.

The author says that we learned our programs from people around us and it is natural we pass the same kind of programming to others. The first victims are the children. The examples he collected about statements and comments like “you are lazy, you’ll never amount to anything…” made by loving parents to their children have showed him that they created failure instead of happiness and success to the said children.

Why complaining about things you cannot change:

Sometimes we don’t take our time to dig deeply enough in our mind what is necessary or unnecessary. I know that I am one of the people who were stressed by traffic jam or traffic light. I know that many persons pass a time more than necessary to complain about weather. It is stupid when you know that you spent enough energy on it and you did not change anything on it.

Why do you ever want someone to do your thinking for you?

The book challenged me when the author asked me on page 103 why I ever want someone to do my thinking for me. It reminded me that in our country, we always need the experts in the field we have our own experts. What can do those external experts that cannot do our native experts? Sometimes, they have no knowledge of inner factors that can influence their expertise or that can have impact in the future on the project they are putting in place.

One day, a French expert came in one country in West Africa with a mission to look for the way to improve the well being of the population. One of the problems he first noticed was the lack of water in villages and the pain met by women when they had to fetch for water far from the village.

He proposed to dig wells in the villages. Some months later, the wells were destroyed and the investigation demonstrated that the supposed beneficiaries of the project were the first destroyer of the wells.

He did not know that the woman was like a prisoner in her home, and the only occasion to meet other women was in the way toward the well and back home from it.

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?


6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

As a parent, the most helpful idea learned from this book is putting self talk in practice. The author advises us on page 140 to teach it to our children. The author found that it is better to begin with children at early age, because he noticed that children accept positive self talk naturally, even more easily than some of their parents. It gives me courage to use the method for improving my children’s future life.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey.

Our future depends on the program we enter in our mind. Like a computer, this one cannot distinguish between the wrong and true program. It is the reason why when we talk to ourselves, it is for our interest to give to our mind a positive message.

Please Rate this book on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 10
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
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



Goal Setting 101
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Through the book “Goal Setting 101”, Gary Ryan Blair demonstrates that the only certain way to achieving efficiently our projects is to set correctly our goals and keep focusing on them.

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.

Why goal setting is important?

From my point of view, what I find most striking in this book is the importance of thinking about your ideal future and motivating yourself to turn the vision you have in the mind into reality. As the comedian George Burns said once, “You have to have something to get you out of bed” (Anthony Robbins, Giant Steps, p.44). If you do not focus on something that is the main reason for your journey, there are most chances to be distracted by other things. No specific reason impulses you to continue.

To illustrate the importance of a goal, there is a Rwandan myth about one great hero named Rwanyonga who entered into a bet with the King of Rwanda named Rwabugiri. Within his army, nobody was courageous enough to face him in a struggle.

But one day, one of his brave soldiers, Rwanyonga, dared to declare that he could compete with him. The goal was “to kill Katabirora, the king of the neighboring kingdom named Bunyabungo, in the eastern region of Republic Democratic of Congo”.

When the young soldier came to his home and said to his father the goal he set, his father treated him as very presumptuous. How can you dare enter into such competition with Rwabugiri, the king? You can already consider yourself as a dead person (It was concluded in the bargain that the winner will be entrusted with the right to kill the looser).

Nevertheless, Rwanyonga’s father did not abandon his son; he gave him precious advices and tricks to respect during the competition. One of the advices was to continuously keeping focused on the goal.

On the way to Bunyabungo, Rwabugiri had arranged some distractions and traps to delay Rwanyonga’s progress. There were beautiful girls inviting him to stay with them, but there were also obstacles to stop his progressing, like conspiring with the ferrymen to destroy their own boats so that Rwanyonga could not get a way to cross lakes and rivers. Despite all these obstacles, Rwanyonga, who has the objective in his mind to continue focusing on his target, finally reached the Bunyabungo royal house.

The lesson learned from this story is that the process of setting goals helps you to choose where you want to go in life. By knowing well what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that would otherwise lure you from your course.

When the goal is there, nothing can neither stop nor distract you. But if you want to know the end of the story, let us go. The king who departed from his castle one day before the time agreed upon by the two competitors arrived before Rwanyonga. But he did not succeed well his operation and was about to be killed by the Bunyabungo’s king and queen when Rwanyonga intervened and saved him, killing his two adversaries.

Our power of choice

When you don’t define where you want to go, you stroll about and at the end of day, you are nowhere. I dare say that many persons, like me (before reading the book) used to say that God will plan for us. Is it not He, The Almighty Who can alone know our future. We cannot change any single part of His plan? This is the wrong thinking of a number of persons who hid themselves behind the fatality. But we forget that when God created the human being, He wanted him to become a little god, He created him in his image. This is to say that we have divine characters. We can set high goals like God. He gave us a very great mission: to change the world for the better and become the master of all beings in this world. Our Creator gave us intelligence so that we can accomplish the noble mission received from Him.

In the book” Goal Mapping”, Brian Mayne reminds us that we have a conscious and subconscious and both participate in the way we fix our thinking in our mind. The author recommends us to ask ourselves what we intend to do personally and professionally, to ask us a question why we want to reach that goal and finally gather all means to embark for the destination. We have to continue to focus on our target to avoid any mistake during the travel. If we have obstacles in the middle of the way, we must consider them not as rocks that prevent us to reach the destination, but as bumps we can cross with a minimum of care and efforts. Sometimes, it will be necessary to even change our way but without leaving the sight of our goal. People who are afraid of facing difficulties never try anything, and consequently never succeed in their life.

We all have goals, whether we know it or not. The problem we face is now to consciously choose them and draw them on a piece of paper.

Most of the time, before commencing any activity, we perceive it as difficult and sometimes we think it is impossible to succeed. But at the end of the day, notwithstanding challenges we have met during our journey, we finally achieve our goals. The lesson learned from the book “Setting Goal 101” is that for succeeding; we must keep trying no matter how hard it seems like, it will get easier. And soon or late, the person who wins is the one who thinks he/she can.
To do more than that is required

My bank (ACCESS BANK)’s mission is “To go beyond the ordinary, to deliver the perceived impossible in the quest for excellence”.

When ACCESS BANK repurchased BANCOR (the former name of the Bank), that new mission gave us fear. Even if everybody knew what it was “to do more than that is required”, but nobody could imagine it as a mission of an organization. But when I thought deeply to the meaning of the word “initiative”, I finally discovered that the real meaning of initiative was to go beyond the ordinary. As defined in Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success (page 73), personal initiative means doing what needs to be done without being told. When you perform just what you are told you to do or what you should have done, you are not going beyond the ordinary. I finally noticed that when you go beyond the ordinary, you deliver the perceived impossible.

It has been a common understanding that the daily working hours are 8 (lastly the Government’s decision increased them to 9 hours per day). Since the day we started with “going beyond the ordinary”, nobody notices that it is time to go home, because we keep busy all the day. A time ago I read a very interesting adage: “When you are struggling with a gorilla, you never quit because you are tired, you quit when the gorilla is tired. If you don’t do like that, the gorilla will kill you”. This became our strategy “to rank ACCESS BANK among the two first banks of the country at the end of 2009”.

For a banker, to do more than that is required is to market a customer whenever you work in the back office services, to report the problem you notice even if it is not in your job description, to resolve a customer’s problem when you see him hesitating in the hall …

It goes without saying that an exaggeration can be sometimes a catastrophe. I remember a story about a messenger who took an initiative that was not appreciated by his boss. When he saw his boss entering in the office at the closing hour, he decided to stay there in the case of the boss should need his services. Very late in the night, when the boss went out from the office, he was astonished to find the man sitting there in the hall. When he asked why he did not go home, he said that he stayed there in the case of his services was needed. The boss was very happy with him, but the worst happened when the boss learned he was living at 15 km from Kigali (the capital of Rwanda). It was too late to find any public transportation and the man had not his own mean of transport. The boss could not abandon him at his sad fate. He lifted him to home with his own car, but not without some complaints.

As a personal conclusion, we have to keep in mind that it is only practice which makes a man/woman perfect and we must ignore all those who try to discourage us. If we are not achieving our goals as far as we want, we must neither give up nor give in, in order to go beyond the ordinary and deliver the perceived impossible in the quest for excellence. People learn from mistakes and achievements. As Samora Machel said once (1971), the mistakes show where there are shortcomings in our knowledge, weak points which have to be eliminated.

Only results matter:

The success is not based on the efforts, but on the results. I agree with this principle but the assumption can raise some arguments. One can ask himself/herself about the obligation of a doctor where he is taking care of a patient. If we apply such principle there is a risk of seeing some physicians as failing people. Where the doctor is in front of his/her patient, the goal is to put an end to the patient’s illness. As we are used to, in some cases not only the illness continues to go worst, but the patient can also die of it. Can we, based on the principle “Only results matter”, condemn a doctor who could not heal his/her patient, when he/she used all his possible means?

One of the general principles of law of contracts recognizes the fact absence of liability where the failing party has made all efforts to fulfill its obligations and the cause of failure was out of his/her control. In such case, the failing party is not liable.

This principle allows the doctor to ask to the family of the deceased person his due remuneration and to not be pursued by the justice.

However, we cannot forget that the doctor who registers always such failures will see people avoiding him. It is the same for lawyers who always lose their cases in the courts. Let me give another example concerning the banking sector (where I am working now), but which can be applied to any other sector. Where a branch manager does not report an increase of deposits, he cannot allege the lack of funds in the region. To get a right to the annual bonus, the required amount of deposits must be reached. The last example but not the least concerns my own job description. Among my key performance indicators, there is a registration of mortgages taken from customers. In my country, and I think it is the same for many other African countries, few land properties are registered. Imagine what it can be to register a mortgage on a non registered land. When I asked how I could achieve such goal, I received a very brief response: “your appreciation will be based on the number of land titles you got and the registration of mortgages on those titles. The solution about how you will get them is between your hands”. This comes to confirm the principle assuming that only results matter. Although you are not liable in regard of the law and toward God, your carrier will not be the success one if you do not achieve the results. Nobody will rely on your services.

To be unreasonable:

People who changed this world were always treated as foolish. The reasonable person is the one who accepts the way normally accepted by the society. If you start raising an opinion that “things do not have to continue to be like this or that, your community which was used to see things in one way will treat you as “unreasonable”. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull was cast out from the gull society, because he has become foolish to not accept what other seagulls saw as normal. But he accepted the price of being marginalized and at the end he transformed the habits of the group (Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull).

When Chrysler was trying to put apart all the spares of his car, people thought he was crazy and losing his time and money.

When Christopher Columbus embarked for the far India, nobody could believe that something useful could be resulted from his adventure. Even if he did not reach India, the fruit of his effort is now awarded with the greatest country in the world. People dared to go there because he had discovered the overseas land.

In my previous assessments, I discussed long enough about what I experienced when I went to study at the age of 40. People found the decision unreasonable. To abandon the job and salary which, even if low could feed the family, to put aside your responsibility as a father and husband and live away during a considerable time, without any mean of communication (it was just after the war and genocide in 1994 ). You must be unreasonable enough to embark in a so foolish adventure. But the results were remunerative. Until now, I assert that my initiative served as a good example for many persons when they saw the promotion I got after studies. As my own conclusion, we have to avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits in order to plan our successful living in the future.

Work economically – Know your limits:

Even if we live in a world that can be labeled as “crazy” when we consider the rhythm of life, you can’t reach your goal if you don’t manage your forces. On one hand you must concentrate all your efforts to the achievement of your goals, but on the other hand, you must know your limits.

Some authors like Robert Greene in his book “The 33 Strategies of War” on page 97 assert that we all have limitations. He warns us that “Danger comes from trying to surpass our limits”. This meets the line of thinking of the author of this book “Goal Setting 101”, Gary Ryan Blair who agrees that “pushed beyond limits, people work inefficiently, poorly and even counterproductively” (author, p.34)

But others like Denis Waitley in “The New Dynamics of Winning” (page 36) think that working hard is not enough. However, even if he agrees that working hard leads America to the number one in terms of productivity, he unfortunately recognizes that the level of commitment about work is falling for many people in all sectors of the American economy (page 37).
After reading the assumption of the two authors, it gave me to think about my bank’s mission: “To go beyond the ordinary, to deliver the perceived impossible in the quest for excellence” Can we accomplish the mission where we accept that it is necessary to know our limits. This only means that the target has not to be too high considering your capacity and your means.
Let me illustrate it by a very well known story you probably used to listen from mother or grandmother when you were still a young child. At the time being, the story was not probably about the goose, as in the present text, but maybe a hen or a duck in consideration of your own traditional legend.

“Once upon a time there was a countryman who possessed the most extraordinary goose you can imagine. Every morning when he went to visit the nest, the goose had laid one single beautiful, glittering, golden egg.

The countryman took the eggs to market and soon began to get rich. But it was not long before he grew impatient with the goose because she gave him only a single golden egg each day. He was not getting rich fast enough and was becoming quite greedy.

Then one day, after he had finished counting his money, the idea came to him that he could get all the golden eggs at once by killing the goose and cutting it open. But when the deed was done, no golden egg was found, and his precious goose was dead.

Many times, employers want to get more production without maximizing production capacity. The result of that is the counter productivity. It is advised to look for optimizing production capacity before seeking optimizing production.

My own thinking is that managers of organizations must strengthen their teams by recruiting enough staff and building their capacities before thinking about benefiting from them. Fair and softy goes far in a day.

Positive attitude:

Many authors have explained well the role of the attitude of the person when he envisages achieving a goal. If he/she thinks he/she can, he/she can; if he/she thinks he/she cannot, he/she will never reach his/her goal. When defining the 17 principles of success, Napoleon Hill considers the positive attitude as on of the most important keys to success. He considers the negative attitude as such dangerous that he advises someone with negative attitude to better stay at home instead of venturing into the world with it (Napoleon Hill’s 17 principles of success, p.26)

Shad Helmestetter in his book “What to say when you talk to yourself” (p.67) reminds us that attitude we have about anything will affect how we feel about it, which in turn determines how we will act about it and that in turn determines whether or not we will do well.

This is also true about attitude we have about the goals we are setting. If we have a positive attitude, we have a chance to achieve them, but if our attitude is negative, it is better, as said Napoleon to not set it at all.

Since my intention is to see how to change our negative attitude, if any, into a positive attitude, let me attach closer attention to how we can change our negative attitude or keep with a positive attitude.

It is generally agreed that we are not born with our attitudes; they just happen. They are created, controlled or influenced by our beliefs (Shad Helmestetter, op cit, p.67-68). The first thing that was said by this author is that “belief does not require something to be true. It only requires us to believe that it is true”. We must now consider that when we are setting a goal with a belief that we can never achieve it, it does not matter how well we set it, if we believe that we cannot achieve it, we will never succeed.

All things which have been discussed earlier prove that the positive attitude we create in our mind is of great importance in the way to the achieving of our goals.

At the end of the day, it must be pointed out that, according to Shad Helmestetter (op. cit , p.70-71), we can program our beliefs. It is accepted that our beliefs take origin in the earlier formative years of our lives. If we were told that we cannot, our subconscious mind recorded it as such. The big problem is that we probably continued to reinforce the program within us in continuing to repeat the same beliefs to our mind. If we set a bad program in our subconscious, it is now time to reprogram our computer. This latter is ready to accept the new program we want to enter into its disk. The author reminds us that what we believe determines our attitudes, affects our feelings, directs our behaviour and determines our success or failure (Shad Hemestetter, op. cit). It would seem clear that we are our own programmer. It is then in our hands to choose the success or failure. What do we want? Success or failure? The choice is clear.

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?

Why goal setting is important?

As stated above, setting goals is very important. A human being is like a bicycle. We maintain our balance only while we are moving forward toward something (Bobbe Sommer, Psycho-Cybernetics 2000, p. 12). The setting of a goal helps us saving a lot of energy. We start our journey knowing well where we are going and so we can gather all means we will need. It is already helping me in setting my own goals and I am helping my friends in the matter.

The goal leads upon the journey of life. Once you know where you are going, you think about new skills, new relationships needed. It maybe includes new institutions, individuals who will be important to you, and you think about new challenges or roadblocks and the best kind of vehicles for overcoming these roadblocks.

To do more than that is required:

The only way to give evidence of your level of responsibility is to take initiatives. Any normal adult person is always supposed to meet the problem before it happens. It is better to find a solution to a problem that can happen instead of waiting to respond to it after it happens or tending to initiate change rather than reacting to events. This helps me in setting my own goals, but also in my professional work. When evaluating the staff quarterly and at the end of each year, initiative has a mark of 12.5%. It is always profitable to gain the mark, because the bonus at the end of year depends on the mark.

Only results matter:

Even if it is possible to fail and not obtain results when you did all your best, people will evaluate you on the basis of the results obtained. To succeed is to achieve the results expected.
I always complained about this assumption, but finally I am convinced about it. In my professional work, I learned to know that only measure of success is the results. Personally, I have also to do the same and evaluate myself based on the results I have attained.

To be unreasonable:

As said above, the reasonable persons cannot change the world, because they always spouse the way the society is doing. The society does never tolerate the change of the way they are used to live. When buffalos are attacked by the lion, the only way accepted is to run. The weak one who cannot escape will be devoured by the carnivorous. The day one buffalo will stand in front the lion, and beg help from one of its brothers and decide to combat instead of running, it will be treated as unreasonable, but will probably save the life of one of its brothers. Long time ago, I learned the importance of to be unreasonable. When the political parties were put in place in Rwanda, almost every person ran in one or another party. At that time, I was not comfortable with political issues. Each of my then colleagues tried to attract me in their party, but I resisted. They tried another strategy to force me to adhere in their different parties, since I was resisting. They started to treat me as a member of a much hated party in the southern part of the country where I was living. They hoped that, for avoiding the danger of being treated as a member of such party, I will compulsorily join one or another party present in the region. I continued to resist until now.

Work economically – Know your limits

This reminded me the problem the world is facing due to overworking. Although it is accepted that workers do not do all their best, sometimes there are exaggerations. Once, one of my colleagues was hired by an organization to set a program during only one week. The work was really too huge so that he was obliged to vacate temporarily from his usual employer. But he was also obliged to work night and day. He finished the work, but afterwards, he suffered the problems of overworking and finished in a hospital and died a month later. It is important to know your limits. You cannot keep two pots on the boil.

Positive attitude:

It goes without saying that when you face a problem, the attitude you adopt will be of a great importance to determine the success or failure. It is commonly accepted in the army, that a soldier who goes to the war unwillingly has many chances to die. The reason is not his inability, but his attitude which attracts the failure to escape the enemy. From the day I began to study the secrets of self empowerment with International Institute of Global Leadership, the positive attitude is my best weapon to face problems. It helped me in many quasi insurmountable situations.

Our power of choice:

The solution is between my hands. I have not to complain every time about this or that. If you are not comfortable about what you are doing, you are free to do other thing. After many hesitations about what to do in my life, I finally decided to apply for becoming an independent lawyer. Such decision is an outcome of lessons learned from International Institute for Global Leadership.

4. Quotes: Are there brief quotes from the book which really got your attention? If so, please list and comment on them.

“… people pursue things that they see other people achieve” (p.11)

“Don’t make a mistake of thinking you can keep you goals in your head. For goal setting to have any value, goals must be written down” (p. 19).

“Nothing of any lasting value was ever created by someone who was reasonable. It is the unreasonable people, those discontented with the status quo, the dreamers and visionaries who nevertheless have their feet planted firmly on solid ground who improve people’s lives and advance society” (p. 30)

“The person who cannot face a fear will always be running from it. Better to run toward a goal than away from a fear.” (p.37)

“You are born with great capabilities, but you will not achieve your potential until you call upon yourself to fulfill it” (p.10)

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?

I read a term that I did not understand well, Murphy’s Law. I tried to get the real meaning of the law by the texts through internet, but it was not very clear for me. If someone reading this assessment can help me. I learned that it is a law accepted in western culture.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes the book contains exercises. I tried to complete all of them. After doing the exercises, you feel more comfortable in setting your personal goal.

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 comment.

In the book, the author did not develop enough what means a SMART goal
SMART usually stands for :
S: Specific
M: Measurable
A: Attainable
R: Relevant
T: Timely
In the website HYPERLINK “” a SMART goal is explained as follows:

Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”

Measurable – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

Realistic – To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labour of love

Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

How interesting was it to read? 9
How helpful were the contents? 9
How easy was it to understand? 8
Would you recommend it to others? 9
What is the overall rating you would give it? 9



The Law of Attraction
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The main idea the author is trying to convey is that, by using the law of attraction, people are able to attract all that they need to do, know and have. They can get more of what they want and less of what they don’t want.

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.


The first thing that must be said is that the concept of “law of attraction” is new and abstract to many persons me inclusive. Even if I was already aware enough about the power of human being’s mind and its impact in our life, it would not be an exaggeration to say that it was the first time I met it in a so detailed presentation in my current readings.

As everyone knows, when you want people to understand an abstract concept like this one, the best methodology is to use practical examples. It is undeniable that the theory is useful, but it cannot be well understood if it is not supported by practical examples. In this book, what preoccupies more the author is mainly how to help the reader to gain the great maximum of the fruits of law of attraction. He uses the living examples of two persons, Janice and Greg and shares with the reader how he used successfully the law of attraction with them in all of its steps. The best of all things is that he chose two domains where people are getting more difficulties: relationship and abundance.

According to the author, if you follow the method used by Janice and Greg, you have many chances to achieve your goal: to attract more of what you want and less of what you don’t. If it worked for them it can also work for you and for me.

From the time I started to read the book, I tried the method and it is improving my vibrations especially in my career where I had more negative thoughts.

Without wishing to neglect many useful ideas contained in this book, I consider the following as most important:

a. Deliberate attraction

The author gives us to understand that when you want to attract what you want, you must avoid words that are causing to attract what you don’t want (p.22). He gives us a good example: when someone tells you “don’t turn your head, you automatically do what he prevented you to do. So if you use the negative words you give attention and energy to what you DON’T want. If it happens to think negatively, he suggests to immediately asking you and giving a positive response. “So what do I want?”

But, how can we identify what we want? The author assumes that most people are not good at knowing what they do want (p.31), but it is not a problem at all because it will help you to identify what you want by using the contrast of what you don’t want (so what do I want?).

Here below, there are steps proposed to help us to clarify what our real “wants” are ( :

* Know what you want: For example I want to buy my ideal house

* Visualize your wish as fulfilled: For example, if you know that you don’t want your house to be an hour away from office, you can use it to state that you want your house to be 10 minutes away from office. Make it sure that all you wish is stated in a positive manner. The next step is to visualize your wish as fulfilled. Just imagine what you would do or what the circumstance would be when your wish is fulfilled. If possible, imagine every tiny detail of such a situation.

* Be Alert: Be alert to opportunities that the universe provides us. Don’t think that only thing you are expected to do is to think positive and you will be delivered what I wish in its exact form. It is wrong. Nature will provide you all the ingredients and opportunities to grab and make the most. You have to be alert to recognize such an opportunity and use it for your benefit. The author warns us that each and every step in this process is crucial for the success of your attraction.

b. Allowing game

It is undoubtedly true that when you drive a car, you cannot go further if you push the accelerator and the break at the same time. If you don’t allow your desires to enter in your mind by maintaining doubts, the law of attraction will not play in your favor. It is like a person who wants to put new furniture in a house, but does not remove the old ones. The new ones will not find a place.

In this country, Rwanda, after the 1994 genocide, there is a great need of rebuilding our society in different areas: economic, politic, education… But most of the efforts must be concentrated to the national reconciliation which has been torn down by secular weaving of hate between the inhabitants. This goal should not be achieved without concentrating our efforts in removing from Rwandan minds the wrong corns and replacing it by the good ones. It is by allowing peace, justice, democracy and equal rights and removing instantly spirits of war, injustice, oppression and so on that we can reach our goal.

If the good grains fall in a part covered by weed, it will be difficult for them to grow up (Holy Bible, Marc 4, 7). They will have neither light, nor air and will finally die before reaching the maturity period. If a good idea meets a bad one, the former will suffer the same fate and will be condemned to disappear before anyone can notice it.

c. Little by little

The author assumes that it is not a good thing to be discouraged if you don’t get all of what you want at the same time. If you open your hands and welcome the few things that are coming, the law of attraction will bring you more (p.93). If you repulse the few things that are coming, the law of attraction will create negative vibration.

In all cultures, it is accepted that nothing can be built at once. People who are impatient cannot go far. Here I can remind you the story of the golden egg (see my assessment of Goal Setting 101). If the owner of the goose were patient enough, he could have got many golden eggs. We can learn good lessons from birds when they build their nests. Many a little makes a muckle.

To attract more of what you want, the author recommends us to avoid impatience. The kind of phrases “He is not quite the person I was looking for or “It is kind of close but not really” creates negative vibration. Even if you’ve not yet all of what you want, celebrate the few things that are happening and the law of attraction will bring you more of what you want.

d. Negative-Nelly

We are often faced in our daily life with the obstacles preventing us to reach our achievements. It is undeniably true that the first obstacle is the person him/her-self, but it is also a well-known fact that our environment has a big role to play in our life. We cannot imagine people as isolated individuals.

When someone is in the process of improving his/her way of thinking, he/she can meet people who have tendency to pull him/her in their negative way. The first solution to be brought against this problem can be to avoid the persons who can lead you to the negative way. All this may be used as a good solution, but as stated by the author, the fact of the matter is surely that the negative-nelly in your life can be a person you cannot avoid: your partner, workmate, child, parent or child. In such case, the inescapable solution is to find a way to raise your positive vibration.

According to the author, when your negative-nelly starts to talk the negative way, you can buy into that conversation or orientate him/her in the positive way by asking the question, “so what do you want”(p.124). The response they will give will be necessarily in positive tense. Thus you will have helped him/her to gain a higher vibration. “As his vibration rises it gets closer to matching yours, and the closer his/her vibration is to yours, the more harmonious your vibrations become”(ibidem).

e. Non deliberate attraction

Sometimes, we prevent ourselves unknowingly from reaching what we want to achieve. In the common understanding, people say that if a soldier, when going to the war with fear, there are more risks for him to be killed. I think the belief can be applied to all situations. The fear of death makes him thinking about it and the law of attraction helps him to attract it more and more. “I attract to my life whatever I give my attention energy and focus to, whether positive or negative”(p.12)

The common source of doubt (negative vibration) is from our own beliefs. The author defines a belief as a repetitive thought you think of over and over again. It sends out negative vibration that prevents you from attracting your desire.

Maxwell Maltz in his book “Psych-Cybernetics (1960) said: “If you have accepted an idea -from yourself, your teachers, your parents, friends, advertisements- from any other source, and further, if you are convinced that the idea is true, it has the same power over you as a hypnotist’s words have over the hypnotist’s subject”. The similar observation was made in Psycho-cybernetics 2000 where the author say that human beings are constrained by beliefs like an elephant which continue to be chained with its baby chain and continues to accept it even if the elephant is strong enough to break the chain.

In the book Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, we learned that the young seagull was told that nobody has seen a seagull doing like what he was trying. The negative belief inculcated into your mind continues to attract more of what you think you are and push you deeply in the wrong pit.

On the other side, you can benefit from your positive belief (Pygmalion effect). If you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you can’t. When used on students cautiously, encouraging them in the matters they think they are not capable raises their level in their studies.

f. Can playing a role attract the characteristics attached to the said role?

When we were still young students, people were very repulsive about what was named “bad roles”. Girls did not like to play the roles of witches or whores. Boys also did all possible to avoid roles of drunkards or what we used to qualify as “dogs” (someone lazy and incapable of surviving by himself). It was believed that the behaviour adopted by the persons during the play could affect his/her future life.

After reading this book, I asked myself if the law of attraction could not play in the said cases. When you read carefully how does function the law of attraction, one might justifiably think that when you are on the stage, by paying attention to the way you can play to convince the spectators that you really seem like the kind of person you are imitating, you are attracting more of it non deliberately. The law of attraction responds to whatever vibration you are sending by giving you more of it, whether positive or negative.

Commonly, people think it is possible to acquire the behaviour of the imitated role. One can demonstrate this assumption as follows: the person is giving to his subconscious a command that can be followed by it, because the subconscious cannot make a difference between what is true or wrong. I remember some theatres where the actors were apparently so deeply convinced about their roles, say for example a mother prevented from seeing her child and after the play, it was difficult to stop her from crying.

But we cannot forget also that the fact of the matter is that few persons are convinced that they feel really what they are playing. During the very moment of the play, they seem like they are really living the role played, but within them they know they are on the stage. In that case, the author says that “the law of attraction responds to how you feel about what you say and how you feel about what you think” (p.60).

g. Methodology to teach law of attraction to children

I appreciated too much the methodology developed by the author about how to teach the law of attraction to children. It is of great importance to prepare the youth if we want a better future for our world. Even if many things are taught in formal education at school, few persons think about young children when they are developing programs of peace, unity and reconciliation, to name but a few. They always consider that it is a matter of adults. When you focus only to adults and forget children, it is like someone who wants to colour the water of a river and begins by the middle. If you do not begin by the upstream, the whole river will never be coloured.

The author chose a methodology that can be used easily by anyone, even if he had no previous knowledge in the teaching methodology.

I recommend all those who have access to this book to try to teach the law of attraction to young children, be your children, pupils or others.

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?

a. Deliberate attraction

The book helped me a lot to change my way of dealing with problems in my work environment. Many times, I used to complain because the situation was becoming unbearable. I used the strategy pointed out by the author. He suggests on page 28 the way to know if you are sending negative or positive vibration. “To know whether you are sending out negative or positive vibration”, he says, “simply take a look at the results you’re getting in that area of your life. They are a perfect reflection of what you are vibrating”. After an internal evaluation of the problems I was getting in my work, I noticed that I was certainly sending negative vibrations and that the latter are attracting more problems for me. I decided to search for “What I want” instead of “What I don’t want”.

I used the same method with my colleague who is sitting in the nearest place on my side. He was becoming a real negative-nelly for me, and I noticed an improvement on his side and mine also.

b. Allowing game

I planned to start my own business in 2003, but at the same time I had a fear to not succeed. I was afraid to lose the monthly salary I was used to. The real will was there, but it was refrained by the fear to have financial difficulties.

It is only after deciding to put aside my doubts that my goal of becoming a lawyer (independent lawyer), started to take root. The fear started to disappear little by little and finally was removed completely from my mind.

c. Little by little

One of the problems we have in this world is to think that things can be done instantly. However, few people can get godsend in their arms whenever they want it. But if you take your time and add a little to a little, soon or later, that little will become much.

Once I was visiting an embroidery unit headed by a Catholic Sister in Rutongo, not far from Kigali (capital of Rwanda). When asked about the secret of her success, the only response she gave me is “patience”. The secret served me in my project of getting my own home. Little by little I elevated the house and six years later my family and I could live in it, even if it was not completely finished. Even if the raw materials were not as expensive as today, my monthly salary coupled with my wife’s was only the equivalent 400 US Dollars (in the 1990s).

d. Negative-Nelly

As said above, I tried to raise the change of the negative vibration of one of my colleagues who was affecting my mind negatively. The results were positive and I kept reminding him about the danger of negative vibration on him and his environment.

Every time he started to talk negatively, I forced him to think in the positive way by asking the question, “so what do you want?” The situation evolved as I was expecting it to be. It finally became like a game. My other colleagues were also used to my question so that every person thinking negatively was asked “so what do you want?” As his positive vibration raised, it got closer to matching mine, and the closer his vibration was to mine, the more harmonious my vibrations became. The results were exactly what the author explains in the book.

e. Non deliberate attraction:

At the beginning of this year, I had to pass an exam for acquiring a degree of Masters in Banking Law. But since August 2008, I was refused a vacation to finish my assignments and got discouraged. When the time of exams approached, I was told I will get only one week to prepare them. I was so disappointed that I prepared the examinations without any hope to succeed. The problem I was afraid of happened and I failed my exams.

f. Can playing a role attract the characteristics attached to the said role?

Once upon a time, I was watching a theatre where a woman, playing a role of mother deprived of the right to see her child, was crying so much that even some of the spectators began to cry. The woman was playing very well her role and people finally thought the situation was probably true.

After the presentation, she was still sad and her playmates tried unsuccessfully to comfort her. It seemed like she was not going to stop crying very soon. She said that when playing she was thinking about her son, and she was afraid it could become a reality. If I knew already the law of attraction, I could have told her that “the law of attraction responds to how you feel about what you say and how you feel about what you think”

g. Methodology to teach law of attraction to children

I tried to use the methodology with my children and got noticeable results. I used to tell them to not attract the bad things against them, but I did more in practicing what I was teaching.

4. Quotes: Are there brief quotes from the book which really got your attention? If so, please list and comment on them.

“I attract to my life whatever I give my attention energy and focus to, whether positive or negative” (p.12)

“When you go from what you don’t want to what you do want, the words change. When the words change, the vibration changes, and you can only send out one vibration at a time” (p. 26)

“It is not enough to merely identify your desires; you must also give it a positive attention. Giving it positive attention ensures that you are including the vibration of your desire in you current vibration” (p.51)

“The law of attraction responds to the vibrations you send out based on how you feel, not based on specific words you use” (p.58)

“The speed at which the law of attraction responds to your desire is in direct proportion to how much you allow” (p.80)

“Saying you don’t have something is another way of focusing on your lack and generates a negative vibration” (p.101)

“From now on, the moment you notice a lack of results, focus on the possibility that “lots can happen” (p.103)

“The distance between your vibration and someone else’s vibration is equal to the amount of resistance (negativity) you feel when you are with them. (p.122)

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 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 comment.

Always say yes to money. If someone proposes you a gift, don’t refuse (110). It is hardly convincing to accept whatever you are offered. But following the principles learned in the book, if you repulse what is given to you, you are sending negative vibrations and repulsing the abundance.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 10
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9



Nonviolent Communication
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The author tries to show us that our way of communicating with others can be a source of avoiding or resolving conflicts. It can be also a way of eliciting cooperation from others.

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.

a. He that sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind

It is often said that this world is ruthless and if you want to survive you must be ruthless too. The fundamental reason for believing this assumption to be true is that we are often faced in our daily life with the problems that cannot support the non violence principles. Many persons ask themselves if a lamb can evoke “non violence” in front of a wolf which wants to eat it.

One author Robert Greene, in his book “33 Strategies of War” gives us to understand that “the real world we are living in is the world of war. He thinks that we have not to be trained and prepared for peace if the world we are living in is a world of war” (p. xv).

At first glance, violence may appear to be a superior technique for resolving conflicts or achieving desired ends because it has obvious and tangible strategies and weapons (,

In the opposite, other authors assume that if you use violence, you have many chances to create a vicious circle of violence. “He that sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind”. On page 17 of this book “Non violent communication”, the author shares with us Harvey’s research where the latter writes that “There is less violence in cultures where people think in terms of human needs than in cultures where people label one another as good or bad and believe that the bad ones deserve to be punished. When violence is so deserved to “bad” people no one can feel any concern about it”.

In our country, we faced such problem which led to the 1994 holocaust. The country has three ethnic groups: Hutu (s), Twa (s) and Tutsi (s), the latter victims of the genocide were treated by politicians as snakes, cockroaches. The said label was intended to put in the minds of the rest of the population that they were undesirable and harmful. To kill a snake is considered as an act of saving the world against its unavoidable damages. Most of the children grow up in such consideration and finally victims themselves became convinced of their role in devastating the country in collaboration with the colonizers. I will never forget a song that was taught us by our teacher in primary school when Rwanda was celebrating the tenth anniversary of the independence. One part of the song said: “What did happen when the white colonialist came in Rwanda? He collaborated with the Tutsi, enemy of the country to profit from the national cake and to impoverish the country”. Not only such message creates a tension between people, but it also continues to spread the hate among future generations. What was most surprising is that the teacher, who had composed the song, was a Tutsi. He probably did it to please the authority, but the seed was sowed.

Another telling example is about the justification of violence against women. One day, I was watching two young pupils (a girl and a boy) disputing a ball. When the girl took the ball which was hers, the boy slapped her. The girl cried and shouted: You have no right to beat me, I am not your wife”. I intervened to stop the dispute, but it gave me too long to think about. If a young girl considers that a man has a right to beat his wife, she cannot understand how a woman can complain about violence made against her if committed by the husband.

This brings us to the question of whether it is fruitful to use violence in this world. The examples given above are clear enough to support the assertion that “he that sows hate and violence will reap anger and more violence that can generate into wars and mass killings. My own view on this is that we have no gain to seed violence if we want to reap peace in this world. The situation of the world in which we are living now is sufficient enough to refute the assertion “if you wish to have peace, prepare the war”.

b. Denial of responsibility

In the online encyclopedia (, denial of responsibility is understood as follows. It involves avoiding personal responsibility by blaming, minimizing or justifying. These three words are explained by the same encyclopedia like this:
* Blaming is a direct statement shifting culpability and may overlap with denial of fact.
* Minimizing is an attempt to make the effects or results of an action appears to be less harmful than they may actually be.
* Justifying is when someone takes a choice and attempts to make that choice look okay due to their perception of what is “right” in a situation. Someone using denial of responsibility is usually attempting to avoid potential harm or pain by shifting attention away from them.
During the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, people said they were killing because it was the authority order. It is hard to agree with this justification, but we heard that from the people accused to perpetrate genocide in Rwanda. There were many incendiary speeches from authorities, but a normal human being is created with the possibility to be able to tell good from evil.

The ill-intentioned authorities did not ignore that people can refuse to kill their neighbours. They planned to create a feeling of death threats among Hutus group. When Rwanda Patriotic Army entered forcefully in the country in 1990, a campaign was made by the Government in place warning the population that the invaders were the Tutsis or their sons who fled the country in the late 1960s and were determined to revenge on the Hutus who chased them from the power. The Tutsis who did not flee the country were then assimilated to the invaders and the hate for them began to be propagated. It was said that they were ready to kill Hutus for preparing the installation of the new comers. This was another kind of justification propagated willingly among the population. This was a rumour propagated willingly among the population by the authorities to convince the population to execute the satanic plan of mass killings.

Surprisingly, Rwandan population is in great majority supposed to be Christian. One can ask himself how the genocide and mass killing was made possible in those people who were taught to give the left side if slapped on the right. The constant increase in number of obedient and docile men will continue to be the cause of the disappearance of human beings. We can get many other examples throughout the world.

The snag about this argument of the order given by authority is that it undermines the responsibility to be assumed by a human being created with the ability to tell good from evil. This brought the International Humanitarian Law to consider as an offence, a soldier who does not judge at its real value the order given by his commander. The principle is referred to as “an intelligent bayonet principle” if we translate it literally from French language (Principe de la baïonnette intelligente). This principle acknowledged by International Humanitarian Law brought a big change in well-known principle in military field under which one could avoid liability when he could find evidences that he committed an offence under a high authority order.

Nevertheless, the actual Rwandan Government conscious of the role played by the authorities to convince the population (the great majority are illiterate) to execute the genocide of Tutsis in 1994, categorized the perpetrators and attributed a big liability to people who were in a position of authority at that time. But others convicted of participation in genocide are punishable with more less offences .

c. Asking for a reflection

It is often the case that a message sent is not always received in its integrality. To avoid this problem, it is wise to request for a feed-back so that you can verify if the message was really heard and correctly, this opens a way to correct the eventual misunderstanding.

I was told that, in a surgery room, when a doctor asks something to his assistant, the latter must repeat the name of the device he is handing to the doctor. When it is a message to be transmitted to a chain of many persons, the risk of alteration is very high. Everyone can remind the game of telephone. A message that is first an announcement of a visit in a military camp can finish becoming an alert for an eventual attack.

But we are used to ask questions like: Did you understand what I said? Am I right? And so on and so forth without requesting from the person you are talking to repeating what he really understood. The immediate response is “yes” to avoid deceiving your interlocutor.

As said by the author, some persons are frustrated to be asked to repeat the message transmitted to them. It sounds like in a school where the teacher is verifying the understanding of his lesson.

In a way or another, the fact is that we can avoid many damages in verifying if the message sent is received and continues to have the same meaning. It can be altered on the way to the addressee. For instance, a change in punctuating a text can give to the text a totally opposite meaning. Consider the following examples:
* “Woman, without her man, is nothing” and “Woman: without her, man is nothing
* “Tuez pas, laisser passer” and “Tuez, pas laisser passer” (the first message means: “Don’t kill, let (them) pass”, the second: “Kill, don’t let (them) pass)”.

d. Physical punishment

According to Wikipedia encyclopedia, physical or corporal punishment is defined as the deliberate infliction of pain intended to discipline or reform a wrongdoer or change a person’s “bad” attitude and/or “bad” behaviour “. (
The regrettable method is used all over the world, in different levels. The pretended more civilized societies are considered to be less using the physical punishment and the ones deserved to be less civilized are reputed to use those types of punishment. However, in the field of education, corporal punishment is still legal in some parts of the world, including 20 of the States of the US, but has been outlawed in others, including Canada, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, and nearly all of Europe except the Czech Republic[3] and France.[4] ( . The use of corporal punishment is also outlawed in Rwanda, but it remains a usual practice in our schools and families. It is well known that adults’ attitude serve as example for children. Mayne, in his book “Goal Mapping” illustrates it very well where he says that his father never took time to teach him how to affront life. “He did and I observed” he says. When you use physical punishment, it is another way to say: “no other way than harm is not possible to react to another’s attitude not pleasant for me”. In my country, and I think it is not very different from elsewhere, families where parents are usually disputing have children who grow with the same behaviour. The violence is not genetically acquired; it is an attitude developed in the child’s mind.

As stated above, young boys who grow up seeing their father beating their mother think that it is the only way to show dissatisfaction to a woman. But the opposite attitude takes place in girls’ mind. The latter think that women are made to be beaten by their husbands.

The issue of physical punishment does not concern only families. It is also observed in Rwandan schools, especially in primary schools. Teachers are always identified by a stick in their hands. Every fault is sanctioned by a knock against the pupil. Even if law nº 27/2001 relating to rights and protection of the child against violence provides that “necessary administrative, legal measures and those concerning social welfare and education must be taken in order to reinforce protection of the child against any kind of violence, it seems like minor violence against children is still tolerated in households and schools. However, parents continue to inflict corporal punishments to their children and teachers do the same at school. This climate in which our children are growing is not in favour of non violence.

It was noticed that the infliction of pain when you intend to discipline or reform a child who is wrongdoing or to change his bad attitude does not necessarily bring good results. The best way is to use the non violent process. As said Mahatma Gandhi, it is better “to become the change we seek in the world”.

e. The power of empathy

One of the weapon of the person who wants to harm another is to legitimate his act within himself. Either he provokes his victim to make him/her angry so that the latter manifests a sign of defence or tries to make him fearful and the victim attempts to escape. This gives to the attacker the right to pursue him/her. When the victim does not react in the sense to stimulate the project of his attacker, it is difficult to the latter to continue his bad intentioned act.

There is a little anecdote full of lessons of non violence I want to share with you: Once upon a time an eagle sent his son to seek for food. The young eagle erred in the neighbourhood and found a hen picking and trying to feed her chicks. The eagle charged and caught one of the chicks. Back home, its mother asked him how was the reaction of the chick’s mother. “It looked at me and shook its head without saying anything. “Don’t kill the chick”, said the mother, “take it back immediately to its mother and continue to seek for another one”. Unwillingly the young eagle took the young chick back to its mother. It continued to search for another one. When arriving to another group of hens, he tried to catch another chick, but met a strong resistance of the mother. They fought ferociously, but at the end, the eagle got upper hand and take the chick with it. When asked to describe the way it got the chick, it said how strong were the fight and the pain he got to win the battle. The Eagle mother told it to prepare the table and begin to eat. This little story tries to describe how the non violence can weaken the strongest enemy.

“… people who seem like monsters are simply human beings whose language and behaviour sometimes keep us from seeing their humanness” (p. 120)

f. Self-forgiveness

According to wikipedia, forgiveness is the mental and/or spiritual process of moving past feelings of resentment or anger against another person for some mistake they’ve made, or ceasing to demand some form of restitution or compensation

Self-forgiveness is perceived by some as a way of “letting ourselves off the hook by avoiding accountability and personal responsibility”. ( Self-forgiveness is necessary before one can forgive others.

Self-forgiveness-the process of accepting the inevitability of mistakes by refusing to let them define us-is an important first step, and a perfect apology can go a long way toward helping us deal with these personal crises. In fact, successful apologies occur most frequently when we first forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made (

The Bible does not say anything about forgiving ourselves. The reason is that “if a believer forgives himself, he is taking the place of God (, who only possesses the power to forgive us. The prayer “Our Father recommends us also forgiving one another, but it says nothing about forgiving ourselves. But we know that the Holy Scriptures recommend us to love our neighbours like how we love ourselves. If we are allowed to love ourselves, how can we be prevented to forgive ourselves?
The above different considerations are expressing very well how we cannot give what we don’t have. If you are severe toward yourself, it will be difficult to tolerate others’ mistakes and to forgive them.

g. The pain of not expressing our needs

In my country and I think we share the problem with many other countries, people are very reserved and it is not polite to express your needs openly. Women are especially affected by the problem. This is what the author asserted in page 55 of this book.

Let me take one example illustrating very well the pain of not expressing the needs. In my country, discussing the sexual matters is taboo. Even men don’t dare to discuss it openly with their wives. When getting sexual intercourse, women suffering more from the said taboo. They cannot express their dissatisfaction to their partners if the latter is not meeting the need of his wife. Worst, men are generally brutal with their wives. It seems like a rape.

When the partner is not performing well, the woman is confined to suffer silently. If she is fortunate enough, the man will discover by himself the best way to make her reach the orgasm. If not, she will continue to suffer the rest of her life.

Actually, things are getting better and informal education is given to the population by the medias, especially a Radio named “Salus”. Men are taught the intimate anatomy of a woman and the equal right of the two partners to enjoy sexual intercourse. At least, women who were frustrated and could not suggest some methods for meeting their needs to avoid to be treated as a public woman (the only ones to know about sexual performances of other men).

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?

a. He that sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind

In Kinyarwanda there is a very interesting adage advising to not rejoice in oppressing another family (because they have lower force), because soon or later that family can spring off a boy (symbol of power). This idea helps me to understand and to advise other people how to build a world where violence is banished forever.

In my country, we are still enduring the consequences of war and genocide that were the direct application of that assertion. When you say to someone that you are coming from Rwanda, the first thing that comes to his mind is the images of machetes, piles of corpses or agonizing ones with fresh and deeply open wounds on their bodies.

This is the result of the rampant hate between two main ethnic groups in my country. If you sow hate you cannot reap love, you will inevitably reap misunderstandings, struggling and disputes and finally killings and genocide. If we are not astonished to see many baskets of oranges coming from one tree which sprang from one seed, how can we be surprised by the same logic in human behaviour development? The laws of nature are applicable in all fields. If you cultivate hate in the mind of people and take time and care to fertilize it with continuous climate of favoritism, you are creating feeling of superiority in the heart of those who are favoured and resentment from the other group.

b. Denial of responsibility

Denial of responsibility is the tendency of every human being, because it is a way to avoid punishment. This makes me think that there are a lot of things to be done in leadership. I stressed on that point when training Young Women Christian Association’s opinion leaders. I reminded them what I read in the book “Leadership for Dummies” where the author says that if the leader gets most of accolades and rewards when things go well, he must accept responsibility for failure if things go wrong.

c. Asking for a reflection

In the bank where I am working now, when I request money for paying legal fees, the accounting unit asks to a messenger to make the payment on their behalf. I noticed that there was effectively a risk to pay on an unconcerned account. I asked to the messenger to inform me when he was about to make such operation. Effectively, it became very useful once when he was told (as he said) to pay the money to a District named Kicukiro where I have requested to pay to Nyarugenge District. It gave me an occasion to verify if the message was correct and helped me to rectify the error. Sometimes, you think to have well understood something told you, when you are only listening to what you are used to think. The problem with the said payment was that I usually paid the fees to Kicukiro District, but actually the customer has insisted to notarize his documents in Nyarugenge Notary Office.

d. Physical punishment

I remember that when I was in fourth class of primary school I was about to abandon school due to a teacher who was very aggressive. Some of my classmates said that they were used to in their families, and I knew that it was true, but my parents never used to beat my siblings and me. It was very rare, and as far as my memory can go, my father never beat me. I am sure it is the reason why I never used physical punishment as a method to correct my children and I know they are not the worst in my neighbourhood. My experience as a parent showed me that children are more harmed by your unhappiness about their behaviour than the knock you give them.

e. The power of empathy

The empathy toward your aggressor is an unbelievable mean to avoid danger, but it is one very useful to defuse danger. I remembered that once I avoided the death danger during the war using empathy. I had people hidden in the Center I was leading and could not do anything to avoid killers come around. One day a man from Intelligence Services came to me and asked if I was not hiding Inkotanyi (meaning Tutsis who were genocide victims) in the Center. Instead of replying directly to his question, I started by telling him about the problems the country was facing and that I am concerned as well as any patriotic citizen. I told him that I could not help the enemy. Meanwhile, to make him confident, but without no fear, I told him that the gate was open and if he did not trust me, it was his right as an intelligence officer to inspect himself. I was a bit afraid about what I proposed him, but God thanks, he turned back saying he believes what I was saying. But he added “if you are lying, you will be the first to pay”.

f. Self-forgiveness

As Christians, we have been always taught to be rude against ourselves. After reading this book, I noticed that our Christian beliefs don’t meet the valuable lessons learnt from this book. But we don’t have to make wise interpretations of the Holy Scriptures.

After a meticulous analysis of the commandment to love others as you love yourself and what is stated in the prayer “Our father” requesting to be forgiven as we forgive others who have sinned against us, I finally asked myself who will forgive me if I don’t forgive myself. We must first love ourselves before loving others. If I don’t accept myself as a human being who has faults and makes mistakes, I will finally condemn myself every time, because it is said that even a Saint sins at least seven times a day.

I read one very interesting insight that said : « There is no pill, no lotion, no potion, no energy balancing, no psychic reading, no affirmation that can change what was. As the light shines into darkness so does love bring warmth and peace to the blackest of blackest places? And you have seen some black places. This is true for all. Forgiveness of self is the key to accessing the light. The forgiveness of others is noble; yet, forgiveness of self must come first » (

g. The pain of expressing or not expressing our needs

We are in a community where we need to understand others’ concerns. When we discuss among men, few understand their role in meeting the needs of their partners not expressed clearly.

Women can meet the pain of expressing their needs, because there is risk of misinterpretation of what they say. If they say that they would like things to be done like this, they will be treated as unfaithful women.

They also meet the problem of not expressing their needs, because they are suffering from a problem they will never reveal because our society is not tolerating this.

There is a program with Radio Salus named “Imenye nawe” (literally it means “know yourself”) which teaches the anatomy of a human being and how it functions. Many persons think it is dangerous for the youth. I agree with them that it is not adapted to very young people, but it is our duty as parents to not let our children follow that program. And if there were any problem, it would be less dangerous than the consequence of ignoring at all how does function our organism.

At the same time, I would like to ask to women to express clearly what they want. Women will not escape the situation of enslavement if they don’t take the lead of the adventure. It was noticed that they are the first to prevent their liberation.

4. Quotes: Are there brief quotes from the book which really got your attention? If so, please list and comment on them.

“I believe it is in everyone’s interest that people change, not in order to avoid punishment, but because they see the change as benefiting themselves” (p.23).

“One form of life-alienating communication is the use of moralistic judgments that imply wrongness or badness on the part of those who don’t act in harmony with our values” (p.24)

“While we may choose at times to sympathize with others by feeling their feelings, it’s helpful to be aware that during the moment we are offering sympathy, we are not empathizing” (p. 94)

“… people who seem like monsters are simply human beings whose language and behaviour sometimes keep us from seeing their humanness” (p. 120)

“As listeners, we don’t need insights into psychological dynamics or training into psychotherapy. What is essential is our ability to present to what is really going on within to the unique feelings and needs a person is experiencing in that very moment”. (p. 126)

“Human beings, when learning any kind of demand tend to resist because it threatens our autonomy -our strong need for choice. We have this reaction to tyranny even when it’s internal tyranny in the form of a “should”. (p. 126)

“…anger can be valuable if we use it as an alarm clock to wake us up to realze we have a need that isn’t being met…” (p. 144)

“All violence is the result of people tricking themselves, …into believing that their pair derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished” (p. 147).

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?

The lamb and the wolf:

Sometimes we can ask ourselves if the lamb can use the technique in front of a hungry wolf. I used these symbols to show the two extremes of a victim and his killer. Let me try to retrace what happened during the mass killings that took place in Rwanda since 1990 and which reached their picks in 1994. Was it possible to empathize with your killer in such conditions? Was it possible to empathize with whom does not want to listen to you and is only thirsty of blood? Through this book, the author gives us the testimonies of victims who faced courageously their killers and vanquished them in a certain way. A young woman could escape the person who was determined to rape her and went only with her money. It is somewhat a victory gained with technique of empathy.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the book has many helpful exercises that I tried to complete, but without succeeding them at the first time. Fortunately, the author shows us using very NVC what was the right response.

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 comment.

Beliefs about specific races:

When I read the story about how people develop feelings about other groups, I got an idea about what happened in my country and which is still causing pains to many Rwandans.

In my country people developed an understanding about existence of two main ethnic groups, even if they were seemingly rather social standard groups than ethnic groups: Hutu (s) and Tutsi (s) and a third one which is a minority in terms of numbers, the Twa (s). Even if anthropologically speaking, they are not really ethnic groups, it was accepted as such. Specific beliefs were accepted in the society and were at the source of complicated conflicts between the said groups. It continued to be accepted that Tutsis were wise and bad; Hutus were treated as stupid and naïve. These beliefs led the country to the hate between the two ethnic groups and led us to the mass killings and the 1994 genocide.

There is much to be learned by my fellow country mates about the bad consequences of those beliefs and how to deal with them.

Beliefs about other persons:

Last time I was following an interview given by a journalist to Apostle Gitwaza, one of the great Pastor of Zion Temple Church in Rwanda. He told a very interesting story to the journalist about rumours and their effects on beliefs. Once he caught a taxi and said to the driver to lift him to the Zion Temple Church in Kigali. The driver sighed and said: “You also are going to pray in the Gitwaza’s Church (it is nickname given to the church)”. “Gitwaza is a liar”, he continues. “I know him very well; I was with him in Goma (in Congo)”. “If I had to advise you, don’t follow that man”. The Apostle asked him if he knew the passenger he was driving actually. The driver turned back and said no. When arriving to destination, Reverend Gitwaza told him that he was himself Gitwaza. The driver was astonished and afraid so that when the Pastor left the car, he didn’t even wait a little to get his money.

This story is to show how people have many times wrong beliefs and continue to vehicle them as true and affect their lives and their relationships with others.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
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 it? 9



Goal Mapping
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The main idea that Brian Mayne is trying to convey in the book is to help the reader to define a vision of what he wants to achieve, and then supplies him a set of principles to guide the reader to reach them and to keep us focused on them during the journey towards the goal set.

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. The meaning of goal mapping?

Where we have learned before about goal setting, the first question that I am sure the person reading this assessment can ask is “what on earth is Goal Mapping?” Let us begin this assessment with explaining what “Goal Mapping” is, before pointing out other important ideas learned from the book.

There are several writings about « Goal Mapping and Goal Setting », but as read in, “the simplest explanation is that Goal Mapping is a combination of Goal Setting and Mind Mapping. However it is more than just the combination of these two skills”. It is undeniably true that “Goal Mapping” can be considered as the main tool of the L.I.F.T. System for Success developed by Brian Mayne. It is the reason why, without neglecting other definitions, I’d like to share with you the meaning of goal mapping as given by Brian Mayne himself on page 57 of this book. He says that it is “ a way of conveying your intention with heart , in words and pictures, emotion and logic, so that your subconscious understands clearly what you choose to achieve and helps you move forward in life”.

Nobody can doubt the power of “Goal Setting” as something that all successful people use to achieve their goals. The Yale University survey conducted in 1953 about the power of Goal Setting is probably worth telling (Brian Mayne, Goal Mapping, p. 13). The graduating class of the said university was asked in 1953 whether or not they had written goals for the future. Only 4% had actually written down what they wanted to do with their lives. Interestingly enough, when the same class was followed up 20 years later, those who had written goals when they graduated were worth more financially than the other 96% put together.

As said above, setting a goal is good, but not enough. Brian Mayne recommends doing more than that. He realized that although powerful, traditional Goal Setting had been a predominantly left brain activity as goals were written in the form of lists of words. He recognized that for the brain to fully engage in the goal setting process, it needed to have the goals firmly imprinted on the subconscious and the most effective way of doing that was through emotionally charged pictures and images that stimulated the right side of the brain.

ii. The author’s own experience is of a great motivation

The more interesting thing in this book is the author’s own experience in using the principles found through this book. The public in general tends to believe what they witnessed themselves. Then, the best way is to take their hand and travel with them the road they think impossible. When you develop a theory without experiencing it yourself, people can trust you, but it is not convincing as if you did it yourself. There is also a risk of seeing the theory not matching with the reality on the ground.

Once, a teacher from the southern part of my country led a group of students to the north for a field trip. The objective was to observe what the pyrethrum, which does not grow in south, seems like. The teacher had taught students enough about that plant from the germination to the harvesting of flowers and he had also talked them about the transformation of the flowers into an insecticide powder. Before reaching the agricultural engineer’s office, they had to walk through a little path surrendered by beautiful white flowers. Some were cut by students who enjoyed their beauty without knowing they were destroying a treasure. In the middle of the road, one student asked to the teacher when they will reach the pyrethrum field. The teacher who had never seen the plant with his own eyes asked him to be patient, as he was told that they were about to reach the engineer’s office. One old man working in the fields who has heard the question smiled and asked them to pay attention with the flowers they were cutting, because they were pyrethrum’s flowers.

This is to tell you that the person who endured the pain of struggling with a hyena is the best one to tell you how the hyena is strong.

iii. The Law of Success works for everyone

What we are mainly concerned with here is to know if the law of success respects the basic principles of natural laws that govern this world. The first thing to be said is that “universal laws are at work everywhere, always, and in anything and everything”. Since the law of cause and effect is one of these laws, it works also in anything and everything. Scientists assert that in this world, there is no accident. The author goes further in saying that “all things that happen in the world are effects created or triggered by causes” (p.5). This is the law of causes and effects qualified by the author as the best important among the natural laws. Very often, we don’t think of it enough, but there are no effects without cause(s).

Let us consider an example of someone driving a car. If he hit the car into a tree alongside the road, people will say without hesitation that it was an accident. But scientifically speaking, it is not really an accident. It is the result of having had one too much drink for example, fatigue, breaks deficiency or something else. There is always a cause that is the origin of the said “accident” (effect).

Since success is not beyond the principles of the law of cause and effect, positive thoughts will
produce positive outcome in his life. Negative thoughts will produce negative or unwanted outcomes in the life. Fortunately, every person has the choice to continue his way of negative thoughts or to uproot them and replace them by positive ones. Then, the mind will be fuelled with the successful thoughts and the “accident” will become the successful effects.

By setting a goal, a person is making that goal his/her dominant thought. The subconscious, as a good servant will obey blindly to the order by working intensely to achieve it. At the end of the day, the person will reap what he/she sowed. Properly natured like all other seed, thoughts can only grow into and produce that which is in relation to the seed planted. (
The technique of goal mapping is very helpful to keep the mind with your goal in balancing the right and left brain. You have only to respect the seven steps required, that is to say:

* What do you want (dream);
* What is most important (order);
* What does it look like (draw);
* Why do you want it (Why),
* When do you want it (When);
* How will you achieve it (How) and;
* Whose help will you require (Who).

To make the Goal Mapping process effective, it is crucial to review your Goal Map every day and take the necessary action to achieve your goals.

iv. Talking the genie language will attract what you want

We have learned stories about “genies” that could provide you anything you asked. But we have been also told to pay attention to what we ask to the genie. If he/she gives you a chance to choose three major things to cover your needs, don’t be like this poor family which didn’t get anything at all. When the genie came to their home and asked them what they needed most, the first flash of idea which came to the woman’s mind was a steak of meat. There was long time she did not enjoy that kind of meal. The wish became reality. The man became furious against his wife and asked her if she could not find something valuable. In the state of anger, he said: “If the meat could stay at your lips”. The wish was executed and the meat glued on his wife’s mouth. When the man saw how ugly his wife was looking like, and when he remembered that there was only one wish remaining, he panicked. He could not let his wife stay in such state. He asked to the genie to let drop the steak of meat from his wife’s mouth. The wish was also executed and the genie disappeared. The family continued to live in their poor situation, victims of their bad orientated choice.

As said above, if we compare the choice of the two persons with thoughts in our mind, we must pay attention to what we are thinking about. Every thought is a command and executed blindly by our subconscious which cannot judge about its value (the genie could not judge the value of the meat asked by the woman). If we think about the invaluable things, our subconscious will take them as your dominant thoughts; if you dictate it ill-intentioned thoughts, like the wish of the man to see the steak of meat glued to his wife’s mouth, they will be executed as such. It is the reason why we have to set high goals and avoid negative commands.

v. Climbing the LIFT Ladder to reach our goal

Normally, when you are climbing the rungs of a ladder, your intention is to reach the top of something. The climbing of a ladder is not an easy business to everyone. Sometimes it seems like you are getting dizzy and about to fall. The tendency is to abandon and to stay quietly in the comfort zone. When you decide to climb, two reasons may be at the origin of your decision: either you can have something to reach inevitably and your desire is so burning that you forget the obstacles and difficulties you can face during the process, or you can have a danger behind you that is more painful than the fear of climbing the rungs of the ladder. When you are aware enough that your actual situation is not good, if you are normal, you put together all your efforts to go far from the actual state. Even if your situation is not bad, every normal individual desires to keep growing and improving. It is the reason why climbing the LIFT Ladder is not reserved to a certain category of people. If everyone wants to “feel green and growing, to make progress and to be better than before”, the only way is to accept climbing the LIFT Ladder, rung by rung.

Notwithstanding the benefits and the joy of achieving our goals, the author warns us about the difficulties we may encounter. The path that leads to our goals will feature many obstacles: ruts to scrabble out of, hurdles to climb over and chasms to clear and I can add cobwebs to go through and darkness to enlighten. He gives us seven principles to follow during the travel. Let me share with you the summary of the seven steps as they were explained in

a. Raise Awareness – Our effectiveness in life is closely linked to our awareness of it. The more aware we become of our own habits, desires and motivations, the more effective we can be in regularly producing our best. The more aware we are of other people, their habits and desires, the more successful we can be in creating synergy. Even before making a single decision, whether in a group or as an individual, we need to become aware of all of the various influencing factors.

b. Develop Possibility Consciousness – By developing possibility consciousness we open our mind and free ourselves from any preconceived limitations, allowing ourselves to look beyond our old paradigms of possibility, and on to form new visions of opportunity, potential and abundance.

c. Find Balance Through the Lessons of Life – Life is the greatest of all teachers. Learning the lessons of life encourages us to examine our own experience and the experience of others, thereby defining past mistakes and triumphs, which allows us to form new strategies for success in the future.

d. Be on Purpose – Everyone is born with a purpose, something they can excel in. When you are “on purpose” life works with you, when you are not, your power to create is dissipated. To be on purpose, you must first find your purpose, this becomes one of the major lessons of life.

e. Become Fully Response-Able – Responsibility means the ability to choose our response. Becoming fully response-able means having the ability to choose a positive pro-active response even to a negative situation. Response-Ability is the birthplace of inner freedom and the foundations of personal power.

f. Maintain Positive Focus – Whatever we focus on, grows in our awareness of it and moves us closer towards it. By maintaining a positive focus we can stay aware of the possible obstacles, while concentrating fully on the desired potential and move forward with concentrated effort.

g. Involve to Evolve – The sharing of information is an essential part of growth for both the giver and the receiver. Individuals grow by overcoming difficulties. Synergy is created by groups of individuals working in harmony and sharing ideas. Involving individuals in the process of solving group difficulties increases commitment, creates synergy and promotes personal evolution.

vi. Learn to set goals in the present tense

“The past is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is gift – that is why they call it the present” says the author (p. 91).

One of the seven natural laws of manifestation of that attracted me more than others is “to state the goals in present tense”. According to the author, the laws of manifestation are like signposts pointing the way to success (p. 83). In the book (p.91) the author advises us to set the goals in present tense, because creation always exists in the moment of now. When you state your goals in future tense, the natural tendency is to procrastinate, because you made your subconscious think you have a time to do it another day.

This line of thinking is shared by Shad Helmestetter in his remarkable study of the role of self-talk in the human being development, in his book “What to say when you talk to yourself” (p. 153). He prevents us to use the future when setting a goal. When you say “you are going to…or you will…” you are actually telling to your subconscious that it will be tomorrow, later, another time. And as we know tomorrow never comes. Shad Helmestetter emphasizes his assertion in these terms: “State your goal or the result you want to achieve in the present tense. Because the subconscious mind does not know what is true and what is not, in time it will accept what you are telling it and act on it. But remember, it will attempt to follow the exact wording of the directions you are giving it”.

vii. Goal mapping needs a true commitment to your goal

In ancient Rwanda, our ancestors had a strong belief about the necessity of commitment. One who broke the commitment could be killed by what they called “Igihango”. I cannot translate it exactly in English, but it was a kind of punishment to the person who failed to respect the commitment. It was believed that the person could be killed instantly by an unexpected accident like a lightning or to become mad and die like a “dog” as said in Kinyarwanda. For the said reason, people with integrity had to keep their commitments. If for example an appointment was fixed somewhere, the first to come had to wait impatiently for the other (I remind you that there were no watches and consequently no precise time). This was intended to strengthen the idea of keeping your promise, either to others or to yourself.

If you are the person who keeps commitment, please try to start with yourself and as recommended by the author, make a commitment to yourself and sign it. By signing it you give more importance to your world. But how to keep your word? How to keep a true commitment in this world where people are no more afraid of being killed by “igihango”?

Before trying to keep a commitment, let me define what is “a true commitment”, with the help of Zaluki George quoted by the author on page 134. “True commitment is doing the thing you said you would do, long after the mood in which you said it has left you”. On page 135, the author gives some strategies to develop the commitment “muscle”:

Having a reason – a deeper belief – that goes beyond you;
Understanding that setbacks and failures are learning experiences and part of success;
Remaining conscious of my reasons for making commitment in the first place;
Finding the courage to make the commitment public. It is usually much harder to break your word to others that to yourself;
Realizing that commitment is not a one-off promise, but rather an ongoing moment-to-moment choice.

Let me make some comments on making the commitment public. If you make your commitment public, it will be difficult for you to break it. If you make your commitment in front of your colleagues, members of family and so on, you will be ashamed to not fulfill what you promised. If the problem of achieving your goal is external to your will, nobody will condemn you. They will rather encourage you to overcome the obstacle that prevented you to reach it. At the end of the day, your failure will become a good lesson to the next trial.

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?

The author touched me on a tender spot where he quotes Brian Tracy in these terms “Either you set up your own goals or you are destined to spend the rest of your life working for someone who does” (p. 41). If we don’t want to learn how to fish ourselves, we will pass all of our life begging fish from others who learned fishing. This is one of the lessons I want to make mine. Mahatma Gandhi said once that if you want to change the world, you have to be the change you want.

The experience of life encountered by the author and the determination taken to overcome his difficulties is a very useful lesson for me. His experience is helping me to overcome any difficulty I can meet, but above all things, it taught me that it is never late to start any business. If Brian Mayne had said that at the age of 21 years, it was too late to start learning to read and write as do many other people, he could have never written this book. It is encouraging me a lot to continue in my way to starting my own business of becoming a lawyer and my goal is rank among the top ten best lawyers of my country by December 2015.

Another telling lesson learned from this book is the law of success. I have to always consider that my success is between my hands. It is me and only me who has to seed successful thoughts, nurture, fertilize and visit very often, water … if I want to reap success at the end. I have a very big role to play in my achievements.

The success will then depend on how, me and you, the kings of our minds are governing our kingdoms which are our minds. People are not aware enough about the orders they are commanding to their minds. It is not rare to hear someone saying: “I cannot overcome this obstacle”. This is a very dangerous language to avoid. We must be convinced and convince others to let the genie come out of his bottle and ask us good things to provide us. Don’t be like the family I talked about in the lines above. After choosing the line of life, we have to be committed personally and if possible, publicly or before the person who can help us more, to achieve our goal. This commitment signed, seen regularly, said very often and felt and believed by you will be achieved undoubtedly.

Essentially I learned that the left side of our brain predominantly processes logical type activities such as the use of words, lists, logic, analysis and numbers. The right side of the brain predominantly processes more artistic type activities such as the use of colors, rhythm, spatial awareness, pictures, daydreaming and imagination. This helps me to understand how I can climb the LIFT ladder rung by rung, apply the different principles and techniques set in the book and living the goal mapping ritual (sign it-see it-say it-feel it-believe it-and at the end of the day achieve it).

The final idea is to accept what the author asked me before closing the journey through the book. He asked me to become the teacher of the lessons learned through the book. As he said, and I fully agree with him, “the best way to learn is to share information with someone else,… it’s only when you explain something to someone else in person that you really find out how well you understand it yourself”. I intend to share the information gotten through this book to other people starting by my wife and children. Afterwards it will be the turn of Young Women Christian Association members. But the utmost objective is to teach the technique of goal mapping to children. I intend to start the training with secondary school students in my neighbourhood.

4. 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. “There are certain things in life that you can learn to get right only by getting them wrong first”.

Page 6 – The method of trial and error is not reserved to beings with lower intelligence. Sometimes, it is also necessary for human beings in some areas of life. The life would not have been what it is today without this method. It is a good method, but it takes much time and energy.

ii. “If you are not giving your subconscious crew conscious and clearly defined commands about where you want to go in life, it will simply select your dominant thought as the target and act on that by default”

Page 11 – If we don’t chose ourselves the thought we want to be dominant; our subconscious will chose on our behalf the dominant thought. The utmost problem is that sometimes we don’t know which our dominant thought is and it can be a negative one.

iii. “I meet people who fear any form of wealth or abundance at all. However, I rarely meet anyone who consciously wants to be worse off than they are right now”

Page 23 – Every human being respects the natural law of evolution. Evolution means to grow better than before. Nobody wants to stay in a state that is not comfortable for him.

v. “Failure is only failure when no lesson is learnt or you decide to give up without trying again”

Page 41 – As said Anon, falling becomes failure only when you refuse to get up.

vi. “Likewise it is absolutely vital to visualize our future, as that is the first steps towards creating it, but we must place the majority of our focus in the now…”

Page 90 – You can’t visualize the future if you don’t stand on the present’s shoulders.

vii. “One of the great challenges in the western world is that we often distort the natural urge to become more into a belief that happiness is achieved through having more…”

Page 103 – Human being is losing his humanity. When you focus on the earth wealth you turn your back to God instead of focusing on Him.

viii. “Throughout history the most successful men and women have recognized both the strengths and their limitations and have sought counsel and regular guidance from people they considered more intelligent, better informed, or more enlightened than themselves”.

Page 130 – No one can be self reliant. We always need others’ help. People who have experience in a considered domain will help you to avoid the method of trial and error mentioned above.

ix. “The best way to learn is to share information with someone else; it’s only when you explain something to someone else in person that you really find out how well you understand it yourself”

Pages 161-162 – It is by teaching that you learn. The reality of this assertion is that when you teach something you repeat it much time and your subconscious considers the contents of the lesson as your dominant thoughts.

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 of the exercises and did you find them useful?

The book contains the following very interesting exercises:

1. Positive pre-play (p.33)

I used the technique when I was about the pass an interview and the results were wonderful.

2. Exercise of life-balance wheel (p.65-66)

Following the experience of the author, I tried also to exercise every morning and I noticed valuable improvements within my life.

3. Exercise of activating the right-brain (p. 81-82)

I was told once about the exercise of inhaling by the nose and exhaling by the mouth as a mean to avoid concentrating on your pain. It was taught by a doctor to my sister who suffered in her back. I did the same exercise and push the tip of the tongue to the roof of my mouth. I noticed it helped me to be concentrated on what I was thinking of.

4. Relaxation-Exercise of freeing your mind (p. 111)

This exercise that has some similarities with the exercise of activating the right-brain (breathing) helps to relax every part of the body you are concentrating on.

5. Exercise of fixing your goal map (p. 144)

I tried the exercise and I keep trying it each morning with my goal map of becoming one of the best lawyers.

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 comment.

I would like to comment on the advantages of becoming more than having more. According to the author, the phenomenon is more present in the western world, but I would like to say that it is spreading also through other regions of the world and especially in Africa. The urge to having more led one Rwandan singer “Late Cyprien Rugamba” to criticize it in a very well known song in Rwanda about the avidity for money. One of the parts of the song says: When you pay a visit to your brother and sit in his public transportation car, his first reaction is to ask you for paying before asking you for the family’s news.

I remember a theatre that has been played in my country. A rich man was living in a rural area and neglected a lot to see his neighbours pretending he had not enough time. When they announced him a death in one or another family, he always considered that what those people needed was financial help. If he could provide them with money or lend them a car, he thought it was enough for them. But what he didn’t know is that the car or money could not replace him. One day, his daughter died and neighbours did not go to help him to organize the funeral ceremony. They gathered their contribution and sent him money. It is since that time that he noticed that money could not dig the grave and nor load and unload the dead body in and from the car.

This is an imaginary story, but it is based on the reality observed by the author. To have more does not mean to have the peace of mind. On the contrary, wealth can put you in the trouble. It asks you to engage more guards, to lock your gate and doors with chains and strong locks. It can bring you doubts and suspicions against every person you live with or you meet, because you are afraid of being robbed. Having more will keep you out of your neighbours and friends, because of the hunger for possessing more and more. On the other side, becoming more will help you to love others and share what you have with those who possess less.


1. How interesting was it to read? 10
2. How helpful were the contents? 9
3. How easy was it to understand? 9
4. Would you recommend it to others? 10
5. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9.5



The Power of Intention
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The main idea conveyed in this book is stated by the author himself on page 23 where he says: “I’m attempting to convey my personal knowing of the extraordinary benefits of linking to intention. Hopefully you will feel inspired by the silent knowing of the intention and go on to create an increasingly enchanted experience for yourself and everyone else in your life”

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.

Before developing the seven most important ideas, let us first of all try to understand the concept of “the power of intention”

What is the power of intention?

When I opened this book, I had no idea of what the author wanted to mean by “intention”. I already knew the common accepted definition of the word as found in dictionaries like “a determination to act in a certain way” as the author asserts to have known it before. This brought him to consider that “a person with intention is that one with a never-give-up attitude combined with an internal picture that propels him toward fulfilling his/her dreams” (p. 3).

However, after reading through other books and getting new ideas, the author discovered that “intention” is “something much greater than a determined ego or individual will”. One might be deceived to learn that the concept is almost something opposite to what we knew.
After reading Castaneda’s book “The Active Side of Infinity” Dr Wayne discovered the real definition of intention: “Intention is not something you do, but rather a force that exists in the universe as an invisible field of energy” (p.4).

He defines the concept as “a force that we all have within us. “Intention is a field of energy that flows invisibly beyond the reach of our normal, everybody habitual patterns. It’s there even before our conception. We have the means to attract this energy to us and experience life in an exciting new way” (p.6).

It is only after the understanding of the concept as such that we will understand well the following ideas that I consider as most important:

a. A piece of God

The first important idea consists of reminding us what we already learned during the Sunday school. We have been created in God’s image According to the author, you cannot put intention to work if you don’t respect yourself and every person you encounter, be it your relative, neighbour…

It is undeniably true that each person was created with his own peculiarities, be it physical or genetic. Nobody can resemble exactly to another; even the identical twins have differences, maybe not noticeable by everyone. Paradoxically though it may seem, we read in the Holy Bible that every human being was created in God’s image. “God said: let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26) and “So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him” (Genesis 1:27).

In order to emphasize what is written in Holy Scriptures, Dr Wayne W. Dyer, author of this book “The Power of Intention” goes further where he asserts that each person is a piece of God (p. 236-237).

What should be established at the very outset is the real meaning of God’s image. When the Bible says that every human being was created in God’s image, this does not mean that God has human traits (face, members…) but rather that every man/woman have the same potentialities when they come in this world.
Nothing is truer than recognizing that God has no physical traits and cannot have a human being’s image. Even if we can accept that each man’s or woman’s spiritual traits have been shaped in God’s image, it is impossible to forget that physical traits are different from one person to another. Finally we must ask ourselves how each human being has been created with God’s traits. One day, a young child came to me crying and pointing out a finger to his comrade, he asked me if his comrade [who had beaten him] was also created in God’s image. This implicitly meant that God is not bad. If someone is acting oppositely, he is not like Him.

Without laying too much emphasis on differences between different individuals, we must make it absolutely clear that the real meaning of God’s image concerns the potentialities with which each human being come in this world. Every person has the same tools; what makes the differences is how one decides to use them.

We concede with the author that the conclusion that may be drawn from this is that each person is a piece of God. It is the reason why he advises you and me to see the face of God in everyone we encounter.

b. You can’t fail

If we agree with was said above concerning the creation of human being in God’s image, we already can fix our destiny which has nothing to do with failure. The poem written by Rumi and quoted by author on page 120 of the present book is of great importance:

If you are born with potential.
If you are born with goodness and trust.
If you are born with ideals and dreams.
If you are born with greatness.
If you are born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.

However, this cannot be true if you only contemplate what you cannot achieve. If you focus your mind on negative thoughts, the law of attraction will attract you all of negative results. Don’t forget, your subconscious cannot make difference between good and bad thoughts. If you don’t choose your goal which is actually focused by your mind, the latter will only consider your dominant thoughts.

Is it necessary to point out that no one can achieve his/her goals if he considers them as impossible? You cannot succeed if you are afraid of trying to avoid being ridicule. You can’t fail because you are a piece of God and God never fail. This is the reason why you have no right to give-up.

c. A never-give-up attitude

The first question that each reader can ask him/herself is to know if he/she is among the people connected to intention. It would hardly be an exaggeration to assert that every person, even if not yet connected, can willingly get the power of intention. The only condition, as said by the author (p. 3) is to choose to be “one of the people with a never-give-up attitude combined with an internal picture that propels you toward your dreams». This world is full of roadblocks, bumps and many other obstacles. You will fail once, twice or more times, say for example 9,999 times, as did Thomas Edison. Whatever it can happen, the best way leading to success is to keep struggling.

When asked by a journalist the reason why he was keeping trying after failing 5,000 times to perfect the electric light bulb, Thomas Edison replied “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward” (Brian Mayne, Goal Mapping, p.6). This is a very good advice that must be followed by every person who is determined to achieve his/her goal.

Another very interesting example of a person who did not accept to be bended down by failure is Abraham Lincoln who met many defeats, but never gave up until he became the President of the United States of America (Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power, p. 73). If he had considered the obstacles dressed in his way as failures, he should have never reached his supreme goal of inhabiting the White House.

The great mistake we commit in our attempts is to be discouraged after a few trials. Can you imagine what would have happened to all of us if, after the first failure in attempting to stand up, we have said “I quit, I am not willing to risk falling again”? Let us learn from children. They never quit due to failures, they keep trying until they succeed. Denis Waitley in his book “The New Dynamics of Winning”, page 36 advises us to accept to pay the price if we want to succeed.

As said by Anon quoted by Brian Mayne (idem, p.8), “you don’t fail when you fall, you fail when you refuse to get up”. The decision to get up is a commitment to pay the price of trying once again until you succeed.

One can ask himself why we grow up with the fear of failure. Why are we becoming less courageous than what we were before? Without waiting for any response, let me quote once again Brian Mayne where he says “As adults we tend to lose sight of this important lesson [natural learning strategy of trial and error] and instead develop a fear of failure. The social view point of the majority is that failure is negative or bad, and that failure makes us a bad person in some way”. Let me conclude by saying to everyone, starting by myself, that we have no right to prevent ourselves from learning from our failures. If people did not use the trial and error method before, nothing should have been discovered in this world.

d. The seven faces of the intention

From the point of view of the author, intention is an invisible energy field that is inherent in all physical form; it is a part of the inexplicable non material world of spirit. Unfortunately this explanation does not help us to go further in our way to seek for a definition of intention. We are more discouraged when Voltaire, quoted by the author on page 21 warns us in these words: “Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is”. And as said above, “Intention is a force that exists in the universe [you and me included] as an invisible field of energy”

It is undeniably true that it is difficult to describe what intention is, but as said one day by one person: “I cannot describe an elephant but when I see it, I can recognize it among other animals. It is possible that the similar reason led Dr. Wayne W. Dyer to give us the traits of intention when the description seems quite impossible. Where describing the seven faces of intention, he gives us a picture of what the power of intention seems like.

Where an architect is conceiving a plan of a building, he draws a plan with the multiple faces of the building and submits it to the building contractor. Based on the plan, the latter can erect the building as indicated. The controllers on their side, based on the plan and pictures given by the architect, can conduct their surveillance mission without difficulty.

Let us imagine the intention as an architectural building with seven faces described as follows: on one side, you can see creativity, on the other there is kindness. If you continue you see also other faces like love, beauty, expansion, unlimited abundance and the last one is receptivity. I imagine how wonderful the building is! Let me give you the different description as given by the author for each of the seven faces.

1. The face of creativity: If we see a person now in his physical body, let us not forget that there was a time he was an embryo, before that a seed, and before a formless energy. That formless energy contained intention, which brought that person from nowhere to now here (p. 24).

2. The face of kindness: The author deduces the presence of kindness in the power of intention from the opposite of non presence of it. “If all giving power of intention had in its core the desire to be unkind, malevolent or hurtful” he says, “then creation itself would be impossible. The life-giving spirit would be destroyed” he concludes. (p. 25)

3. The face of love: Dr. Wayne W. Dyer gives us a very interesting example supported by the law of attraction. “If you are not doing what you love and loving what you do, your power of intention is weakened. You attract into your life more of the dissatisfaction that is not the face of love” (p. 26). Where quoting Teilhard de Chardin, the author says that “Love is the most powerful and the most unknown energy of the world” (p. 27)

4. The face of beauty: “When you become receptive to seeing and feeling beauty around you, you are attuned to the creative power of intention within everything in the natural world, including yourself” (p. 27). Furthermore, he adds a very interesting remark “If we focus on what’s ugly we attract more ugliness into our thoughts and then into our emotions and ultimately in our lives. To encourage us to see the beauty in every person we encounter, he quotes Mother Teresa where she says “I see Jesus Christ in all of his distressing disguises” (p. 28)

5. The face of expansion: On page 29, the author says that the power of intention manifests as an expression of expanding creativity, kindness, love and beauty. As said before, the power of intention is intrinsically expanding from formless energy to the body we have now. It can expand all what we decide to focusing on.

6. The face of unlimited abundance: It can be indisputably asserted that a human being was created for abundance and abundance has no limits. When God created him and her, He gave them the mission to benefit form all what was present in the Eden Garden (apart from one tree) and to dominate the entire world. But, as said by the author, we were taught in terms of limitations (marking of boundaries and building fences). But science today shows us that there are no limits (p. 29). The atmosphere is not covered by a roof as we used to believe. Scientists are discovering day after day new solar systems at billion and billions of light year distance. This is to say, he continues “that there are no limits to our potentialities as people, as entities and as individuals” (p.30)

7. The last face, but not the least is receptivity: Intention does not reject anything. Everyone and everything that cannot harm you are welcome. If everything in nature is waiting to be called into action to serve you, open your hands and welcome them. But what we have to know is that it is scarcely impossible to receive if you don’t open your hands in the gesture of kindness. All the gifts will find your hands closed and not ready to receiving them.

The intention is seen and recognizable in all of its seven faces. If you notice creativity, kindness, love, beauty, endless abundance, expansion and receptivity, know that intention is there and the disconnection to the power of intention is impossible.

e. Extend acts of kindness, asking nothing in return

To connect to the power of intention, there are many strategies; one of them is to raise our level of energy. The author gives us techniques to raise our energy vibrations. Among a long list of suggestions, I chose to develop the point concerning “the acts of kindness” initiated in the lines above.

One of the five keys to wealth and happiness proposed by Anthony Robbins in his book “Unlimited Power” cited above is to “Always give more than you expect to receive” (p. 383). I would even go so far as to say that the key to any relationship is to give and keep giving without waiting for the turn of the person who received. Anthony Robbins gives us a very interesting example where he asks: “What would happen if you went to the soil and said “Give me some fruit. Give me some plants” The soil would probably respond “It is not the way the game is played. You have to plant the seed, to take care of it, to water, fertilize, protect and nurture it until you get fruits” (p. 384). As said Francis of Assisi, it is in giving that we receive.

f. You receive what you desire for others

Dr Wayne W. Dyer says that “you will only give away what you have in your heart, and attract what you are giving away” (p. 90). As we are already aware of the functioning of the law of attraction, we can easily agree with the author. Michael J. Losier in his book “Law of Attraction” (p. 12) takes up the same theme where he defines the law of attraction in these terms: “I attract to my life whatever I give my attention, energy and focus to, whether positive or negative”. If you give your attention to the perfection of others, you attract that quality and you will send the vibrations of perfection. Oppositely, if you give attention to ugliness in your environment, the law of attraction will help you to attract more of ugliness and at the same time send the said vibrations.

g. Old habits that pigeonhole you

The author advises you and me to appreciate and express the genius we are. But he warns us that we cannot achieve this goal if we develop and sustain negative ideas within us.

One might justifiably ask why there are so different levels of abilities noticed among people if everyone is born a genius. The author, quoting Buckminster Fuller on page 231 highlights the reason that makes the difference. Buckminster considers that “The process of living de-geniuses them”.

Let us make it quite clear that one of the problems preventing us to be in harmony with the power of intention is the habits we have developed within ourselves and make us think we are not geniuses. These labels coming from ourselves or our environment have a big role to play in our lives.

In the book Psycho-cybernetics 2000, we read on page 76 how we can free ourselves from false beliefs. The first step is to understand that we are human beings and cannot be constrained by unreasonable fears, expectations of failure and feelings of unworthiness. The second step is to remember that, false beliefs are nothing than habits that you have learned. Like any habit, a false belief can be changed by using your rider to create new memories for your horse.

Those old habits which are not natural at all, pigeonhole you to a point where you allow labels to be attached to you (he’s so shy, he cannot stand before the public …). William James quoted by Dr Wayne W. Dyer (p.235) suggests that we can let go out of those habits in shifting in our way of thinking.

To change those negative habits, Shad Helmstetter, in his book “What to say when you talk to yourself” (p.150-161) proposes to replace them by a new program by using self-talk. You must use the present tense to state what you want to achieve, get specific for what you want to change and lastly change the words you were using if you want to change your habit (s). To learn more about habit-changing self talk, I recommend you to read the book “What to say when you talk to yourself” written by Shad Helmstetter.

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?

a. The face of God in everyone you encounter

This world should become a paradise if every person tried to see the face of God in every person he encounters. Unfortunately, people are more frightened by the presence of their fellow creatures than other animals. A Rwandan adage says that there is no more dangerous animal than a human being. In towns, the problem is worst where people do not even notice the presence of other human beings. People became so egoistic that others’ misfortune is ignored totally.

I learned the following story of a woman who was raped and the aggressor left quietly despite the victim has shouted for help. She shouted loudly but did not get any help while living in a building inhabited by thousands of people. The teller of the story made a very interesting comment: “neighbours did not attach any importance to the seeking of help where the problem could not have direct consequences on them. If the woman had shouted “fire”, people should have intervened because there was a risk to see the fire reach their own apartments.

b. You can’t fail

Lastly when I was still hesitating about how to leave the job I was doing for another job, a colleague, friend of mine took my arm and led me to the balustrade and showed me the people walking in the streets of Kigali (capital of Rwanda). He asked me a question: “Do you think all those people earn their life by working for the bank”? I was working in Access Bank and resigned since mid-august). I did not answer because I knew why he was asking the question. I immediately remember another one who told me once: “you are hesitating to leave the bank because you think you can fail. When remembering the part of Rumi’s poem where he says: “If you are born with wings, you are not meant for crawling, so don’t” I decided to resign to avoid continuing to crawl.

c. A never give-up attitude

In my country, after completing the primary school, pupils have to pass a national examination that allows the ones with best results to accessing secondary schools. The time I was finishing primary school, no private schools still existed. Only fortunate student who succeeded the national examination were accepted in secondary (public) schools. The reason for not being admitted did not depend of the bad results; it was due to the few places available in secondary schools and the famous discriminatory politics of ethnicity balance. Fortunately, if you were not admitted, you were given another chance to pass the following examination. Many students were not courageous enough to try again.

I remember to have failed the first time and I did not think twice to ask for retrying the next year. The reason for that courage came from one person I knew very well who tried seven times. His last teacher in primary school was his schoolmate when he passed the first national examination. This principle of “never-give-up” was in my mind and I was determined to keep trying till I was admitted. Fortunately, I succeeded or had been admitted the next year.

d. The seven faces of the intention

When a man approached Jesus and asked Him: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life”, Jesus told him: “You know the commandments… [follow them]”. But the man added: “Teacher, I have carefully guarded and observed all these and taken care to not violate them from my boyhood”. (Bible, Mark 10, 17-20). Since the day I started to learn different principles of success, I always ask myself, why am I not really yet connected to the power of intention so that I could achieve my goals. I am like the man who thought he had perfectly accomplished all what needed, but was still asking if it was enough to reach eternal life. After reading the seven faces of intention, it seems like I was also lacking one thing: to be connected to the seven faces of intention. When a car is seemingly perfect, but lacks one single part, say a spark, the engine cannot start up. It is only when you have replaced or repaired that small part that the car can start and run. If one of the faces of intention is missing, you cannot pretend to have within you the intention. It is seen and recognizable in all of its seven faces: creativity, kindness, love, beauty, endless abundance, expansion and receptivity. If one part is missing, consider yourself as disconnected to the power of intention.

e. Extend acts of kindness, asking nothing in return

Sunday 20th of September 2009, a school (ACEJ Karama) in which I am a chairperson of Parents’ Committee, was celebrating the 25th anniversary. A group of friends from Iowa State in United States of America were among guests of honor. When given the occasion to deliver their speech, they presented to the Principal of the school a check of 55,000 U.S Dollars collected from various people in America. This gave me a lot to think. These different donors gave money to help a school they don’t know. They have probably heard a little about it (a school located very far in Central Africa, in a small country named Rwanda), but not enough for inspiring a so generous act. Only one of them, Kevin, had visited the school before. This is one of the examples of kindness without expecting anything in return.

f. You receive what you desire for others

This is a very good lesson to me and I think also it can help all people in this planet. It has always been said that you cannot receive if you always keep your hands closed. Unfortunately, we are so selfish that we always want to be served before others. There is a very interesting sketch I read few years ago. One day, a man without money to buy enough bread for the whole family decided to buy only three loaves of bread, for his wife and their two children. When he reached his home, he gave one loaf of bread to each child and the third to his wife and went to sit aside. When his wife noticed there was no loaf of bread remaining, she divided her loaf in two parts and gave one to her husband. The children did the same and finally the man ate one loaf and half. It is by developing a sense of loving your fellow creatures that you can raise their loving vibrations and give you the love in return.

g. Old habits that pigeonhole you

After learning lessons enhancing my self-empowerment, I noticed much improvement in my self confidence. But I dare say it was a bit difficult for me to think that I could start my own business. It was unthinkable to imagine myself not getting a salary from my employer at the end of the month.

This is a habit that pigeonholes many persons who attended schools in my country. We have always taught to becoming compulsorily future employees of another person, be it government, company or another person. We have always considered laureates from schools as such. I remember to have replied once to one of my European friend that my father was jobless when asked about his job. The friend felt very compassionate about our situation and asked me how we could survive. It is then that I realized that in my mind, job means the one that gives you a salary. I did not integrate in my conscious mind that working for oneself is also a job, and sometimes better than the salaried one. After noticing the increment of the number of people without salaried jobs, the government is encouraging now people to start their own businesses.

4. Quotes: Are there brief quotes from the book which really got your attention? If so, please list and comment on them.

“Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place and leads to attack, counterattack and war” (p. 83)

“True nobility is not about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you used to be” (p. 84)

“Think of the drop of rain merging with a river; at the moment, it becomes a river, think of the river merging in the ocean, at the moment it becomes an ocean, …As you merge with universal force of Creation extending yes wherever feasible, you become that force of Creation itself” (p. 96-97)

“There is nothing you can’t do, unless you disconnect from the power source and become convinced that your purpose is to prove to others how masterful and superior you are and spend your energy attempting to win a giant reputation among other egos” (p.86)

“If you have been taught to avoid thinking too highly of yourself, and that genius is reserved for a handful of selected individual, you probably resist the idea of genius residing within you” (p.233)

“You are a piece of God … trusting in yourself is trusting in the wisdom that created you” (p.236-237)

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 of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

At the end of some chapters, the author proposes the way to making your intentions realities or suggestions for implementing the ideas learned. He proposes steps to be followed by the reader. I am putting them into practice and they are working for the best. One of the examples is to “banish doubt”. I am now seeking companies to work with as a legal consultant. I have to propose my offer to people I don’t know. I am using advices given by the author and I always repeat to myself what was said by Shakespeare quoted by the author (p. 34): “Our doubts are our traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt”.

“To change the way you look at things so that the things you look at change” is also a good exercise. It is not easy, but I noticed that it is a helpful exercise. It is a very interesting recipe of success that I am using in these moments to propose my offer of services to organizations that need legal advices. Before I could as do many persons, have a moral judgment about some individuals without even discussing with them at all. I learned then to make judgments based on facts and not on my own feelings.

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 comment.

I found this book a bit different from those I read before. It is more philosophical and a bit more difficult to understand.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 7
D. Would you recommend it to others? 8
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 8

Unlimited Power
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The message that the author is trying to convey is written on page 20 of this book where the author says: “I wanted to arm you with the skills and strategies that would enable you to change anything you wanted to change and to do it faster than you’d ever dreamed before”

2. What are 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. If it is possible for others in the world, it is possible for you

Sometimes we develop in our mind limitations that can cause serious injuries to our future life. When I was in Primary School, I remember to have got an answer from my former classmate that there was no need to go to school because, he said “why studying if you can’t become an authority” (it is better said in Kinyarwanda: “ndiga se ngo nzagabane imisozi?). Born in a poor family like all of us, he thought he was predetermined to become as poor as his parents. As says Anthony Robbins in his book “Giant Steps”, “such people with limiting beliefs developed inward to protect themselves, but they cause them to hesitate, shy away from risk, and avoid giving their all; consequently, they get limited results” (p.97).

What my former classmate did not know is that all human beings were given the same potentialities. It is only how we use them that make the difference. Those who thought in a better way continued and even if they did not lead the country or one of its parts, they become self reliant because they got knowledge to help them to face life threats. According to many authors like Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Anthony Robbins, to name but a few, the human being is created with unlimited power. Since he was created in the God’s image, he is a little god and has the capacity to achieve what could be perceived as impossible. This power allows each one to model any achievement of another human being. Long time ago, it was believed that a human being could not perform things like transplanting a heart or other organs. When the first experience was done, doctors across the worldwide succeeded the operation very well. The only requirement is to follow the way the first person did.

It is for that reason, the author, believing that nothing is impossible, started to search how people produce results. He realized that success is the result of specific things that create it. He believed that if he could find out actions taken by a baker to produce a good cake, he will also produce a good cake. Then he came across a science known as “Neuro-Linguistic Program”. “This science studies how people communicate to themselves in way that produce optimum resourceful states and thus create the largest number of behavioural choices”(p. 27). That is why he asserts that “… if it is possible for others in the world, it is possible for you”.

Yes, it is possible for you and me, but on three conditions set up by Grinder and Bandler quoted by the author on page 31 as follows:

* You must follow the belief system of the person you want to model;

* You must follow the way the person organize his/her thoughts so as to arrange them in a proper order;

* You have to follow the way he/she uses his/her physiology. The state the person is in determines the range and the quality of the behaviors he/she can produce.

The author affirms that Adnan Mohamad Kashoggi modelled Rockfeller, Morgan … and became one of the richest men in the world (p. 33). If it became possible for Kashoggi, it is possible for you and for me.

ii. Tell me what you eat I will tell you who you are (A sound mind in a sound body)

Tell me what you eat, I will tell you who you are. This adage, unlikely though it may seem is bearing the truth in itself. What and how you eat has a big influence on your physiology and consequently on your mind. As an example, a child who was born and grew in a region where cassava is the only main meal will not grow as well as the one fed with fish, vegetables and other nutrient elements. The former child’s brain will be affected by the lack of needed elements and will not grow and function as well as it should have been if the child had been well fed. Something that affects the body necessarily affects the mind and vice-versa.

If the purpose of food is to provide the body with the things it needs to maintain itself in good repair, as said Napoleon Hill in his book “Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success (p. 180), the eating habits must be guided by this goal alone. Anthony Robbins warns us about the diet we were taught before to be useful to our organism. He says (p. 173) that the diet should be consistently assisting the body with the process of cleansing, rather than burdening it with indigestible food stuff. The two authors mentioned above recommend what should be eaten to maintain a diet balance. Napoleon Hill recommends fresh fruits and vegetables to constitute the largest portion of our meals. The next largest should be complex carbohydrates, such as breads, grains and potatoes. Even if protein (meat, fish, and dairy products are also important, they should not be the main meal. He recommends also to avoiding fats and sugars. Anthony Robbins on his side emphasizes also that sugars and fats are our greatest enemies and recommends also vegetables and fruits.

Without going into a lot of details, we should point out that Robbins recommends eating foods that are naturally rich in water (water-content foods) such as fruits, vegetables and sprouts (plant shoots). To prove the efficiency of water-content foods, he gives the examples of longevity between herbivore animals and carnivores. Herbivores like elephants, rhinoceros and gorillas to name but a few, live longer more than carnivores like lions, hyenas … To go further he says that the vulture looks always sad because it eats dead animals.

Robbins adds something more important, the effective combination of foods. Based on the experiences conducted by Dr Herbert Shelton and Dr Ivan Pavlov, Robbins went to this conclusion: “some foods should not be eaten with others”. He continues in these terms: “Starchy foods (rice, bread, potatoes and so on) for example require an alkaline digestive medium, which is initially supplied in the mouth by the enzyme ptyalin). Protein foods (meat, dairy, nuts, seeds and the like) require an acid medium for digestion-hydrochloric acid and pepsin. The law of chemistry teaches that two contrary mediums (acid and alkali) cannot work at the same time. They neutralize each other. For example, if you eat a protein with a starch, the digestion is impaired or completely arrested” (p. 175).

If you don’t eat properly, it is dangerous for your body, because “undigested foods become soil for bacteria which ferment and decompose it, giving rise to digestive disorders and gas” (p. 176).

Another principle that can help us to have a sound health is to eat little. This does not need any comment, but just one from the researchers, quoted by Robbins on page 180 who concluded that “Under nutrition is thus far the only method we know of that consistently retards the aging process and extends the maximum life span of warm-blooded animals”.

Robbins recommends also eating fruits, but to pay attention and eat fruits properly to avoid neutralization of contrary mediums. If for example you eat fruit after starch or potatoes, the fruit get trapped and begins to ferment in the stomach.

The last but not the least lesson to learn is about proteins. The author ordered to be prudent with proteins. He gives one convincing example of the danger of eating meat which is one of the meals providing protein to our body and well preferred – but not affordable – by people in my country. Meat contains uric acid which is one of the body’s wastes. If the uric acid is not properly removed from the blood, the excess builds up in the tissues of the body, to later create gout or bladder stones, not to mention what it does to kidneys.

All these lessons are telling us enough why we have to be cautious with the kind of food we are eating. If a sound mind cannot live in a soundless body, all of the successes achieved or to be achieved by a human being will depend on the way he/she takes care of his/her body.

iii. Assumption and generalization, a language of lazy communicators

It is easy but dangerous to say “they are all the same” when you are assuming that from one or two examples only. The fact of assuming that everybody does the same is an induction from one case and making presuppositions for other cases. According to the Webster’s Dictionary, induction is reasoning from particular instances to a general conclusion. I chose to discuss on this item because the fact of generalization and assumption led my country to false beliefs that helped ill-intentioned people to disseminate hate and discrimination among people.

During the monarchy and colonization era, most of people in charge of administration were from the “batutsi” (mututsi in singular) ethnic group. Some of them like in any other part of the world were nasty and unjust against the people under their power. They treated their subjects inhumanly and said they were good for nothing. It is of great importance to let you know that all batutsi were not in ruling positions. But others were very kind and well loved by their subjects. Nevertheless, some sayings became usual as “Utumabahutu agira benshi” meaning that “It is not wise to send one messenger if it is a “muhutu” (another ethnic group), because he could not perform well. It is better to send more than one. On the other side, bahutu (muhutu in singular) who were serving those ill-intentioned chiefs arrived to the false conclusion that all batutsi were bad. These false beliefs continued to spread among the population and led people to say that “all” bahutu were idiots and were born to be governed by batutsi. “All” batutsi were said to be always cunning and nasty, so that they have to be avoided. Even if the situation had changed long time ago, these beliefs continued to be transmitted from generation to generation without paying any attention to their origin.

In the 1990s, I witnessed a scene that made me afraid. One child, I think he was a muhutu or he thought so, because sometimes it is not easy to make a difference between a muhutu and a mututsi) was playing with another one. He was probably a mututsi or he was so labeled. The latter, had hurt the former unintentionally. The one, who was hurt, said angrily: “what I don’t like in batutsi’s behavior is that they always intend to wound you even if you are playing”. It was just after the starting of the war that opposed Rwanda Patriotic Army to the government army (composed by bahutu in great majority). It was believed also that the majority of those refugees were batutsi. I stopped the quarrel that rose between the two children, but I was afraid of what I have heard. When back in the training center where I was working as an assistant of the Director, I organized a meeting and discussed the matter with the group of teachers who were in a training session. After narrating what I have heard, I reminded them that as teachers, they had a heavy responsibility to uproot those kinds of beliefs in the heads of their pupils, but the main mission I wanted them to accomplish was to meet parents without delay when back home in their respective native regions and deliver the same message. I believed deeply that the said beliefs were conveyed among the youth deliberately or not by parents and teachers. I don’t know if the teachers in front of me could see in advance the big threat that was menacing the country with such beliefs. I ignore neither if they attached importance to what I was saying, but that was predictable happened. Therefore my country became the scene of mass killings and the genocide that occurred from 1990 and culminated during the period between April and June 1994.

Such example does not mean that Rwandans are a damned people. This problem of generalization is met in other countries and different cultures. We have a lot of examples through history and the list can be long enough among authorities or ordinary people, among rich and poor people, among whites and blacks and so on. I remember very well another example of assumption heard from one student I was living with in a H.L.M (public sector housing) in Le Havre, France. One morning we found that an unknown person had cleaned out our respective boxes in the common large refrigerator. The young woman with whom I was in the kitchen, without any other evidence said: “It must be those Arabians”. I was surprised by a such assumption and asked her how she could believe that. She told me that when she was in Paris she used to see Arabians caught while stealing.

Since we “assume” that the problem of generalization and assumption can happen to everyone or is present in each of us, let us see how we can heal from it. The author gives us a good technique of dealing ourselves with such generalizations. He named his technique as a “precision model” (p. 222). He proposes to consider that our two hands are like in a dialogue. I considered that dialogue as a negotiation between two countries. Each finger is to be compared with a head of ministry of one country and is dealing with his/her counterpart of the other country. The delegations from the “right hand country” are reputed to be generalizing or making assumptions and those from the “left hand country” ask questions leading to the questioning of the assumption.

If the left hand’s pinkie says for example “all South Africans are racists” due to one experience lived in South Africa recently, its counterpart in the other hand asks “all?” This leads to know that all South African people are not racists.

If the left hand’s next finger says I should, shouldn’t, must, must or can’t, its counterpart creates the possibility in asking “Why can’t you do that” or “What would happen if you could?” and so on. This helps to go on with the goal which was believed to be impossible.

The right hand’s middle finger deals with verbs like “I’m depressed”. Its counterpart helps to specify what it means “I am depressed” by asking “how specifically?” This helps to get a solution because the problem is well identified.

The left hand’s index deals with nouns. We can give the example of a woman saying that men are brutal. The right hand’s index asks “who exactly”. In such case you are obliged to name the person who was brutal and discover that it is not all the men.

Now it is the turn of the thumbs. When the right one says “too many, too much or too expensive” for example, the left one asks “compared to what”. If there is nothing, you see that it is an arbitrary comparison. If there is something to be compared, now you can ask if they are similar to be said that it is “too expensive” for example. You can adapt or correct the assumption based on the dialogue between the two thumbs.

The precision model helps to avoid the assumptions without evidences. We know that such assumptions can destroy the relationships within the family or even lead to the mass killings like what happened in Rwanda in 1994.

iv. The way to go from discord to harmony is to go from concentrating on differences to concentrating on similarities

I can consider that my country is up-to-date of the present assessment. I cannot avoid to refer to it once again because I consider it as the best example in the world where people concentrated on few differences between two main groups labeled as ethnic groups and forgot a lot of similarities and went on to one of the horrible holocausts ever known in the world.

Rwanda, a country known for its poverty and deprivation has also been known for long for its famous ethnic division between bahutu and batutsi as mentioned above. It is now renowned all around the world for its genocide which is among the horrible ones that the world has ever known. Rwandans, even if they were divided into three “ethnic” groups, have been bound together for centuries. Before the era of independences, the political regime was a monarchy like anywhere else in the world at that time, with its abuses, but people speak the same language, the Kinyarwanda. It is not common to see different ethnic groups speaking the same indigenous language. They share the same style of life and worship the same ancestral deities. They are subdivided into clans that are shared by both the said “ethnic” groups. I might point out in passing that the third group “batwa” (mutwa in singular) who are very small minorities were not a lot involved in those divisions.

When you analyze well those ethnic groups, one can notice that they were rather social ranks than real ethnic groups. I agree with authors who say that those social ranks were finally crystallized after the introduction of identity cards by colonizers and became separated groups. At the beginning, even though it is difficult (if not impossible to specify when it started), the two groups were considered as different because of the well being of one group, batutsi to the detriment of the others, and this led them to dominate the two other groups (bahutu and batwa) who had not enough resources. But what is surprising is that one could change his hutu ethnic group by simply raising his herd of cows or being married with a member of another group. A mututsi could also become muhutu by simply getting poorer (being deprived of his cattle).

Another difference that was at the origin of conflicts concerned the main activity of each group. The batutsi were mainly breeding cattle and in my country, a cow was and is still a sign of wealth. When someone wanted a cow he was obliged to work for a cattle breeder and after a less or long time, could get a cow himself. Depending on the good or ill-intentioned master, the servant could be well or ill-treated. This system became a source of abusing on the poor people and became institutionalized under the name of “Ubuhake”. This system consisting in the exploitation of the poor by the rich was abolished by King Rudahigwa in 1956. The bahutu were mainly practicing agriculture and the batwa, the pottery. These two last activities were not well considered and the person from the last two groups who wanted to get a cow was obliged to engage his services to a mututsi (who possessed cows).

When the colonizers came in the country, “they favored the Tutsis [batutsi] who took advantage of the imbalance to gain increased land and local prestige” (Andrew Wallis, Silent Accomplice, p.10). They also legalized the differences and separated the ethnic groups by identity cards and made public – not without willing interpretations in their favor – the researches made by historians about the far origin of each group. They said that the batutsi were a race born to lead and had intelligence almost equal to that of white people. Colonizers chose their assistants among the batutsi group and used them to dominate other groups. When the population rebelled against the system, the first to be identified as oppressors were mainly the batutsi. This was the origin of rampant conflicts since 1959.

I am not here concerned with the ethnicity in Rwanda, but by the conflicts that rose between the two main “ethnic groups” due to concentrating on their meaningless differences instead of concentrating their efforts on their countless similarities. Yet politicians from both sides continued to gain advantage on these differences and tried even to exaggerate them by saying on one side that bahutu were so silly that they were not able to govern the country, and at the other side that batutsi were foreigners because historians said they were coming from Abyssinia in Ethiopia. Depending on the group holding power it was avoided deliberately to mention the real meaning of the root causes of differences between the two groups as mentioned by ethnologists or historians. Nobody said that bahutus were not governing because of lack of intelligence, but because they were not given such opportunity (when the consciousness rose up, they rebelled against the monarchy and got the power). When the regime put in place since 1960 began to treat batutsi as foreigners, nobody said that researches revealed also that bahutu who pretended to be indigenous were coming from Chad and Batwa from the equatorial forests. The little differences among the two main ethnic groups concerning the origin of ancestors and their main activities were made bigger and bigger and led some virulent persons to say that they will throw batutsi in Nyabarongo river to join their home land in Ethiopia by Nile River. However, the common characteristics shared by both of them were of huge potentialities to build a powerful country.

If one analyses different conflicts around the world, he can find the similar problems. Why people continue to see themselves as different where animals from the same specie don’t mind if one is black and the other is brown. Whites and Blacks in America do have a lot of things in common and don’t have to concentrate on the color of the skin and the wealth of the ones and not the others. The examples can be cited indefinitely.

It would appear then that differences should not be the origin of conflicts. Even if there were some differences, they can be reframed as a complement for the other person. If differences should lead to conflicts and animosity of one group against another, men and women should become the greatest enemies in this world. But the differences between spouses are used as complements to build and strengthen their respective families.

v. How to turn resistance into assistance in communication?

When people have different opinions on a subject, and no one wants to understand the other, it can be a source of conflict and resistance on each part. This situation cannot ease the rapport between the two persons. Once, a man and his wife were sitting in their living room sharing banana beer to celebrate the New Year. A mouse disturbed them for a little and while laughing about how they were frightened by a so small animal, the woman said that the mouse was coming from outside of the house. The man argued to have seen it coming from inside. Since nobody wanted to surrender, the discussion became endless. They finally argued so strongly that they finished in rough dispute. A few minutes later, each one apologized and they exchanged forgiveness. They started again to drink their beer.

When talking about the weather, they said they were so silly to come to a fight because of a mouse. The man said “how idiots we are? Why conflicting for a mouse coming from the inside of the house? What does it change?” “It just does not change anything to accept it was coming from outside, said the woman. They started again to argue and fought for the second time.

The conflict between the two spouses was just a lack of non violent communication. If you don’t agree with someone else’s opinion, it is not necessary to take the opposite side of his or her opinion. According to Anthony Robbins, you don’t have to agree with the person’s opinion, but you can at least “appreciate his feeling because if you were in the same physiology, if you had the same perception, you would feel the same way”. The person who was wrong is not easy to be determined. But he or she could have seen the mouse turning round and think it was coming from the other side. Another possibility should have been a blurred vision due to the alcohol. If one of them had ceded and aligned his/her opinion with his partner’s, no fighting should have happened.

To communicate efficiently with the person you don’t share the same opinion or you are in conflict, it is not necessary but rather dangerous to oppose resistance. You can redirect the force which he opposed against you and guide it in another direction. In oriental martial arts, like aikido, explains the author, “the goal is not to overcome force, but to redirect it and align the force directed at you and guide it in a new direction”. Like how aikido (a Japanese martial art) is played, it is very interesting to use the adversary’s force or rather his aggressiveness or his ill-intention to avoid the danger directed to you and orientate it otherwise. It is a real illustration of self-defence.

To illustrate the truth of this, let us take an example given by Marshall B. Rosenberg in his book “Non Violent Communication” (p. 118) where he narrates a case of a woman who escaped a rape using a non violent communication with the aggressor. When the man entered in her classroom, late after the students had left the school, he asked her to put off the clothes. The woman did not argue with him, but tried to be on his side while begging him to no hurt her. She told him “I can hear how much you want this. At the same time, I want you to know how scared and horrible I feel, and how grateful I’d be if you’d leave me without hurting me”. Finally, the man ended up by asking money instead of raping her.

It cannot be ruled out that this strategy can make success everywhere and every time, but it is well known that without resistance, there is no conflict. Robbins explains this attitude in these terms “By trying to understand the other person’s world and acknowledging his communication rather than ignoring or denigrating it […]. You’re creating a frame that bonds you together. And you’re opening the door to redirecting something without creating resistance (p. 280).

vi. Use personal power and persuasive abilities to control your life (p. 391)

Through millenaries and centuries people have always thought that the power means to have control over others. However the real power is to have control on ourselves. As Anthony Robbins points out in the present book, « ultimate power is the ability to change your life, to shape your perceptions, to make things work for you and not against you » (p. 5). He continues saying that the key to power today is available to us all. But the problem is that, even if the key is available, few people use it. I know that in my country few people have got a chance to learn about self empowerment. But I take this opportunity to urge everyone to take his/her decision since now. Even if you only read this assessment, you can take the decision to change your life. Jean Slatter in her book “Hiring the Heavens” where she quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes on page 7 says “A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions”. If you read these pages without taking the decision to use the advices provided to you, it is like burying a treasure. Anthony Robbins says (p. 7) that « knowledge is only potential power until it comes into the hands of someone who knows how to get himself to take effective action ». The effective action comes from the decision you take and the order you give to your mind.

We know that the king has the ability to run his kingdom and that our kingdom is our brain, we can run our kingdom as well as the king used to do. The big problem that can happen is the fear of taking action; in that case, someone else will do it for us. Can you imagine abdicating your responsibility to run your kingdom! Since now use your persuasive ability to control your life if you don’t want others doing it for you. If you don’t take the decision to get a healthy diet, for example, advertisements by all means (televisions, radios, newspapers or public notice board … will persuade you in their ways.

vii. All human problems are behavioral problems

Solutions to human problems are innumerable and vary from culture to culture and from individual to individual. The way people or a simple individual address any problem is conveyed from generation to generation by education and culture. If nobody takes conscious to change the situation for the better, there is a great risk to see the system remaining the same for centuries. I recognize that it would be an exaggeration to say that that all human problems are behavioral problems. Some problems have their origins outside of the human behaviour. But it has been noticed that even though origin of the problem is not in human behaviour, there is usually a behavioural solution (Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power, p.392). To make this assertion more understandable, let me give some examples.

One trite example is about how people can lay in a situation without any effort to improve it. My wife used to work for a local association which got a truck from an international NGO. When searching how to make money with the truck, they got an idea of transporting potatoes from the north west of the country to the center where this product is not cultivated. Among the eventual customers, they targeted high schools. The schools visited refuted the offer because their students did not want to peel potatoes. Instead of paying a little effort to eat fresh meal, they preferred to eat less suitable foods like cassava or cornmeal-based foods. How can you help people who don’t want to take the first step in the improvement of their own life? This meet the example given by Anthony Robbins (p. 392) where he says that food can be rotten at the docks because people don’t want to cooperate.

Another telling example concerns the situation of poverty in Africa and how it can be alleviated. It is generally agreed today that Africa is the continent which suffers a lot from hunger. The situation became so endemic and a vicious circle that many donors feel discouraged to continue to help people who don’t improve at all. One must admit that Africa, as a continent has a great part which suffers from lack of rain and water, but we know that Israeli, after World War II started with a country not suitable for cultivation. By now, they are exporters of avocadoes and oranges in European countries. On the other hand, Africa is well known to have a big part with a favourable climate. If at least the said part was one of the flourished one in the world, the first hypothesis should be sustained. At the end of the day, it must be pointed out that the problem is not probably the poverty, but the people’s behaviour as asserted by the author (p.392). If someone from any part of Africa, say for example Ethiopia or any other part where people are encountering famine as a day-to-day companion, reads this text, he could get angry with me. The real reason for discussing this theme is not to turn the knife in the wound. It is for eliciting the role of human beings in the happening of disasters in this world. If we remember well the law of cause and effect, nothing in the universe in general and in this world in particular happens by accident. There is always a cause. Our concern now is to analyze the cause of famine in Africa, and particularly, the role played by human beings in the happening of this disaster.

One of the striking examples concerns the management of rain water in our countries. After each rain, we are all eye-witnesses of the transportation of tons and tons of our soil by torrents of rain water to the rivers. The problem is not the rain water; it is the result of the destruction of forests and excessive use of the land. This degenerated into a quasi desertification and the fragility of the land vis-à-vis the rain water. If the problem is already there, is not there any solution to it? Let us not forget that at the same time, we suffer from lack of water, because we are obliged to walk long distance to get it. Can’t we reframe the problem into a potential resource? How about protecting our lands in keeping rain water in tanks or dams and at the same time getting water for domestic use? As said once the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, it is revolting to see a person who has not enough water at home waiting for the end of the rain, to go far to the well to draw water.

I know that one can put forward a pretext that Rwandans are poor and have no means to stop this problem, but we learned that long years ago, people built pyramids without advanced technology, and that Chinese people built the Great Wall of China without any machine. We also know that Rwandan wisdom says: “If you don’t accept to work when hungry, you will suffer from hunger forever” (In Kinyarwanda, “udahinganye inzara arayihorana”

The best way is to reframe problems into potential resources, as said the author on page 293. If we have much rain, retain the water. Even though the water can be unclean to be used by human beings, it can serve to water plants and consequently increase production and eradicate poverty.

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?

The ideas discussed above are of a great importance. They are all keys to the realm of success. They help me and can help any other person to transform himself from a low-thinking to a high-thinking person. This is acquired by acknowledging first that we are supermen who can achieve anything we want.

i. If it is possible for others in the world, it is possible for you

Lastly I was discussing with someone who was not convinced enough about his unlimited power. I insisted to make him believe that he can achieve any goal if he thinks and believes that it is possible. I started by telling him that the way he was thinking could not allow him to create miracles. He argued saying that unlimited power belongs only to God. After telling me he was a believer, I asked him what it means for him to be created on God’s image. He did not give an answer, but he reduced the tone of the voice. When I gave another example of a false belief which was accepted in European communities in the era of colonization that a black person could not lead a country and that it was hardly believed that a so kind God could have put a soul in a so black creature, he became convinced. I reinforced my idea in telling him that all lay in our beliefs. On my part, I already am using the weapon “If it is possible for others in the world, it is possible for you” to search for opportunities everywhere.

I know that at my birth God gave me huge potentialities and asked me to transform the world. I cannot afford to deceive Him. If he gave me talents, it would be unforgivable to hide them in locked safe box. The talents I was born with are now improved by lessons learned from this book. I should not be accomplishing my Creator’s mission “to make the world a better place to live in” if I don’t use them. I was educated in the way to be humble and not to raise high my capabilities, but I understand now that it is great time, not to be arrogant and boastful, but to be proud of myself and to use my potentialities everywhere and every time to help myself and other people around me and worldwide.

ii. Tell me what you eat I will tell you who you are (A sound mind in a sound body)

When I read the book in the chapter concerning the way of feeding, I remembered the message given by our teacher in primary 6 when we were applying to enter the Seminar school in Catholic Church. He told us that the condition to be accepted and to become a priest was to have “3 S”. These “3 S” were in French (“Santé” meaning [Good] Health, “Science” meaning Knowledge and “Sainteté” meaning Holiness). This teacher wanted to say that the three elements are complement. You cannot get a sound mind if you don’t have a sound body and vice-versa.

Unfortunately, a sound health is sometimes confused with eating varieties of foods that are expensive and not affordable by everybody. People don’t know about foods that are affordable by everyone and are very useful for our body and consequently for our mind. People living in rural areas think they cannot be well fed when we know they have more capabilities in getting vegetables and fresh food in general. They have always a desire for chips, meat and a lot of other foods not recommended for the safety of our body. In the opposite they neglect to eat vegetables like amaranth that grow almost everywhere. There is a great need to convince people living in rural areas that they have available resources they are not using.

At the other hand a campaign must be started to educate those who are wealthier to eat efficiently. Some of them are destroying their body thinking they are eating well. When you are invited to share a lunch or dinner with somebody considered to be rich, you have in front of you many kinds of foods. They think that eating a large variety of foods is synonymous of eating well. They don’t know that some of these foods are poisoning their body or preventing digestion of others … I always introduce such conversation when I meet people to show them that they have to get more vegetables and more fruits on their tables and avoid combining incompatible foods.

A campaign must be organized to tell people how to eat in the view to have a sound body if we want to live long and healthy. I want to start with writings in local newspapers and afterwards I will organize seminars all around the country.

iii. Assumption and generalization, a language of lazy communicators

After writing the part concerning assumption and generalization, I could not stop thinking about the way of eradicating assumptions in Rwandan minds. I am not ignoring the big role played by the Government in general and the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission in particular to bring reconciliation among the Rwandans. The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission pointed out that one of the problems preventing unity and reconciliation was the names spreading hate and discrimination among Rwandans. Those names are still given to children. We can cite for example “Utumabahutu” (meaning that bahutu are silly). There are also some sayings and beliefs which convey the negative message and risk to break the still frail unity. Among those sayings, we can cite “Utazi umututsi aramwikururiza” meaning that batutsi are not reliable friends).

There is a great need for educating people in general and Rwandans in particular in the way of recognizing the false beliefs that have been put in their minds and that have been watered by the ill-intentioned people. I started to use myself the precision model and to use it with people around me. It is simple to understand and to remember. I started to take an inventory of all my assumptions and try to remove them. At the same time I do it with my wife and children.

iv. The way to go from discord to harmony is to go from concentrating on differences to concentrating on similarities

Concerning the way to go from discord to harmony by going from concentrating on differences to concentrating on similarities, there are much things that need to be changed in my country. The Government is putting efforts to apply this principle and it is the duty for everyone to support this idea. Rwandans must learn to live peacefully and to respect each other without thinking that some of them have more rights than others. As said Gandhi, I must first put efforts to transform myself if I want to see my country transformed forever. If each one put his efforts to cleaning his/her own court yard, all the country will become clean.

v. How to turn resistance into assistance in communication?

I was told by my friend how she got her driving license where others have failed. The examiner was so tough that none among the twenty examinees had succeeded. After closing the test, she approached him and asked if women could not be given a second chance. She implored saying that women sometimes are shy and could fail not because of inability but because of fearing all those eyes watching them. Since all spectators have gone away, she asked the examiner to test if she was not true. The latter thought a bit and asked his subordinate to call all women for a second test. Unfortunately, apart from my friend the other women were gone away. She was the only one to get her driving license that day.

Another good lesson that taught me a lot about turning resistance into assistance is from another friend who was stopped by the policeman for bad parking. When the policeman was about to fine him, he implored the forgiveness. The policeman said no and drew his pen from the pocket. My friend told him that it is his right to punish but also his right to forgive. “Forgiving me will benefit both of us, because there is no harm against you, but punishing me will harm me and your heart also will be affected to see me in a pain”. The policeman looked at him and asked him if he was a pastor. My friend said: “no but I memorized very well the prayer “Our father” especially where it is said “Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those trespass us”. The policeman smiled and let him go.

It is not an easy business, but I have learned from the lessons above and the examples given by Anthony Robbins and Marshall B. Rosenberg that some rude men or women or aggressors have a heart and can be compassionate with the other’s harms. The way to deal with their hardness will be of great importance. If you oppose him or her resistance, you give him/her the chance to legitimate his/her ill-intention.

vi. Use personal power and persuasive abilities to control your life (p. 391)

We have unlimited power and we can use it to improve our lives. Since we have the power to run our kingdoms which are our brains, we have to persuade ourselves to achieve what is good for us if we don’t want others to persuade us what benefit them, but unfavourably for us. I am now trying first to convince my wife and children what is the benefit of eating and drinking safely and we will soon eat vegetables from our garden. If I succeed with my family, it will be easy to convince neighbours and friends because I will have good apostles around me.

When we see how many businesses are developing around advertisement to try to persuade people to buy one or another product, to use this drug instead of another, we must be aware enough of the danger waiting for us if we don’t take our responsibility to persuade ourselves before it becomes late. We know already that if it is possible for others, it is also possible for us. If one person can convince another to do this way even if he had no such intention, how can’t we use the same power to persuade ourselves to control our lives?

vii. All human problems are behavioural problems

I would like to remind everyone that our behaviour is of great importance. This is why people with more information, me comprised must take the first step to show to our country mates how we can change the way of life by simply changing the way of thinking. I started to put in place a little garden with a lot of varieties of vegetables to show how you can harvest many vegetables in a very small piece of land. I am also planning to retain all the water from my house and to use it during the dry season.

4. 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.

“In this society those with information and the means to communicate it have what the king used to have – unlimited power”

Page 6 – It is not enough to have information. If you don’t have the means to communicate it you can’t say that you have unlimited power

“Knowledge is only potential power until it comes into hands of someone who knows how to get himself to take effective action. In fact the literal definition of the word “power” is the ability to act”

Page 7 – If you have knowledge and don’t know to use it, it becomes like a seed thrown in the street and can’t grow because it lacks soil.

“Trial and error is fine, except for one thing: it uses a vast quantity of the one resource none of us will ever have enough-time”

Page 21 – All roads lead to Rome, but it is better to take the efficient one.

“People who succeed do not have fewer problems than people who fail. The only people without problems are those in cemeteries”.

Page 25 – In this world, each person has his/her own cross to bear. Those who succeed don’t have the lightest but know how to transport it efficiently.

“The meeting of preparation with opportunities generates the offspring we call luck”

Page 34 – If you see a person who knew how to turn all adversities into opportunities and plan well his goals, you can think that he is lucky. It is not luck, because he used potentialities when others wait for God to bring them food in their “nest”.

“If pain is sending you important signals about something you need to change in your body, then unless you address that need, the pain will most likely come back because it is serving you in an important way”

Page 111 – When someone has a fever and headache, the pains are not the problem because they warn you that you are suffering from malaria for example. The best way is not to address fever and headache; it is better to address the microbe and the mosquitoes that bring it.

“If you tell a big-enough lie loud enough and long enough, sooner or later people will believe you”.

Page 182 – There are a lot of things we believe not because they are true but because we have been used to believe them as such.

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?

Live with 70% of your income (page 380). In a country like mine where all relatives are tending their arms to getting something from you, it is not easy to live with only 70% of your income. It should be possible but you cannot plan for those who come to seek for help whenever they want. And the problem is that if the income grows; people to be helped increase in number.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them useful?

I could complete the following exercises and I found them very helpful:

1. Exercise that helps people to avoid limiting dialogues on page 94
2. I use the anchoring procedure explained on page 325 and I feel really confident.
3. I also tried the collapse anchoring procedure explained on page 336 during a ceremony where I was in front of a person who was bothering me with his interminable stories and it worked.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions?

When I read the story about Aborigen witchdoctors I remembered that the same scenes are observed in my country with people who believe in such sorceries. When someone believes he has been witched, his whole body is transformed and he gets forces he has never developed before. Such illnesses cannot be healed if not by a witchdoctor. Many people don’t believe that any modern psychologist can heal it.

“Inzaratsi” (plants used to make men docile)
In our culture it is believed that women can use some kinds of plants (“inzaratsi” in Kinyarwanda language) and make their husbands more docile when they are nasty. This is not known by everybody and many people me comprised do not believe in it. When I read the present book, my opinion changed. If the food you eat has an influence in the functioning of your mind, why some kinds of food cannot make you a docile man if you beat your wife every day? Probably someone discovered that if a person is fed with a certain kind of food, he has a certain behaviour. Unfortunately those “doctors” do not want to share their science with others and this situation opens the door for charlatans who by “trial and error” method prescribe nonsense treatments. In such cases the cure can be worse than the disease.


A. How interesting was it to read? 9
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? 9.5



Leadership for Dummies
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The main idea that the author conveys in this book is that every man/woman has the potentialities to become a leader if he/she has or accepts to develop a self confidence in him/her and follows advices set up by the authors in the book.

2. What are 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.

By way of introduction, let us begin with a definition of the words “leader” and “leadership” that will be referred to very often. Marshall Loeb and Stephen Kindel authors of the book “Leadership for Dummies” define leadership as “a set of qualities that causes people to follow”. This definition does not help us to understand well this term and the authors recognize that it is a circular definition. That is why they preferred to explain the term “leader” before attempting to explain what “leadership” is. According to them a leader is someone who has “the ability to inspire people to go beyond what they think they are capable of doing, making it possible for a group to attain a goal that what previously thought unattainable” (page 9). Following this definition, one can think that a leader is someone out of the common run of people. This could be a big mistake; leaders are people we meet every day and everywhere. Denis Watley in his book “The New Dynamics of Winning” (page 145-146) quoting James Stewart, a film actor defines them as follows:

* They are never so big that they can’t bend down to help someone else;
* They are never so wise that they don’t remember who taught them;
* They are never so gifted that they won’t share their skills with others;
* They are never so fearless that they don’t play by the rules and live by the law;
* They are never such big winners that they forget what it feels like to lose.

After understanding what do mean “leader” and “leadership”, we hope to be easy to understanding the following main ideas.

a. The buck stops here (Responsibility and accountability)

As you are already aware of, it is not easy to define neither what is “leader”, nor “leadership”. Authors prefer to elude the main characteristics of a leader so that you can recognize them without any need of definition. One of the traits that will help you to recognize a leader is two qualities coupled together because of their close relationship: “responsibility and accountability”. These two words are often used interchangeably. However, Pete Zdanis ( thinks they are not interchangeable. According to him, responsibility can be shared, when accountability cannot. Nevertheless, he defines accountability as the “ultimate responsibility”. For this reason, we will not separate them in the following text.

The first step to be made when you want to embark on the leadership vessel is to embrace the responsibility and to accept to be accountable. This ability is not the only one required from a real leader. It must be complemented by others, namely the ability to elicit cooperation, listen to the needs of others and put other people’s needs above yours. However the responsibility and accountability are more important. It is probably the reason why Marshall Loeb and Stephen Kindel highlighted them in the first pages (page 10) of their book “Leadership for Dummies”. The authors warn those who are afraid of responsibility and accountability to forget to becoming leaders.

When speaking of responsibility, what everyone should understand? People use to qualify someone as responsible when he is the one to be entrusted with important missions or who is able to fulfill his obligations. The accountability on its side is the fact for someone to be responsible for giving an account for his/her acts.

But it is not enough to accept responsibilities you are given, you must be the one who steps forward and says “I want to do that”. Brian Mayne in “Goal Mapping” divided the word “responsibility” in “response” and “ability” and defined it simply as “the ability to choose your response” (page 74). He added a very interesting explanation where he said that “the opposite of response-ability is blame”. Brian Mayne noticed that blaming others or something outward to be at the origin of your failure is a lack of responsibility. If you blame yourself, you are already accepting your responsibility. He advised us to stop blaming someone or something else and look what role did we play in what happened. If you are a real responsible, if things go wrong, you must say you are ultimately the reason why, instead of looking outward for an excuse. It is probably why Harry Truman, former president of United States of America had posted on his desk “The buck stops here” meaning that nobody else can be responsible or accountable of the Government’s acts. We can assert that it is the clearest and most well-known statements of responsibility and accountability ever made.

If the boss is one congratulated for the achievements of his/her organization, he is also the one to be blamed if something is going wrong. One time a friend of mine, who initiated a project and conducted all works in the Eastern Province of Rwanda, asked me if I had any idea about why his name was not mentioned during the project launching. He was the one who set up, planned and drafted the project, negotiated the funding and made the monitoring. Despite his efforts, the only person to be mentioned in all speeches was the head of the organization who knew few things about it. Fortunately, I had already finished to read the first part of this book and could give him an answer drawn from the part concerning “Responsibility and accountability”. I listened carefully to his complaints. When I replied, he was surprised by my point of view. I repeated him the sentence drawn from the book (page 10) where it is said: “the justification why the leader must be responsible and accountable of the group’s failure is that he is the first to get accolades and rewards when things go well”. The buck stops on his desk when the organization has problems. There is no other person to blame if not the head.

However things are not always like that. When things go wrong, they try to find someone else or something to blame when a problem occurs. The same friend gave me another example that pointed out a kind of person who tried to escape his responsibility. He is a building contractor and houses built by him for genocide survivors could not hold out for long. When asked why the houses dropped down, he said that it was the result of a heavy rain and wind. But he could not explain why the wind and rain destroyed only the houses built by him. If the man was a real leader, he could have said: “I’m ultimately the reason why. The failure is mine and no one [nothing] else”.

b. Triangulating information and gathering intelligence

When you are a real leader, your role is to guide your followers. It should be a big mistake to lead your group on the pretending lack of information. Yet, the leader must gather information from all possible sources: the group, the environment, books … But the problem of the information is that you can never be sure of its reliability. That is why you have to verify it. The process of verification of the information is called “triangulation” by journalists. As explained by the authors, this term was borrowed from the air navigation where it is used to mean the process of locating a radio beacon. Moreover, the source of information must be also evaluated to make sure about its value.

In Rwandan history, under the reign of king Kigeri IV Rwabugiri (in the mid-nineteenth century), a gossip spread within the royal court that the queen mother was pregnant. When the news came to the king’s ear, he called his confident advisor to ask him about the veracity of the news. The advisor, who was in conflict with the queen mother and had fomented the story himself, confirmed the information. The king became very angry. The scandal could not be tolerated. “How could a queen mother become pregnant without a husband”? He said. When a king was replaced when still alive, he was asked to commit suicide secretly with help or not. Following the constitution, two kings could not cohabitate in the same kingdom. Guided by his own feelings and without any other verification, the king ordered to kill his mother. After her death, the king knew that the story was invented by his advisor. He revenged the deceased, but it was too late for repairing anything. An innocent human’s life has gone and it was not possible to resurrecting her.

From the story above, we can learn that a leader must be careful when he/she gets information. If it is a unique source, there is a risk to be misled like what happened to the king. It is better to counter verify the information. Moreover if the decision to be taken has irreversible consequences, it is required to be more careful. This happens for example when a person risks to be sentenced to death like what happened to the queen mother. Based on the evidences found after the trial, the innocence of the person can be proved. What if the death penalty is already executed? It is not possible to repair the error.

As a conclusion, it has been demonstrated that leaders are in a tricky position. The destiny of their followers is between their hands. Before taking any decision, a leader must gather all information from as many sources as possible and from reliable sources and confront them to limit eventual mistakes.

c. Teach your children to become leaders

Psychologists have demonstrated it enough and we know it empirically that the early childhood is a better age for learning. If you want your children to acquire efficiently leadership skills, it is better to teach them those skills at their early age. With a population of 52% of the youth under 15 years old, I dare say that my country needs those skills to be spread among the youth. Even though I don’t agree with those who think they are old enough to learn something, I am convinced that a big effort must be put in teaching young people if we want to build the capacity of our people.

Rwandan culture has been marked by the inhibition of emergence of young people and women. They have been taught to sit quietly in a corner and say nothing at all if not asked to speak. And mostly when asked to speak, they were often blamed to tell the truth which could harm a chief or an adult in a position of authority. The inescapable consequence of this situation is that when growing, the former young person continues to fear expressing any opinion when he is not sure that it can harm any person. The situation brings also another consequence of always feeling mentally inferior when you are in front of a person who has a superior rank or when you are in a public meeting. When you visit a Rwandan family, it is very easy to notice the problem. Children don’t dare to speak in the presence of their parents. When you compare the expression of people coming from other countries like Uganda with that of those born in Rwanda, you notice a big difference.

This situation is not easy to change, because the parents who are supposed to help in teaching leadership skills to children are themselves suffering from the same problem. But we know that nothing is impossible once you believe in it. Parents must be first to be aware of the problem and start to excel themselves with the help of the skills learnt from this book. After that stage, the best practice is to let children observe and react. This leads to say that we must first acquire the qualities of leaders before attempting to teach them to children. Nobody can give what he/she doesn’t have.

According to the authors of this book, “to teach children to be leaders, show them how to be responsible, cooperate with others, listen, and put needs of others above their own. The followings are the methods that can help us to teach those qualities.

d. To embrace responsibility:

At the early age, you must teach your child to become self-sufficient. It is naturally made like this. After nine months, the baby has to leave the mother’s womb where she was fed automatically through the umbilical cord and warmly protected against external bad weather. Since then she has to breathe with her own lungs and use her own stomach. The mother’s protection is no more natural with invariable temperature. She has to be covered by artificial clothes to avoid flu and other diseases. When he grows up, mother’s and/or father’s assistance becomes less than before. She begins to eat by herself, to walk with her own legs and so on.

As the child grows up and becomes self-sufficient in terms of motivity, it is necessary to teach her to take also her own decision. This does not mean abdicating your responsibility as a parent to orientate her if you think the child’s choice is dangerous or can have long-term negative consequences. The authors propose to give the following answer to a child who wants to do something: “If it doesn’t hurt you or anyone else, and it doesn’t materially contribute to disorder or a lack of harmony in the house, you are my guest”.

e. To elicit cooperation from others:

Parents have to teach their children to cooperate with others. The authors have noticed that the easy way is asking to your children to provide a rationale each time they want to do something. If a child wants for example to leave the house for walking, make him explain why he wants to do it, with whom he is going and where he intends to go and the potential dangers he can encounter in the place he is going. Cultivate in his behaviour the habit to asking permission and explanation of what he is going to do. By this technique, the child learns that he needs your cooperation and others’ to become more independent.

f. To listen:

Listening is another ability required for a leader. Children must learn it at an early age. The best way is to constantly ask questions. Get them in the habit of reading newspaper and ask them to tell you about articles that they read. The authors advise us to make children used to make report of what happened to them. But parents must avoid punishing them when they report things that have been wrong; otherwise you can inhibit the reporting habit.

The authors consider that reporting has a relationship with listening because children must learn first to listen to themselves in order to provide you the information you need. Afterwards they will need to get information you will need. As an example, the authors propose parents to insist to know if the parent’s friend he wants to visit is at home. It will become a habit for him to be informed about that and report it to you even though the absence of the parents’ friend will prevent them to play.

g. To put the needs of others above their own needs

We know that children are egocentric. They often think of themselves. According to the authors, the best way to lead them in the way of thinking about others is to give your child an allowance but requiring from him/her to banking a part of it. This develops his/her sense of saving but also to delay gratification. After they save money, when they want to use it, ask them to use the third for charitable cause. They will learn to think about others at their early age.

h. Telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Recently I was asked by an Australian friend if it is accepted in our community to lie. Before getting an answer, she gave me many cases she observed during her internship in one Rwandan organization. I agree with her that Rwandans use to hide the truth. Sometimes we lie without any interest and we are used to it. When you meet someone and ask him where he is going, it does not amaze you to get an answer like “I don’t know where”. It is accepted in our culture not to reveal anything you know. But there are some other cases more serious where you don’t have the truth when it could save a person or clear a situation confusing people. This was observed during Gacaca trials to judge genocide perpetrators. Sometimes people did not say the truth about what really happened during the genocide. Perpetrators were not revealed to the court and some innocent people were accused willingly. It is a pity to learn such things in a community where around 90% belong to different Christian religions.

When I read the part of the book where the authors wrote about the truth, I understood that Rwandans are not the only people renowned for lying. We share the sin with other human beings. It is said on page 297 that “Few people lie outright, but most people don’t tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. On the same page, authors continue explaining the consequences brought by this situation. “Failure to make full disclosure and to live with the consequences is what brings people and businesses to brink of scandal, and turns minor infractions into major embarrassments.

Is it allowed to lie? In Rwandan mentality, it was accepted to lie if it was just for the aim of surviving. Once upon a time, a man offered to the royal court a jug of banana beer fermented with honey. After he was helped to take the jug from his head (in Rwanda, luggage are usually transported on the head), he put off the cover for tasting the beer before others could drink (it was forbidden to give to another person something to drink without tasting yourself. It was to ensure that the person receiving it did not risk to be poisoned). At his great surprise, a dead mouse was floating in the beer. Without letting other people see what it was, he immediately took it from the beer and began to eat it. When asked about, he said it was a rest of a honeycomb stitch. If he had said the truth he could incur a severe punishment including the death. For the sake of his life and relatives he preferred to lie and to eat the mouse. Most religions accept also to lie “if telling the truth to someone will cause him/her a pain, as for example, when you have to tell a loved one that he/she has an incurable disease and he/she is going to die”. (page 297)

In some communities like mine, people are sometimes forced to lie. When you tell the whole truth, you can be hatred or menaced because the chiefs don’t like to hear what is wrong with them. If they are told that all things are well, they are happy. If someone dares saying the contrary, he becomes an enemy. Those kinds of chiefs like people who show them a rosy picture of the situation. People around them are also sensitive about that and prefer to hide the truth (the truth is sometimes best when left unsaid).

But a good leader needs to tell and hear the truth. When people discover your dishonesty, it is difficult to trust you any more. Even though you think it is a small lie, it can bring discredit upon you. One friend made a mistake he will regret all his whole life. His wife has once forgotten a radio outside the house. When her husband entered in the compound, he took the radio and hid it somewhere. His wife tried to find it everywhere, but in vain. She concluded that it was stolen. A week later, her husband brought it back from where he had hidden it and warned her to pay attention in the future. His wife got angry and from that day, when something is missing in their house, he is asked to disclose where he hid it.

According to the authors, “Telling the truth requires that a leader first be honest with him or her. If you are attempting to say what you do not believe, the law of attraction will respond to how you feel about what you say and how you feel about what you think.

i. Toleration is a dirty word

In usual language, toleration or tolerance is used to mean an attitude of respect of practices or group memberships that may be disapproved of by those in the majority. In this context, the meaning of the term “toleration” is given the authors on page 313. They define it as “the act of permitting that which is not established or accepted”. When you tolerate an act done by someone, you accept to tolerate the same mistake to anyone within the group”. It must be bear this meaning in the present text.

For a better understanding, let me share with you a story of a former Burgomaster (equivalent of a mayor) of a rural district named Rutsiro in the western part of Rwanda. He didn’t tolerate any mistake no matter who was the defaulter. One day his wife went to the district and saw a man peeing near the wall of the district. The woman went straight to the man and slapped him on the face. The man replied with a smack. The woman cried and run to her husband and said what happened to her but she didn’t say she was the first to slap the man. First, the Burgomaster became angry with the unknown man who could dare to bit a Burgomaster’s wife. He gave an order to a policeman to bring him the man immediately. With great fear, the man came to the Burgomaster’s office and explained what happened. He said that he was sorry for incident but that it was a self-defense. The Burgomaster went outside and asked witnesses what happened. Everyone confirmed the sayings of the man who was accused. When back in the office, the Burgomaster asked his wife from where she got the power to punish people if she was not among the district officers. After explaining her the best way she would have used (to report the matter to the policeman or another district officer), the Burgomaster ordered to put her in jail for two hours. The defaulter was also fined not to respect the public office and for the lack of hygiene.

This is a real story, but people have always a problem to believe it. The reason is that few people can have the courage to do what the Burgomaster did and apply the rules even though they can hurt their beloved. If you begin to tolerate this kind of situation, your sister, your cousin, brother or other relatives will think they have also supremacy on other people and begin to punish whoever they think is defaulting. Your mother and father will justifiably think they have more power than you. It will become an anarchy system. If you allow another way to coexist alongside the way established, it will “grate upon those being tolerated, and it will degrade the cooperation they are likely to give” (page 313)

j. Whoever has the gold makes the rule

People think that being wealthier gives the right to rule others. In many companies, it is accepted that shareholders exercise their voting rights proportionally to the number of shares they hold within the company. For this reason, the shareholder with more than 50% of the shares has the right to appoint the Managing Director or to become himself the Managing Director under the title of President Managing Director (Président Directeur Général ‘PDG’ in French) with the ultimate power. This is also an accepted formula in International Organizations where rich countries have the last word in decisions to be made. It is for the said reason that U.S.A, Russia, France, Great Britain and China are permanent members with the right of veto.

For long, it has been accepted as such in many communities. Rich or authorities have the last decision even if they are wrong. Once upon a time, a colonizer wanted to test an indigenous chief. He asked him to call the population for emptying Lake Kivu (a lake situated between Rwanda and Congo) and making space for cultivating rice. The chief was not convinced about the possibility of emptying the water of the lake, but respected the order given by his superior. The majority of the population responded to the order and came early in the morning with their jars (a kind of receptacle made with clay). Some of them refused but were afraid of being punished and fled away. When the Belgian knew that there were reasonable people who did not accept the order, he asked them to come back and rewarded them. The chief was dismissed and replaced by one of the “rebels”.

In my country, we have acquired a mentality of respecting blindly those with great power and more wealth. But money and power are not enough for making rule.

k. Maintain contact with your group

When I started my career as a deputy director of a training center (30 years ago), my idea of being an authority was to be fully respected by your subordinates. A distance should be maintained between you and your subordinates if you did not want to become familiar with them. Later, I got a very useful experience of a former Managing Director of a Bank where I was working (BACAR which changed in FINA BANK). He used to share lunch with his employees. It was a great revolution especially in the world of banks where a big gap exists between the staff and the management committee. Despite the good initiative taken by the managing director, other directors did not want to follow his example. They preferred to continue eat almost nothing in expensive hotels (a loaf of bread with meat croquette and a cup of tea) just for keeping their honor. Since that time, I understood the advantages of being part of your subordinates group. The fact of sharing a lunch, the managing director shared also the daily life of his employees and could resolve many problems before it became too late.

In many institutions, the director and management team don’t want to be with their subordinates apart from during official meetings where the management is sitting up on a platform and the staff at the lowest level. This kind of relationship does not allow the staff to express themselves freely. They know they are there for listening instructions. They prefer to shut up and continue to gossip else where. What is surprising is that such kinds of managers complain every time during meetings that there is a lack of sharing information within the institution.

I am really sorry to give an example of the institution I was working for three months ago. The management was always complaining about lack of information within the members of the organization. It was true, but they did not want to recognize the origin of the problem. To prove them the truth, one member of the staff who was in IT Department decided once to tell them what the problem prevailing in the department where the staff was victim of the low speed of the system. Sometimes, they passed the whole night waiting for the closure of the daily operations before commencing the following day. The whole members of the management began to tell him that even if there was a problem, it was his own and not his colleagues’. A month later, the person who was menaced during the meeting resigned like many others (I was among them) who could not bear the situation prevailing in the institution. Since then, I understood that the management was applying the strategy of burying the head in the sand like the ostrich where the big remaining part of the body is visible to everyone who wants to see it. You can hide the truth to outsiders for long or a few time (sooner or later, it will be known), but it is not possible to hide it to insiders. Better to be honest and discuss the problem openly with them to find a lasting solution.

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?

a. The buck stops on my desk.

“Responsibility and accountability” are the first abilities that leaders are required to have. If things go wrong, I know that I’m ultimately the reason why instead of looking outward for an excuse. “The failure is mine and nobody or nothing else”.

b. Triangulating information and gathering intelligence

It is very useful to verify the information received for its coherence and to make sure that the source is reliable. In our daily life, we meet a lot of information that need to be verified if we want to get real information. We never know the intention of the person providing the information. As someone who is expected to work closely with the justice in the near future, it is important to learn this lesson. It will help me a lot in the future to avoid judicial mistakes which can have irreversible consequences.

c. Teach your children to become leaders

As it is known, teaching a child is easier than teaching an adult (it is more difficult to teach new tricks to an old dog). As a parent and someone who got leadership skills, I know also how it is advantageous for children get leadership skills when they are still young. We need to teach the youth to embrace responsibility, elicit cooperation from others, listen to others and put needs of others above their own needs. We need also to change the mentality of inhibiting children in their initiative. I plan to spread those skills within universities.

d. The truth drug, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Even though a person asked to take an oath says “I will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, you cannot be sure that it is really “the whole truth”. If you want to become a leader, your followers must trust you. When people discover dishonesty, it will be difficult to trust you anymore. Even though it is a small lie, it can bring discredit. The lesson learned from this book will help me to discuss the matter with my country mates and see how to improve our image in terms of telling the whole truth.

e. Toleration is a dirty word

The act of permitting that which is not established or accepted can bring more inconveniences than advantages. There is one problem observed in my country and people do not attach any importance on it. If we tolerate those who don’t want to line up when he comes latter than others, there is a risk of tolerating this person to wound or kill others. If he is the last, he must humbly accept to be the last on the queue no matter of his wealth or his rank. If the rule is established no one have the right to break it. When I see someone overtaking people on a queue, I always mention it to him and attract the attention of others to help me to disapprove that act. The only exceptions are those permitted by the law or accepted by the whole group. I think for example about a pregnant woman who cannot queue because of her particular situation that everyone can see and understand.

f. Whoever has the gold makes the rule

If people from poor families continue to be under considered and accept this situation as such, they will never emerge and the gap between poor and rich will continue to become greater and greater. The lesson learned from this book will help me to convince people about their self-confidence despite of their lack of wealth. Money and power are not enough for making rule. The most important way to become what you want to become is not money. If you believe that you can, you can. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor.

g. Maintain contact with your group

This helps me to advise some of my acquaintances who complain about the sharing of information within their institutions when they are not making efforts to approach their staff. Even though they cannot share a lunch or tea, or meet them otherwise, there are possibilities to meet the staff members in the hall and exchange some words. This will help to reduce the gap between the management and the staff.

4. 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 leader is someone who has the ability to inspire people to go beyond what they think they are capable of doing, making it possible for a group to attain a goal that was previously thought unattainable”

Page 10 – A leader is like yeast. He is like a springboard for his followers to help them to attain the other side of the river.

ii. “If you are the type of person who looks outward for an excuse instead of inward for a reason, you’ll have a hard time earning the trust of others”.

Page 10 – People will trust you when they see in you the person who takes the responsibility even though things are going wrong.

iii. “A mission is the plan of action for reaching a goal. It sums up the tasks at hand and their expected outcomes”.

Page 79 – A mission must determine the expected results and the way to help you to achieve them.

iv. “Good judgment means doing the things that keep a team focused on its goals, but it means also not doing the things that distract the team from those goals”.

Page 124 – A leader must be always preoccupied by the team’s goals.

v. “The best business plan in the world and the ablest people are not enough if no linkage exists between what those people are doing and what they propose to do in the future”.

Page 238 – You can’t see the future if you don’t stand on the present’s shoulders.

vi. “In order to be a team leader, you have to be able to get people to want to do what you want them to do rather than simply ordering them to do what you want. Basically, if each soldier had to decide individually whether to fight or to flee, all soldiers will choose to flee”.

Page 256 – The role of a leader is not to push people, but to lead them to want what you want them to do.

vii. “The world exists in myriad colors and subtle shades, and the leader who can learn to see the world in all its polychrome wonder and to make the fine distinctions in shadings that are required to solve problems without causing confrontations, is the leader who will ultimately succeed”

Page 325 – The leader who can manage different points of view in his/her team and avoid confrontations within them is the one who can be qualified as a “real leader”.

viii. “It’s easier to send humanitarian aid to the survivors of the slaughter in Rwanda than to tell people that you need their support in preventing it, which is why we have the paradox of America and its Western allies simultaneously being the strongest powers of the planet and practically powerless to prevent human misery anywhere on the globe”.

Page 333 – It is easier to see the problem when it has already occurred than to convince people that it can happen.

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?

The English language used by the authors is sometimes not easy to understand.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them useful?

I tested my leadership qualities IQ (page 47) and the score was 4 points. This means I am probably already known as a leader.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions?

Never apologize

When I read the warning given by the authors to leaders asking them to “never apologize”, I remembered one Prefect (governor) of a Prefecture (province) in my country who failed notably in his role of leader. One night, a Chinese building site was attacked by unknown people. They stole and destroyed a lot of materials. Instead of accepting his responsibilities to have not appointed the police or other guards to prevent the problem, the Prefect apologized in the name of those who destroyed the site and said to the Chinese engineers that the incident will never happen again. If you are a real leader, you accept the responsibility of what went wrong and accept the consequences.

On page 303, the authors warn leaders in these terms: “Apologizing is a form of begging. It is asking for forgiveness without actually accepting responsibility. ‘I’m sorry, and I won’t allow it to happen again’ means that you have no clue why it happened the first time, which makes you unfit to be a leader. ‘Whatever happened is my responsibility, and I won’t let it happen again’ says that you are going to make the effort to find out what went wrong”


A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 7
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 8



The Power of Failure: 27 ways to turn life’s setbacks into success

Assessment by Hakizimana Aloys (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

To answer this question, allow me to borrow the author’s own objective as stated on page 4 where he states: “This book is designed to provide simple yet profound ways to turn seeming failures into successes”[1]. Throughout this book, the author demonstrates in practical ways how successful persons have encountered many failures on their ways before achieving what we consider today as almost “miracles.”

However, the author warns us explaining that the “This book is not advocating failure as an end in itself. Rather failure is a means, an essential ingredient, to successful living. Without learning and growth, failure can be a destructive force in our lives.”

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. Falling is not a failure

The first thing that comes to the mind of a person reading this book is the really meaning of failure. The author has tried to oppose it to success for a better explanation of the term. But he found it better to oppose old and new definitions of the terms: failure and success.

As the author says, “failure has been always understood as a negative, fatal, and final result indicating: an inability to perform and a lack of success, a falling short because of ineptness, deficiency or negligence, a bad thing that should be avoided, mourned and punished. But today’s understanding of the term is quite different. It rather means: a short term unexpected result that reflects a challenge in progress and that provides a stepping stone to success, an opportunity for learning and development, an opportunity for creative change and innovation.

Brian Mayne, in his book “Goal Mapping”, affirms that “studies conducted around the world have shown that one of the great fears of modern man is the fear of failure.” This is our daily life. I do not dare start something because I fear an eventual collapse of the business, I hesitate for knocking at a door because I am afraid of not being received in the house, I fear… I fear… However, from what has been said above, nobody could be discouraged by a failure, and a failure is somewhat not a real failure but a simple setback. Briane Mayne continues explaining what must be understood as a failure. According to him, “Failure is only failure when no lesson is learnt or you decide to give up without trying again.”

When I was studying in a “Teacher Training School,” our professor of methodology used to tell us that one of the best methods of learning is the “trial-error” method; nevertheless, the method is discouraged in modern era, because of the risk of waste of the time. The trial-error is then used in the introduction of lessons of sciences, and the teacher intervenes for guiding students. This means that the so-called failures are good lessons to avoiding the same errors and leading to success. A good conclusion could be given by a Chinese proverb stating that “Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up.”

ii. The fear of failure is one of the biggest obstacles to living a full and rewarding life.

Our life is full of obstacles, so that a person who does not want to face them could opt for staying inactive for his/her entire life. The good lesson to be followed by adult persons is provided by young babies while attempting to walk. What could have been this world like if at the young age, everyone had stopped trying to walk after the first failure or because of fear failure? Everyone would be crawling today or simply lying down. A child falls and stands up; he/she tries again until he/she masters how to do it well. A bad consequence of fear of failure has been given by the Bible in the proverb of the bad servant who received a talent but instead of investing it, preferred to hide it in the ground. The consequences of his fear were more important than what he could have probably endured if he has tried to invest it.

iii. Comfort zone and the fear of failure

A comfort zone is a behavioral space where a person’s activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security. In our country, authorities encourage people, mostly the young graduates to become self-employed. However when a person has already a job, be it not well paying, the majority of them fear to leave the job. The security provided by the job is not a real security; it is what we name in Rwanda “serum” just for surviving. If you want to develop, you have to accept to leave a comfort zone. As it is usually said, “a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is built for.”

iv. Sink or swim lesson

I still remember a very terrific experience I endured with my classmates when we were on our way home from our boarding school. Our home was very far from the road and we had to walk for around 5 hours with our bags on the back. We had to cross Rukarara River, the main branch of Mwogo River, the source of Nile, the longest river in the world. The place where we had to cross the river was a bottleneck where all the water has been naturally oriented in small passage through a rock. The Rwandan myth attributes this natural marvel to the King Ruganzu II Ndoli who reigned in Rwanda in the 15th century. The flow of water through the small passage is so terrific that when you approach it, you feel dangerously magnetized by it. The only way to cross it is to jump or to be carried by one adult person who has also to jump. The first time I crossed the river, I was with my father who offered me his hand and helped me to jump. When back home from school, neither my father nor any other relative was around to help me. One adult person who was fortunately taking the same direction joined us and found us desperate. After he joined us we felt happy because we hoped he would help us. He first took our bags on the other side and came back to us. He proposed the first one to come near the passage and told him to be ready. Instead of taking him on his back or tending him his hand, he pushed him toward the dangerous passage. Desperately the young boy, for avoiding falling in the water, jumped and reached the other side. Our first reaction was to run and escape the “bad” man. Unfortunately his speed exceeded ours and he caught us without any significant difficulty. He brought us by force at the same place. He said that if our companion has jumped successfully, we can also perform as well. I approached first and when I hesitated he pushed me and I jumped with all my forces and reached the other side. The same thing happened to the last one. With anger, we took our bags and continued our way. However, the next time it seemed very easy to cross the river. Despite the person’s initiative was very risky, he applied the lesson of “sink or swim” and it succeeded very well.

v. Opportunity thinkers

The author recommends us to seek for opportunities when we face obstacles. As we are used to, when one faces an obstacle, the first reaction is to give up. However, many people who succeeded in life tell us that there is always a possibility to turn the adversity into opportunity. As said by Napoleon Hill in his book “Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success,” “There is no scarcity of opportunity; there is only a shortage of imagination.” The same author gives us an example of how an adversity could become a blessing. He gives a concrete example of a certain Milo C. Jones who was running a small farm, but became suddenly paralyzed. His relatives were convinced that he was a hopeless invalid person who was condemned to stay in bed. Instead of becoming desperate, Jones turned to his mind. His mind being sane, he gave orders for how the farm could be exploited[2]. Physically he was unable to do anything, but his mind was still sane and could do more than what he never thought for before.

This good example is also illustrated by my sister Appolinarie Ayingiliye who is immobilized in her bed, but can manage successfully the affairs of her sister’s business. Before that, she was also a Managing Director of a cleaning company named “Keep the City Clean.” In my assessment of the book “Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success,” I gave an example of how my wife turned her adversity of being in bad terms with her boss into an opportunity of doing business. She found that the best solution was to resign from her job, rather than continuing with a so bad situation, even though it was offering her a monthly salary. Where someone fails on one side, there is a possibility of succeeding on another side, the problem is that we do not take time to use our brain and think to other possibility; we have to become opportunity thinkers, instead of resigning to our fate.

vi. Win-Win situation

My studies as well as any other lawyers’ have been orientated to an adversarial situation. It means that a lawyer must win over the other party. This is a very prototype of a win/lose situation. For us to win, others must fail (lose). It has been observed that the win/lose situation never create further good relationships. It rather fuels animosity against each other.

In the majority of cases I pleaded in court, the pronouncement of the judgment always aggravated the situation that prevailed before. Since the introduction of the case in the court’s registry until the final decision of the judge, each party believes it can win. But when the verdict falls, one of them is lowered by the defeat. This is what creates resentment towards the winning party.

I think the same as the author where he says it is better to succeed at win/win, not win/lose situation. Many people wonder how the win/win situation is applicable in litigation process. One day I witnessed a case of a couple in the process of divorce that reached a win/win solution instead of continuing the litigation. After the husband evaluated their common patrimony, the wife did not agree with the value, pretending it valued more. The husband took a very wise decision and proposed his wife to pay the sum and keep the property if she thinks it is worth more. The couple put an end to the litigation before the registrar without necessarily appearing before the judge. This was one of the rare situations in which both parties reach a common understanding without pursuing the proceedings up to the highest court of justice.

vii. Patience

One of the today-world’s worst diseases is the lack of patience. If you have no patience, any failure could be seen as the end of the world. We have learned that Thomas Edison failed but tried again more than ten thousand in attempting to create a light bulb. If he had not had patience and continue, we could imagine what this world could seem like.

Charles C. Manz quoting Steve Ballmer, the then CEO of Microsoft, explains that products and businesses go through three phases: vision, patience and execution[3]. He points out that many persons would like to pass directly from the stage of vision to the execution without passing by the stage of patience which is the more difficult one. This stage could be illustrated by the process of bringing a baby into the world. From a microscopic egg to a person who can give him/herself birth to other babies; there is a long process that requires patience.

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?

A lawyer’s career is full of adversity so that if one fears failure, he/she should better not start at all. When you are a good lawyer and are convinced of the injustice suffered by your client, it would be fatal to hear the judge pronouncing his/her failure. Despite you are right, you can lose the case due to many reasons: the lack of evidence, incapacity of the judge, corruption. Even though, it is often said that the case is not for the lawyer, but the latter is always affected positively or negatively by the decision. Lessons learnt from this book encourage me and are good advices for my colleagues. You can lose one battle and finally win the war. It is offered to the looser the possibility of appealing against the decision rendered by the first judge.

The fear of failure is one of the obstacles for initiating one’s business. People who prefer to stay in their comfort zone and avoid risks never succeed. Today I can say that, thanks to the International Institute for Global Leadership’s lessons, I could put aside the fear of failure by deciding to leave my salaried job in a bank and start my own law firm. I don’t regret to have taken such decision, even though it was not very easy at the beginning. Even if I still face obstacles, this is life. But this book taught me to turn every adversity into opportunity. The big obstacle met by lawyers is to think that you have to win and the other party to lose. Lessons learnt from this book and others before helped me to see conflict between two persons in other angle. The objective must not be winning, and the other party losing, but to build a lasting relationship between the opposed parties. This is only possible when both parties feel they won the case.

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.

“If someone never fails, this is a telltale sign that he is not trying anything new or challenging.”

“If you want to succeed more quickly, heed the surprisingly sage advice -double your failure rate.”

“If you want to be successful in life, continually fill your mind with opportunities not obstacles, so that you could create them.”

“Perhaps the real winners in life are persons who have not only succeeded in their own efforts but were able to look beyond themselves and help others win as well.”

“So when things get bad and pessimism abounds, don’t panic and back off. Remember, it was gravity itself that ultimately challenged and motivated us to fly.”

“Just as muscles will not get stronger and grow unless exerted beyond their relaxed comfort level, we will not grow as people unless we are challenged.”

“Confronting what at times seem like overwhelming challenges, wrestling with them and personally growing (and helping others to grow) as a result, may be a key secret to great success.”

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?

The only thing that could have challenged me as a lawyer is the win-win situation, but I have been fortunate enough to study the “Alternative Dispute Resolution” module respectively in my courses of Masters of Public International Law and Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice. This course provides the out-of-court settlement of disputes and the most successful ones are those favoring the win-win situation.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

At the end of each chapter, the author gives you a “leitmotiv” to be remembered by the reader. I consider them as an exercise and I always try to remember them as lessons in the future.

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 comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
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



12 Hours to a Great Marriage
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The main idea the authors are trying to communicate to the reader is that any problem met by partners can be resolved if they have the will and the commitment to stay together. But the best of all is that all problems within a couple’s life could be avoided or prevented if the partners take time to communicate each other.

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. The first idea is the recognition of unavoidable conflicts in the life of a couple.

They can be minor or more important, but no couple could pretend to be free from conflicts. In my country, there is an adage stating that “nta zibana zidakomana amahembe.” The literal meaning of it is: “cows cannot live together without shocking their horns.” When people live together, it is almost impossible to avoid conflicts between them. The same principle is applicable to partners living together. Even though each one sees the other as a precious treasure at the beginning, after a certain time, it is impossible for each one to hide his/her character. If the other partner cannot bear the other’s behavior, it could be a source of conflict. During my career as a lawyer, I discovered many things relating to conflicts in couples’ life. Some women, apparently in a good harmony with their husbands, came to me for advices when their marriages were about to fall apart. The big issue for me was that those couples did not appear to have problems before the eyes of the public. This is probably linked to the Rwandan mentality obliging women to keep silent, even though they are mistreated by their husbands. These observations led me to conclude that no couple could pretend to be free from conjugal problems. It is the reason why this book is helpful for all couples worldwide.

ii. Commitment to a lasting marriage

If the two partners are not committed to live together, it is very hard for them to maintain their relationships. Normally, when two persons decide to put in place a project, like the one initiated by a groom and a bride or any other couple, they have to support it, if they want it to continue forward. In the contrary, the project risks to collapse because no one is interested in its continuation. In a ceremony of religious marriage, before the priest gives a benediction to the new couple, each one must tell to the other that he/she is determined to live with her/him the whole life, whatever could happen. Those who were married in Catholic Church remember well these words: “I, __X__, take you, __Y__, to be my (husband/wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” This commitment is so powerful that anyone about to recite the sentence to his/her partner should think about it more than once. When you are committed to stay together, you do not think to other alternatives. And if you don’t think to escape and let your co-fighter fight alone, you will fight with him/her until you win the combat or perish together. Even a quasi-insurmountable difficulty could not discourage you. But when you think about abandoning your co-fighter under any reason, all pretexts are considered as valuable to abandon him/her at the battle field. It is the same for partners if they are not committed to stay together the whole life.

iii. Communication as good way of handling issues

When an issue is not discussed by partners, it can degenerate into a conflict. The authors have provided many tools regarding issues, but mostly the efficient techniques for discussing about those issues. The authors state that the best way to stop issues from erupting at inconvenient times is to talk about them before they are triggered by events.

Communicating supposes that you take time to sit together and expose each other the issues that are rampant in the couple’s life. In Rwanda, many couples have not such time. Men say they do not have the time to stay at home. It is commonly accepted that men have to share a drink after work and exchange ideas with other men. The consequence of this situation is the lack of time for couples to discuss issues threatening their families. The only time men could get is when they come home late in the night, and sometimes in a drunkenness state not allowing any fruitful discussion. It is a great time to change mentalities and build a wonderful future for our country, by strengthening the nuclear society, the family.

iv. The power of forgiveness

Contrarily to the generally accepted adage, forgiving does not mean forgetting. Most of the time, the fact of forgiving is beneficial to the person who has been hurt. But the forgiver will not necessarily feel any more pain. It does not mean that the person who hurt you should not take the responsibility of his/her acts, nor that you have to be friend with him/her. In case you have been offended by your partner, you should be the first person to benefit from the forgiveness you grant to the offender. In many situations I noticed that in couple’s life, when there is “black cloud” in their atmosphere, both suffer. The offender and the offended continue to think about the problem. It is better to talk about the issue, because it is the only path to resolving the conflict in a lasting way. As said by the author on page 221, if you have the humility to recognize that you have hurt others, you are more likely to be able to forgive others who have hurt you.

v. The role of sensuality in the life of a couple

“Even though having sex is an exciting and wonderful way to show how much you care, there is another side of physical love: sensuality.” In our culture, it is not a usual practice. For instance, apart from those who have been in contact with western culture, it is not allowed to kiss your wife in a public place. The practice of greeting in embracing a person between your hands is allowed but it is not a particularity for intimate partners. It is observed between a man and any other woman and even between persons of the same sex, without being gays or lesbians. However it is worth noticing that even though your objective is to make love with your partner, expressing care for him/her in many ways (caressing, kissing) is a very important preliminary. Women suffer more from the lack of this practice. The reason is that more often, it is the man who initiates the sexual intercourse. He does it when he has been prepared enough by thinking about it. If the woman is surprised by her partner, she is not prepared for the act and it is a deception for the male partner because his wife is not lubricated enough, because she is not psychologically prepared to receive the male organ in her intimate parts. In some circumstances she could be even scared. The best way of creating harmony between partners is to increase the gestures expressing love to each other.

The practice of stimulating the female partner is somewhat considered as necessary in Rwandan culture, even though it is not at the level wished by the authors of this book. Men are encouraged to stimulate their female partners by caressing the clitoris with their own sex. This practice is named “kunyaza.” Literally it means “to make urinate,” because the movement provokes a fluid coming from the female’s sex. Unfortunately all men do not take time to help their female partner to reach the orgasm. This practice, if well performed, increases the level of women’s sexual satisfaction. But this act could be accompanied or preceded by other gestures exciting the female partner. Since the woman’s arms are free, she has not to be passive; she could also increase her partner’s sensuality by caressing him for example. Some male partners complain about the lack of woman’s sex lubrication during the sexual act, but they have to know that the solution is in their hands.

vi. To have a fun together as a couple or with others

As stated by the author, in the majority of cases, some years after the marriage, the couple starts to be preoccupied by children and other household activities. They forget that one of the keys for their happiness was having fun together. My wife and I were used to practice jogging together or exercises using a DVD tape. Sometimes we shared the jogging with a neighbor who was really excited by them. Here in Rwanda, it is commonly known that women like roasted goat meat named “brochettes” in French. What is surprising, the same kind of meat is not well appreciated when roasted at home. The best “brochettes” are found in cabarets. When you take a closer look at that, it is worth noticing that the great pleasure is not coming from the “brochettes” themselves, but from sharing the meat outside of the usual place. It is good for the couple to laugh together outside of the family and meet other people. The reason why women love such time more than men is that men are very often outside of the family sharing beer and those “brochettes” with friends.

vii. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence

In my culture, sex is taboo. But this does not mean there are no extra conjugal affairs. The pretext advanced by those who are not satisfied with their own partners and dare say something about it is the same: “the other’s partner is better.” In the majority of cases, those who can talk about it are men. Women do not dare affirm they could have any extra marital affair. However, when you analyze the situation, the reality is elsewhere. The problem is how the relationship between partners is managed. When a person (let us assume it is a man) dates another’s wife, there are moments of preparation of that woman. Sensuality has its role to play in preparing the other partner. The man does not make love brutally as he is used to do with his own partner. The man calls the woman and proposes her to share a drink. There is a time to talk about wind, rain and sun as friends and about their mutual love. There is a time also for caressing each other to name but those acts of sensuality before reaching the ultimate act. This is the reason why they think “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”

In Rwanda we have a very interesting story of a man who has been conned by one woman. The story demonstrates enough how it is false to believe that others have more than you. The man was continuously proposing a woman an extra-conjugal affair. Despite the negative answers, he insisted so long that the woman finished by saying “yes” just for getting rid of him. But instead of doing the act herself, she went to see the man’s wife and proposed her to be at the right place at the right moment. Since the unfaithful man knew that the woman’s husband was not around, he came quietly during the night, entered the house, and locked the door behind him. He was a regular visitor so that he could not miss the room’s door even in the darkness. There was no electricity and they had agreed upon the extinction of lights for avoiding suspicion from neighbors. He went straight in the woman’s bedroom. He was so excited that he passed to the sexual act without preliminaries. Since the area was dark, he could not notice who he was sleeping with. After the act, he was so satisfied that he thanked a lot the woman who did not dare say anything because of anonymity. After the act, he slept so deeply that he wakes up in the morning to see him lying near his own wife in another person’s house. You can imagine the rest of the story as you want, but the problem was not the partner herself, but the man’s mindset.

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?

I have been fortunate enough in my 30 years marriage. My wife and I have had the best moments, but through this book I discovered that we missed something very important. We have always been busy with our household and forgot ourselves. It is time now to build the rest of our life together in a strong manner. The seven ideas chosen among others have to be strengthened, but one of them should be more developed. I have to pass more time with my wife out of the premises of our home. Another idea concern the way I can help others making love last in their families. Nowadays, it is observed many conflicts between married couples. After reading this book, I wondered if something could be done for managing those conflicts. I discussed the issue with my wife who is an expert in Gender matters and she welcomed the idea. We agreed upon the possibility of preparing young couples before marriage and advising existing couples when a problem arises or for maintaining good relationships.

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.

“Being in good mood tends to make you give a person you’re talking to the benefit of the doubt. If you’re in bad mood, you tend to see and hear things negatively.”

The best way to negotiate anything with another person is to put him/her in a good mood. If you adopt a negative attitude, the other person will take a defensive position and it will not help you communicating easily. The solution you wanted will not be reached easily.

“One key to marital happiness is having the skills and the confidence to handle your differences and talk about sensitive issues without fighting in negative ways.”

The man and a woman are very different biologically and psychologically. This difference must not be a source of conflicts, but it must help for the complimentary and improve their life together.

“The best way to stop issues from erupting at inconvenient times is to talk about them before they are triggered by events. If the issue has been buried, the smallest thing can catapult it to the surface.”

An issue must exist without any problem if not triggered by event, but you cannot prevent events to happen. The best solution is to talk about issues before they become a monster not easily manageable.

“Having sex is definitely an exciting and wonderful way to show how much you care. But there is another side of physical love: sensuality or enjoyment received through any of the senses.”

As commented above, some people do not attach any importance to their partner during sex. Definitely this is a kind of egocentrism or non-respect of other’s rights. If you really love your partner, you think about his/her needs before satisfying yours.

“Many experts believe that sexual chemistry decreases overtime. While this may be true for some people, it does not have to mean that the love and attraction you feel for your mate will inevitably fade.”

I agree with the author’s assertion. In our culture (Rwanda), there are two adages relating to sex and affirming that the age of the individual has nothing to do with the sexual performance. The first adage affirms that even after the menopause, the woman can continue to perform well in the bed. The second is related to men, and says that even though a man has lost all of his teeth, the desire for sex persists. This is to say that if the old partners manage well their common life, the sexuality could continue to be safe.

“When you forgive, you’re saying that you plan to put the damaging event behind you. You are saying you won’t bring it up again in the middle of future arguments.”

Since no human being is immune from mistakes or faults, forgiveness is very important in life’s couples. As suggested by the authors, it is in the interest of the offended person to forgive even though he/she has not been requested to do so. However, forgiveness must not necessarily mean that the offended person has forgotten the offence. The latter has been archived somewhere and it is no longer a source of conflicts.

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?

The book is very easy to understand and contains lessons applicable to people of different cultures. Despite it has been written in the American context, it seems like it has been written for Rwandan couples. I agree with the ideas contained in the book and lessons contained in it are very fruitful for any couple determined to follow them.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, there are exercises to be done individually and others destined to both partners. However, these exercises could have been beneficial if I could have done them with my partner. I am now encouraging her to read the book, and if she gets time, I would take the opportunity to do the exercises with her.

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 comment.

The matters related to couples are endless and the authors cannot pretend to having covered all the issues. One of the important things is the evolution of women’s mentalities. It is commonly accepted that new generations are not keeping their couples for long. It is an up-to-date topic when people discuss the couples’ lives. Even though I have no figures showing how couples are disrupting, it is not very difficult to notice the difficulties met by new couples for maintaining their lives together. I think that the problem resides in the evolution of women’s mentalities.

Nowadays, women have recovered many rights they were denied before, but some men did not change their mentalities. For example, as a consequence of massive education of girls, women are no longer the traditional housewives they were before. They have now the right to work outside of their household, and can contribute to the revenues of their respective families. However, when back home from their respective works, it is demanded to the woman to perform family works without any help from male partners and this generates inevitably conflicts between them.

When a conflict arises and is considered as unbearable, the woman is no longer afraid of leaving her husband or partner, because she can survive with her own means. As a solution, men must be educated in the sense of treating their wives as equal partners instead of continuing to see them as their subordinates. This mission must be accomplished mostly by women while educating their sons. In the majority of cases, mothers treat their sons as superior to their sisters, and such education has necessarily negative consequences in future couples’ lives. Men consider themselves as superior, even though they work or contribute less than their partner. And when the worst situation (divorce or separation) happens, it has been noticed that men suffer more than women, because men are not prepared to manage alone the household. They have acquired bad habits of being served by their wives/partners.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
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 it? 9

Creating Money: Attracting Abundance

Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the authors are trying to convey in the book?

Throughout this book “Creating Money,” Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer try to demonstrate how the universe is abundant and that it depends upon us to attract from it the wealth we want. What we have to do is to believe it is possible and to remember that, as said by W. Clement Stone in the introduction of the book Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success, “whatever your mind can conceive and believe, your mind can achieve”[1].

The book is a course in attracting abundance as well as money, for money alone will not always bring a person to what he/she wants. According to the authors, abundance means more than having quantities of things; it means having things that fulfill you as well.

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. Altruism

It is true that charity begins with oneself, but it has been said also that what you do for others attract more wealth. In the Bible (Proverbs 11:25), it is said that “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” In this book, the authors recommend the reader to picture abundance for him/her and for others. In their experiences they noticed that as a person enlarges his/her thinking to include others, imagining abundance for everyone, he/she will open up even more ways for abundance to come to him/her. In general, people are not aware of the benefits of opening your hands, your door for others. In the assessment of the book “Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success,” I gave an example of a man who gave miserly one a grain of wheat to a beggar, and when back home after opening his bag, he found one piece of gold. He began to regret not to have given the whole content of the bag.

ii. Money does not necessarily make you happy

As said by the authors, money and objects cannot automatically need or give feelings a person wants. What money will give you that you do not now have? What deeper needs or desires would be satisfied if you had a large sum of money? These are the questions the authors incite us to ask ourselves when we want money. You have to think first why you want more money. Is it for aliveness, peace, self-esteem? If this question remains unanswered, it will be difficult for you to reach the inner goal you have when you request from the universe a big amount of money. What you want could be given you in another form. But if you still focus only on money, the inner goal will remain unachieved and even though you got money, you will continue being an unsatisfied person. There are many examples showing us people who acquired more than enough money but finished killing themselves because of unhappiness. Before the 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, there was a man in Kigali (let us not name him) who was considered by many as a tycoon not only in Rwanda, but in the whole sub-region. One day, people were awakened by cries calling for help and without delay followed a sound of a shotgun. When neighbors could break the locked door of the house, they found two dead corpses: his wife seriously wounded in different parts of the head, probably with a hammer that was lying on the floor, and the man shot in the head certainly by himself. Whatever the reason why he killed his wife before put an end to one’s life, the fact is that he was unhappy despite the wealth he possessed.

iii. Why do you want money?

When I ordered this book, my main intention was getting the secret of having a heavy account in the Bank so that I could pay scholarship in a good university for my two daughters. I finished reading the book with a different idea: defining first the reason why I want money, instead of focusing on money itself. The authors of this book illustrate well how it is better to think deeply about the reason why you want money. It is a story of a young man who wanted one million dollars. He tried to earn it in as many ways as he could but unsuccessfully. It is only when he decided to define first what this million would give him. After deciding it, he started finding time to relax and doing activities he loved without having money first. Among these activities was playing music, he improved it and recorded lyrics and sold them to movie companies and earned much more money than what he wanted.

It is also necessary to be clear with the essence of what you want. As said by the authors[2], by becoming clear on the essence you want, you increase the range of possible forms and ways in which these forms can come to you. When you ask for a given amount of money, magnetize it and picture the essence of what this money will give you, to allow the universe to provide it probably under another form but that satisfies your needs.

Moreover, when you picture the essence of what you want, you have to learn to recognize it when it comes. My concern is allowing my daughters to study in a good university and come back in Rwanda with a knowledge that could help them to live by themselves and help their respective families. I finally discovered that studying in good university could be possible through a scholarship granted either by government or by any donor. It is not necessary to get it by my own means. When it comes, I have to recognize that the money I wanted was not to fill my pocket or my bank account but for paying scholarship to my daughters. However, this could not stop me seeking all means for getting the money I could need for paying the scholarship. The Celestial Helpers will provide it in a way they have chosen. When writing about the recognition of the essence of what you want, I remembered a very interesting story of a person who prayed and asked God to visit him one day for sharing a lunch. God agreed and told him that He will be there a certain Sunday, exactly at midday. When the clock sounded midday, the person was ready to receive the Lord. At the very time, the door’s bell sounded and the person went quickly to open the door. He saw a person not well–dressed and without asking him who he was he pushed him away and slapped the door angrily. The next day, he prayed again and asked God why he did not come as promised. The Lord said: “I came exactly at midday, but you did not let me enter the door.” The host regretted very much because he did not recognize the guest because he was thinking of a person dressed smartly.

iv. Principles for magnetizing money, prosperity and abundance

A magnet is a piece of iron or other material which has its component atoms so ordered that the material exhibits properties of magnetism, such as attracting other iron-containing objects[3]. Magnetism is then a fundamental property of some materials (for example, iron) by which they attract other materials. By extension, magnetism is an ability to attract other people or other things like money. The property of magnetism resides within us. The authors affirm that every human being work with energy and magnetism all the time, though usually not consciously. It is possible to increase magnetism by respecting the following principles as tested by the authors:

The first principle consists of knowing “how what you are asking for will be the appropriate expression for whatever higher quality you want to express more frequently in your life.”

You cannot magnetize something successfully if you don’t define “the essence or features of what you want as well as the specific form.”

Don’t hesitate to ask for what you want or even more than it.

Love and intend to have what you want, because positive thoughts are more magnetic than negative ones.

Believe that what you want is possible.

It is important not to need what you are calling to you but rather to have a certain detachment about it. Let it be all right if it doesn’t come, or if it comes in a different form from what you expect.

In a certain way, it is very difficult to believe that you can create yourself miracles. But sometimes, I ask myself why we do not believe in miracles, if our own life is itself a miracle. Moreover, men and women have been created in God’s image. I imagine that the concerned image is not a physical one, it is the mental capacity. If so, our mind can create miracles like God does. The problem is to believe that it is possible.

v. Spend and give with love for creating a state of receptivity

If you close your hands and do not let others access to the wealth in it, when the abundance will come, it will not be able to enter in them. As I said in the assessment of the book “The power of intention,” everyone and everything that cannot harm you are welcome. If everything in nature is waiting to be called into action to serve you, open your hands and welcome them. But what we have to know is the scarcely impossibility of receiving if you do not open your hands in the gesture of kindness. If you do not open your hands, all gifts will find your hands closed and not ready to receiving them as said above. The authors affirm that “the energy that comes to you when you make a meaningful contribution is a reward even greater than money…”[4] Moreover when such contribution is given without being asked, it is more beneficial.

vi. Gratitude

The Thesaurus dictionary tells us that the word gratitude has come to the English language in between 1400-1450, coming from Medieval Latin grātitūdin-(stem ofgrātitūdō) thankfulness, equivalent to grāt (us) pleasing + -i- -i- + -tūdin- -tude[5]. As defined by Psychology Today, “gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants.” They continue affirming that “Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness and especially expression of it to others is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.”

The authors affirm that when you thank yourself, you instill confidence in your ability to create what you want. People are not inclined to that state of mind. Before thanking themselves, they did not even thank others who did a very fruitful and beneficial act to them at the cost of many efforts. Here we could remember or I could tell you the Bible teaching when Jesus cleansed ten lepers. “And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

What then about thanking yourself about what you performed? People are used to say it was by haphazard or by chance. You have surely been helped by the Universe, but there is a big portion of your efforts in the achievement. If not, why others are not attaining such performance? If you don’t thank yourself for such efforts, you are in some way discouraging yourself from achieving such results in the future. I invite you to think about the steps you have made, the stumble blocks you have surmounted, and say, as Rwandans use to say “I am a man”. Feminists have not to worry; even Rwandan women say so except my wife and others like her who studied “gender” and do not like it.

vii. Speak of success and prosperity

“Maganya” is a Kinyarwanda term used to design a person who always speaks of his misery without evoking a single thing he could have succeeded in his/her life. This is to say that Rwandan wisdom believes also that when you always focus on bad things you attract them to you. I have learned from different authors that the law of attraction plays in all circumstances. If you always focus on failure, you will fail and if you keep thinking of success, despite the problems you could encounter, success will come to you inevitably. As I said in my assessment of the book “Law of attraction” written by Michael J. Losier, “Sometimes, we prevent ourselves unknowingly from reaching what we want to achieve. In the common understanding, people say that if a soldier, when going to the war with fear, there are more risks for him to be killed. I think the belief can be applied to all situations. The fear of death makes him thinking about it and the law of attraction helps him to attract it more and more. As said by Losier “I attract to my life whatever I give my attention energy and focus to, whether positive or negative.”

The authors of the book “Creating Money” tell us that “words affect your subconscious which hears what you say and goes to work directly to make your words come true.” This is why it is important to speak of success and prosperity if we want to attract abundance in general and money in particular.

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?

While reading this book, I noticed that some principles contained in it have been covered before in other books and I got the opportunity to develop them in my Level One and Two assessments.

For example, I said something about altruist feelings while assessing the book “Psycho-Cybernetic 2000”. According to the law of attraction as learned from Michael J. Losier, by opening my hands to others I will attract more abundance. The law of attraction plays in what we think, what we say or what we do. I know that I have to speak of success and prosperity, but also to be a living example of what I say. If do not think to others with a human heart, and do not give to them with love, it is impossible to create a state of receptivity. As I said above, even when I am deprived of enough resources, I must avoid closing my eyes to needy people. When the poor widow put in the temple treasury two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents, Jesus said to his disciples that she had put more than all the others. I have to be proud of myself and to use my potentialities everywhere and every time to help myself and other people around me and worldwide as I said in the assessment of the book “Unlimited Power.” The most important lesson learned from this book is to define what I want and not to worry in any form it appears. By being clear and respecting the principles of magnetizing money as enumerated above, I am very confident that I will become one the happier persons in this world.

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.

“The essence of something is the function you want this item to perform, the purposes you will use it for, or what you think it will give to you. Many things other than what you picture might give you the essence of what you want, so be open letting what you want come in whatever way, size, shape, or form is most appropriate.”

“You cannot use magnetism to change another person or force something to happen that is not in the best interest of both parties, for magnetism works only to draw those things to you that are in the best interest of all concerned.”

“Everything comes at the perfect time and in the perfect way. The bigger the goal, the larger the step and the longer it may take to have what you want.”

“If you feel you can’t live without something, that your well-being is dependent upon your having it, you actually repel what you desire. It has been said that you can’t have something until you don’t need it. This is not the same as not wanting it.”

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?

The content of the book is clear and easy to understand.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Throughout the book there are many exercises (26 in total) for helping the reader to energize the work, magnetize and draw to him/her objects, money, clients for his/her business, and contacts such as publishers, agents, an employer, or employee. I tried to complete all of them.

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 comment.

If I am not mistaken, I think all what is necessary to help the reader for attracting abundance have been covered by the previous questions.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
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 it? 9

[1] Hill, Napoleon, Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement, Matthew Startwell, New York, 1997, p. x.

[2] Idem, p. 33.

[3] Retrieved from, on 09 February, 2016.

[4] Roman S. and Packer D., op.cit., p.132.

[5] Retrieved from, on 08th February 8, 2016.



Peace is the Way

Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The objective of this book is well précised by the author at the beginning of his book in the following terms: “to erase the groove of reacting by war, that has been worn in our minds and substituting it by a new way to respond when we are afraid or angry or even when we are not.” The new way which is the way of peace “can end suffering and oppression, not by warring against an enemy but by bearing witness to wrong and by allowing sympathy and common humanity to do their patient work.”

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.

While reading the book “Peace is the Way,” my ideas were all converging to the author’s objective of “Bringing war and Violence to an end.” As a person who lived in Rwanda during the traumatizing period from 1990 to 1994, and the horrific genocide perpetrated against Tutsis in 1994 and its endless consequences, the main idea is “the right to peace and tranquility of peoples.” However, the requirement of the assessment is to choose at least seven ideas that seem more important than others. But I apologize from the reader if he/she notices that all the seven ideas are in close relationship. Since I have not to be far from the main author’s idea, let us be very close to the notion of peace and to the way it could be recovered where it is missing. First of all, what is peace, this rare ingredient, without which the world is always threatened to become a hell?

i. The definition of peace

Every time and everywhere around the world, the word “peace” is always in the mouth of everyone. When you meet someone in the street, the first thing he/she wishes you is “peace”, if he has nothing against you. In their greeting formula, Israelis use to wish to each other “shalom” which means “peace.” In the Catholic Church, there is a ceremonial handshake exchanged between believers wishing each other “peace of Christ” during the mess. At the end of a service, pastors, priests in different religious communities and sheikhs in mosques wish to their believers “the peace of God” before they go back to their respective homes. Considering that everyone wishes to attain peace, it is worth wondering what is that rare commodity? Why people never get enough of it? Does it really exist? As we already know, sometimes a person cannot define something but can easily recognize it when given the occasion to see it. A person can have difficulties to define an elephant, but can point it out among other animals on a picture or in the park. There are some other existing elements not easy to see with your own eyes, but you can affirm it does exist based on its effects. Nobody can see the wind, but when it blows, you notice the movement of trees and their branches.

Without creating polemic, let us define peace in the same way. When there is peace somewhere, you can feel it by the emotions caused by peace as stated by the author.[1] These emotions are: feeling of shared suffering (compassion), knowing that suffering is shared by everyone (understanding) and love. When you feel those emotions, be sure that peace is there.

ii. Us vs. Them: Dehumanizing the other side

As I said in the introduction, all ideas developed by the author in this book have something to do with what happened in Rwanda in 1994. Those who were at the top of the execution of the genocide in Rwanda were always putting before them the argument of “killing” as a measure of prevention against killings planned by the victims. If it is not “them,” it will be “us.” This idea was very easy to defend when coupled with the pretext that Rwandan Patriotic Front[2] was composed by the descendants of Tutsis who fled the country in 1957. As a public international lawyer, this reminds me the notion of the anticipatory (preemptive) self-defense in international law (self-defense without being physically attacked first)[3]. Moreover, the victims were not treated as human beings, they were named cockroaches, a beast which leaves its hideout when there is no light and as soon as it is clear, it disappears. Rumors were also widespread telling that Rwandan Patriotic soldiers have tails and they eat human flesh.

iii. The human animal

It is always said that a person using violence is an “animal” or a “monster,” to describe how the act committed is far from being like a human’s one. But as the author says, “If violence is called an animal trait, it has to be countered that animals don’t kill for sport, exterminate population of other animals, out of thoughtless greed or use violence to feel important or to defeat goodness.” When you analyze human impulsions, it is easier for me to say that human beings are worse than animals. Human beings have been created with a reason that allows them, at an age considered as of maturity, to choose between the good and the evil. This is to say that at the majority age, acts committed by a person must be thought of, and avoided if judged wrong.

It is very rare to hear people who deliberately support the use of violence against other persons, even though there are some events in which it is tolerated to kill or to make other people suffer (violent sports for example). Those who support violence use other alternative arguments, for example, the necessity of using violence because of threat under which they were. This phenomenon was observed in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide, where victims were not supposed to be killed because they were “Tutsis”[4] (what was the reality of the genocide), but because they had planned to exterminate “Hutus”. The message sent to the population was then “kill them before they kill you.” The threat was reinforced by the label of tutsis’ descendants” put on the members of the rebellion that was fighting the Government of Rwanda.

iv. Japanese example of forgiveness

The word “forgiveness” always makes me think to the Christian prayer “Our father.” Within the prayer, it is said “Forgive us as we forgive.” It is worth wondering how many Christians put in practice the content of the prayer especially about forgiveness?

The author asks a question that deserves an answer from American authorities, starting by the President at any time of history and also by any American citizen. But it applies also to any other person worldwide, because, as I think, the author’s intention is to prove that forgiveness is not an easy business. However, it is possible as proved by Japanese people after the President Harry S. Truman ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

v. Chaos affects people in ways you can’t predict

Deepak Chopra, the author of “Peace is the way” thinks that the worst enemy of peace is not evil as people could think, but chaos. As defined by the dictionaries, chaos is “a state of total confusion with no order.”

Rwanda has known unthinkable chaos in 1994 where no authority was respected by the population and nobody could pretend to have any right as a human being. This was the chaos in the real meaning of the term. I remember that a group of 8 gendarmes were killed by the Interahamwe, because those officers, who were, in normal conditions, in charge of security of the population, wanted to protect a woman suspected of being a Tutsi, married with one of those gendarmes. If those who were supposed to detain the power and to organize the society could be killed in such manner, who could survive in this country?

After killing Tutsis and moderate[5] Hutus in Kigali, it has been said that the Interahamwe militia started killing all inhabitants who did not flee the capital for seizing their properties. Killings were also perpetrated between Interahamwe themselves because of property, power or women. If the situation had lasted another more month, nobody could have survived, be he/she a Hutu or a Tutsi in the country.

vi. Ideology as the greatest enemy of peace

Besides chaos, says the author, the next greatest enemy of peace is ideology. Ideology attracts allegiance and blinds a person to reality. Before analyzing the notion of ideology, it is worth understanding what it is. As defined by the Oxford Living Dictionaries, ideology is “a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.”

The term “ideology” was born in the highly controversial philosophical and political debates and fights of the French Revolution, and acquired several other meanings from the early days of the First French Empire to the present. The modern meaning of the word was born when Napoleon Bonaparte (as a politician) used it in an abusive way against a group who called themselves “the ideologues. Even though the ideology can be positive, in the majority of cases, it is understood as negative. Ideology has been said to be developed in the minds of terrorists and to convince young people to join the terrorist groups for causing troubles worldwide. In Rwanda we have heard about genocide ideology and now in Europe, and worldwide, it is still developed and sustained the anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism. All these ideologies are negative and have the objective of destroying other peoples, becoming then the greatest enemy of peace. When disseminated among young people, the ideology becomes very destructive and it is not easy to uproot it from their minds.

vii. From a normal person to a monster

In Rwanda, we experienced an event that is not easy to explain, or to understand if someone tries to explain it. Since the implantation of the Christian religion early in the beginning of the twentieth century, people have been taught to live in peace. But in 1994, when the genocide against Tutsis started, we saw normal persons turning into monsters. For me it was unbelievable to see a person attacking another person without any previous conflict. Long time after the end of genocide, I continue wondering if such wickedness could occur elsewhere in this planet Earth.

The answer came to me when I was working within the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (2001-2002). My colleagues and I were fortunate enough to beneficiate trainings from different specialists from America and elsewhere. I remember that one of them, his name escapes my mind, told us about the Yale University experience demonstrating how a normal person can be turned into a monster. The experience has been referred to by the author on page 192 of this book,

The author gives conditions for a normal person to become a monster, and those conditions evoked have been observed in Rwanda during the genocide.

We were overwhelmed by the attitude of some people who were known to be kind, but who involved themselves in merciless killings perpetrated against innocent people. This was made possible because these people were given the occasion to disregard morality. The different authorities and media were encouraging them to kill under the pretext of “you have to kill if you don’t want to be killed first.” The group of killers had organized themselves in a look-like military structure with commanders surrounded by body guards. If you did not respect their orders, you could be killed without any hesitation. Every person was afraid of them, even those who are not supposed to be targeted, could not go outside without risks. The confusing idea in that situation, is that the attacks perpetrated against people you knew they were innocent were said to come from the higher authorities who, said the killers, were very well informed about their involvement in treason against the country. The killers were also told they will never be punished because they were protecting the country against the enemy. How could you be punished to have saved the mother country? But curiously, even though killers brandished the nation saviors’ emblem, they rarely killed the victims in open areas or during the day. Either they perpetrated their ignoble acts during night or they “exported” victims to other hidden areas. From what is said above, what happened in Rwanda in 1994 meets the conditions evoked by the author concerning how the normal person you used to see in normal life could become a monster without any other consideration.

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?

When you couple politics with ideology, you notice that politicians are ready to sacrifice human lives for safeguarding their positions. In Africa, we assist to various tensions between ethnic or supposed ethnic groups, not because these groups have problems between them, but because there are politicians behind them, pushing people to enter into conflicts for profiting the disorder and chaos for accessing to power. In the majority of cases, these politicians use young people who are not mature enough to understand the hidden agenda.

Some of the ideas developed above are illustrating situations that could be used by those politicians for destabilizing the peace and harmony in a community or a nation. I witnessed the evolution of the war from 1990 up to 1994, and I am one of those who were convinced that people were killed without reason, but who are unable to do anything in front of humans transformed into monsters. At that time, I understood how an ideology could be spread among the population little by little and arrive at the point of convincing innocent victims that they were guilty and deserved the worst punition of death. I remember sadly and I think I will never forget the song taught to us by a “Tutsi” teacher in 1972 while preparing for the 10th anniversary of independence. Up to now I did not understand if the teacher was doing it under pressure, or if he was also convinced of the content of the message. One of the song’s verse said:

“What happened when the White person [colonizer] came in Rwanda?

He collaborated with the Tutsi, who is the enslaver, For exploiting Rwanda.”

Even though the teacher was not espousing the content of the song, the message he was transmitting to young pupil was recorded in their minds. Fortunately for me, even at that very young age, I was not convinced that Tutsis exploited Rwanda because sometimes I visited my father’s cousin who was a Tutsi, and their family conditions were not better than ours. Despite their life conditions, some ten years before, they came to seek refuge in my family, because they were threatened by their neighbors, simply because they were Tutsis. The ideology continued to be disseminated among the population and despite the seemingly peace from 1973, when the spark (death of the then President of the Republic, Juvénal Habyarimana) touched the fuel, the Rwandan sky flared up. This was the product of a long culture of hate between those who were sharing the same poverty and the same misery, but became enemies just only because of ideology and political interest.

When the Rwandan conflict culminated, we were in a presence of situation of a total confusionWe have seen an attitude of some people who were known to be kind, but were involved in merciless killings perpetrated against innocent people qualifying them as cockroaches, serpents and that confusion offered to perpetrators the occasion to disregard morality, because few people had a sane conscience. At that time, I noticed that conscience could die and it does not reproach a person to commit interdicted acts.

The Rwandan experience proves that no one gains in violence and that the best way to have peace is to be the peacemaker yourself. The Rwandan wisdom teaches us that even if you are combating the weaker enemy, you cannot get away without a scratch on your body. This means that in a way or another, everyone gains in creating peace around him/her. Another issue in our country is “forgiveness.” After the war and the genocide, the international community thought it would not be possible that Hutus and Tutsis could cohabitate in a same country. Some proposed to transfer one group to another country. Rwandans opted for a Rwandan solution: unity and reconciliation. A commission for that purpose was created and, with other national and international organizations, it encouraged perpetrators to confess and ask for pardon, and victims to forgive perpetrators. I worked within the commission; I understood the advantage of forgiveness even though the perpetrator does not seek for it. Many survivors of genocide recovered the sense of life, just because of forgiving those who killed members of their families. It is not easy, but it is worth trying. When you have something against another person, it kills you instead of killing the other person. If you continue having bitterness against another person, it is like getting a cancer or any other grave illness in your body and think it will kill the person you are in conflict with. The Japanese example of forgiveness has encouraged me as a Rwandan to continue encouraging victims in any situation, to forgive those who commit wrongful acts against them.

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.

“Violence is not the essence of human nature, it is prevalent and innate but so is the opposite: love.”

“Believing that violence is more powerful than peace is the same as saying that death is more powerful than life.”

“The way of peace is not a revolution; it is a consolidation of everything that is already here.”

“A peace movement that is only anti-war has never succeeded. We must envision an entirely new order based on peace, and then unseen forces will start to gestate that reality.”

“War is like cancer: it will only get worse if we don’t treat it.”

No one can really foresee if American militarism is going to win the war on terrorism, but we know from the way of peace that both sides are engaged in utter futility.”

“The obvious fact that God does not interfere in human affairs makes it impossible to assert he favors war.”

“Violence could not be explained in the Darwinian way. We don’t ever need violence for surviving.”

“When I remarked to a diplomatic group that we would never end terrorism until we endear ourselves to the enemy, they stared at me as if I had lost my mind.”

“I have been told time and again by professional negotiators that apparently insurmountable obstacles melt away once each opponent really believes that his side is treated equally. This is a basic tenet of the way of peace, but until warring parties act on it, disputes of the kind that rage in the Middle East will continue.”

“If we lost half the population of Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and all our urban areas, to civilian bombings, would we be so ready to forgive?”

“The way of peace tells us that we have to know the values of our opponent, because otherwise we will never know what is negotiable and what is not.”

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?

I totally agree with the author.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the exercises proposed by the author are on page 14. They are related to a tangled hierarchy. When you choose a pair of topics, you find there is a link between them. I chose the following examples:

“Religious conflict” and “Lifestyle of Rich Nations”. I noticed they are linked by the notion of those countries qualified as civilized nations who practice the Christian religion and consider it as the leading religion in terms of civilization. This situation generates conflicts based on religions.

“Poverty” and “Drug trade”. They are linked by the notion of the use of poor young men and women in the dangerous job of selling drugs for almost nothing as a pay.

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 comment.

There are many ideas that need to be commented on, but as I said before, they are all converging on the necessity of creating peace around us. This the reason why I recommend everyone to become a peacemaker by respecting the peace week program stated:

Sunday: Being for peace by taking five minutes to meditate for peace

Monday: Thinking for peace by introducing the intention of peace in your thoughts

Tuesday: Feeling for peace by experiencing the emotions of peace (compassion, understanding and love)

Wednesday: Speaking for peace by telling someone how much you appreciate him/her, expressing genuine gratitude, offering healing or nurturing words to someone who needs them and showing respect to someone whose respect you value

Thursday: Acting for peace by helping someone in need

Friday: Creating for peace by coming up with at least one creative idea to resolve a conflict

Saturday: Sharing for peace by sharing your practice of peacemaking with two people.

I am trying to follow this calendar and I notice that it is very fruitful. If this weekly peace program was practiced by everyone, the world should become a paradise.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 7
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 8

[1] Chopra, D., op.cit., p. 26.

[2] Rwandan Patriotic Front was a party formed by former refugees and attacked Rwanda in 1990 for forcing the Government to accept the return of refugees.

[3] Malanczuk, P., Countermeasures and Self- Defense as Circumstances Precluding Wrongfulness in International Commission’s Draft Articles on State Responsibility, p. 716, retrieved from, on 26 March, 2017.

[4] Rwanda has three ethnic groups (Hutu (s), Tutsi (s) and Twa (s) who, surprisingly share the same language, same religion and cultural practices and don’t have respective separate regions. This does not meet the traditional definition of an ethnic group.

[5] Moderate Hutus was a term given to the Hutus who did not support killings and genocide.



The Essential Gandhi

Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

In the book “The Essential Gandhi,” Louis Fischer, Gandhi’s biographer, introduces the reader to the unbelievable life of a person, Mohandas K. Gandhi called Mahatma (“great soul.”) Gandhi could make the English Government (former colonizer of India) tremble without weapons or soldiers by sensitizing Indians to face the force of the oppressor non-violently. As said by Albert Einstein quoted by the author at the end of the book, the forthcoming generations will scarcely believe if a person like Gandhi walked upon this planet.[1]

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. The sincere confession and apology

In his fifteenth years, Mahatma Gandhi stole gold from his older brother. Nobody knew he did it, but his conscience was not quiet. At the beginning, he had no courage to confess the act to his father, because he was afraid of the pain it would cause to the latter. At the last moment, he decided to write the confession on a slip of paper and handed it to his father.

The first thing that needs to be said is that Gandhi had unveiled to be uncommonly brave by confessing the wrongful act committed. The nature of almost all human beings is to hide his/her faults and to consider it enough for feeling safe. Everyone has a tendency to think that: “If nobody knows I have committed this act; keeping it secret will preserve me from punishment”. This feeling of false security is nonsense because you have a physical security, but the conscience is not quiet. Only those who fear God think of the Big Eye watching them from “Heaven.” What is more surprising is that Gandhi did not fear for being punished, but he feared to cause a pain to his father.

However, I am not too keen on the way Gandhi confessed his fault. He should have confessed the fault near the victim of the theft (Gandhi’s brother). If there is a problem in bringing the concerned parties together, a third party should seek pardon on behalf of the wrongdoer. In Rwanda, with the view to enhance reconciliation, the Government has adopted a policy of seeking forgiveness on behalf of the wrongdoers during the 1994 genocide committed against Tutsis. One or many persons not necessarily involved in those killings, but belonging to a family or a group, from which genocide’s perpetrators are originating, are encouraged to apologize on behalf of the latters. This way of seeking pardon is not shared by all. It is said that the forgiveness is given by the offended person to the offender, when the latter apologizes for the wrongful acts that harmed the former. It is recommended to Christians to seek for forgiveness before presenting your offering to God. Christianity goes further and asks to its adepts to forgive, even though the offender did not apologize. In the prayer “Our father,” no condition has been posed before granting forgiveness. In addition, for Gandhi, you forgive the one you have the power to punish. For him, no forgiveness could be envisioned, if you have no power to punish the perpetrator; in that case, it is necessary to claim for punishment. A definite forgiveness means a definite recognition of your strength, he said. Even if the author should be right on this point, it does not mean that the one who forgives the other must be in a position of power.

i. Apartheid

Nobody on this earth could pretend ignoring what was the apartheid or what it seemed like. But few people know that communities other than black ones have suffered the harm of this institutionalized form of discrimination. We have observed many forms of segregation worldwide, but it is rare to see a segregation institutionalized as such by a Government. Under apartheid, nonwhite South Africans (a majority of the population) were forced to live in separate areas from whites and use separate public facilities, and the contact between the two groups were limited. This was the reason why Gandhi was expelled from a train at Maritzburg train station while travelling from Natal to Pretoria[2]. For the similar reason, his application for being registered in the Natal Law Society was rejected. Fortunately, the Supreme Court overruled the Law Society’s objection[3].

This form of segregation was combated by the African National Congress and it came to its end in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela, as the first black president of South Africa. Meanwhile the fight against the apartheid started long before that date and I learned from this book that Gandhi played a big role in fighting the system. The first time he landed in South Africa, he was himself a victim of apartheid and took a decision to oppose it with all his force, but in a nonviolent way.

Condemning the apartheid is a thing, but being exemplar in fighting any form of segregation is another. As said by Gandhi, it is not understandable to claim for your rights as a victim of segregation when you practice the same thing towards others you consider as inferior to you. Here below I will develop the way a group of Rwandans were despised based only on their position in the society. They were not necessarily dirtier than others, but they were only victims of their membership of a community named “Batwa.”

iii. Out-of-court settlement of disputes

When Gandhi went to South Africa as stated above, he went there for a specific mission. He had to “win,” in a court of law, a case entrusted to him as a lawyer. Such lawyers are named “advocates” in Rwanda. They represent or assist their clients in courts or other public and private bodies. As a lawyer, I am very interested in this form of conflict resolution, because it has not been always regarded as a good way of conflict resolution. A good lawyer was the one who defeated the other, or at least, delayed the case by objections, so that the plaintiff’s claim could not be accepted in by the judge. However, nowadays, lawyers are encouraged to avoid the traditional way of confrontation in courts, because it has been noticed that mediation, conciliation, arbitration… resolve the conflict in a more lasting sense, by avoiding the win-lose situation and favoring the win-win one.

After meeting his client, Gandhi avoided expressly, at his own risks, the trial in court. He opted for an out-of-court settlement of the dispute, referred to in other terms as “alternative dispute resolution.” Gandhi did not agree with the competitiveness of religions, and he also disliked the competitiveness of lawyers. He proposed to appoint an arbitrator. Gandhi’s client won the case, and the other party was charged with a big amount. Gandhi proposed to his client to accept from the other party, the payment in installments.

The traditional image of a resolution of conflict involves necessarily a room of court, a seat of magistrates, one or a group of advocates around the plaintiff and the defendant respectively. But “for lawyers to focus exclusively on the litigation process is like medical doctors focusing only on surgery as a means of curing all illnesses.” It is better to resort to methods with less serious consequences. It has been noticed that the out-of-court settlement of disputes offers many advantages compared to trial. It is far cheaper in terms of expenses and takes less time. Since the parties to the conflict are involved in the process, it avoids further complication of the dispute and animosity between the parties. Another advantage of ADR is that it seeks to generate an agreement that is realistic, which takes into consideration the financial condition of the parties as well as all other relevant circumstances and factors. We remember that in South Africa, Gandhi’s client won the case, but she was proposed by the latter to accept the payment in installments for the sake of good relationships between the parties.

iv. Satyagraha

The Rwandan people are so keen to respect the authority that people from other cultures do not understand how it is possible to obtain such submissions from a whole nation. This fearful respect of the superior made it possible the execution of the genocide in Rwanda. Gandhi could mobilize his fellow Indians to resist against domination. When the South African Government instituted what Indians named “Black Act,” a law which obliged every Indian to register as Asiatic and get a certificate thereto, Gandhi proposed his fellow-Indians to resist against the act, by using a passive resistance named “Satyagraha”. Even though Gandhi himself finds that Satyagraha is different from passive resistance, as said by Louis Fischer, Gandhi himself used the two terms indifferently.

The Satyagraha is sometimes referred to as “non-violence.” But for Gandhi, non-violence was the word for a different, broader concept-namely, “a way of life based on love and compassion”. Where Gandhi referred to “civil disobedience”, he used “civil” not just in its meaning relating to citizenship and government, but also in its meaning of “civilized” or “polite.” And that’s exactly what Gandhi strove for. Gandhi called his overall method of non-violent action: Satyagraha. When back to India, Gandhi continued his method of civil disobedience. When ordered to leave Champaran, where he was asked by one agriculturist to come and see their conditions of life, he disobeyed the British Commissioner’s order to leave. When summoned to take a trial, the people gathered around Gandhi’s house and the officials had no choice than regulating the crowd instead of harassing Gandhi. The latter refused the postponement of his case requested by the Government Attorney to the Magistrate, with the intention to show to the public he had disobeyed the order to leave and to establish the principle that no Englishman had the right to tell him to leave any part of his country. Finally the case was closed and civil disobedience has won.

v. Segregation in India: Untouchables

Gandhi describes the social condition of one group of Indians named “Untouchables” which is an outcaste along with the following castes: Brahmans (priests), Kshatriyas (soldiers), Vaisyas (merchants or farmers) and Sudras (craftsmen). Untouchables were also named “pariahs,” “suppressed classes” or “scheduled classes,” but Gandhi used to named them “Harijans” (Children of God).

An Untouchable must not touch a caste Hindu or anything a caste Hindu touches. He should not enter a Hindu temple, home or shop. Untouchables are obliged to live on the lowest outskirts into which dirty waters drain. They are also confined to tasks which Hindus spurned: street cleaning, handling dead animals and men, removing refuse… Gandhi was revolted against this form of segregation by Indians against their brethren. He was wondering how Indians could claim from British Government equality between Indian people and British people, if Indian themselves could not treat other Indians as their equals. He reminds to his compatriots the famous biblical saying “Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you”. He reminds also another biblical lesson “We must first cast out the beam of “untouchability” from our own eyes before we attempt to remove the mote from that of ours masters.

This form of segregation can be observed in many communities, Rwanda included. I remember to have observed such situation the day one person came to my home for administering his traditional cure to our banana plantation suffering from a disease named “Inzovu” and that was believed to be cured only by the neglected category of the population named “Batwa.” After he finished his practices that looked like witchcraft, he was given a gourd of about 4 liters filled with a traditional banana beer. My father did not want to share the beer with him, as it was used to when you offered beer to someone. But for assuring him there was no poison in the beer, my father asked me to sit near him and drink a bit from the gourd. Later, I knew that the person was a “Mutwa” (singular of “Batwa) and that other people were not allowed to share drink or meal with that category of the population, at the risk of being contaminated with mysterious disease. Nevertheless, as I was said, children were immunized against such diseases. Only adults were at risk. Later I noticed they were always put apart during ceremonies for not sharing beer with others.

This practice of segregation was similar to the one against untouchables. Gandhi was against it and could not understand it and wondered “What crimes for which we condemn the British Government as satanic, have not we been guilty toward our untouchable brethren?” Despite Gandhi’s movement against segregation has awakened many Indians and untouchables were regarded with better consideration, the system is far from disappearing in the Indian community. According to my son who studied recently in India, and who left that country in June 2014, the segregation against the untouchables remains until now, one of the characteristics of the Indian community. The segregation against Batwa in Rwanda is also disappearing gradually, but it is far from being totally eradicated. The fight against the use of straws while drinking traditional beer during ceremonies is also playing a big role, because the segregation was mostly observed while people were drinking beer.

vi. Euthanasia

As it is not accepted in Hindu religion, Gandhi did not tolerate killing living beings under any circumstances[4]. He rather could have preferred to be bit by a snake instead of killing it. He thought he has mastered his fear of snakes, so that they did not attempt to bite him anymore. Despite he did not tolerate any form of killing, in his community there was a practice he did not bear anymore. Rabid dogs were put in a certain place and they were left there for dying a slow death. Gandhi assimilated this situation to a form of torture. For relieving the pain, Gandhi suggested and encouraged killing the animal. He could not bear such suffering and preferred the animal to be killed. He goes up to encouraging killing human beings where there is no helpful remedy for the sake of relieving his/her agony. But the condition to be allowed to exercise such practice is to have exhausted all remedies. “One of the remedy and the final one to relieve the agony of a tortured child is to take of his life,” he suggested.

This intervention usually made by a doctor, is also known as assisted suicide, physician-assisted suicide (dying), doctor-assisted dying (suicide), and more loosely termed “mercy killing” usually referred to as “euthanasia.” For defining this term, we shall use the meaning given by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. According to the latter, euthanasia means “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”

Euthanasia may be differed from “assisted suicide” and “assisting suicide”. It is the act performed by a doctor in administering a patient an overdose with the view to end the patient’s life which is considered as “euthanasia”. “Assisted suicide” is the act of deliberately assisting or encouraging another person to kill himself. If a relative of a person with a terminal illness were to obtain powerful sedatives, knowing that the person intended to take an overdose of sedatives to kill themselves, he may be considered as “assisting suicide.” Even though euthanasia is supported by some persons, it is condemned by others. Despite it is illegal in South Africa, on October 6, 2016, Desmond Tutu, the archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and a Nobel Peace laureate declared: “Dying people should have the right to choose how and when they leave Mother Earth. I believe that, alongside the wonderful palliative care that exists, their choices should include a dignified assisted death.”

In Rwanda, all forms of helping a person to die are punishable. The article 179 of the Rwandan Penal Code provides as follows: “Any person who kills another at the latter’s serious and insistent request and for an honorable reason especially on compassionate grounds shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of seven (7) years to ten (10) years.” Even though the Rwandan Penal Code does not punish the suicide (article 147), he/she who induces, helps or provokes another person to commit suicide shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of two (2) years to five (5) years. Euthanasia is illegal in most of the United States. Physician aid in dying (PAD), or assisted suicide, is legal in the states of Washington DC, California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington; its status is disputed in Montana[5].

vii. Hate the sin and not the sinner

During the time he was fighting peacefully against the exploitation of India by the colonial dominators, Gandhi has a leitmotiv of hating the system and not the persons who practiced it. He wrote: “I hate the domineering manner of Englishmen as a class in India. I hate the ruthless exploitation of India even as I hate from the bottom of my heart the hideous system of untouchability” But he taught to his Indian fellows to always love the human beings whoever they are. He said: “But I do not hate the domineering Englishmen as I refuse to hate the domineering Hindus.” Gandhi had a non-selective love. His love was the same for Moslems or Hindus, as it was for Englishmen. He thought and I think he was right, that the non-cooperation with the exploiters or the domineering system cannot succeed if it is practiced with hate. It is worth wondering how it is possible to hate the sin and love the sinner. We hate the sin by recognizing it for what it is, refusing to take part in it, and condemning it as contrary to God’s nature. We love sinners by showing them respect and kindness even though you do not approve of his or her lifestyle or sinful choices.

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?

Confession and forgiveness: As stated above, confession is not an easy business, even though I think it to be a form of healing to any person who has committed an offence. As said by an adage “A fault confessed is half redressed”. In Rwanda, we have been told stories of genocide perpetrators who continued claiming innocence, but who finally exploded because they could not sleep due to nightmares caused by the killings they were keeping secret, but reproached to them by their conscience. One of them revealed he was always called by the skull of the victim where the corpse was buried. Finally he went there and showed to the authorities where the corpse was buried. He pleaded guilty and told Gacaca court how he proceeded. At this time of drafting this assessment, Rwanda is celebrating the 23rd commemoration of the genocide perpetrated against Tutsis in 1994. On April 11th, 2017, people were surprised to hear from one person named Tujyinama Silas aged 64 and one of the persons reputed to be integrated, confessing to have recognized to be among people reputed to be integrated, revealing that in 1994, he killed 2 Tutsis[6]. It was a surprise because until then, no single finger had been pointed to him for any active role during the 1994 genocide. However, people remembered he did never participate in any ceremony related to genocide. When asked about this exception, he declared publicly his decision to confess his wrongful acts during the 1994 genocide. He said that his conscience has never been quiet during these past 23 years and he preferred the prison instead of continuing to be “tortured” by his own conscience.

From my own experience during the time I was working for the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, I know that when the offender apologizes sincerely, but to the offended person, the mercy is given at ease. Contrary to what is said by Gandhi, I am convinced that an apology can be made to any offended person, no matter of the power you have on him/her. Forgiveness is a matter of consciousness. If the person apologizing is sincere, the offended person cannot take into consideration the power he/she has on me or vice-versa. Moreover, from lessons learnt as an International Institute for Global Leadership’s student, I know I have to forgive those who offended me because the resentment is killing the offended instead of the offender. Forgiveness is the antidote of resentment. As a Christian believer, I am under the obligation of forgiveness, even though the offender does not apologize. In Ephesians 4:32, each one is taught as follows: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”[7]. Moreover, the prayer taught us by Jesus Christ says “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Without any condition, namely the offender’s apology).

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Today, the resolution of conflicts out-of-court (Alternative Dispute Resolution) is preferred to trial within the court. Professional lawyers advise also their clients to resolve their conflicts using Alternative Dispute Resolution’s options. However, it has been noticed that some lawyers, due to the traditional understanding of the role of the attacker or defender’s position in case of conflict, have a tendency to favor trials in court instead of out-of-court settlement.

Lawyers have been trained in the sense of litigation, where one party is necessarily required to defeat the other party by winning the case or introducing an objection for not hearing it or delaying it as long as possible. As it is observed, litigation creates animosity between the litigants and in ultimate cases, either party does not hesitate to kill the other, mostly when the loser feels to be right. It is then better to resort to a method of resolving conflict while maintaining good relations between the conflicting parties. The modern way of such resolution of conflicts is what has been named “Alternative Dispute Resolution” because it is an alternative to the litigation method. Such method has been introduced in the Rwandan judicial system where judges elected among the population try to conciliate the conflicting parties, before resorting to courts. These “conciliators” play a very big role, since nobody is allowed to seize the court unless he/she has exhausted the two levels of “Abunzi.”

The segregation against “Batwa” in Rwanda: Name it apartheid, segregation against untouchables, against Batwa or any other vice, every person and every community has its own beam to remove from his/its own eye, before trying to remove the mote from that of others. We cannot condemn others to practice or to have practiced segregation either in India, South Africa or elsewhere; if we know there is segregation in our country or community in a way or another. During the time I was living in France for training (respectively in 1987 and 1991, I was always embittered by the way I was treated by other passengers in buses. The seat near mine’s was filled only when there was not another space where the last passenger could sit. Some of them opted even for the standing position instead of sitting near me. Finally, when I came back to my country, I paid attention to the practice in my own country towards white-colored skin people and noticed that it was the same in Rwandan buses. I concluded that segregation is probably in the nature of all people. But, when it is practiced against the group of population living in your own country and with the same color of the skin, it seems abnormal.

The pariah or untouchables in India remind me a group named “Batwa” in Rwanda. It has been for long treated like Indian’s untouchables. They were not allowed to sit with others and to share beer with them. Rwandans were used to drink with straws plunged in a very big jug and once the drinker was satisfied, the straw was passed to another person. Nowadays, this practice is prohibited by the Government for fighting against contagious diseases like tuberculosis. However it is still practiced when no official authority is around. During the time it was practiced openly, the Batwa were not allowed to drink at the same straws as others (Bahutu and Batutsi). It was preferred to avail for them their own jug.

This tendency of segregation is disappearing with the suppression of the straw shared by many persons, but the Batwa are still considered as pariahs. The segregation has affected their conditions of life. They live in a noticeable poverty; they don’t send their children to school and don’t make any effort for their own development despite the Government’s efforts to relieve their conditions of life. A noticeable effort has been made to integrate them, but there is a long way to be made before they feel themselves confident and with the same rights as others.

Euthanasia: Even though Rwandan Law and Catholic religion I belong to prohibit euthanasia, I am convinced that the pain endured by a person who has no other remedy could be put to an end by allowing the person to die voluntarily. I think that maintaining a person in a state of suffering if you know that the disease is incurable and you have no possibility of relieving his/her pain is a kind of torture. Furthermore, it becomes also a kind of “torture” against the family because it will be very difficult to pay the invoice since the dying person has been maintained in a vegetative state for long in a hospital.

A neighbor of mine who was admitted in King Faisal Hospital (one of the most expensive in Rwanda) in a critical state of health. The person stayed there around 2 months, but when visiting him, it was not a secret to notice that he will not survive. However, physicians did not cease to say that his state of health will improve soon. However, I am quite sure it was a matter of days. Why not in such case, a committee of doctors could not deliberate and decide to put an end to his life, for avoid the family’s pain, because he was no longer suffering since he fell in coma, before being hospitalized. I share Desmond Tutu’s opinion, but I recommend the agreement of the person who is willing to die if his mental faculties are still normal, or the family if the person is in a vegetative state or of excessive suffering not allowing him/her to take a decision, and the last decision of the physicians’ council attesting that the case is desperate.

Civil disobedience: I always wonder what could have happened if our fellow Rwandans had been taught before 1994 the refusal of blind respect towards the authority. I am convinced that this form of opposing to the authority’s decision could not have favored the perpetration of genocide in Rwanda. We need a people with more responsibility, a people who can judge and choose between the good and the evil. Such maturity could help us to oppose anything that seems bad.

Civil disobedience is like fighting against erosion, it cannot be a business of a single person. I can only succeed when an important group of persons raise their voices against a not acceptable order given by the authority. However, to oppose against the authorities’ will require an extraordinary courage and the acceptance of being a martyr by the authority when necessary. We are far from forgetting the Tiananmen Square Massacre, where Chinese troops with assault rifles and tanks killed several hundred demonstrators trying to block the military’s advance towards Tiananmen Square.

Hate the sin but love the sinner: Late in 1957, when the political parties against the monarchy were arising, the King’s close counselors proposed to kill a certain Habyarimana Joseph Gitera who was a virulent opponent. Mutara III Rudahigwa, the then King of Rwanda reacted against this proposal. He said: “Instead of killing Gitera, kill what is motivating him”. It cannot be well translated because in Kinyarwanda the sentence is worded in a poetic style “Aho kwica Gitera, wakwica ikibimutera”.

Mutara III Rudahigwa was a very wise king for his proactive manner of suppressing the “Ubuhake” system and ordering the serf to share the herd of cows with servants in disproportionate manner in favor of servants. He was convinced that the people were not against him, but it was a matter of a bad system. If the latter was changed, people will certainly cooperate. Unfortunately, even though the sharing was already put in practice, he died before achieving his mission of completing the changes in the way the kingdom was governed. It was said his death was a plot planned by the colonizers. They foresaw that the change of the system could bring Hutus and Tutsis together and fight against the colonizers.

This king gives me a good inspiration of a leader who is preoccupied by the way he is leading his followers. Instead of thinking that he is right “as a king,” he challenges himself the way he governs his subjects. He was one of the living examples in Rwanda, who did not see the problem in the person opposed to his system of government even though opposing the kingdom system was not an easy business. He considered Gitera not as an enemy, but as one who has something against the system of governing the country.

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.

“Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly is a natural weakness of a man and silence is necessary in order to surmount it.”

It is the reason why it is advised to any person to think more than once before saying something. Gandhi thinks that the best way to avoid committing any mistake of going outside of the truth is to keep silent.

“And I said to myself: possession seems to me to be a crime. I can only possess certain things when I know that others who also want to possess similar things are able to do so. But we know such a thing is impossibility. Therefore the only thing that can be possessed by all is non-possession, not have anything whatsoever. Or a willing surrender.”

The behavior adopted by Gandhi shows that he was convinced of what he was saying. He possessed the strict minimum for his survival. But it is not easy to follow the example.

“True sacrifice lies in deriving the greatest pleasure from the deed, no matter what the risk may be. Christ died on the cross of Calvary and left Christianity as a glorious heritage.”

Sometimes we don’t know that we will be judged based on our acts. Even though we don’t receive any reward on Earth, we will be rewarded in Heaven. If you don’t dare to take risks, you will never perform anything at all.

“A chain is no stronger than the weakest link in it, and unless we are prepared to stand and work shoulder to shoulder without flinching and without being daunted by temporary disappointments, failure would be the only fit reward, or rather, punishment.”

“Unity is strength” (strength through unity) is a Belgian motto and it has been demonstrated worldwide that working separately weakens the persons or the nations.

“We must first cast out the beam of untouchability from our own eyes before we attempt to remove the mote from that of our masters.”

People have a tendency to minimize their faults and enlarge others’. But, if each one were willing to get down and examine his own conscience fairly, this world would become a paradise.

“In India, it must be held a crime to spend money on dinner and marriage parties… and other luxuries so long as millions of people are starving.”

I think it would be a good thing to criminalize excessive expenses. In Rwanda, we meet such a problem in marriage parties, and couples are left in misery afterwards. It has been said that the indebtedness caused by such expenses is sometimes at the origin of misunderstandings between spouses and leads somewhat to separations and divorces.

“I hate the ruthless exploitation of India even as I hate from the bottom of my heart the hideous system of untouchability but I do not hate the domineering Englishmen as I refuse to hate the domineering Hindus.”

The King of Rwanda, Mutara III Rudahigwa once said to his close servants “Instead of fighting against Gitera himself, fight against what caused him to act like this.”

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment, and the other by the arts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.”

Ciceron, the Roman Emperor used to say, “oderint dum metuant”(let them hate so long as they fear”. This kind of power could not last.

“Marriage loses its sanctity when its purpose and highest use is conceived to be the satisfaction of the animal passion without contemplating the natural result of such satisfaction.”

I think it is possible to conciliate the satisfaction of sexual desire with avoiding the risk of getting children, without using contraceptives drugs or condoms. However, to be in complete agreement with Gandhi, it is not human to try to escape the consequences if the conception occurred during an intentional sexual intercourse. But if it is a result of a forced act in a way or another, it should be recognized to the woman the right to put an end to the unwilling pregnancy.

“He who is a passive spectator of crime is really, and in law, an active participator in it.”

It has been said that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” But sometimes, you can be neutral without supporting what the criminal is doing, but for the safety of your life. We have received testimonies of such situations during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda.

In the individual’s body the head is not high because it is at the top nor are the soles of the feet low because they touch the earth.”

Each organ of the body has its importance and each member of the society has its role to play in the community’s life. However, the organization of the society requires a need of the head of the group. But a chief is not allowed to consider himself or herself as more important than others. He/she must consider being the first among equals, as said by the Latin expression “primus inter pares.” However, a society or a community organized as such rarely exists on this earth. But it is the ideal vision of a democracy.

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?

Non-possession: What has been said by Gandhi about the non-possession (Apararigraha) does not meet my conviction. A human being has been created with intelligence and has to use it for a better life. A Rwandan saying states that “If you implore God while sitting near the fire, He will smear you with ashes.” This means that you have to demand something from God while trying to do what you want to achieve. If you stay sitting waiting from God to offer you what you demand, nothing will come to you”. And others don’t have to renounce to possession because there others who have nothing at all.

Forgiveness: I don’t agree with Gandhi’s version of forgiveness where he says that you forgive the person you have the power to punish. For me, if a person harms you and he/she humbly apologize and commit him/her to never harm you again, I think there is a room for forgiveness. The problem is that very often, the person seeking forgiveness is not sincere. We have known the genocide perpetrators in Rwanda who sought forgiveness only for being released from prison. In the opposite, some genocide survivors accepted forgiveness, not because it was coming from the bottom of their hearts, but because it was a government policy, and a social constraint.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

No exercises were proposed by the author, but I think the person who is willing to do so could try the fast. It is through it that human being comes close to the Universe. At this very moment, I am not allowed to do such exercise because of illness.

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 comment.

Converting the opponent: Some people think that converting the opponent happened to be a myth held by Gandhi himself. They think also that no civil disobedience campaign of Gandhi’s ever succeeded chiefly through a change of heart in his opponents. But this doesn’t mean civil disobedience didn’t work. As a matter of fact, it did work but for these people, members of the public were impressed by the protest, and public sympathy aroused for the protesters and their cause. Then after, members of the public put the pressure on public leaders to negotiate with Gandhi. As cycles of civil disobedience recur, public pressure grows stronger. Finally, public leader gives in to pressure from his constituency, negotiates with Gandhi.

I have read with great interest the way Gandhi explains how civil disobedience succeeded by converting the opponent. I assimilated the situation to any other situation where a victim is in front of his/her assailant. Is it possible to convert the person who is about to kill you and make him change his heinous attitude?

As said by the author Marshall B. Rosenberg the empathy towards enemy’s bad intentions has such a power that could reverse his/her intentions. One of the weapons used by the person who wants to harm another is to legitimate his/her ill-intentioned act within himself. Either he provokes his victim to make him/her angry or the latter manifests a sign of provocation or tries to make him fearful and the victim attempts to escape or defend him/her. When the victim does not react in the sense of stimulating the bad intention of the attacker, it is difficult for the latter to continue his ill-act. “People who seem like monsters are simply human beings whose language and behavior sometimes keep us from seeing their humanness.”

But sometimes we can ask ourselves if the lamb can use such technique in front of a hungry wolf. I used these symbols to show the two extremes of a victim and his killer. Let me try to retrace what happened during the mass killings that took place in Rwanda since 1990 and which reached their picks in 1994. Was it possible to empathize with your killer in such conditions? Was it possible to empathize with whom does not want to listen to you and is only thirsty of blood? Through this book, the author gives us the testimonies of victims who faced courageously their killers and vanquished them in a certain way. A young woman could escape the person who was determined to rape her and finally went away only with the purse of money. I have no example of empathy practiced by a genocide survivor, but if it is possible elsewhere, it is possible also in our country.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 7
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 8

[1] Gandhi, M., Edited by Fischer, L., The essential Gandhi: An anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas, Vintage Books, New York, 1982, p. 137.

[2] Gandhi, M., Edited by Fischer, L., op. cit., p. 31.

[3] Idem, p. 34.

[4] Gandhi, M., Edited by Fischer, L., op.cit., p. 187

[5] Retrieved from, on 02 April, 2017.

[6] Retrieved from, on April 11th, 2017.

[7] Retrieved from, on April 12th, 2017.



Long Walk to Freedom

Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

In his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom,” Nelson Mandela retraces his adventures as a freedom fighter for liberating black and colored people from the discrimination they were suffering for long time. Nelson Mandela grew up under the quasi compliance of black people with this system rooted in the South African administration, but as a born leader, after noticing the oppression under which he and his brethren were living, he took the decision of struggling relentlessly for uprooting the apartheid, a system of discrimination that had been institutionalized in South Africa. The system deprived black Africans from their rights as human beings and favored the White people who constituted the minority in that country. With a great determination, despite insurmountable obstacles raised on his way by the apartheid regime, and supported by black and colored people as well as moderate white people, he finally achieved what he was struggling for and celebrated the victory with his people in April 1994.

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. Apartheid, an institutionalized discriminatory system

South Africa has been characterized for long by a discriminatory system against black people and others qualified as not white. People were discriminated in all domains of life. Blacks were not allowed to sit in places reserved to whites; there were areas reserved to white people and black persons could never set their foot round there. Even in prison, white prisoners were allowed to eat bread in the morning while Africans were given mealie pap porridge, cereal made from maize or corn. White prisoners wore long trousers uniforms, while blacks were limited to wear only shorts. Surprisingly, in certain domains where one could expect to get more justice, the system was firmly rooted. In law firms for example, clients were charged differently depending on the color of the skin, but always the black people were penalized. One of the reasons why Mandela started his own law firm was that he noticed that most of the law firms (there were no African law firms at that time) charged Africans higher fees than they did for their far wealthier white clients. The discrimination was also observed by Mandela, as an advocate even in courts of justice. White witnesses often refused to answer questions from him as a black attorney, and the judge, instead of punishing the wrong behavior, would pose himself the question the white witnesses did not want to answer.

ii. The support of oppressing political regimes by some churches

In my country, religious leaders in some churches are named “God’s workers.” And as we know, a worker is under the guidance of his employer. If he/she does anything out of the employer’s directives, the employer is not liable for those acts. And without putting aside other religions, I refer to my religion where the real meaning of the term “Christian” is the one who acts like Christ. When one observes the practices of some religious’ leaders, it is worth wondering if they are really God’s workers or Christians.

In this book, “Long Walk to Freedom.” Mandela notices that the apartheid’s horrors that were condemned by almost the whole world was supported by a Christian religion “the Dutch Reform Church.” It would not be the first time noticing certain churches walking hands in hands with oppressing regimes. Where the religious leaders are supposed to protect or at least speak on behalf the voiceless, they prefer to close their eyes in face of the atrocities committed by politicians if they don’t opt openly to cooperate with or become the tools of the latter. This was the case during the colonization era in Africa. It is unbelievable when you listen to the message delivered by Leopold II, the King of the Belgium Kingdom to the first missionaries who came to evangelize Africa. For long I casted doubt on the authenticity of the text, but I was finally convinced when I read the text in a published book. Unfortunately I could not accede the library from which I got the book, but hereafter are some extracts of the message retrieved from: Letter% 20Leopold %20II%20 to%20 Colonial %20 Mis-sionaries.pdf. The text is fully similar to the one I read from the said book (but in French).

“Reverends, Fathers and Dear Compatriots: The task that is given to fulfill is very delicate and requires much tact. You will go certainly to evangelize, but your evangelization must inspire above all Belgium interests. Your principal objective in our mission in the Congo is never to teach the niggers to know God, this they know already”.

“Your essential role is to facilitate the task of administrators and industrials, which means you will go to interpret the gospel in the way it will be the best to protect your interests in that part of the world. For these things, you have to keep watch on disinteresting our savages from the richness that is plenty [in their underground]. To avoid that, they get interested in it, and make you murderous competition and dream one day to overthrow you.”

Even after colonization, it has been observed the religious dignitaries of Christian and other churches work hand in hand with African politicians while the latters were noticeably oppressing and exploiting their people. It is worth noticing that that this phenomenon is not the panacea of the only Africa. Martin Luther King Jr observed the outrageous attitude of his colleagues white pastors condemning his nonviolent war against racial discrimination or becoming silent observers of injustice suffered by the Negroes in America.

iii. Races’ classification

Among the cornerstones of the apartheid were the laws instituted by the South African Government led by the Nationalist Party. One of these acts was the Population Registration Act. The latter authorized the Government to classify all South Africans according to their race. Since there were no scientific methods for such classification, there were difficulties to differentiate blacks from coloreds and coloreds from whites. Coloreds (Afrikaans: Kleurlinge) are a multiracial ethnic group originating in colonial South Africa, who possess ancestry from European, African (Khoisan and Bantu) and Asian (Austronesian and South Asian) ethnic groups. In case of doubt, it was resorted to arbitrary methods that resulted in tragic cases. Two blood-brothers could be registered with different races, because one had a lighter or darker skin, or depending on the size of lips. Those classifications had impacts on the advantages that were allowed to each race. For example, pursuant to the Group Areas Act, each racial group could own land, occupy premises, and trade only in its own separate area (p.122). If the two brothers were classified differently, the nonwhite could be obliged to move from his own home, if the area were declared white zone.

In Rwanda we have experienced a similar problem of races’ classification during the colonization era. At the time Rwanda became the part of the African cake granted to Germany, there existed three groups: Hutus, Tutsis and Twas. I do not dare qualify them as ethnic groups because they shared and continue to share the same language, same culture, and they practice same religious rites…Scientifically it is those who share these criteria who are members of a same ethnic group. However, for a reason or another, some researchers and politicians have preferred to consider these groups as ethnic groups. It is obvious that the majority of rulers were Tutsis at that time, and they were the wealthiest because they possessed cows, index of richness on that period of time. However, the belonging to a group was not static. Depending on the increase or decrease of one’s wealth, or any other circumstance, the social status could change. During the Belgians era (after Germany lost the WWI), they instituted a classification; every Rwandan had to be classified compulsorily in one of the three groups and the classification was recorded in official documents. But it was not easy, and the criterion on which they based the classification was the number of cows possessed by each, the height and the form of the nose. If you had less than 10 cows for example or you were short or had a flatten nose, you were classified Hutu. In the contrary case, you were classified Tutsi even though you were not belonging in that group. For the Twa group which was and continues to be a very noticeable minority, there were recognized by their practice of potteries craft. Then you can imagine what could happen if they were not practicing the said craft.

iv. Nonviolence has limits

At the beginning of their struggle against apartheid, Mandela and other African National Congress (ANC)’s members were determined to use nonviolence for eradicating the system of apartheid. This was inspired by the system used by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa first and in India afterwards. The same method was used by Martin Luther King Jr in the United States of America. After a certain period of time, Mandela noticed that violence was the only weapon that would destroy apartheid and that ANC must be prepared to use that weapon. As he said, “In India, Gandhi had been dealing with a foreign power that ultimately was more realistic and farsighted” (p.158). The case was different in South Africa with Afrikaners. Mandela noticed that “nonviolent passive resistance is effective as long as your opposition adheres to the same rules as you do. For Mandela, nonviolence is not a moral principle but a strategy. He thought there is no moral goodness in using an ineffective weapon

When Mandela was reproached by two American Journalists not to be a Christian and not to be nonviolent like Martin Luther King Jr., because his movement, ANC was using violence, he retorted by saying that the conditions were not the same. The United States was a “democracy with constitutional guarantees or equal rights that protected nonviolent protest (though there was still prejudice against blacks), South Africa was a police state with a constitution that enshrined inequality and an army that responded to nonviolence with force.” Even though he was a Christian as he said, he could not be more Christian than Jesus Christ who “without no alternative, He used force to expel the moneylenders from the temple.”

v. Behind a great Nelson Mandela, there was a brave Winnie Mandela

Despite Nelson Mandela separated from Winnie after his release, the former appreciated very much how she struggled for the survival of the family while he was in prison. This attachment reflects the attachment of all African women to their husbands. Considering that she was left alone in crucial moments and without enough means, if she were a man, I wonder if she would not have found a new way of life instead of waiting for a person with an uncertain future. Winnie tried her best to manage the family, to raise children and to pay visit to her husband whenever she was permitted to do it. As an ANC militant’s wife and as a militant herself, she was banned in the majority of cases and could not accede to areas other than her own residence. I could not judge Nelson Mandela for separating him from her, mostly because he said they decided both that separation . But if it is for the offences she was accused of, it would be better to continue being attached to her instead of avoiding the tarnishing of Mandela’s political image.

v. Mental alienation of prisoners

Mandela has been jailed for 27 years. During all that time, he struggled for keeping his mind safe and updated. As an enlightened person, he noticed already that the objective of the jailer was to destroy the prisoner’s mind. He always sought the opportunity to get information and to exchange it with other prisoners. “The challenge for every prisoner, particularly every political prisoner is how to survive intact, how to emerge from prison undiminished, how to conserve and even replenish one’s belief.”

The problem met very often by people around the world is the mental alienation, when they are deprived of accessibility to information or when they are not under some raison or other obliged to read or get information, or if they have not the possibility of getting continued education. This is a tendency of many human beings, when confronted with a problem, to relinquish to his/her own unhappy fate. However, a good leader does not let his/her destiny to be guided independently of his own will. For this reason, when you have the will to achieve any objective, you always turn all adversities into opportunities. Mandela’s objective was to keep his mind safe and updated. The adversities were the confinement of prisoners in an isolated prison, not easily accessible to people and the deprivation of any journal or magazine to prisoners. Mandela did not curve his back and let the jailer climb on it for achieving his objective of alienating his mind. In the contrary, he used all what could fall between his hands for reading and writing and he encouraged also other prisoners to do the same.

vi. Robben Island: trying circumstances create powerful minds

It would be a great mistake to talk about Nelson Mandela without evoking Robben Island, the island that hosted a prison in which Mandela has been jailed for 18 years. Robben Island is situated in the Atlantic Ocean at around 8 km far from the main land. Like other prisons, life was very difficult for prisoners, especially black prisoners. But the Robben Island prison had a specificity of being surrounded by water and its access by visitors was very difficult. For this reason, outside visits were very rare. But despite the bad conditions in which Mandela lived, he demonstrated his sense of breaking the chains of darkness in which the jailer wanted to keep him and started writing what could be qualified as the draft of this book.

When requested by his fellow prisoners and friends to publish his autobiography while celebrating the anniversary of 60 years, he started writing on almost nothing (he could not get papers) and he tried to hide the manuscript as cautiously as possible. For that reason, he kept three copies of what he was writing for safeguarding the content in case of the prison guards discovered the document. With the help of the same fellow prisoners, he managed to hide the copies in three different spaces dug in the courtyard. When some works were made in the courtyard, Mandela and his fellow prisoners managed to save two copies and entrust them with one prisoner who was about to be released. However, as they were afraid of, one day, the prison management decided to remove one pipe along which the third copy was hidden. The copy was discovered and Mandela was suspected to have written it. He was reprimanded for having abused his privilege of studies and written a memoir, and his studies were suspended for 4 years. The saved manuscript copies were sent to London and typed there before returning it to Lusaka.

vii. Bad political regime, but good white people

When one follows the thorny way Nelson Mandela passed through, it is not understandable how he could survive the apartheid regime. It was sufficient to kill him by poison or any other means and inform the public that he died by a natural death. Even the doctor could have been bribed or threatened to make a false statement. All that could not happen, because of some good people among policemen, warders, judges and so on, who had not a bad intention of killing an innocent person, even if he was disturbing the government. It would be then a big mistake to globalize the nasty of some National Party’s politicians to all white people who lived in South Africa.

Even though Nelson Mandela faced some hard guardians during his prison life, many of them treated him in a good manner. He even noticed that the inhumanity of some of them was not their nature, but the product of an inhuman system (p.462). The time he was confronted with the police, he noticed also that some police officers treated him with great consideration. When Mandela and his co-accused were expecting the death penalty while they were accused of treason, the judge, De Wet, announced the penalty of life imprisonment (p.376). This is a sign of the existence of good people among the South African white people at the time of apartheid. Some of the latters dared to participate alongside with black and colored people in the fight against the white oppression.

For this reason, I affirm without hesitation that the apartheid was not rooted in the minds of white people in South Africa. The government has instituted it as a tool for keeping the minority on power because they feared the revenge of black people. Fortunately when Mandela’s political party, ANC, won elections in 1994, he proved that the feeling of revenge was away from his mind. Sometimes I wonder what could have happened if Mandela was fighting against any other African government even nowadays. He probably could have been thrown in the ocean at the time he was jailed in Robben Island, or could have died long time before in any prison or remand custody. Many African leaders apply the old adage stating that “a politician does not kill a person; he simply put aside an obstacle.”

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?

The institutionalization of discrimination: On my point of view, it would not be qualified as a mistake to affirm that discrimination is one of the characteristics of a human being. However, the South African way of discrimination is the only one of its kind. This reaction of a government to institutionalize such act calls for thinking more than once. I think that, in such a case, the governing power is afraid of the segregated group.

In Rwanda, we have met such segregation done by a government led by a clique of military from the North against the Tutsis and other people from other regions of the country. These military from Hutu ethnic group were afraid of the elite coming from the south where the former president overthrown by this clique was coming from. They were also afraid of Tutsi who fled the country in 1957. However, despite the oppression exerted on other groups, the government was finally overthrown after a war which lasted 4 years and ended-up with the genocide against Tutsis in 1994. The lesson that can be drawn from the situation in Rwanda as well as in South Africa or elsewhere, is that sooner or later, a discrimination against one component of the population ends up with a revolt by the discriminated groups be it by force or nonviolence.

Churches and political oppressing regimes in Africa: Everyone knows that it is not easy to fight against governing political regimes especially in Africa, where we know that they have the army and weapons. And the martyrs’ era is over because few people would accept to die for defending the just cause. But it is a shame, for religious persons, to bring a supporting hand to a government known for oppressing its people. I think it is not good for a religious person to adhere to a political party or to accept to be member of government cabinet or commissions instituted by the latter. If you are involved in such activities, either it becomes difficult to notice errors committed by the government organs, or you think it is better to have a look elsewhere and not to criticize those mistakes for not compromising your position. For this reason, I appreciate the position of Jehovah’s Witnesses for their political neutrality.

Races’ classification: As said above, ethnic official classification has been observed in Rwanda during the colonization era. Before the arrival of Europeans in Rwanda, there were three social groups, but the belonging to one or another of the two main groups was not static. It is worth wondering how it is possible to find more than one allegedly ethnic group in one clan where the clan should have been a sub-class of an ethnic group. But in Rwanda, in one clan, you can find respectively Tutsis and Hutus. The explanation I received from one of the elders of my family concerning my clan is very amazing. Before 1957, Hutus and Tutsis in the Babanda clan, in the Bunyambiriri region, were so close that it was not allowed to practise one the ancient religion’s rite without inviting members of the other one. This was a sign of a deep link that existed between them. It was believed that, if by negligence or willingness, you celebrated one of the obligatory rites of the traditional religion without inviting close relatives; you could contract a very terrible disease like leper. However, one could wonder how came the cleavage between those two groups. When two brothers, ancestors of the Babanda clan, who were Hutus at that time left Gakoma region (in the present Nyanza District) and reached the Bunyambiri region (in the present Nyamagabe District), one of them got married to a Tutsi woman. For this only reason, he was integrated in the Tutsi group and became a Tutsi. From that time, there were Tutsis and Hutus in the same clan, the Babanda, but they continued sharing joy and sorrow as brothers. However, when colonizers began to register the population in official registry and identify their ethnic groups, nobody wondered the consequences that could be brought by such problems. The separation was then established between members of the same family and when problems started to grow up between Hutus and Tutsis during the colonial era for a reason or another, the two groups were not spared. When politicians began to raise Hutus against Tutsis in 1957, members of the same family waged each other allegedly because they were of different ethnic groups.

Nonviolence has limits: Many examples have proven that nonviolence is a very powerful weapon. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were good examples of the benefits of nonviolence. Those who have opted for the violence in the past time testify to the entire world that “who sows wind reaps whirlwind”. The examples can be drawn from the two world wars. However, there are circumstances where nonviolence does not attract the sympathy of the oppressor or the killer. One of the examples is the genocide committed in Rwanda against Tutsis. Killers had no mercy even for babies who did not know what was happening. The nonviolence is only operational when the oppressor has a human heart. Sometimes, one person can resort to violence without reasoning on it, because of fear. I remember that one time, when I was about 9 years old, a group of shepherds of my age led their herd in our grassland. When I requested them to remove the cows from it, they scoffed at me. I could have resorted to my father for chasing them, but my pride did not allow me to call my father for help and I could neither let them continue abusing our property. I went near them and we started arguing. They formed a circle around me with their baton, ready to hit. I realized then that there was no room for further negotiation; it was a matter of fight or flight, but the last option was no longer possible, because I was circled by them. Nonviolence could only have been the silence while their cows were grazing on our grassland. And the fight between David and Goliath was neither an easy business. I had no chance of success. At the last moment, I opted for violence because of fear; I focused on the strongest of them and aimed for his head. When he received three hits, he ran away and his “army” did the same. Even though I was thanking God to have saved me from “my enemies,” this did not prevent me to run behind them for demonstrating my victory. However, apart from that incident, I have never used violence in my life, be it in my family or outside of it. I do not like violence. I remember that one time, when I was at a boarding school; one of my classmates accused me falsely of having gossiped against him. Probably some bad student had invented the story for creating a situation of duel. The pretended victim of the gossip invited me before the class to face him in a battle. I went there but refused to fight, because he was stronger than me. When he hit me once, I refused to defend myself and he stopped there. During a certain time, I had a grudge against him, but in the future, he apologized and became one of my best friends.

Mental alienation: When Nelson Mandela was in jail, he noticed that rotting under prison’s yoke will alienate his mind. When a prisoner is confined in his own cell, without any outside contact, he/she loses the sense of time; there is no update about the evolution of the country and the world. When the brain cells are not used, they degenerate and finally die. When I was in France in 1987 for a training for trainers, I visited a region in Normandie, where there was a campaign for bringing adult persons up to scratch. For me, it was unimaginable to see illiterate persons in a so developed country. These people had studied at least up to the end of the primary school level. However, after leaving the school, they did not read nor write any longer and lost all what they have learned at school. This is a reason why I think it is not enough to teach to read and write, it is also necessary to encourage people to continue nurturing the brain. This matter must be focused on as a priority for developing countries like Rwanda.

Robben Island Prison: Trying circumstances create powerful minds: I have never heard about a place on this earth where people have a lot of astuteness like in prisons. Due to hard and trying circumstances in which prisoners live, their brain cells work very much for surviving those situations. What is surprising is that there are many similarities in all prisons be it in South African prisons, Rwandan prisons or elsewhere. Such astuteness like prison-made alcoholic breweries is made behind warders’ backs, but others are made with the help of the latter, like the transfer of money from outside.

Winnie Mandela: An example women’s bravery: Winnie Mandela’s attachment to her husband during all the time her husband was struggling for the Blacks’ rights in South Africa reminds me the situation through which Rwandan women who have their husbands in prison. They suffer a lot of trials and tribulations after their husbands are jailed. They pay a weekly visit to their husbands and bring them supplementary food and other needed items. Some of these women are coming from regions far from the prison. Their husbands who have no idea of how they struggle for getting the minimum they could bring complain for not getting enough care. In prison, we have also some women who have been convicted of one or another infraction. One day, when I was visiting a local prison for consultation with a client, I have been told that the great majority of the jailed women’s husbands got concubines not later than one year after the imprisonment of their wives, even before the wife was convicted of the crime. I asked the question after noticing that jailed men were visited by women, while it was not the opposite for jailed women. I have been told that the visiting women were mothers and sisters. Even jailed women’s brothers and fathers don’t take a lot of trouble for visiting them.

Would it be an exaggeration to affirm that women are more attached to their husbands than men to their wives? The reader’s comments are welcome.

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.

“Circumcision is a trial of bravery and stoicism, no anesthetics is used; a man must suffer in silence.”

In many African tribes, the passage from youth to adulthood is submitted to a trial for meriting the new status. The ceremony of circumcision has among others the objective of submitting the candidate to a test of bravery in accepting to be cut without frowning.

“Even though I thought what I was doing was morally right, I was still uncertain as to whether it was the correct course. Was I sabotaging my academic career over an abstract moral principle that mattered very little? I found it very difficult to swallow the idea that I would sacrifice what I regarded as my obligation to the students for my own selfish interests.”

It is not given to any human being the talent to consider first the group’s interests before his/her own ones. In Kinyarwanda, my own language, an adage says: when lives [compared always to eggs because of their fragilities] are thrown into air, each one struggles for preventing its own life to falling apart.

“At that time, I was more advanced socially than politically. While I would not have considered fighting the political system of the white man, I was quite prepared to rebel against the social system of my own people.”

As it is well said in the Bible, it is better to remove first the beam in our own eye, before considering the mote in our brother’s.

“Many people will appear to befriend you when you are wealthy, but precious few will do the same when you are poor. If wealth is a magnet, poverty is a kind of repellent.”

This is to say that in general only ones’ interests count. It is the reason why “a friend in need is a friend indeed.”

“A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor. At a certain point, one can only fight fire with fire.”

I don’t agree with the author. Sometimes, it is the behavior of the victim which defines the perpetrator’s one. It is worth noticeable that each time, the perpetrator tries his best to justify his wrongful act by shouting for inciting the victim to run, to attack or defend him.

“It is what we make out of what we have, not what are given that separates one person from another.”

The potentialities are almost the same for all human beings living in the same conditions, but they don’t achieve the same performances depending on each one’s will. It is the reason why an old adage states “where there is will there is a way.”

“A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones – and – South Africa treated its imprisoned African citizens like animals.

When the international organizations investigate on the way human rights are respected in a country, they do not focus on the wealthiest people but on the more disfavored.

“The wife of a freedom fighter is often like a widow, even when her husband is not in prison.”

When First Ladies of Great Powers were meeting in Paris one time, a journalist asked them one by one how the situation of family affection was in their respective households. All of these ladies praised the way they were in love with their husbands, but Danielle Mitterrand of France contradicted them and said to the journalist: “All of these ladies are not telling the truth, our husbands are cheating with a woman named ‘Politics.”

In discussing the ANC’s policy of nonviolence, he (Chief Luthuli) emphasized that there was a difference between nonviolence and pacifism: pacifists refuse to defend themselves even when violently attacked, but that was not necessarily the case with those who espoused nonviolence.”

Nonviolence means that you don’t attack or react violently against the oppressor, but you don’t turn to the perpetrator the other cheek.

“The court system, however, was perhaps the only place in South Africa where an African could be possibly receive a fair hearing and where the rule of law might still apply.”

The apartheid was so rooted in the administration system, but the courts were still bound by the spirit of a “rule of law.”

“That night I addressed a meeting of African Township Ministers in Cape Town. I mention this because the opening prayer of one of the ministers has stayed with me over these many years and was a source of strength at a difficult time. He thanked the Lord for His bounty and goodness, for His mercy and His concern for all men. But then he took the liberty of reminding the Lord that some of His subjects were downtrodden than others, and that it sometimes seemed as though He was not paying attention. The minister then said that if the Lord did not show a little more initiative in leading the black man to salvation, the black man would have to take matters into his own two hands. Amen.”


This is a prayer of despair and revolt showing that the believers think that God has forgotten them. It reminds me the time Israelis revolted against Moses when he was leading them to the Promised Land.

“I had never seen a black pilot before, and the instant I did I had to quell my panic. How cold a black man fly an airplane? But a moment later I caught myself: I had fallen into the apartheid mindset, thinking Africans were inferior and that flying was a white man’s job.

When you are used to evil, it becomes so obvious that the victims find it normal to be victimized.

“The challenge for every prisoner, particularly every political prisoner is how to survive intact, how to emerge from prison undiminished, how to conserve and even replenish one’s belief.”

If a political prisoner does not try his best to save his mind from mental alienation, he would be released without the objectives of fighting for releasing his people from the oppressing political regime.

But the human body has an enormous capacity for adjusting to trying circumstances. I have found that one can bear the unbearable if one keeps one’s spirits strong even one’s body is being tested. Strong convictions are the secret of surviving deprivation; your spirit can be full even when your stomach is empty.”

The human being has an unlimited power, at the condition he/she believes in it.

“All men, even the most seemingly cold-blooded have a core of decency, and that if their heart is touched, they are capable of changing.”

This is the key to be used by a victim confronted with an ill-intentioned person. If you, as a potential victim, you believe in that possible change, it will happen.

“There is nothing so encouraging in prison as learning that the people outside are supporting the cause for which you are inside.”

If other persons perceive a problem like you, you suffer less when you are punished for having fought against it.

“This astonished me; I was tremendously encouraged by these few brave souls from a conservative farming area who expressed their solidarity. At one point, I stopped and go out of the car to greet and thank one such white family and tell them how inspired I was by their support. It made me think that the South Africa that I was returning to was far different from the one I have left.”

If white people have been taught to hate black people and vice-versa, they can be taught to love each other and share the benefits of their country.

“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“I wanted South Africa to see that I loved even my enemies while I hated the system that turned us against one another.”

I developed the idea above, where I showed that Mandela was not against white people, but against the system. This was also the way adopted by all grand leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Even the most powerful persons are human beings. They have flesh and blood like others. They only differ from others by how they use their minds.

“But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are more hills to climb. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”

There is a very interesting adage in Kinyarwanda saying that “You cannot rest if you are not yet dead.”

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?

Resorting to violence: I disagree with the author where he states that it is necessary to resort to violence when there are failures while using nonviolence. On my point of view, since you don’t fail when you fall, but when you refuse to get up, I recommend keeping on the method of nonviolence you have opted for. Every human being has a side of kindness; at the condition the oppressed person does not offer him/her the key for the evil’s room. As said by Martin Luther King Jr, you have no advantage in fighting against a powerful enemy. He will exterminate you without any regret.

Who does define the nature of a struggle? Another point related to the previous one is about the side which defines the nature of the struggle. Nelson Mandela thinks that the freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor. At a certain point, one can only fight fire with fire. As said above, I don’t agree with the author. In the majority of cases, it is the behavior of the victim which defines the perpetrator’s one. It is worth noticeable that each time, the perpetrator tries his best to justify his wrongful act by shouting for inciting the victim to run, to attack or defend him/her.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader 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 comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful was the content? 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 it? 9



The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Within the book “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.” edited by Clayborne Carson, it is related the way Martin Luther King Jr. opted for the nonviolence method for combating injustice suffered by the Negroes in America. After noticing how the scourge of racial discrimination was eating away the American Society, Martin Luther King Jr. took the decision to fight against that social disease. Despite he was born in a family at ease and that his school path allowed him to live peacefully, he could not bear the situation of injustice suffered by the Negro community. Even though the way used by Martin Luther King Jr. was fiercely combated by the government officials, and sometimes the Negroes themselves, the nonviolent method bore good and lasting fruits.

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. Rosa Parks’ arrest, the precipitating factor to the Negroes’ protests

Rosa Parks’ story is very well known in the history of the movement for the liberation of the Negroes in the United States of America. She refused to move from her seat deliberately because she and her brethren have suffered for long the discrimination against Negroes. As she said, “I would have to know for once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen” ( It has been observed that the oppression carried out on a group of people can probably last for long, but it can’t last forever. Sooner or later, the victim will be fatigued and say “enough is enough.” Even though the evildoer thinks he is the strongest, the good will finally prevail over the evil. Rosa Parks’ disobedience to the bus driver’s order to move from her seat and let the place to the white passenger was like a spark for setting in motion the movement of Negroes for their liberation. The Negroes have contained for long the oppression without making a fuss, but Rose Parks’ arrest provoked the movement for liberation of Negroes in America. Surprisingly, the bus protest was followed by a number of persons higher than that was expected by the organizer the movement.

ii. Behind a brave Martin Luther, a strong Coretta

As said by the English and feminist adage, “Behind every brave man, is a strong woman”. Within this book, Martin Luther King praises greatly how his wife helped him morally for achieving the goal of eradicating segregation against blacks in the United States of America. When you consider Coretta’s attachment to her husband in difficult and dangerous times, you finally think that, as it is said in the Bible, a wife has a natural love for her husband and does not have to be taught how to love as it is taught to men in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

Martin Luther King Jr. describes Coretta’s attachment in the following words “I am indebted to my wife Coretta, without whose love, sacrifices, and loyalty neither life nor work would bring fulfillment. She has given me words of consolation when I needed them and a well-ordered home where Christian love is a reality.” It is a kind of supreme love because it goes as far as accepting to die with someone when you have the means to escape. For example, when Coretta was proposed by her father to leave Montgomery after the bombing of their house, Coretta retorted “I am sorry, Dad, but I can’t leave Martin now. I must stay here with him through this whole struggle.”

iii. Negroes =American untouchables

After reading three books about great freedom fighters (“The Essential of Mahatma Gandhi”, “The Long Walk to Freedom, Autobiography of Nelson Mandela” and the current book, the “Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.”), it is worth noticing that each society has something to repent about injustice committed against one or another category of its population. Every society has a beam to remove from its own eye, before criticizing what is happening in other societies. In the United States of America, Negroes were considered as inferior citizens who could not enjoy the same rights as whites. In South Africa, even the law had institutionalized injustice against the black Africans and Colored. In India, while fighting against the English domination, Mahatma Gandhi called Indians to put an end to the segregation committed against other Indians named “Untouchables”. If you continue through other countries, you could notice such abnormalities. In Rwanda, we have known the rejection of the Batwas who were not allowed to sit and share drink or meal with other people and so on.

Finally, one could conclude that it is necessary to set one’s own house in order if we want a best world. If one society has its own “untouchables,” what do we do for treating them as our brothers, as our sisters? What do we do for making an effort to relieve their conditions of life so that they could also enjoy life as human beings? The world will become good only if the same rights are recognized to each individual, if the most favored have a concern to those who have been unfortunate due to one reason or another. The world’s cake must be shared by all without distinction.

iv. Positive discrimination

When Martin Luther King Jr. was visiting India, he noticed efforts made by the government for the relief of the untouchables’ situation. Apart from the laws condemning discrimination that were instituted in that country, he noticed that those laws were endorsed by the different concerned domains of life. Indian government was spending an important budget for developing housing for this category of disfavored people. Moreover, the government had adopted a policy of favoring untouchables in a special manner. The Prime Minister explained to Martin Luther King Jr. and the team accompanying him that for example, “if two applicants compete for entrance into a college or university, one of the applicants being an untouchable and the other of high caste, the school is required to accept the untouchable.” The Prime Minister recognized that it is also a form of discrimination, but he explained that it was their way of atoning for the centuries of injustices inflicted upon these people.

This form of discrimination named “positive discrimination” or “affirmative action” is used for redressing the balance in a society in favoring a group that has suffered injustice with the view to allowing it to emerge and be capable of competing with other groups in the future. The Australian Human Rights Commission defines the term “positive discrimination” as special measures aimed at fostering greater equality by supporting groups of people who face, or have faced, entrenched discrimination so they can have similar access to opportunities as others in the community.” ( Positive discrimination is a good policy if managed carefully. However, such policy must be managed carefully; one could abuse it and oppress the other groups under the pretext of relieving the oppressed group. Bad politicians could also simulate the application of affirmative action for offering advantages to their own group while the latter has never suffered injustice in the past.

v. Silence of religious leaders in front of injustice

As Martin Luther King Jr. said “we will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Moreover, it is not understandable how those who pretend to be Christians could be silent when their “brothers” in Christ are suffering obvious injustices. Worst, how religious leaders could condemn their peer who dare fight against injustice and qualify him as an extremist? As said by Desmond Tutu (, “If you are neutral in situation of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” He added that “If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality” And I add that “The elephant will think, rightly or wrongly, that you support its act” in the application of the old saying “silence means consent.”

In a letter sent to his white fellow clergymen in response to the critics of eight clergymen of the major religious faiths in America, Martin Luther King Jr. informed them that he was disappointed by the position of the white church and its leadership. He reminds them the behavior that was adopted by the first Christians who were convicted to be a “heaven colony” called to obey God rather than man. As Martin Luther King Jr. said in the letter, and as well said by the Rwandan adage, it is not the number which makes the quality. “Even though they were small in numbers” he said, “they were big in commitment.” He continues regretting how things were different. “Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church’s silent.”

vi. The good extremism

The term “extremism” is, in the majority of cases perceived in a bad connotation, because it inspires the radicalism. Dictionaries define the term in the following manner: “a tendency or disposition to go to extremes or an instance of going to extremes, especially in political matters”. They don’t hesitate to giving the following examples: leftist extremism; the extremism of the Nazis ( It would then be a little inappropriate to speak of “good extremism.” However, being an extremist in the path of righteousness is not wrong at all. As said Barry Goldwater in his speech in 1963 as a republican candidate running for the presidency of the USA, “…extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice and …moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue” (https://www.biography. com/people/barry-goldwater-9314846).

It is in this sense, that Martin Luther King Jr explains the extremism he was reproached by his fellow clergymen while combating for eradicating injustice suffered by the Negroes community in America. In his long letter, he explained them that extremism in the sense of defending the rights of the oppressed is not forbidden for a God’s servant. However this extremism is unfortunately hereby condemned even by clergymen. Martin Luther King Jr reminded them that on the Calvary Hill were crucified three men for their extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and the other, Jesus Christ was an extremist for love.

Unfortunately, being right or thinking you are right in a society dominated by evil or in which people are not sufficiently enlightened on the subject of disagreement, you open yourself to public ridicule if not considered as a danger to be eliminated without delay. You are then perceived as the wrongdoer and finally you are rejected by your society if not punished sometimes by the most crucial penalty like Galilee when he affirmed that the Earth turns around the Sun.

vii. I have a dream

In all his actions, Martin Luther King had a dream in his mind, his heart and his soul. He had a dream and a hope that out of the horrors they were living, will come to a lasting good.

“I have a dream” is a public and historical speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr, at the March on Washington on the 28th of March 1963. He called for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights to be recognized to every child of the USA. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream has been well summarized by Erin Burke as follows (

“A dream in which blacks and whites can sit down and break bread together as brothers and sisters. A dream where Dr. King’s own children will not be judged by their skin color but for the character they exhibit. Dr. King closes with words from an old Negro spiritual, looking toward the day when people of every creed and color can join together and sing: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we are free at last!”

If you are guided by a poignant dream in your mind, you are ready to climb all hills dressed in front of you, cross all rivers, remove all blocks standing on your way so that you can achieve your objective. In our life, especially a freedom fighter’s life, it is necessary to sacrifice many things for reaching the goal you have envisioned before.

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?

A precipitating factor of an event: As said above, oppressed people cannot keep silent forever. It is true that the great majority of the population will say nothing until there is someone who takes the courage to raise the voice, or something that breaks the barrage. At that very time, like water contained in a dam, people will raise their voices even though you thought they were satisfied by the situation in which they were living.

Before 1990, Rwanda was seemingly a peaceful country and supposedly respectful of its citizens’ rights. The population was always singing and dancing at least once a week, for praising President Juvenal Habyarimana for all good things he had done for the nation. Nobody worried about the situation of Rwandans who had fled the country thirty (30) years ago and the majority of them still living in the refugees’ camps in Uganda. The problem was the misinformation, because the Government had made its possible not to inform the population about the problem. The victims were suffering there without any complaint until the day some of them raised the voice and took arms for combating for their rights. When the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) launched its attack in 1990, and the multiparty system was ordered to French-speaking African countries in the “La Baule Conference” in France, the great majority of Rwandan refugees supported the RPF and surprisingly, those who lived within the borders of the country and had never complained openly, ranked among the opponents of the regime.

The lesson to be drawn is that one day or another; a factor will spark the event that was lying among the population and the latter will be like the current of an overflow and it will be difficult to contain its force. It is better to be just towards every one and recognize every citizen as a human being. Your behavior will defend you without lifting a finger towards those who criticize you.

Strong women: In Kinyarwanda, we say “He, who has a better wife, has a better household” meaning that a woman is the main pillar of the household. Those who have been supported by their wives in their enterprises have succeeded better than others. Even though I have not succeeded in life more than others, the situation of my family is among those that can be qualified as “a well-to-do family.” When I decided to get a higher degree in the University of Rwanda after the genocide perpetrated against Tutsis in 1994, despite the problems of providing basic needs to the family, my wife accepted my decision. We have seen many women heading alone their household due to the genocide. For some, husbands were killed and others have theirs in prison for having participated in the killings. Mine was in none of those categories, but she decided to head alone the household for 4 years. Fortunately, after studies, the “painful tree of efforts bore the blessing fruits” as it is well said by the Rwandan adage. I got a better job and we could relieve the situation of the family.

Each society has its own untouchables: In my previous assessments, I said something about one ethnic group of Batwas that was segregated in my country. It has been proved that wherever there have been multiracial communities, there has been racial segregation. Stories about discrimination and especially about untouchables make me think about my own country. The Batwas were, and in some areas remain a category of population considered as a pariah in its own country. Nobody wanted to share with them a sit, a drink or a meal. Marriage between one person of this category and others was unimaginable.

Where Martin Luther King Jr. says that Black Americans were like untouchables in India, I have an envy to tell him that no community was spared against that disease around the world. The Batwas in my own country were denigrated; the Karamajong, in Karamoja (a part of Uganda), are a category of Ugandans left far behind up to now. In 779, the Tang dynasty issued an edict which forced Uighurs to wear their ethnic dress, stopped them from marrying Chinese females, and banned them from pretending to be Chinese ( – history_part_1/). Despite the Israeli Declaration of Independence in which equal rights to all citizens regardless of ethnicity, denomination or race are stressed, in practice, significant institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country’s Arab citizens is observed in this country ( Human_rights in Israel). These are some examples, to name but a few, testifying the scourge that eats away almost all societies. An end to this evil could be brought by the determination of each community and each individual to remove the beam in one’s own eye before envisaging the removal of the mote in others’ eyes.

Positive discrimination: If, for one reason or another, a group of persons has been victim of injustice, it is necessary for the government leading the country to take special measures for restoring the balance. The Rwandan government has adopted such policy of affirmative action in favor of women by adopting different measures like the acceptance of more girls in secondary school, and 30% of women in all decision-making organs…

This policy must be managed carefully. Sometimes, you think you have resolved the problem by accruing the number of the disfavored ignoring that the problem is elsewhere, or, with the policy you create a more crucial problem. If for example you admit more female students with a small note, as affirmed by a representative of the University of Rwanda, this could make matters worse “because the under qualified female students will not perform as well and this could lead to stigmatization and stereotyping of female intellectual capacity” ( Some leaders in high positions could also abuse the policy in attributing interminably the favors to the members of their families, clans… And if you don’t put an end to the positive discrimination on time, you can finally create another imbalance. In Rwanda for example, where the affirmative action in favor of women has been initiated, the parliament is now occupied by 62% of women and the number of female student admitted in secondary school is creating the discouragement of their fellow males.

Silent accomplice: When you don’t condemn the evil, it means for the public, that you support it. As said above, quoting Desmond Tutu, if you are neutral in situation of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor, because you are perceived by both sides as encouraging the evil. If you have not enough force to defend the victim, it is recommended to shout against the perpetrator and call for help. When someone fails to rescue a person in danger, he/she is punishable under the Rwandan Criminal Code (Articles 216, 570 (4), 666). I have discovered that in any society the fight for the protection and respect of human rights is mostly a matter of non-tolerance of its violation, be it committed against you or against any other human being. When you tolerate such violations, one day or another, you will be one of those victims. A Rwandan adage says “If you don’t denounce the poisoner, he/she will decimate your children” and “you’d better throw out of the fence, the baton that served to beat your rival (the woman married to your own husband).”

The good extremist: In our society, if you want to live peacefully, be it in politics or any other domain of life, it is not good to swim against the current, at the risk of being overthrown by the latter. However, a good leader must not be afraid of fighting against the evil. This is the case of Martin Luther King Jr. I appreciate the courage with which he faced the segregation practiced against the Negroes community. The white community was very strong and the majority of them, even the leaders of religious confessions supported this practice.

I met a similar problem while working as a legal advisor in a bank. The bank’s management team wanted to seize an account of a woman allegedly married to a bank’s debtor. For seizing the account, a legal advice was one of the requirements. However, after verifying the identification of the woman, I noticed that officially she was single, even though she was living with the bank’s debtor under the same roof. Rwandan Law does not recognize any obligation of the concubine towards his/her partner’s debts, save the right of each other to the property they acquired together, if so decided by a court. Thus, I gave a negative advice despite I was pushed by the management of the bank to allow the seizure of the account. As a consequence of my firm position, I was held in bad regard at the end of the year, with a mention I will never forget “he is not working for the bank’s interests”. This was one of the reasons that pushed me to resign from my position and start my own business. If I had given up, the bank could have cashed a big amount of money, but with a higher risk of reimbursing it accrued with interests and damages in the near future. In the life of a good leader, it is necessary to keep firmly on your position if you judge it as just and right. This is the kind of persons that Martin Luther King Jr qualified as a good extremist. He said, “If you believe in something firmly, if you believe in it truly, if you believe it in your heart, you are willing to die for it…” (p.320).

All start with a dream: In our life, we have dreams of different kinds. Martin Luther King had a dream of eradicating injustice in the USA. Nelson Mandela had a dream of a South Africa where all citizens are enjoying the benefits of the country as brothers and sisters. Mahatma Gandhi envisioned his country out of English yoke and not segregating its own citizens named “untouchables.” In his book “Goal Setting 101,” Gary Ryan Blair said “Nothing of any lasting value was ever created by someone who was reasonable. It is the unreasonable people, those discontented with the status quo, the dreamers and visionaries who nevertheless have their feet planted firmly on solid ground who improve people’s lives and advance society.”

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.

“One of the main tenets of this philosophy (positive social philosophy) was the conviction that nonviolent resistance was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in quest for social justice.”

When you have no armed forces to fight against the oppressor, the only efficient weapon is “nonviolent resistance.”

“If I have done anything in this struggle, it is because I have had behind me and at my side a devoted, understanding, dedicated, patient companion in the person of my wife.”

“Behind a brave man, there is strong woman.”

The support of your partner has big role to play in your projects,

“Ordinarily, a person leaving a courtroom with a conviction behind him would wear a somber face. But I left with a smile. I knew that I was a convicted criminal, but I was proud of my crime. It was the crime of joining my people in a nonviolent protest against injustice.”

Nothing is more comforting than knowing you are suffering for a just cause.

“Because I think when a person lives with the fears of the consequences for his personal life he can never do anything in terms of lifting the whole of humanity and solving many of the social problems which we confront in every age and every generation.”

He who does not want to risk anything will never achieve anything. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. No enterprise can be free of risks, what the entrepreneur does is to mitigate them.

“To believe in nonviolence does not mean that violence will not be inflicted to you. The believer in nonviolence is the person who will willingly allow himself to be the victim of violence but will never inflict violence upon another.”

It is when you decide not to use violence to others that you will be qualified as a “nonviolent” person.

“True nonviolent resistance is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of the violence than the inflictor of it.”

The nonviolent resistance does not lead to passivity; it is rather an action of resisting by empathizing with the perpetrator.

“I left India more convinced than ever before that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”

Oppressed people are in the majority of cases weaker than oppressors. If the weak tries to use the force, the result is the inevitable failure of the weak. The only weapon available is the nonresistance.

“The ultimate tragedy of Birmingham was not the brutality of the bad people, but the silence of the good people.”

“If you are neutral in situation of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

“We will be sadly mistaken if we think freedom is some lavish dish that the federal government and the white man will pass out on a silver plate while the Negro merely furnishes the appetite.”

A right is not negotiated; it is ripped from the grip of the oppressor. As said once by Thomas Sankara, the slave deserves his chains. The slave who does not fight, who does not make a commitment, cannot get rid of his chains. He remains a slave whatever the moralist speech of his master.

“What an insane logic it is to condemn Jesus Christ because his love for God and Truth precipitated the evil act of his crucifixion. We must condemn those who are perpetuating the violence, and not those individuals who engage in the pursuit of their constitutional rights.”

It is not understandable to close eyes in front of injustice up to the point of condemning the victim.

“Even semantics conspire to make that which is black seem ugly and degrading. In Roget’s thesaurus there are some 120 synonyms for blackness and that at least 60 of them are offensive. The most degenerate member of a family is the “black sheep” not the “white sheep.”

The image of the black person has been always tarnished. In the 18th century, Montesquieu wondered “how a so good God could have a put a soul in a so black body.”

“Ultimately, a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus. If every Negro in the United States turns to violence, I will choose to be that one lone voice preaching that this is the wrong way.”

Here it is necessary to consider that the majority is not always right and the minority wrong. Even though in democracy, there is a law of majority, if you think you are right, respect others’ voice but keep your idea. Sooner or later people will know the truth.

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?

I did not understand how Negroes gave a substantial majority of votes to Kennedy, where it was said they were denied the voting right.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader 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 comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful was the content? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 7
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 8

Think and Grow Rich
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Through this book, the author demonstrates with examples, that all achievements, all earned riches have their beginning in an idea. The wealth comes from turning the idea from something we can see in our mind into concrete riches. This is done through autosuggestion, organized planning, mastermind association and an inner harmony between the thoughts of your mind and the actions and achievements of your life. The author thinks that, if the different steps toward riches are followed as described in the book, the reader will achieve whatever he is focusing on.

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. Who can be considered as an educated person?

Knowledge is one of the requirements for becoming rich. Nobody could say the contrary. However, it is worth wondering why the most educated persons (who have acquired most knowledge than others) are not the wealthiest on this earth. On the opposite side, the author gives a list of people who accumulated riches, despite they were not well performing in class. We can cite among others: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford… The good answer to the question is given by the author himself where he says that knowledge in itself is not enough for becoming rich. It must be organized. As he says, “knowledge will not attract money, unless it is organized, and intelligently directed, through practical plans of action, to the definite end of accumulation of money” (page 73).
What I would like to stress here is the difference between knowledge and education. These two notions have been always confused. Henry Ford in America was qualified as an ignorant, and for demonstrating it, the lawyer of the party sued in court for this calumny, asked him the number of British soldiers sent to America for putting down the Rebellion of 1776. This is the same as considering a person as ignorant merely because he/she does not speak a foreign language (French, English). As said by the author on page 73, “An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has so developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others” (p. 73). I was revolted once while listening to a Rwandan journalist’s report on the International Literacy Day, confusing literacy with education. However it would be unjust to condemning the journalist, because what he said is the general understanding of the whole world and the Rwandan community in particular. But literacy does not necessarily mean education. I do not yet remember on which occasion the Rwandan President Paul Kagame deplored mediocrity among people normally considered as intellectuals.

ii. Lack of ambition, universal weakness
In this universe, the big problem as evoked by the author on page 79 is the lack of ambition. Some people pretend they could not go to school because they had to support the family or were too old. Stuart Wier Austin, referred to in the present book, Sam Nujoma’s story and mine stated in the paragraph in Question 3of this assessment could serve as examples for those who don’t believe in the possibility of joining the school at an advanced age. Stuart Wier Austin went back to school in Construction Engineering at 40 (page 79). It has been said that the former president of Namibia, Sam Nujoma went back to Mining Engineering at 75 ( Among the main causes of failure, as noticed by the author, there is also the lack of ambition. Where one lacks ambition, it is impossible to move from one (bad) condition to another (better) one.

iii. “We-are-obligingly-at-your-service, sir” policy

The author recommends that employer and employee must be fellow employees whose business is to serve the public efficiently. As he says, the cause of the American depression is traceable directly to the world habit of trying to reap without sowing (page 117). But the worst is sowing the wrong sort of seed.

Courtesy and service are the watch words of merchandising today. This advice is especially directed to those who sell their personal services. In French it is said that “the client is your king”. This is to say that you may serve him pleasantly and with all your efforts without reserve. If you neglect to serve your king, you are good to be thrown out of his palace and loose the benefits of his Majesty. If you do not serve well your client, the latter will let you in your poor palace and never come back to give you his/her money. You will then wallow in your misery, because the unsatisfied client goes away with at least ten others, as it is usually said.

I remember the time I was in France in 1986; a young lady working in a shop forced me mentally to buy shoes I did not want to buy, only because of customer care. While erring in the streets of Paris, an idea came to my mind to visit shops for just seeing what it was in them. The first shop of my choice was selling shoes. When I crossed the doorway of the shop, a young lady came to me, greeted with a big smile and welcomed me. I returned her the greeting and went through the shelves. The first question she asked was if I were married and seeking my wife’s shoes. At that time, I noticed that her look never quit my eyes. When she asked me the question, my eyes were focusing on a kind of women’s boots. Without waiting my answer, she was already climbing the ladder and came down with a pair of the shoes. I glanced at the shoes and shook my head to express my denial. For escaping her insistence, my look went inadvertently to men’s shoes. Her look was always fixed on my eyes and she climbed straight to the kind of shoes I was watching and came back with a pair. She started boasting them and bent down to help me to try them without any request. I had no other option than to accept. I nodded but said they were very expensive. I fell then into my own trap. Without any proposal, she said she is going to propose her boss to reduce 50 Francs. She went straight to her boss without waiting for my opinion and came back with already a wrapper for packaging the shoes, because, she said, the boss agreed for the reduction. I was really embarrassed to leave the shop without buying something and paid 299 Francs unwillingly, but I paid.

iv. Procrastination

According to the author, procrastination, the opposite of decision, is one of the most common causes of failure. If we had to numbering the causes of failure, he says, procrastination would be near the head of the list. The author recommends taking a decision whatever the risk, as did the 56 persons who signed the declaration of independence of the United States of America. It was too risky for them at that time.

The author thinks that the major weakness of all educational system is that they neither teach nor encourage the habit of definite decision. He recommends that any student, before the acceptance of his enrollment, declares his major purpose in matriculating. As he says “it would be of still greater benefit, if every student who enters the graded school were compelled to accept training in the habit of decision, and forced to pass a satisfactory examination on this subject before being permitted to advance in grades” (p.149).

In this book, it is well explained that the value of decisions depends upon the courage required to render them. The great decisions, which served as the foundation of civilization, were reached by assuming great risks, which often meant the possibility of death. As examples, the author cites: Lincoln’s decision to issue the proclamation of emancipation of the colored people of America, Socrate’s decision to drink poison instead of compromising his personal belief. (p.142) Sometimes, you can take decisions that could be not good at the right moment, but you have to decide any way. Nevertheless, the decision must be based on a motive that could be justified to yourself or any other person if necessary. As said above, my decision to go to the university was dictated by an ambition of getting a higher degree. After weighing the risks of passing four years at school without the possibility of supporting my wife in providing needs to my children, and the advantages of getting a higher degree and consequently a boost to earn more money, I finally opted for going to university. I was foreseeing the situation of this country, when there will be more graduated persons. Ten years later, those who did not take the same decision were fired out of their services due to poor qualifications.

v. Persistence

The author explains the term “persistence” comparing it to “getting out of a nightmare.” Persistence, he says, can be compared to a situation where your feet and arms are tied and you try to untie yourself. At the first and many following attempts, it does not work, but by dint of insisting you finally untie the hands and afterwards your feet (page 153). Persistence allows you to get something you could not have gotten. Either you convince the person, or you make him/her decide positively because he/she wants to rid him/her of you.

In the Bible, it is recommended to ask with persistence. In the Gospel written by Luke, it is said “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Bible, Luke 11, 9-10). There is an old saying attributed to Buddha affirming that “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.” (

vi. Fear of criticism

As said by the author, procrastination is the main enemy to success. When you fear what others will say, you will never do anything. We have certainly heard about the fable of a man, his son and a donkey. The man tried to please the people he met on his way, but he could please none. The fable concludes as follows: “Please all and you will please none” ( Don’t fear criticism!

When you are afraid of criticism, you have a tendency to submit to everyone your idea and request his/her opinion. However, all those people are not necessarily wishing you success. Some of them would be happy to see you failing in your enterprise. The latter will always criticize your project and discourage you for embracing it. They will only become your friends when you don’t progress and they will always enjoy your failure.
I remember a colleague of mine who was a friend of other co-workers at the condition they don’t get a plan of development. Since the time I started working with him, I was welcomed and was invited almost every evening to share a drink with him. When I started building my own house, the situation was reversed. Firstly he criticized day by day the place I had chosen to locate the house. Secondly he said he did not like the kind of house I was building. Afterward, he stopped inviting me and used to gossip with others about my house.

vii. Guardian Angels

As said by the author, “Through the aid of the sixth sense, you will be warned of impeding dangers in time to avoid them, and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them.” (p.208) When we pray, we request support from invisible beings and we are confident that they will help us. In the Catholic Church, it is said that believers have angels assuring their protection (Daniel 6-20), reveal information (Luke 1: 11-20), guide them (Matthew 1: 20-21) and provide for the necessary (Genesis 21: 17-20). In addition to angels, there are saints protecting terrestrial beings. Each Christian or each group of Christians chooses a saint in charge of the protection. Saint Nicolas for example is the patron of children. In the Islamic religion, there are six pillars six pillars of faith, and one of them is the belief in Angels. Other pillars being: belief in God, the One and Only, the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists, in His books, His messengers, the Last Day and Divine predestination ( It is believed that there are guardian angels responsible for protecting the believer throughout his life, at home or traveling, asleep or awake.

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?

Educated persons: The 08th day of September is celebrated worldwide as a day for fighting against illiteracy. It has been declared “International Literacy Day” by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. In my country, while celebrating that day, it is presented a number of adult persons who have learnt reading and writing as well as counting.

Literacy is traditionally understood as the ability to read, write, and use arithmetic ( The modern term’s meaning has been expanded to include the ability to use language, numbers, images, computers, and other basic means to understand, communicate, gain useful knowledge and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture. Unfortunately this is the meaning attributed to education in my country. In our language, Kinyarwanda, it is said that it is an international day for fighting against “ubujiji” which means “ignorance”. This confusion leads to thinking that illiteracy equals ignorance. And that illiteracy means uneducated person. This is the same as considering a person as ignorant merely because he/she does not speak a foreign language (French, English and a person as an educated person because he/she speaks French for example. Even though it is recommended and encouraged to go to school for getting different skills, it would a big mistake to consider people who could not attend to school as ignorant. When one looks around, it is easy to notice that there are people who could not go to school for different reasons, but are wealthier than the highly graduated ones.

Lack of ambitions, universal weakness: A Rwandan adage says that “If you worship God sitting near the fire, He does not find anything better than to dust you with sand”. Lazy persons are always sitting near the fire to keep them warm while hard workers are warmed by the efforts deployed while working. If you lack ambition, you cannot expect anything better in your life. In the life of each person, there is something that pushes him/her to improve his/her conditions of life. It is when you have an ambition, that nothing could stop you to achieve your goal. The idea of ambition to study in a university reflects well the ambition I have nurtured for long up to the time I got a bachelor degree in Law. When I finished my secondary school (1979), I had an ambition of getting a university degree. However, at that time, two obstacles were standing on my way.

Firstly I had studied in a teacher training school and the laureates were not allowed to continue their studies without teaching at least two years. These two years were theoretical; after joining the teaching career, mostly in primary school, you were not allowed to leave because the Ministry of Education needed many qualified teachers. That very year, the Government had launched a school reform that added two supplementary years to the primary school and there was a great need of more teachers.

Secondly, if you wanted to escape the rule, you had to pay 50,000 Rwf (around 60 US Dollars) in secret to one of the higher authorities in the Ministry of Education the acceptance of your resignation and to be granted a government’s scholarship for accessing the university. 50,000 Rwf was a very big amount; it was equivalent to a salary of five (5) months. As my father used to valuate this sum of money, with it you could buy five (5) cows. At that time, apart from the unique major catholic seminary, there was a unique public university owned by the Government. Private universities were unknown.

Since it was difficult to achieve my goal by myself, I begged a French Sister who was very close to the former president of the Republic and headed the institution I was working for, to use her connections and try to get a scholarship for me, but the answer put me in despair. She told me she was heading such important institution without any university degree. I understood well the meaning of her answer and resigned to my unhappy fate. However my ambition continued smoldering in my mind like fire under the ashes.

Almost twenty years later, after the 1994 genocide perpetrated against Tutsis in Rwanda, the Rwanda Patriotic Front came to power with another vision. The access to university was open for all, and my ambition to get a higher degree awakened in my mind. Despite I was around 40 years old; I went to study law and I got a bachelor degree in 1998. My ambition did not stop there. When an opportunity was offered for getting a Master’s degree in 2014, I did not hesitate to go back to school despite I was 57 years old. All those enterprises were guided by my ambition of getting a higher degree, mostly when I considered I was not limited by my intelligence. I was even ready to seek a PhD, if I was not stopped by illness since 2016. The same ambition guided me in learning English, getting Computer skills where other people of my age were saying they are too old to learn those new skills almost unknown in Rwanda before 1994.

The Rwandan “Na yombi” policy: Another kind of “We-are-obligingly-at-your-service, sir” policy: “Na yombi” is a Rwandan policy for improving customer care in all Rwandan services (public and private). “Na yombi” means that a customer/client must be received with open arms. The reason why this policy has been adopted by the Rwandan Government is that one of the important resources of the country, which has not enough natural resources, is “tourism.” Rwanda is very well known for its mountain gorillas. The quality of services offered to those who visit Rwanda, especially the tourists, is of great importance for attracting more others. However, when you are received by an employee of a hotel or any other institution, it is noticeable that the words used by the employee while welcoming you or the behavior adopted while protocoling you, are not coming from the bottom of the heart. It seems like a repetition of the content of a certain training received in “customer care.” The notion of perceiving a “client” as a “king” is far from being reached. When you observe the behavior of those different people, you feel that customer care is not the mentality of Rwandans. There is a need of special effort in focusing on the sensitization of the whole population. This could be done by public trainings on radio or TV, in churches. Moreover, this culture could be cultivated in children’s minds at school and in their respective families. I think our people should learn that customer care goes beyond greeting customers and welcoming them. We must adopt a behavior and a speech that convince the customer to buy at any price.

Procrastination: As said in the Question 2, ii. paragraph above, procrastination is the opposite of decision. If a person doesn’t make an effort to overcome the tendency to put aside the work to be done, but when the deadline is approaching, there is a panic. It is said in Kinyarwanda that it is nonsense to let a child continue walking in the wet grass, while you know that at the end of the day you will carry him/her on your back. It means that finally you will be obliged to carry him and wet yourself while it was possible to avoid the problem by carrying him on time. When you try to escape your own work today, you will be more harassed tomorrow.

It is noticeable that there is a lack of training of the youth in taking decision in the Rwandan education. The system of education in our respective families does not favor the liberty of expression. If a woman or a child wants to express his/her opinion, they require first the opinion of the head of the family, if only by a look, for requiring the authorization. There is a long way before we have people taking a decision without fearing critics.

Persistence: Persistence was one quality I was missing before I entered into contact with the International Institute for Global Leadership. I was easily discouraged when I could not succeed for the first time. I remember when I was a teenager, I could not acquire friendship with girls. In our country, and I think it is the same in many other countries, when you propose something to a woman or a young girl (sharing a drink or a meal for example), the first answer is “no,” even though in her mind it is “yes.” I was not persistent enough to insist more than once. I was then very upset to see other guys with their girlfriends while I was unsuccessful to conquer the friendship of girls. I discovered later that the problem was me and not girls. I was not persistent enough to ask and ask again up to obtaining what I wanted. After learning leadership courses, I was old enough to conquer friendship of young girls, and I was already married, but I know that with persistence you can get all what you want.

Fear of criticism: In our mother tongue, Kinyarwanda, we say that the criticizing person worries while the criticized one is quiet (Umugayo uvuna ugaya, ugawa yigaramiye). This means that you should do whatever seems to be good for you and let others criticize as they please.

When I decided to go to study law in the National University of Rwanda at the age of 40, many people disapproved my decision. Later, I knew that those who were criticizing my decision were not fulfilling the conditions of being accepted in a higher institution. Just before I went to study, a friend of mine came to me and informed me he was aware of my ambition to go back to studies. I said yes. He told me it was a foolish project and that it was irresponsible to abandon my family in such difficult period of time (it was just after the genocide committed against Tutsis in 1994). At that time, it was necessary to work hard for the survival of the family. Even though I did not follow his advices, they seemed logic and very relevant. Moreover, as he said, it was very dangerous. It was probably a good opportunity for the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which won the war, to put intellectual people together and kill them for revenging the victims of genocide.

Despite the relevance of his advice, I learned later that discouraging me from getting a higher degree was not dictated by an altruistic interest. He could have probably joined me, but he was not fulfilling the required conditions, because he had not finished his secondary school, one of the requirements for being admitted in a university. Fortunately I did not abandon my project and continued my studies. If I wanted to please my friend, I could have abandoned the idea of getting a higher degree, and continue the way others wanted for me. But it could have been a very bad decision.

My Celestial Helpers: Some years ago, I received a gift from my mentor, Judith Royer. The book is a real treasure for me. It is a small book titled “Hiring the Heavens.” The testimonies contained in the book are unbelievable, but the people telling them affirm they are true. The author herself says she was inspired by Celestial Helpers to write the book.

I often resort to my Celestial Helpers and lastly, I put in place a Committee of physicians for dealing with my case of sickness. The following are the peculiarities of the Committee: Name of the committee: Committee against Cancer and Urinary Problems (C.C.U.P.) Mission statement: The CCUP’s mission is to restore my health state by healing me from the cancer disease and its different consequences. Committee members: a physician in charge of oncology, a physician in charge of urology and a physician in charge of neurology. Tasks list:
To heal the prostate cancer and reduce the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) to the lowest level (between 0-4 ng/ml).
To strengthen the vertebras that have been affected by the metastasis of the prostate cancer;
To strengthen the nerves that have been affected also by the metastasis coming from the prostate cancer;
To give a special strength to my left leg which has been more affected by the cancer disease because it suffered long years ago from a bad injection of the sciatic nerve;
To allow me the possibility of bending the back without difficulties;
To eliminate from my feet the bad sensations and allow me to wear shoes;
To strengthen my bladder so that it could fully empty itself while urinating.

I am the Chairperson of the Celestial Committee and we meet at least once a week and whenever there is an urgent problem to deal with or information to be shared. At every meeting, I remind them their mission and the different tasks. I inform them the evolution of the disease and I always close the meeting by a declaration like this:
“I am very happy with the way you accomplished your respective tasks! This is to inform you that today I met the physical oncologist who was assisted by the celestial oncologist and they decided to stop with the docetaxel chemotherapy. I will continue only with zometa for strengthening the vertebras. I request other physicians to continue assisting. Thanks and Good night!”

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.
“If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your account balance” (p.33).

Everything, even great riches start with an idea.

“The subconscious mind will translate into reality a thought driven by fear just as readily as it will translate into reality a thought driven by courage, or faith” (p.53).

The subconscious mind does not make a difference between the wrong and the right. It is the reason why every person is called to dictate positive thoughts to his/her subconscious mind.

“Many philosophers have made the statement that man is the master of his own earthly destiny, but most of them have failed to say why he is the master…Man may become the master of himself, and of his environment, because he has the power to influence his own subconscious mind, and through it, gain the cooperation of Infinite Intelligence.” (p.71).

Contrarily to the old belief of predestination, human beings have the power to lead their destiny as a sailor guides his ship and accost on a beach of his choice.

“Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end.” (p.73).

Having knowledge is not enough. To organize this asset and direct it toward a definite goal is the only way to transform it into power.

“Just keep this fact in mind, and remember if your plans fail, that temporary defeat is not permanent failure. It may only mean that your plans have not been sound. Build others plans. Start all over again.” (p.101)

Falling does not mean failure. It becomes failure when, after falling, you refuse to stand up.

“Remember that it is not the lawyer who knows the most law, but the one who best prepares his case, who wins.” (p.113)

As a lawyer, I agree with this statement. Convincing the judge and winning a case is subjected to a careful preparation.

“You may see at one and the same time both your best friend and your greatest enemy, by stepping in front of a mirror.” (p.121)

The worst enemy and the best friend of a person is the person him/herself.
“The person who desires riches in the same spirit that Samuel Adams desired freedom for the Colonies is sure to accumulate wealth” (p.149)
For success in all great enterprises, it is required a great courage like did Samuel Adams.
“He [Mahatma Gandhi] came by power through inducing over two hundred million people to coordinate, with mind and body, in a spirit of harmony, for a definite purpose.” (p.171).

The powerful person is the one who can influence others positively to achieve a goal that has been agreed upon.

“Poverty needs no plan. It needs no one to aid it, because it is bold and ruthless. Riches are shy and timid. They have to be attracted.” (p.173)

The way leading to the good things is thorny, while the one leading to bad destination is very soft.
“Every other animal indulges its sex nature in moderation, and with purpose which harmonizes with the laws of nature. Every other animal responds to the call of sex only in season. Man’s inclination is to declare open season.” (p.186)

Biological sex must not be a game. It must be moderated.

“Most men will not admit they are easily influenced by the women they prefer, because it is in the nature of the male to want to be recognized as the stronger of the species.” (p.192)

Men declare loudly what their wives have decided in private.

“If you pray for a thing, but have a fear as you pray, that you may not receive it, or that your prayer will not be acted upon by the Infinite Intelligence, your prayer will have been in vain.” (p.199)

The prayer must be supported by the positive thoughts.

“Through the aid of the sixth sense, you will be warned of impeding dangers in time to avoid them, and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them” (p.208)

Each person has the possibility of feeling dangers or good things before they occur.

“If you must be careless with your possessions, let it be in connection with material things. Your mind is you spiritual estate! Protect and use it with the care to which Divine Royalty is entitled.” (p.244)

Our mind is the greatest treasure we possess. Then it deserves protection of great importance.

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 of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the book contains very interesting and helpful exercises. I tried to complete the following exercises judged to be the most important ones.
Exercise of attracting money (page 32) by putting the mind into the feeling of money.
Exercise of concentration on page 68. To read the chapter 4 on auto-suggestion aloud once every night until being thoroughly convinced of the principle of autosuggestion (p.71).
Exercise of reading twice a day the following sentence: “A Quitter Never Wins and a Winner Never Quits.” (p.102)
From page 121, the author gives a list of 30 major causes of failure and asks the reader to check the causes of failure that stand between him/her and success.
Self-analysis (p.127-128)
Inventory of myself in connection with persistence (p.157)
Coming back to the chapter “Sixth sense one month after.” (p. 215) This is an exercise to be continued after finishing the assessment.
Self-analysis Test Questions (p. 240). For answering these questions, there is a need of at least one day. And the author recommends coming back to them at least once a week for several months.
The author invites me to examine myself carefully and determine how many alibis, if any, are my own properties (p.246).

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 comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 8
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9

Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

In this book, the authors (Roger Fischer and William Ury) propose to the reader (s) the way a satisfactory agreement could be reached between conflicting parties without destroying relationships between them.

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.

The present book is full of important ideas, but I choose to develop hereinafter seven of them that seem more important for me.

i. Out-of-court settlement of conflicts

When it is said something about “negotiation,” it goes without saying that people think about conflicts, and the way they could be resolved. As we are used to, when a person has a conflict with another, the courts may be approached to hear the matter and pass judgment of punishment or granting relief, acquittal or exoneration from liability. However, state courts are now not the only forum of resolving disputes. There are other mechanisms known as “out-of-court settlement of disputes” or “Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).” Allan Redfern and al. gave a very simple and concise definition of ADR by saying that it consists of “methods of resolving, or attempting to resolve disputes without resort to courts by procedures which are informal” (Alan Redfern et al., Law and practice of international commercial arbitration (2004) p. 25).
This book “Getting To Yes” explains one method of ADR named “negotiation.” One of the reasons for resorting to negotiation and other methods of ADR is their efficacy where compared with trial. Some of the disadvantages of classic trial are listed in the lines below.
It has been noticed that the last solution of the court is unpredictable. Even though you are assisted or represented by a good lawyer, you can never now if you have a 100% chance of winning a case. Regardless of how strong your case is, there will always be a chance that judgment is not made in your favor. Litigation is also a costly and time-consuming process. Not only you need to pay your Counsel’s fees, you may also need to pay different procedural and court fees. In case of failure, you may also be required to pay the other parties’ costs. Court schedules and deadlines can also mean that disputes are not resolved for several months, and sometimes years. Worst, in addition to all those different disadvantages, litigants leave the court room as forever enemies. This is one of the reasons why litigation is discouraged and conflicting parties are encouraged to settle their disputes amicably.

ii. The necessity of negotiation skills for lawyers

The authors state that we all are negotiators, and negotiate in many fields of life: household, workplace, and so on and so forth. Even though negotiation is part of our daily life, it is worth explaining first what is“negotiation.” Negotiation is a method by which people settle differences. It is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument and dispute ( If I consider the domain in which I work, I think that the ability to negotiate effectively should be an integral part of a lawyer’s repertoire of professional skills. Negotiation is normally conducted with lawyers who are representing other clients during pre-trial meeting, a compulsory procedure before appearing before the judge. In addition, the Rwandan Code of Civil Procedure provides also for eventual conciliation proposed by the judge even when the case has been already submitted to court. The article 28 of Rwandan Code of Civil Procedure states that “Conciliation of parties is carried out subject to special formalities and a special report is drawn up to that effect. The registrar may also refer them to private mediators or ask the president of the court to designate a judge to mediate between them if they so wish”. When a compromise has been reached during the pre-trial meeting, the judge only hears the case with respect to matters for which a compromise is not reached. While conducting the conciliation process, counsels are needed and skills in the field of alternative dispute resolution are required.

iii. A good negotiation avoids positional bargaining

The authors, Roger Fisher and William Ury do not define what is “positional bargaining”, but they give us its classic example: negotiation between a seller and a client. The authors recognize that this method of negotiation could reach good results, but not surely because it “depends upon successively taking˗˗and giving up. Then, if those purposes could be reached otherwise, it is better to use best methods. We agree with the authors, that positional bargaining fails to produce a wise agreement, efficiently and amicably. For illustrating this failure, the author gives good examples like the one concerning disputes between farmers and an oil company in Iraq. Each party camped on its position and the problem was accrued up to a face-to-face ready to fight with guns. Farmers wanted to keep their land and the Oil Company its right after expropriation. The bloodshed was averted by the last minute intervention of one mediator who was coming from a training program in alternatives to positional bargaining. He could notice that in reality, when farmers disputed the land, they wanted 6 months more for harvesting their crops, and the company did want only seismic survey without touching any plant. The oil would be only exploited in the coming three (3) years.

In 1990, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda defending the cause of refugees who, for the majority were descendants of one category of population (Tutsis) who fled the country in 1959 and the following years, when the regime was changed in favor of another group (Hutus). When the refugees raised the problem of returning to their motherland, the then Rwandan Government alleged that the country was already overpopulated and could not contain all those refugees intending to come back. The then government proposed them to seek nationalities in countries where they resided. In reality the government was afraid of being overthrown by the RPF and the latter did not understand the reason why they were prevented to settle in their own country. It is with Arusha’s negotiations in 1993, that all those fears were dropped. When it was agreed upon the maintenance of the President of the Republic at his place, the sharing power and army with the majority for the existing government and the acceptance of double nationality, to name but a few, the tension calmed down. Unfortunately, the Genocide against Tutsis in 1994 did not ease the implementation of the Arusha Peace Agreement and the war restarted.
iv. The problem of misunderstanding in communication between negotiators

According to Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1977, to negotiate is “confer (with another) for the purpose of arranging some matters by mutual agreement, to discuss a matter with a view to a settlement or comprise.” According to this definition, it is understandable that parties to a negotiation must have common understanding of what the other party wants to say.

When parties to a negotiation do not speak the same language, one party may misinterpret what the other side wants to say. Hereafter I give you a personal example that happened when I was working for the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission in Rwanda (17 years ago). A Canadian consultant was hired by the Commission for drafting a strategic plan of activities [in English]. One of my preoccupations as a lawyer of the Commission was to disseminate laws promoting unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, but at that time, it was not easy for me to express my ideas in English. The first reaction was then to resort to “Google translator” and it gave me the following translation: “to impregnate all Rwandans with the content of laws promoting unity and reconciliation”. When the consultant read my strategic plan, she nearly choked with laughter. After a brief break, she said she agreed with me that I could impregnate all females, but she was curious to know how I could impregnate also males. It is from that time, I knew that the term was inadequate.

From the simple example given above, it is understandable that where the parties speak different languages the chance for misinterpretation is compounded. The authors give an example of the word “compromise”, which lacks in Persian, the positive meaning it has in English of “a midway solution both sides can live with,” but has only a negative meaning as in “our integrity was compromised.” Another example is the word “mediator” in Persian which suggests “meddler”, someone who is barging in uninvited. These two words have failed negotiations between the U.N. Secretary General Waldheim in 1980 with Iran while seeking the release of American hostages. His “efforts were seriously set back when Iranian national radio and television broadcast in Persian a remark he reportedly made on his arrival in Tehran: “I have come as a mediator to work out a compromise.”

v. Face-saving

Contrarily to the meaning we are used to, the authors consider that face-saving reflects a person’s need to reconcile the stand he takes in a negotiation or an agreement with his principles and with his past words and deeds.” The authors explain that the judge do the same when he writes his decision concerning a case submitted to him/her. The judge does not say simply to one party, “You win,” and to the other, “You lose.” (These terms have been abandoned in detriment of best reconciling terms, as explained below). He/she has to explain how the decision is consistent with principle, law, and precedent. “He wants to appear not as arbitrary, but as behaving in a proper fashion” and a negotiator does the same. It has been noticed that when a decision is founded on a law, precedents and well-known and acceptable principles, parties to a trial case have no other way than accepting the decision. But when the decision is not motivated as such, the decision could be revised even though all possibilities of appeal have been exhausted. For this reason, it would not be justified to let the other party unsatisfied for having lacked the face-saving in a negotiation.
vi. Win-win agreement

The traditional way of resolving a conflict by a court’s decision determining the winner and the loser could not build a lasting good relationship. But one could wonder how you could help people to resolve a conflict between them without determining the losing party and the winning one. Could all parties win in a case? Want it or not, the authors define a wise agreement as the one that “meets the legitimate interests of each side to the extent possible.” When reading this principle, I remembered the content of ancient Rwandan courts’ decisions, where judges concluded sometimes that both parties had won and failed. In Kinyarwanda, it is named “gutsindagurana.” As difficult as may be the translation, the meaning of the term is almost the same as “win-win.” Even though people used to laugh while hearing such decision from the judge’s mouth, it is only in such cases where both parties left the courtroom satisfied with the judge’s decision.

vii. Using Negotiation Jujitsu

According to the authors, when the other party camps on his/her position, there are three basic approaches for focusing their attention on the merits. The first approach, principled negotiation, is to concentrate yourself on the merits, rather than on positions. As the authors say, this method is contagious and the other party may follow your way. But this strategy could not be successful and you may resort to the second one named jujitsu. This new strategy counters the basic moves of positional bargaining in ways that direct the other party’s attention to the merits. The third approach focuses on the eventual resort to a third party as a mediator. We will develop the second approach, jujitsu strategy. The reason why I have been interested by jujitsu strategy is that at the first sight, it seems not well understandable, how a martial art strategy could be used in a negotiation process. However the authors have noticed that while negotiating, people commit one common mistake. If the other party attacks you, you may be tempted to defend yourself and counterattack. If the other side pushes you hard, you tend to push him back. This strategy has been revealed to be inefficient in martial arts, especially in “jujitsu.” Negotiation is somehow assimilated to a “fighting game,” where negotiators may be compared to fighters. Since jujitsu is an art or technique of manipulating the opponent’s force against himself rather than confronting it with one’s own force, the authors advise us to “avoid pitting your strength against theirs directly; instead, use your skill to step aside and turn their strength to your ends.”
In application of the method, Roger Fisher and William Ury (the authors of the book) advise us to use the following strategies:
Don’t attack their position, look behind it. When the other side sets forth their position, neither reject it nor accept it. Treat it as one possible option. Look for the interests behind it, seek out the principles which it reflects, and think about ways to improve it.
Don’t defend your ideas, invite criticism and advice. A lot of time in negotiation is spent criticizing. Rather than resisting the other side’s criticism, invite it. Instead of asking them to accept or reject an idea, ask them what’s wrong with it.
Recast an attack on you as an attack on the problem. When the other side attacks you personally as frequently happens; resist the temptation to defend yourself or to attack them. Instead, sit back and allow them to let off steam. Listen to them, show you understand what they are saying, and when they have finished, recast their attack on you as an attack on the problem.
Ask questions and pause. Those engaged in negotiation jujitsu use two key tools. The first is to use questions instead of statements. Statements generate resistance, whereas questions generate answers. When you ask questions, pause. Don’t take the other party off the hook by going right on with another question or some comment of your own. The authors think that “Some of the most effective negotiating you will ever do is when you are not talking.”

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?

Even though the ADR in general and negotiation in particular are more efficient than litigation, it has been noticed that lawyers fear the use of those methods. Lawyers fear that their knowledge of legal notions will lose their importance. In the client’s mind, the lawyer’s image is the one standing before the court, impressing the audience in a rhetoric manner, citing the provisions of law and referring to the well-known decisions of court as well as writings of eminent jurists. Sitting around the table and trying to convince the other party to reach an agreement is nonsense because the lawyer has been hired for stunning and kneeling their adversary. Lawyers fall in the same understanding. Since they are paid by clients, they want to impress them by moving in a field not well known by the general public (domain of law). However, nobody ignores that, as the Rwandan adage says “you cannot leave a battlefield without a scratch” and as said by this commonly known adage in the domain of law, “a worst amicable arrangement is better than a very good trial.”

Ideas drawn from the book “Getting To Yes” are very helpful for me as a lawyer for advising clients, assisting and/or representing them before courts. Since Rwandan legal system, as many others worldwide, is turning from trial procedure to out-of-court settlement of disputes, all partners in justice are encouraged to promote this system for achieving the goal of promoting peaceful settlement of disputes. There is no gain in winning a judgment (if there is a win) and leave behind a trail of hatred between your family and the other party’s. Even in courts, the Rwandan judges have been advised to let aside the terms like: “X wins the case and Y loose”. They may use instead: “X’s pretentions are founded; Y’s pretentions are not founded.” This reflects the political will of the country to favor out-of-court settlement of disputes and consequently the lawyers’ benefit in studying the methods of ADR in general and negotiation in particular.

4. Quotes: Are there brief quotes from the book which really got your attention? If so, please list and comment on them.

“The ability to see the situation as the other side sees it, as difficult as it may be, is one of the most important skills a negotiator can possess.”

Usually, when people are in a conflicting situation, the tendency is to camp on one’s position. It is not usual to see a situation in which both parties share the same view. This is what the authors want to say while inviting negotiators to change from a face-to-face orientation to a side-by-side one.

“An apology may be one of the least costly and most rewarding investments you can make” (p.35)

When you apologize for any mistake that you could have done, people think that you are a coward, but they forget that knees could be take you where your feet can’t.

“Interests motivate people; they are the silent movers behind the hubbub of positions. Your position is something you have decided upon. Your interests are what caused you to so decide.” (p.43)

As I was taught in pedagogy, “without interests, there is no action.” This principle is applicable also in all domains of life.

“No book on gardening can teach you to grow lilies in a desert or a cactus in a swamp” (p.99).
The authors want to say that nothing could be done if all the leverage lies on the other side. In any negotiation there exist realities that are hard to change.

“As in the Oriental martial arts of judo and jujitsu, avoid pitting your strength against theirs directly; instead, use your skill to step aside and turn their strength to your ends” (p.110).

The best strategy in negotiation is to turn the force or strategy of the other party in your favor.
Even with someone like Hitler or Stalin, we should negotiate if negotiation holds the promise of achieving an outcome that, all things considered, meets our interests better than our BATNA (p. 165-166).

If you could sit at the same table with someone like Hitler or Stalin, why not doing it if with this negotiation, as said by the authors, “you can achieve a substantial measure of your interests through nonviolent means?”

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?

The book did not extend its development on security of negotiators or mediators during wartime, riots or other troubles. It could not be easy for belligerents to meet face-t-face if they fear for their lives.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

No, but there are ten questions about: fairness and principled negation, dealing with people and tactics. The authors have commented on them, but it is interesting to re-answer them after the first reading.

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 comment.

The only things I can say is that in the future I will be more confident while conducting a negotiation, and my orientation will be quite different, because I know that trial is not the panacea for resolving conflicts.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
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 it? 9

Rich Dad, Poor Dad:What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The author intends to share insights into how increased financial intelligence can be used to solve many of life’s problems.

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. Don’t work for money

Robert Kiyosaki advises any person reading his book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” is not working for money. At the first sight, this is truly surprising. We have always learned that in the modern world nobody could survive without money. Even though the money is becoming intangible, it remains “money”. Thus, it appears absurd to hear someone saying “don’t work for money”. As a young man, the author was told by Rich Dad not to work for money, but he could not believe what he was hearing. Worst, Rich Dad’s behavior was translating the contrary of what Robert was expecting. First of all he paid almost nothing (10 cents an hour) and afterwards he paid nothing at all. How could you pretend teaching someone the way to becoming rich while depriving him the minimum acceptable salary? The author’s assertion (not working for money) could remain nonsense if it was not followed by another one complementing the sense the author wants to give to it, “The money must work for you”. If you work for money”, says the author, “you give the power to your employer. If money works for you, you keep the power and control it”. If everyone were aware of this statement, we think that the choice should be clear: making money work for you.

However, it is not as easy as we could imagine. It is a matter of comfort. It has been always observed that few people are courageous enough to leave the comfort zone. Here in Rwanda we are used to say that a monthly salary is like a “serum.” It just keeps you alive without permitting you to go further. But for some people, it is better to survive with a small salary instead of taking the risk of initiating your own business. It has been noticed that working for money is the result of fear and the desire of satisfying endless needs.

ii. Fear and desire: two emotions controlling people’s lives.

The fear keeps people in the trap of working, earning money, hoping the fear will go away. Nevertheless, as says the author, each morning the fear gets up with you when you go to work. Surprisingly, it has been noticed that being rich does not resolve the problem of the fear, because alongside the fear there is another emotion: desire. The more money you get the more needs you have, because, as said by Adam Smith, human needs are unlimited. When you get money, you remember the needs you have not satisfied in the previous time. The employers have invented a very wise system for retaining workers by granting loans to their employees. When you have a loan and your only means of payment is salary, you will be only secured when you keep working for the employer, who gives you monthly bread. Unless there is an exceptional courage from the worker, it is not easy to leave a comfort zone.

In the book “Creating Your Path Through Leadership,” I have written a chapter titled “Things Do Not Have Necessarily To Be Like This.” One of the messages contained in the text referred to in the said chapter is the invitation to people to be awakened and not letting things continue the way they were before, mostly in the way of working for others. The present book is another argument supporting the idea of breaking the chains of working for others.

iii. The traditional method of education

In Rwanda, there is a saying that makes people laugh, but very often repeated when someone graduates. The saying may be translated in English as such: “Pen’s fruits always reach their maturity”. It is also generally agreed upon that a scratched mind never come back to its initial state. This means that education is necessary in life. Nevertheless, people continue thinking that education is necessarily gotten from formal schools. Through this book, the author develops another point of view. Schools do not provide a good education. Robert Kiyosaki noticed that school teaching does not reflect the real life. People have to be trained in a manner allowing them to face life’s problems and this is not taught in class. The good lesson should mirror real life.

According to these affirmations, we can conclude without hesitation that a good education is not dispensed in class, but in a real situation. The well-educated “poor dad” said: “Studying hard and getting good grades is the only way to secure a good job at a big company with excellent benefits”. But the “rich dad” taught to Robert Kiyosaki that the most important goal is to learn how money works so you can make it work for you. The more you broaden your skills, says the author, the more successful you’ll be. What most of us don’t know is that, as says the author, the school must be the beginning, not the end. After graduating, people think they have finished building a bridge for becoming rich. In the majority of cases, those who attended school especially the university are candidates for high-ranking jobs, and are paid high salaries. But it has been noticed that those high-paid employees are likely needing money more than ever. And lastly a young man in Rwanda criticized the leaders’ speeches inviting them to create own jobs while no leader has given an example by letting his/her salaried job for creating his/her own business. The answer is found in what has been said by the author on page 53 of the present book: “If you don’t first handle fear and desire, and you get rich, you’re only a highly paid slave”. They can’t leave their jobs, because they have been trained to work for money and not making money work for them.

iv. Differentiating assets from liabilities
Another idea developed by the author in the present book is that rich people differ from middle class and poor people in that rich acquire assets, while poor and middle class acquire liabilities that they think are assets. While every person who has attended school, especially those who studied accountancy have been taught the meaning of “assets” and “liabilities”. What they mean is very clear for anyone who wants to understand it. However the author is surprising us by saying that poor and middle classes think liabilities are assets. Normally an asset should be an asset, and a liability a liability. Then, what else! The author tries to explain it in a way no very understandable at the first sight.
As someone who has basic notions of accountancy I know that in a balance sheet, we find two columns. The left column is “assets” and right column “liabilities”. Assets are the items you own and that could provide future economic benefit. Liabilities are what you owe other parties.

In short, assets put money in your pocket, and liabilities take money out! It is best understood with the following example given by one person. A car, which is considered as an asset, takes money out of your pocket in a variety of ways. The monthly payment, the interest on the payment, Gas, upkeep, insurance, and when you get ready to sell it you have a bundle of depreciation! It has gone down in value so you can’t even sell it for what you paid for it. That isn’t even taking into account the fact that the money you get for it is worth even less due to inflation.

v. The most powerful asset: our mind

The most powerful asset is your mind, says the author of the book. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth seemingly instantaneously. But an untrained mind can also create extreme poverty that can crush a family for generations. I have grown in a rural area, where the only means of subsistence was and continues to be agriculture just for feeding the members of the family. One person, who was a very close friend to my father, was classified among the wealthiest persons of the region. However, his parents did not leave him with a great wealth. The only parcel of land he owned was just the place occupied by his house and its enclosure. But he did not bow to his unfortunate situation.
A solution he brought to the scarcity of land was to lease plots of lands from those who had enough and to cultivate and plant crops on them. Finally, his efforts led him to a level of buying his own land and became one of the richest persons of the area. This is a good example of the person who refused to accept his sad fate and used his great asset (mind) to improve his situation. He put into profit his powerful asset “his mind” and reached an unimaginable level of wealth comparatively to his fellow farmers of the region.

vi. Think in terms of opportunities

The “rich dad” forbade his kids from saying, “I can’t afford it.” Instead, he tells them to say, “How can I afford it?” The first sentence shuts down a person’s brain, and they no longer have to think. The second one opens up “possibilities, excitement and dreams.” It forces the brain to search for answers. Kiyosaki learns that the “primary reason the majority of the poor and middle class are fiscally conservative which means, I can’t afford to take risks is that they have no financial foundation.”
Very often we don’t manage to open our eyes enough and profit opportunities around us. In “Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success”, I was interested with one idea found in the book “No scarcity of opportunity”. Napoleon Hill made a very interesting observation. Those who cry “No opportunity”, he said, “are those who issue an alibi for their unwillingness to assume responsibility and to use imagination”. He emphasized his point of view in these terms: “There is no scarcity of opportunity; there is only a shortage of imagination”. Today, especially in my own country, Rwanda, it is needed more than ever to storm our brains and try to find ourselves the solution to our problems.

One example of imagination of opportunity is from a book I read many years ago. The story is about a young Ivorian who tried to get a job after his secondary school in Abidjan. After two years of desperate search for a job, he finally decided to return to his village where he lived before with his only mother miserable conditions. When back at his home, he decided to find a solution to his problem, no matter the cost. He took a decision, which seemed ridiculous when taken by someone graduated from a secondary school. But this seemingly ridiculous turned later into a source of great wealth. He approached the managers of the restaurants nearby and asked them for picking up dusts from those restaurants. They willingly accepted the proposal, but with the proviso that each restaurant will give him only one piece of bread. It was a meaningless remuneration, but he had no other choice.

He started his business with his wheelbarrow, despite the discouragements of the neighborhood, mostly the young people. After a few days, he got an idea. Instead of bringing the dusts in the public dustbin, he chose to bring them in his family’s garden so that he could improve the production of vegetables. After a few months, he started selling vegetables to restaurants and increased the area where he collected dusts. He became very solicited and the volume of activity obliged him to hire other people. Later, he noticed the presence of non-decomposable dusts like broken bottles and glasses which were not good for the garden. He embarked on selling them to builders for the use of protecting walls against robbers. After few years, he got a loan from a bank and bought a little truck for transporting the dusts from restaurants and other families to his plantations and products from various farms to the market. I think it is a very meaningful example of taking an opportunity, no matter of others’ thoughts.

vii. Never give up: Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS)

The first reaction of a person when failing is to abandon. But it is worth wondering if it is a good solution to quit when facing an imminent danger. But as said Robert Strauss “Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.” This means that you have to keep your way despite all obstacles you could meet. The good lessons are most often learned from children. Thus, one good example is the difficulties met by a child when he/she starts first steps. Can we imagine what would have happened to all of us if, after the first failure in attempting to stand up, we have said “I quit, I am not willing to risk falling again”? We never quit due to failures, we have kept trying until we succeed. Denis Waitley in his book “The New Dynamics of Winning,” advises us to accept to pay the price if we want to succeed. And Anon quoted by Brian Mayne in his book “Goal Mapping” on page 8, “you don’t fail when you fall, you fail when you refuse to get up.” The decision to get up is a commitment to pay the price of trying once again until you succeed.

Why don’t we keep the state of mind we had when we were young. At that time we had not a fear of failure. So, why are we becoming less courageous than what we were before? Without waiting for any response, let me quote once again Brian Mayne where he says “As adults we tend to lose sight of this important lesson [natural learning strategy of trial and error] and instead develop a fear of failure. Let me conclude by saying to everyone, starting by myself, that we have no right to prevent ourselves from learning from our failures. If people did not use the trial and error method before, nothing should have been discovered in this world. We must keep focus on our goal and keep trying until reaching our goal.

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?

While reading this book, I was very interested by the different ideas developed by the author. Some of them strengthened the foundation of leadership skills acquired since the beginning of my studies with International Institute for Global Leadership, but other ideas challenged my previous knowledge related to various fields of life.

As student of Level Five, it is not a new idea for me to learn the super power of the human being’s mind and how it can reach the seemingly unreachable goals. I already know that keeping trying despite obstacles raised on our way is a quality of a good leader and that taking an advantage of each opportunity is the very key to success. But it was a new idea the way the author explains the problem of working for money. Another more interesting idea gotten from the book is the difference between assets and liabilities as interpreted by the author. As he says “rich acquire assets, while poor and middle class acquire liabilities that they think are assets.” Even though it is a bit confusing where the author affirms that “The rich buy assets and the middle class buy liabilities they think are assets,” I now understand the idea supported by the author while affirming that “Assets are the items you own and that could provide future economic benefit and liabilities are what you owe other parties.” Another more interesting new idea is related to the author’s position in matters related to education in general and financial education in particular. I share the position that a good education is provided by the situation in a real life and think it is the better education, but it is a great revolution to state that the formal education is not providing the skills needed for facing life. In summary, this book is very inspiring for me and others who want to face the reality of life and improving the situation of this very fast-moving world.

4. Quotes: Are there brief quotes from the book which really got your attention? If so, please list and comment on them.

“One of the reasons the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class struggles in debt is that the subject of money is taught at home, not in school.” (page 11)
The problem we face worldwide is that schools focus on scholastic and professional skills, but not on financial skills, as it has been explained by the author himself.

“People’s lives are forever controlled by two emotions: fear and greed. Offer them more money and they continue the cycle by increasing their spending. This is what I call the Rat Race.” (p. 48)

When you have an intense and selfish desire for wealth and you are always afraid of losing it, you will never be quiet in your life. And this fear will automatically attract the loss of wealth by causing you to spend more money.

“It’s just like the picture of a donkey dragging a cart with its owner dangling a carrot just in front of its nose. The donkey’s owner may be going where he wants to, but the donkey is chasing an illusion.” (p.55)

Sometimes, we don’t notice that we are led by illusion and not reality.

“History proves that great civilizations collapse when the gap between the haves and have-nots is too great.” (p. 58)

In a society characterized by social injustice, such a situation can never last indefinitely.

“A job is only a short-term solution to a long-term problem.”

This is the big problem we have today. As I said in the book “Creating Your Path Through Leadership,” we have been used to consider that the only way for surviving in this world is to work for others. But as usually said, “the bigger the salary, the bigger the mouth.” The solution of increment of salary is not a lasting solution.

“An important distinction is that rich people buy luxuries last, while the poor and middle class to buy luxuries first.”

The discipline is very important in life. I know one trader who was used to bring his own food when coming to town from his village, because he had noticed that restaurants were very expensive.

“If you work for money, you give the power to your employer. If money works for you, you keep the power and control it.”

The situation of an employee is always disadvantageous.

“We all have tremendous potential, we all are blessed with gifts. Yet the one thing that holds all of us back is some degree of self-doubt.”

The person who succeed in life is the one who does not hesitate to take a decision.

“Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.”

This Texan saying reflects the way people face life problems. The best way is to gain something without pain.

“There is gold everywhere, most people are not trained to see it.”
We have many opportunities in life, but we do not pay enough attention to exploit them.

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?

At the first sight, I did not agree with the author about the concepts of assets and liabilities, but after a deep analysis of his ideas, I understood well that some assets can seem to be assets while the are really liabilities.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

At the end of each chapter, there is a study session with a chapter summary followed by questions to be answered by the reader. I tried to answer all the questions and the exercise helped me very much to understand the content of the book.

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 comment.

I would like to comment a bit on how our respective behaviors play a big role in the shaping the minds of our children and the way they face life’s problems. However, it has been noticed that each person can create his/her own path by beneficiating from the neighborhood. This was the case of the author’s present book. The rich dad played a big role in changing the normal way Robert Kiyosaki should have followed if influenced only by the ideas of his father (the poor dad).

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
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 it? 9

You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation
Assessment by Aloys Hakizimana (Rwanda)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Through this book, the author points out the differences existing between men and women in the way they think, speak, hear and behave in general. The author thinks that understanding these differences could be a tool for decreasing the misunderstanding between men and women in their relationships.

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. Biological differences between men and women.

While reading this book, I wondered if biological differences existing between men and women are not a source of differences in the behaviors of them. Based on those biological differences, many because the woman is physically less strong than her brother or husband, many societies consider women as even weaker than the man in terms of knowledge. Some believers of Christian religions go far in explaining, based on the biblical story of creation, that a woman can’t be equal to a man because she is intrinsically a by-product of a man because Eve was made from Adam’s rib (Genesis 2, 22-23).

Without getting lost in the comparison between intelligent quotients of respective sexes, there is a need of analyzing if the difference between the two sexes is derived from nature or if it is the result of the society’s influence. As said above, it is undeniable that a woman has been created differently from a man and that she comes on earth with the predisposition of becoming a mother. This natural predisposition is necessarily accompanied by the biological morphology allowing her to become a mother, but also by the mental constitution predisposing her to achieve all activities related to maternity. But it is worth wondering if this biological constitution has a direct influence in the way a woman thinks, speak or behave in general.

I think the behavior of each gender is shaped rather by the society than the nature. We cannot for example attribute one or another way of behaving to women due to their motherhood. Even if this role of taking care of children derives from the character of patience and keeping nerves on check, it has been observed that in some lower species of animals, males take care of babies, while this role is exclusively reserved to females in our human societies. As an example, I can cite the males of owl monkeys. They have among other roles the transport of babies during the period of lactation, and sharing other tasks with the females for caring and grooming the young monkeys. From this example and some others taken from animal species (e.g. emperor penguin to name just this one), we can conclude that, even if the gestation is imperatively reserved to females, there are other roles specifically reserved to females in human species that can be performed with efficacy by males.

ii. “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman.”

The author wonders how brothers and sisters who grow up in the same families, children to parents of both genders, can learn different ways of speaking and hearing. The only answer is that the society in which they grow plays a big role in shaping their respective genders (male and female). This environment is composed, at the early age by parents and siblings. In Africa, what we usually name extended family is also close to the nuclear family and has also its role to play in shaping the gender of the child. We think about grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins to name but a few. Later, the child becomes part of the whole community and is especially influenced by the neighborhood, the school and different clubs s/he belongs to. In all of these environments where the child evolves, the child is taught the unaccepted and accepted behaviors. For example, girls are told to sit legs gathered even if they wear pants while boys are allowed to spread theirs without any problem. Girls are not allowed to climb trees as their brothers do and son on.

As said by Simone de Beauvoir a female French writer, in her book “Le Deuxième Sexe” that can be translated in English as “The Second Sex” published in 1949, being a woman is not a way in which one is born, but rather something one becomes. We recognize that a biological status of anyone is intrinsically linked with the way s/he thinks and react in a given situation, and many behaviors adopted by one person of a given gender depends mostly on the attitude observed by the child in the close environment at the beginning, and in the whole society afterwards.

However, we are far from forgetting the mythical Amazons who were terrible warriors inspiring fear everywhere. We have also examples in modern times with the well-known Kadhafi’s female guards. In Rwanda, there is a story said to have really existed in the eighteenths (18ths). A young lady was saddened by the irreplaceable presence of her father at the battlefield because shifts were authorized only between males. She decided to learn how to fight like a man with the objective of his father’s leave. After acquiring the necessary warrior’s abilities, she met a barrier her breasts, an irrefutable characteristic of “feminity.” She finally decided to make her breasts cauterized for reducing them to the strict minimum. Despite this example of Ndabaga’s bravery, women have been always considered as weak creatures to be always protected (during war it was forbidden to kill women and children).

These differences between men and women will continue to be nurtured as long as human beings in their respective communities assign blindly specific roles to each sex, even though it is not a biological role. In that sense, Rwandan women were not allowed to climb a ladder, to milk cows or participate in games related to the demonstration of force. This does not mean women were not able to do that, because today we observe around us women hired in construction activities and they perform as well as their male peers. Whether originating from education or biological nature, these differences in the way of thinking, speaking as well as hearing have not to be a source of conflict. People have to make an effort to understand why the other is behaving in such a way and instead of considering the differences as an adversity; they have to turn those differences into an opportunity of complement.

iii. Mutual understanding could save lives of many couples.

Nowadays, in Rwanda and worldwide in general, couples’ lives are endangered. Marriages are not lasting long, while we were told by elders and mostly religious leaders that husband and wife have to stay together until death separate them. Today, such vows are thrown in the dust bin, immediately after the celebration of marriage! It is not rare to meet couples at the court one week after the celebration of marriage. Yet it could be an exaggeration to generalize such situation, it is not normal to see new married couples in the process of divorce just after their supposed honey moon. Surprisingly, in the majority of cases, conflicts arise due to minor problems related to the misunderstanding of each other.

One day, a friend of mine told me a story of a couple in conflict, without knowing exactly why they were disputing every time. When my friend discussed with them, they finally accepted to find with him the root causes of their conflict. Finally the wife revealed that at the very beginning, the problem arose from the way of using the toothpaste. The wife did not like the husband pushing the substance from the middle of the tube, while it was possible to use it progressively from the bottom. The observation of the wife became a source of conflict, and I think the conflict should have been avoided if the wife had known something about the men’s complex of superiority. Probably the husband did not tolerate to be taught by his wife the way of using toothpaste, even though she was right.

iv. Men and the complex of superiority.

Through this book, it is noticeable that men consider themselves as superior vis-à-vis their peers and mostly vis-à-vis the other sex. The author highlighted also the fact that women tend to ask information, even if they know, just for making sure it is the right information they have. For illustrating her observations, the author has given a good example of a certain Harold driving around for a long time without asking where is the right road, while his wife was suggesting to ask somebody else (p.62). Without getting information about the difference of men and women, such situation could degenerate into a serious conflict if the woman did not abdicate and use another strategy. The woman found a way of indicating her idea without infringing the masculine superiority. She told the right way to her husband, but added “I don’t know”. If I were you she said, “I would go this way, but probably there is another better one”. As said by the author, “her comment was a move to redress the imbalance of power created by her knowing something he didn’t know” (p.64).

As said by the author, the fact that you have the information and the person you are speaking to doesn’t, send a meta-message of superiority (p.62). Men don’t like requesting for information. In all domains, a man prefers to loose time in searching himself instead of asking from others. The author explains this by referring to the life in society. If relations are inherently hierarchical, she says, “then the one who has more information is framed as higher up on the ladder, by virtue of being more knowledgeable and competent. From this perspective, finding one’s own way is an essential part of the independence that men perceive to be a prerequisite for self-respect. If self-respect is bought at the cost of a few extra minutes of travel time, it is well worth the price.” (p.62).

v. Women prefer modesty

Sometimes we interpret women’s modesty as a weakness in terms of knowledge, but when we analyze this behavior, it is worth noticing that it is a strategy for facing the men’s complex of superiority. After reading this book I tried to remember different situations met before and I noticed that the author was right. Men, at any occasion create an opportunity for expanding the minimum of knowledge they have.
One example given by the author is a couple of lawyers (p.219). The husband specialized in tax law was most of the time expanding his knowledge and the wife was a bit uncomfortable with that. The husband was also uncomforted by the fact that he considered his wife as hiding her success so that sometimes he did it on her behalf.
Contrarily to men, women have a tendency to ask even unnecessary questions to their partners, even though sometimes the answer is known. The fact of always asking when something is known or when there is a doubt has been often interpreted by some as evidence woman’s inferiority in terms of intellectual quotient. Even though we know that sometimes women exaggerate asking to their partners almost everything, be it considered unknown or already known (it is probably my masculine opinion!), it is worth noticing that this way of thinking allows women to avoid unnecessary conflicts, because men will feel comforted in their masculine complex of superiority.

While reading this book, I could not believe the similarity existing between our own society and the American and others’ societies. Men’s positions influence women’s behaviors and vice-versa. I am always disputing with my wife because I don’t like her saying “I don’t know” or “Do as you like” when I ask for a suggestion. I did not know my man’s nature has a tendency to resist receiving information from others, especially women. Oppositely, women are cautious enough about providing information to men, even if it is known. A good example was given above relating about a woman who knew exactly the way leading somewhere, but told her husband “That’s how I would go, but there might be a better way.”

vi. Equal discrimination

In this book, the author tells us about a woman who made a comment at a meeting and it was ignored completely, but when the same comment was raised by another person, but male, the comment was approved and discussed (p.238). This raises a problem of not paying attention to ideas raised by women, simply because they are “women”. It is another form of telling women “Be beautiful and shut up.”

One day, a Rwandan female parliamentarian claimed that their male peers were mostly focused on their physical appearances rather than their opinions. Instead of praising a woman’s opinion raised during the meetings, men focused on the way they are dressed up, made up or they are attracting in general. Most people feel instinctively (if not consciously) that women, like children, should be seen and not heard, whatever the position of the woman.

Men have always considered the woman as person of second class to please the man and make children. It is the reason why they are always taken as they appear and not for their mental capacity. When we look closely at the evolution of mentalities with regard to gender, we realize that men are still “in the prehistory era while women are in the thermo-nuclear.” Even if women have received a same, if not a higher education than men, some of the latter continue to regard women as if we were still in times of our grandmothers. Those men’s mentality is always rooted in the kind of education they were instilled by the society.

We cannot put aside also the fact that men are sometimes supported in their way of thinking by women themselves, and among them educated women. The following situation I witnessed once, is almost unimaginable. A female leader (a Mayor of District) who is a widow, was obliged to beg the assistance of a man (who is not even educated at her level) to lead a ceremony of “guhemba.” During the ceremony, the family of the new mother brings gifts (among them beer and milk) for celebrating the birth of the new daughter’s baby. No need to say that the Mayor of a District chairs meetings gathering many people (men and women) with university high degrees. But the culture does not allow her to lead family ceremonies like the one evoked above.

vii. Women considered as best managers

The way women manage their respective businesses surprise many people. While men lead authoritatively due to their complex of superiority and are pleased to appear in the cloth of great men before their staff, women are rather more collaborators. On page 216-217, a certain Morton testified that his wife Roberta had a funny way of conducting debates. She always organized meetings for debating on problems, but Morton thought the meetings were a waste of time because they always ended by deciding -by consensus- Roberta’s position. This way of management is considered by many to be a good one, because it involves employees in decision-making. It has been noted that employees are more likely to implement a policy if they feel they have played a part in making it. On the contrary, men have a tendency to be authoritative (p.182-184). Henri Fayol, a French mining engineer who has developed a general theory of business administration has recommended encouraging initiative of subordinates in the management. This is because an initiative gives satisfaction to the employees and brings success to the organization and it allows the subordinates to think out a plan and do what it takes to make it happen.

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?

As a lawyer I meet some cases of conflicts arising between wives and their husbands. I have now a best understanding of the way I can ease the conciliation between married couples and partners in their unavoidable minor conflicts that can be a source of legal issues if they are not resolved in a good manner.

4. Quotes: Are there brief quotes from the book which really got your attention? If so, please list and comment on them.

“Many women feel it is natural to consult with their partners at every turn, while many men automatically make more decisions without consulting their partners.” (p.27).

This is what the author considers as intimacy for women and independence for men. In decision making, women are more collaborative than men who have authoritative manners.

“Many men and women who feel they have achieved equality in their relationship find that whenever they get into a car together, she automatically heads for the passenger seat and he for the driver’s; she drives only when he is not there.” (p.36).

Before men, women are considered like children who cannot be assigned responsibilities when adults are there.

“If women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy, while men speak and hear a language of status and independence, then communication between men and women can be like cross-cultural communication, prey to a clash of conversational styles. Instead of different dialects, it has been said they speak different genderlects.” (page 42).

Women and men have respectively their own specific way of speaking and hearing that could be assimilated to a specific dialect, qualified by the author as “genderlect.”

“When you offer information, the information itself is the message. But the fact that you have the information, and the person you are speaking to doesn’t, also send a meta-message of superiority.” (p.62).

Holding information is one of the best tool for leading others.

“When those closest to us respond to events differently than we do, when they seem to see the same scene as part of a different play, when they say things that we could not imagine saying in the same circumstances, the ground on which we stand seems to tremble and our footing is suddenly unsure.” (p. 73).

We have to understand that others, even though being very close to us, are different from us.

“In a situation that is more private, because the audience is small, familiar, and perceived to be members of a community (for example, other women), they are more likely to talk.” (p.90).
Women are uncomfortable to speak in large groups. This is what has been qualified as “report-talk.” Reason why there is a saying “Women talk too much in small groups, but when they are asked to speak in public they don’t want it.”

“Having someone to tell your secrets to means you are not alone in the world. But telling secrets is not an endeavor without risks. Someone who knows your secrets has power over you: She can tell your secrets to others and create trouble for you.” (p.104).

Human beings, especially women feel more comfortable when they confide to another person, but it can be fatal when the supposed confident reveals the secret.

“Taciturnity itself can be an instrument of power.” (p. 229)

Even though displaying information you know is a sign of power, keeping silent is weakening others who can’t infiltrate your thoughts.
“I’m sorry’ used figuratively to express regret could be interpreted literally to mean ‘I apologize.” (p.233)

I did not know the veracity of this statement, but I was told once by a friend Japanese who lived in United States of America, that it is necessary to be cautious when you excuse yourself to have offending someone even if it is not your fault. When you say “sorry” it is interpreted as “pleading guilty.”

“But if a woman adapts her style to a position of authority that she has achieved or to which she aspires, she risks compromising her femininity, in the eyes of others” (p. 240).

One day, a woman parliamentarian claimed that their male peers in parliament were mostly attracted by their appearances than their opinions.

“If they speak in ways expected of women, they are seen as inadequate leaders. If they speak in ways expected of leaders, they are seen as inadequate women. The road to authority is tough for women, and once they get there it’s a bed of thorns.” (p.244)

Women are being pulled hither and hither and can’t find a way out. This is due to the consideration the society has attached to the role of a woman.

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?

The English used in this book is not very easy to understand, mostly the last two chapters. I tried reading them without getting any idea of the meaning of the text meant.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

No! The book does not contain exercises, but there are dialogues that are useful to understand situations explained by the author.

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 comment.

I would like to make comments on the problem of a gap observed between men and women in connection with gender equality and what the society is expecting from mothers for sustainable gender equality.

The slow evolution of mentalities in gender equality: The way of behaving in a way or another is the result of a series of educational system received by the person. In Rwanda, we men have been educated in a sense of superiority vis-à-vis our sisters and later our wives. However, since Beijing summit in 1975, and Maputo protocol of 2003, different countries have adopted policies allowing women to enjoy some rights they were denied before. Even if these policies exist and law texts are there without any possible derogation because those rights are even enshrined in the constitution of all countries, men’s mentalities have not followed. They are still considering the woman in the traditional sense. It is the reason why there is a need of educating them and mostly understanding their behavior and also attracts their attention on the behavior adopted by their partners or wives.

The big issue is that some women continue to consider themselves in the traditional view of women and discourage others in their way to gender equality. This problem causes a disparity in the understanding and interpretation of gender equality so that women fighting for their rights are considered wrongly as transgressing the customs of the society.

The role of women in educating men in gender equality: Based on what has been said above, I consider the role of establishing the gender balance in our society belongs first of all to women. First of all, they have to understand themselves the necessity of gender equality in a modern society. It has been observed that women themselves oppose against gender equality, based either on culture or religion. Moreover, they have to be aware of the way they educate their young children. Whether we want it or not, up to now, women continue to play a big role in the education of children and the future of the youth is between their hands. Nevertheless, in many situations mothers, unwillingly perpetuate the disparity between sons and daughters. They have a tendency to assign specific family activities considered as feminine to their daughters while sons are playing or watching television if there is one. This does not only widens the gap between boys’ and girls’ rights, but does not offer to the boys a good preparation for facing the future life. When they will grow up, they will probably meet a partner or marry a wife who is aware of gender equality. This disparity will probably generate conflicts between them, and the man is the first victim. In the majority of cases, especially in Rwanda, at the first hand, authorities always consider man as faulty. Even though there are no sufficient grounds to believe that the man is faulty, for the protection of the woman, the former will be probably detained in a police cell for some days while waiting for the establishment of the wrongdoer. In case of separation, the man will also remain victim because he has not been prepared to keep alone his own household.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 7
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 6
D. Would you recommend it to others? 8
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 7