Anand Vandana – Assessments

As a Man Thinketh
Assessment by Vandana Anand (India)

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

The main idea of this book is – thought is the foundation of a person’s life. A person is a product of his/her thoughts. An average person has thousands of thoughts per day. What you think defines your life. Thoughts shape behavior patterns; behavior becomes habit and habit turns into reality. Reality is nothing but a manifestation of your thought process. You attract what you think. Good thoughts bring good results and evil thoughts get bad results. You are the master of your destiny. You are in control of your thoughts; hence you are the one who shapes your character, your environment and your future.

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. Concentrated thinking is the great secret that separates the winners from the whiners

Through this sentence; I understand that focused thought is a powerful thought. When we focus our attention on one idea, it gives us clarity; it removes doubts and will help us realize impossible dreams. The ability to focus makes a difference between the winners and losers. Focused thinking is not simple. In my everyday work, I encounter many distractions like checking notifications on the phone, answering calls while I am working. I follow the Pomodoro technique to complete my tasks, and it has helped me a lot in my work. I have also realized that multi-tasking is not suitable for humans. Juggling between multiple works bring down the productivity level because we do not give full attention to our work. I also understand the importance of living in the present moment. Concentrated thinking happens when you live in the present. Since childhood, I have been practicing meditation. My mother would often share with me the benefits of meditation, how it helps in studies. I realize it now, after so many years of practice that concentrated thinking does not come naturally. It would be best if you spent time and effort into it.

ii. A person is literally what she thinks, her character being the complete sum of all her thoughts.

The thought of a person is like the seed, and every act of a person is like the branches of the tree. Whatever you put into the thought bears fruit. Branches of happiness stem out of happy thoughts. Have purity of thought, and you will always be joyful. A human is made or unmade by oneself. With right thinking and the actual application of right thinking, a human achieves divine perfections. Thought builds character and character builds humanity; so a human is the result of her thoughts. I was not aware of my thoughts 100 per cent while growing up. I believed in positive actions more than thoughts, but over the years, while reading, exploring, thinking, analyzing, I have come to realize that everything starts with a thought. Only when you think positive that you can act positively.
iii. Only by patience, practice, and ceaseless importunity can a man enter the Door of the Temple of Knowledge.

Patience is one of the greatest virtues of life, and so is persistence. Failure comes only when there is a lack of practice and the consistency of work. Only the one who seeks finds one who knocks the door that the door opens for him. When a man digs deeper into mine, he sees gold and diamonds. Similar is the knowledge. You need to go deeper and build character on the foundations of patience, practice and persistence. I am extremely delighted that my attitude, beliefs, and thought process are in sync with what I am learning through IGIL. I am enriching my existing knowledge.

iv. Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results.

As the adage goes “You sow as you reap.” The fruits that you enjoy are in direct proportion to the effort you put in. The same law applies to thoughts as well. The result of good ideas is always right, and the impact of lousy thought is always destructive. May humans are unaware of this, and they end up keeping feelings of jealousy, envy, and negativity towards others. Thoughts of goodness, empathy, kindness, politeness will always bring good results. It is essential to be conscious of what thoughts our mind produces and make changes accordingly. Even when you are a victim of bad ideas, never change your thoughts, keep it pure and simple for others. The universe works according to the law of attraction. You are the magnet. You will get back what you emit. I have always believed, that what goes around comes around. Sometimes it takes longer, but it happens for sure. What your conscience allows is a good thought, what it doesn’t is an impure thought. Go within, and ask yourself. You will never go wrong. I often reflect on my actions, analyze my words, and my thoughts. My heart knows what is right and what is wrong and I follow my heart.

v. A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it.

Identifying the purpose of your life is one of the most challenging tasks in the present day. I have encountered many people who are living a purposeless life. Figure out your priorities; reflect on your life, you will get clarity of what you want in life and why you want it. Once your why is clear, you identify with your purpose. After determining your goal, it must form the central part of your thought process. Once it gets concentrated focus, you can set out to achieve it. No power in the world will stop you. The universe will align with your purpose when concentrated thought meets with meaning; it becomes a powerful force. The idea is important to me because I believe in leading a life of purpose. I am happy to share that my life’s purpose is to empower others, and to inspire others. I will continue to strive to fulfill my purpose throughout life.

vi. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.

Purpose comes with a dream. You are what you dream. The mission of your life gets clarity with your vision. It is a seed of what you see around the environment. You switch on a light in your room; it was someone’s dream; you start your car and drive; it was someone’s dream. When a vision gets the proper shape, it becomes a reality.
Many people day-dream. When you don’t put effort into it, when you don’t strive to fulfill your dream, it never becomes a reality. You can’t dream and standstill. It would be best if you worked towards it. I am a dreamer and can totally relate to this thought. I am a dreamer of a society where education is free, where men and women are equal, where opportunities are not limited to few, and where every human being gets an opportunity to explore their full potential. The foundations of your thoughts are laid since childhood. It is very important to be around an aware parent or a guardian who understands the meaning of life and passes it on to the future generation.

vii. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.

Calmness is achieved only by self-control. Our mind produces ripples of thoughts in a single day. When a person understands the law of the universe, when he/she gets clarity of thought, then the person stops to worry, or fear or have doubts. The person gains spiritual strength. It is at this stage that the person starts influencing others. People start looking up to him/her. The life of such a person dwells in truth. With calmness comes power, stillness, and eternal peace. Such a person is eternally calm and gains ultimate wisdom. Many times I have witnessed people who possess luxuries of life, ruin their lives because of anger, corruption, foul play, and weakness of character. Such a person lacks self-control.

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 purpose of reading a book is not to complete the pages and finish the task; the lessons learnt need to be imbibed within. If I am not able to put into practice the wisdom that I have acquired by reading a book, my reading becomes fruitless. The learning will not only be limited to me, but I will also pass on these learning to people whom I come across in life because I care, I empathize. Knowledge never grows when confined to an individual. I believe in sharing and caring and learning together. One good idea can change the world for the better. Sharing that good idea can bring like-minded people together, and when people work together towards a good idea, they can move mountains.

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.

“Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force.”

Life without purpose is meaningless. Thought combined with reason, make it a powerful force. My mind produces many ideas daily. Ideas that are in sync with the goal of my life provide energy. Thoughts those are not in sync with the purpose of my life, dies down soon. It is essential to think positively and constructively.
“All that a person achieves and all that person fails to achieve is the direct result thinking.”

Whatever you achieve is a result of your thinking; what you don’t is also the result of your thoughts. An individual is responsible for his/her life; no one else is. A person is accountable for one’s suffering and one’s happiness. Be watchful of your thoughts, actions. Energy is contagious. It spreads across the universe.

“Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought.”

Whatever you achieve is because of the effort you put in, and action is the result of the thought. You gain great heights because of the purity of your thoughts, the right attitude and self-control. You fail when your mind is full of doubts, thoughts are impure, the attitude wrong and the intention evil.

“The dreamers are the saviors of the world.”

I am a dreamer, so this sentence resonates with me. People achieve their purpose only because they dream of doing so. A dreamer is fearless, has no doubts, and there is no limit to their dream. It is when you dare to dream that you can achieve your purpose. People have made this world beautiful because they dared to dream. Humanity is progressing day by day, making life easy, simple for all. These wouldn’t have been possible is that there was no one to dream about it. Flying a plane, the innovation of electricity, the discovery of fire, and wheel are a result of dreamers.

“People imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.”

The thought is energy and energy travels. Hiding thought is impossible. Your thoughts gradually turn into habits, and habits become a reality. Pure thoughts lead to lead to genial, bright circumstances; thoughts of courage gives success and freedom; Loving and unselfish thoughts lead to prosperity and riches. Impure thoughts lead to adverse events.

“The body is the servant of the mind.”

The mind is the seat of all energy, the cause of happiness or unhappiness. Whether you agree or not, your body acts according to your mind. Meditation is one of the most powerful techniques to keep your mind calm, pure and full of positive thoughts.

“Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them; thwarts himself at every step.”

Doubts and fear always lead to failure. Purpose gives you energy and power to do a Nobel work. When doubts and fear creep in, it destroys all effort. With doubts and anxiety, you stop your progress. It would be best if you learned to be fearless and never doubt your intention. Right thinking leads to focused thinking; focused thinking leads to a purposeful life. When you conquer fear and doubts, you conquer failure. Correct thinking with purpose becomes a creative force, and the person who has this is bound to achieve great things in life.

“Humans are the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.”

The future is not in your control but your thoughts are. The events are not in your control but your thoughts are. Thoughts build character, creates reality and shapes your destiny. Thoughts emerge in your mind, so you are the maker of your destiny. Take control of your thoughts and you are in control of your life.

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 completely agree with every line mentioned in the book. Ithas made me think, question, learn, unlearn. It has taken me a step ahead as a human being.

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?

There was no exercise given. Few resources were shared but the links did not work.

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.

No.

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? 10
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? 10

 

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Assessment by Vandana Anand (India)

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

The main idea the author of this book conveys is that you must follow your dream and make your own rules. Even if your goals do not match the environment you live in, do not stop. Think about your higher purpose in life. This book also emphasizes learning for growth. In the process of learning and moving ahead, there are barriers, challenges, broken relationships, misunderstandings, but nothing stops the determined one. It is essential to understand and know the purpose of one’s existence. Life is limitless. Laws do not bind life. When you know yourself, nothing can stand in your way. Lift yourself from ignorance, and be aware of your strengths. When you know the purpose behind your work, it always works. Do not be limited by your body, your character, your features, your positive aspects and negative aspects, as these things do not define you. So it is vital to understand the real you.

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. Everything that limits us we have to put aside.

In the path to your mission, you will encounter many challenges on the way. There will be fear, doubts that will surround you. There will be people to stop you from following your heart. But when you are determined, you have to set aside everything that limits your growth. Whatever comes in the way to freedom; set it aside. The only law that matters is the one that takes you to freedom. I have had similar experiences in my life. I wanted to be free always. I overcame restrictions, limitations of society and set out to become an independent woman. I am living the life of my choice; I am doing what I love doing. As far as I know and understand that I am not taking the wrong path, I know God is with me.

ii. Each of us is in truth an idea of the Great Gull, an unlimited idea of freedom

Each one of us resembles the Great Gull. We all have the power to dream, to imagine, but we limit ourselves when surrounded by doubts, fear, and challenges. We need to rise like the Great Gull. Only when we are determined about our dreams, we can enjoy freedom. It is the pursuit of unlimited freedom that guides us in our journey. My dreams inspire me every day. I ideate and make a journal for each idea. My ambitions are big, not lofty. My goals are for the people, not myself. I want to create a world in which every individual enjoys the utmost freedom. No life should end for lack of opportunities, for lack of education, knowledge and resources.

iii. You need to keep finding yourself, a little more each day.

Self-discovery adds real meaning to your life. The process of self-discovery never ends. We do our best to understand others, the external world, unaware of ourselves. We try to please others, show our compassion, empathy to others, never showing the same love and care to ourselves. It is essential to love yourself, compliment yourself, recognize your self worth and pat your back. When you love yourself, you dig deeper into your core and acknowledge. Make yourself happy today and every day. Do not judge yourself; do not compare yourself with others. Each day take some out to go within, meditate. Understand your inner vibrations. I believe in the power of meditation to look within. The source could be different for each individual, but as far you know that you are finding yourself more each day, the understanding is enough.

iv. The only real law is that which leads to freedom

Freedom is one of life’s most significant foundations. Most of us take liberty for granted. We understand its worth only when we lose it; health, family, life, friends, thought and many more. These are the great gifts, and we need to protect them, admire them and be thankful for them. Freedom is the true nature of any living being, and anything that comes in its way must be set aside. I do not believe in the law of the world. The real law is the one, which does not hurt anyone, including self. The only law spreads positivity in the environment. The only law does not bind; it frees an individual.

v. It always works, when you know what you’re doing.

When you now the purpose behind the work that you are doing, it is bound to succeed. The purpose is at the core of everything. We need to understand the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of our activities. A purposeless activity does not sustain. We need to question ourselves at every step. Is the activity we are doing taking us closer to our goal? If yes, then we know the purpose, else we need to reflect further. Dedication, motivation comes when we know what we are doing. Often we see people don’t know what they want in life. They are busy doing nothing. Here comes the need for self-awareness. I always find the purpose of my work. When I feel the work is meaningless, I separate myself. Many times, I have seen people working without purpose in life, unaware of the effects, the consequences. Just doing it for the sake of pleasing someone. I find many people not having farsightedness, lacking in vision. It is vital to have a vision in life.

vi. Who is more responsible than a gull who finds and follows a meaning, a higher purpose for life?

We all living beings must understand the higher purpose of our lives. A responsible being is one who understands the meaning of life. Only extraordinary people understand the purpose of life. The fruits of life lead meaningfully leave behind something for the world to treasure, and it lasts forever. It is different for everyone. One rule does not apply to all. The one who finds and follows the higher purpose in life is a responsible being. I am happy to gain this knowledge from my mother. She has introduced me to a higher purpose in life, and I am pleased to be able to connect with the universal energy.

vii. Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think that we might see each other once or twice?
Time and space set limitations on beings. When we overcome both the time and space, we live in the moment. When we live in the moment, we enjoy pure consciousness. There is no past, and there is no future.

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 believe freedom is the core of human existence. People suffer because they are not free. There are fears, doubts, relationship troubles, work struggles, self-doubts and many other vices. This is especially true for women in India. They continue to lead a deplorable life. Patriarchy rules everywhere. Women are not free to complete their education, to move freely, to work freely and to follow their dreams. I want to work towards giving them the freedom of choice, of opportunity, and of resources to fulfill their lives.

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.

“Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed. Here were gulls who thought as he thought, For each of them, the most important thing in living was to reach out and touch perfection in that which they most loved to do, and that was to fly.”

Your company defines you. The author talks about living in a like-minded environment. When you live with beings that have the growth mindset as you possess, believe in same set of values, understands you, they give you an opportunity to grow. When you are in an environment that is in contrast to you, your journey becomes tougher. You can still find your way, but you need to fight it out.

“There is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock?”

Often we forget that we are travelers in this world. This is not our permanent residence. The people we interact with are also travelers. There is more to life than eating, fighting, complaining, and expressing anger. Life is short and we need to make the most of it. Lets make life meaningful for ourselves and for others.

“We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.”

Although we are travelers in this world, we have power over our destiny. What we get in our next life will be determined by what we do today, what we think, what we learn.

“Energy never dies down. It travels like us. The energy we emit comes back to us in some form. You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there. Heaven isn’t a place or a time, because place and time are so very meaningless. Heaven is.”

“To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is,” he said, “you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived.”

Our thoughts play a very big role in our lives. Never ever have doubts on your abilities. Think that you have already achieved what you want. The moment you think so, it belongs to you already.

“You didn’t need faith to fly, you needed to understand flying.”

He had been talking quietly with them all, exhorting them never to stop their learning and their practising and their striving to understand more of the perfect invisible principle of all life. For in spite of his lonely past, Jonathan Seagull was born to be an instructor, and his own way of demonstrating love was to give something of the truth that he had seen to a gull who asked only a chance to see the truth for himself.

“The gull sees farthest who flies highest.”

The more effort you put in, higher you will go. The higher you go; farthest will be your vision.

“He knew with practiced ease that he was not bone and feather but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all.”

Often we limit our lives by our body. We get stuck in our ego, anger, and self-respect forgetting the deeper meaning of life. We all are born free and we all will die free, so why is the journey of life not free. Feel the limitlessness of your existence and act accordingly.

“Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body, too.”

We are the result of our thoughts. If our mind is fee, we are free. The limitations are self-made. Break the chains of these limitations and seek freedom.

“You loving the Flock enough to return to it and help it learn?” don’t love hatred and evil, of course. You have to practice and see the real gull, the good in every one of them, and to help them see it in themselves. That’s what I mean by love.”

The true meaning of love is giving and not in taking. It is easy to count vices in everyone, but very difficult to think only about the positives in everyone. It takes practice and effort, but that is true love. When we practice true love, we always give back what we have, adding meaning to our lives.

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.”

Eyes have limited vision. Our knowledge and understanding are unlimited. It can see what eyes cannot. When you can see from your inner vision, you can conquer challenges and find your way to fly.

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?

There is nothing in the book that I do not understand. Ideas are clear. The book was gripping right from the beginning to the end. I read it several times, and every time I finished it in one go. The contents were meaningful. I could connect the life of a seagull to that of a human being. Many times we all limit ourselves to out thoughts, to our body, not realizing that we are born free, and we are unlimited.

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, there were no exercises for the reader to complete.

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.

None.

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? 10
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? 10

Keys to Success
Assessment by Vandana Anand (India)

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

The main idea that the author is trying to convey is that you are the sum of your habits that you develop over the years. These habits are the basis of your perceptions towards various aspects of life; be it a career, relationship, spirituality, and health. Through the seventeen principles that he details out in the book, he focuses on the universal principles that govern our lives and how we can bring about a change in our habits to be in sync with the cosmic habits force. As he says, “You are where you are, and you are because of your established habits. This book aims to force you to examine those habits and teach you ways to change them. To do this, you need to understand and apply a universal principle I call cosmic habit force.”

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. Idea is Power: Once you harness the potential of your mind and organize your knowledge, you can turn them into power for attaining definiteness of purpose.

I agree with the phrase; “Idea is Power.” A human mind has infinite potential, which remains untapped for most of the people. It is essential that we unleash the potential of our minds, apply the knowledge gained through learning and attain our definite goal in life. Lack of clarity in our goal stems from our unwillingness to harness our mind’s potential. I have come to believe this because, in my interaction with friends and colleagues, I don’t see a goal that they are trying to achieve in life. They lack vision, the purpose of existence, and they are not inspired to do something worthwhile in the world. I find it very unsettling. There is nobody in my close circle who is working towards a definite purpose in life. Their only concern in life is to make enough money or to buy a home, which is a too self-centric and short-term goal. We all have a responsibility towards making this world positive, better for our fellow human beings and the future generation.

I aim to inspire people, to fill them with confidence to take on any challenge in their lives and to help them become good communicators. You are communicating every moment – at times with yourself, at times with others, and sometimes with the cosmic force. In thinking, observing, reading, writing, listening, we are communicating, and it is vital that you communicate well to succeed in life. Your idea can change the way you see the world. It’s about your habits, core beliefs, the people that you are around and the environment that you are in. Clarity breeds mastery. The powerful practices will unlock your inner genius. You need to bring about real change in your life to bring about change in the world. You have to know where you are going in life. You can be the best version of yourself.

ii. The intensity with which you impress your subconscious mind with the picture of your plan directly affects the speed with which the subconscious will go to attract the picture’s physical counterpart by inspiring you to take the right steps.

Your subconscious mind has unlimited power. It is like a vast memory bank, which permanently stores everything that ever happens to you. Your subconscious mind is a sum of everything you say and do; it does not act independently and obeys the conscious mind. Hence, the thoughts and the intensity with which you impress your subconscious mind, affect what you receive in your life. All your habits of thinking and acting get stored in your subconscious mind. It is the reason why it is essential to stay positive and focused on your goals. By focusing your thoughts on positive ideas, your subconscious begins to implement a positive pattern in your way of thinking.
I am intrigued and curious to know about the power of the subconscious mind. I know I have to go far in understanding it, but I am happy I am trying every day to understand it, and it’s functioning. I want to see how it works.

iii. There is no scarcity of opportunity, there is a shortage of imagination.
Our real wealth is the intangible power of thought. No one can be successful without knowing what he or she wants.

We get what we think about most of the time in our lives. No school, no college and no educational institution teaches us how to make our thought process better, the impact it has on our lives and how it shapes every aspect of our lives. It is because of our thoughts that we limit our imagination, feel that the opportunities around us are scarce and that success belongs to only a few elite class people. But the fact is that it is because of the lack of clarity in what they want that majority of the people are not successful.

iv. Where faith is the guide, the individual cannot lose his way the only thing on which you have complete control is your thoughts. The only real privacy you have is in your mind. It is there that you can make full and complete use of the power of faith to remove limitations from your mind.

A person of faith can move mountains. Faith doesn’t come easy. A person has to have immense will power and inner strength to have faith. But when faith is the guide, the person can never go wrong, can never lose the way. Faith removes limitations from the mind. When nothing works, faith works. Your thoughts need to be positive to have faith. Ideas are the only thing over which you have full control. Your faith defines your thought process, and interchangeably, your thought process defines faith. No power in the world can change your mind until you give someone else the ability to do so. That area is entirely yours. We all have faith. One cannot live without faith. The difference is that the intensity of faith varies from individual to individual. Many people consider faith to be equivalent to religion, which is wrong. Faith has no religion. It has a direct connection with your subconscious mind, with your belief in the supreme energy that is guiding us all. A person without faith is like a person without a spine. Faith is the support system on which rests the entire life.

v. The outstanding leaders are in the last group. They recognize the power of their own mind. They seize that power and direct it towards whatever they choose. When you take that step, impossible has no meaning. Everything will be possible for you and you will manage it.

Here, the author emphasizes on the actions of the majority of people who do not recognize the difference between wishing and believing. They never take steps that will help them use their mind to attain desires. Execution is the only differentiator between a successful person and an ordinary one. Only two percentages of people turn their wishes into desires, to hope, to belief, then to burning desire and that into faith and plan to get what they want. These people are outstanding leaders because they understand and recognize the power of their mind. They give it the direction they want to. The author further adds that when you take the step like a leader, nothing is impossible. Everything is a mind game, and when the mind is in your control, everything is possible.

I recognize how important it is to control your mind to become successful. For most people, it is the mind that controls their life, and that is the reason for underachievement and the sufferings. The day one empowers the mind; you come to know the difference between right and wrong; between good and great. The world has seen very few leaders. These are the leaders who have controlled their mind by taking responsibility for their thoughts. They observe their thoughts. They are not the victims of the ideas; they are the creators of the ideas. It is for this reason that everything is possible for a leader. I want to become one.

vi. Before you accept anybody’s statement as to facts, try to find the motive behind those statements. Rely on your own judgment and be cautious no matter who is trying to influence you.

One of the most common vices that exist in people is their tendency to judge others without even knowing them well. Opinions are based on other’s perceptions, which are most of the time prejudiced or influenced by some motive. In our everyday life, one should not accept someone else’s statements as facts without checking the rationale behind it or having the first-hand experience. Most of the time, people try to influence you considering you naïve. Take your time to know others, observe them in different situations, observe their reactions, behaviors and understand their motive behind their actions. The idea is not to doubt everybody but to be cautious of coming under the influence.

vii. Creative vision is a commitment for better a future. Creative imagination springs from your commitment to your definite purpose. Imagination recognizes limitations. Creative vision rides over these as if the limitations did not exist for it has its base infinite intelligence.

When you commit yourself to create a better future, you have a creative vision. With the source in the subconscious, creative vision springs from your commitment. It is more than an inspiration and imagination. It is a personal initiative where your driving force is a conscience that keeps you going to achieve a definite major purpose in life. There is no space for doubt and fear. There is a motive that inspires you to give your best. The critical thing to ask is where are you going? When you have a creative vision, you are helping others to succeed and are not driven only by your success.

A person who is inspired to transform the lives of others is driven by creative vision.
Creative vision drives very few people in this world. That is the reason why we need more leaders who can transform our society, our education system, our environment, the healthcare system, the social fabric, science, technology and the political system. We need to create a sustainable life for the entire ecosystem, and this is not possible till we have people with creative vision. A person who has creative vision goes that extra mile to achieve things and is inspired by faith to carry on with the work. Anyone can begin to develop it by being in good terms with your conscience, by inspiring yourself and having a definite major purpose.

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 am trying to connect with my conscience, and I have a definite major purpose in life. But I want to take one problem at a time. I want to empower vulnerable people; women, children, the elderly, and especially handicapped. I want to transform the education system where the higher emphasis is on creating values, having a creative vision in life; an education system, where the focus is on observing one’s thought process, and where the need to transform the world s the driving force for the students.

Faith guides all my actions, and I understand the significance of having a positive thought process. I have the clarity of thought, and I want to harness the full potential of my mind to achieve my central purpose.

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.

“Every day and in every way, I am getting better and better.”

This quote reminds me of the significance of being a life long learner. When you think you are a learner, every day you aspire to become better and better in every aspect of your life. Even if you are not, this quote will remind you of the significance of evolving every single day of your life. I will never forget this statement. It has become part of my study table. I will make sure that I strive every day to become better and better.

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?

No, every word and every sentence is written with clarity. I had no problem in understanding any chapter.

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, in the last chapter, where the author sums up all the seventeen principles of success, he has left space for the readers to fill in with their own goal and principles in life. Yes, I completed the exercise, and I find it extremely useful as it has given me my purpose for life. I would love to go back to these principles regularly and reread them to remind myself of the goal I am trying to achieve in life.

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 book is inspiring to the core. I feel empowered after reading the book. I will keep revisiting it again and again.

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? 10
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? 10

PsychoCybernetics
Assessment by Vandana Anand (India)

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

We all have an image of the type of person we are. Each of us carries within us a mental blueprint or picture of ourselves. It has been built up from our own beliefs about ourselves. These beliefs about ourselves have unconsciously been formed from our past experiences, successes and failures, our humiliations, triumphs, and how other people have reacted to us, especially in early childhood. Some of these are positive, and some are detrimental to moving forward and making changes. We use stories to understand the world, but sometimes we make ourselves the villain of our story without thinking twice about that narrative’s consequences. You can create the life you want for yourself. Before that, change concepts about yourself and then make changes. Humans are not machines, but our mental processes are mechanized. By using cybernetic principles, we can understand this thinking process, and we can overcome negative ideas about ourselves, enhance our self-image and live a fulfilling, successful 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.

i. A human being always acts and feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment.

There is a way you think about yourselves. This results from the experiences you have had during childhood, the environment you grew in, the way you have had conversations with the people in your surroundings, the relationship between your parents, your circle of friends, your siblings, and your relationship with them. Over the years, you form a self-image of yourself, which defines your life’s next chapters. Because you act, feel and react accordingly to your self-image all your life. On the one hand, society develops an image of you, but what is most important is the image you develop about yourself.

ii. Victory by Surrender

The entire section got me thinking. On one side, the world is talking about working hard, giving your 100% each day, owning up to things and all those traits that keep us busy, thinking all the time, and being on our toes to succeed. All these only give rise to anxieties, worries, inferiorities, and guilt feelings. And here we have a theory that talks about relaxation, giving up on the struggle, abandoning the effort, focusing on the greater self, and surrender. Surrender is not a weakness; rather, it is strength. To surrender means you have the courage to give in to the higher power and have faith that things will take their own course if you have worked with the right intention.

iii. Successful personality is contained in the letters of the word “Success” itself.

S-Sense of direction
U-Understanding
C-Courage
C-Charity
E-Esteem
S-Self-confidence
S-Self-acceptance

This acronym explains the core elements of a successful personality.

Sense of Direction: First comes the sense of direction. We, humans, are goal seekers. We are built to achieve goals that become one of the most important pillars of a successful life. We are built to conquer the environment, solve problems, achieve goals, and we find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve. Along with a personal goal have impersonal goal. Help a cause and be forward-looking.

Understanding: Second comes understanding of the people, environment, and then rising above the situation to take action. Always be willing to see the truth. What we call sincerity is based upon self-understanding and self-honesty. Admit your mistakes but don’t cry over them. Correct them and move ahead. In dealing with other people, try to see the situation from their perspective and your own.

Courage: Third comes courage. You need to be courageous at every step to make your dreams a reality. There are many risks involved; you might fail several times, but have the courage and proceed ahead. Oftentimes, we color incoming sensory data by our own fears, anxieties, or desires. But to deal effectively with the environment, we must be willing to acknowledge the truth about it. With proper understanding, we can respond appropriately. Courage is the willingness to take action regardless of the consequences. Courage to make mistakes, the courage to fail, to take risks and to be humiliated.

Charity: Charity means developing a genuine appreciation for people by realizing the truth about them. Every person may not be important for you but is important for someone so treat them with respect, and have regard for their feelings.

Esteem: The word esteem literally means to appreciate the Worth of. Stop carrying around a mental picture of yourself as a defeated, worthless person. Appreciate your worth. This appreciation of your own worth is not egotism unless you assume that you made yourself and should take some of the credit. Begin to appreciate other people more; show respect for all human beings because she/he is a child of God and valuable.

Self-confidence: Having confidence at every step is the key to success. We destroy our self-confidence by remembering past failures and forgetting all about past successes. It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed in the past. What matters is how you came back from failure to succeed. Always remember your successful attempt and be confident about yourself.

Self-acceptance: This is the last pillar of success. You are happiest when you are yourself. Never strive to be someone else. Accept yourself with your strengths, weaknesses, and faults. You are unique, and you need to come to terms with who you are in totality. You are a mix of many traits; you have witnessed good times and occasionally failed. You are human; you are God’s most creative being. Nobody is perfect; nobody’s life is perfect. Just be you, and you will be successful

iv. We are engineered as goal-seeking mechanisms. We are built that way. When we have no personal goal, which we are interested in and which “means something” to us, we are apt to “go around in circles,” feel “lost” and find life itself “aimless,” and “purposeless.”

This idea talks about basic ingredients or elements that human beings are made of. Imagine if you don’t have a goal in life if you don’t know what to do, what tasks to complete you will be directionless in life. When we talk about life’s purpose, we are living that purpose every day. Whether it is to stay healthy, become educated, gain wisdom, knowledge, earn a livelihood, help others. These goals become our purpose. Every living being has a goal; the smallest of creatures is seen busy doing something, searching for food, taking a journey, reaching a destination etc. Setting a goal helps you solve problems, feel satisfied in life, feel happy about your life, become a better human being. As is said, I book, “Always have something ahead of you to look forward to;” to work for and hope for. Look forward, not backward. The day you stop looking forward, you will not survive.

v. Changing your self-image does not mean changing your self, or improving your self, but changing your own mental picture, your own estimation, conception, and realization of that self.

This again is a discovery for me. It is s true how the environment influences our beliefs about ourselves. I always felt self-image had more to do about changing yourself, the way you conduct when you are with others, and how adaptable you are to the environment and the kind of personality you have. When having read this that it is more about your mental picture got me thinking deeply. When you talk about yourself, you tend to look at things that need utmost attention and try to change that. I believe it should not be a faultfinding exercise. Change how you look at yourself, how you perceive yourself to be. Realize your true self, and become aware of who you really are, find your basic self and not your personality traits. Ask questions to yourself, and you will get all the answers.

vi. Thoughts and feelings go together. Feelings are the soil that thoughts and ideas grow in. This is the reason that you have been advised throughout this book to imagine how you would feel if you succeeded and then feel that way now.

This again is a powerful idea, and practicing it takes humongous effort. The silent feelings that dwell inside us each moment set the tone for the day. You can experiment with it on yourself to believe this idea. Day one: start with gratitude, be thankful for whatever you have, your life, parents, education, partner, job, health, home, children. You will be full of positivity all through the day. You will spread love to yourself and those around you. Day two: remember the bad things that happened to you, the mistakes you made, the wrong choices you made in life, and things you want but you don’t have. Your day will be filled with negativity, jealous, anger, and everything that will not make the life you want for yourself. Start your day by feeling positive; set the day’s tone as you want your life to be. And you will see a marked difference in your life.

vii. “You” make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make “You” anything.

Forgiveness is one of the toughest things to do. Forgiving yourself as well as others. It takes a lot of courage, guts, a big heart, and self-awareness to do so. Because it is challenging to get over the emotional wounds that we get inflicted with. You tend to live in the past. Someone did something to you, and it stays in your mind forever. You are never able to come out of it. And this is one of the biggest hurdles to success. Don’t have regrets, remorse; never condemn yourself or have guilt feeling. Believe that you are a winner. The feeling of failure does not contribute to learning but tends to “fixate” the mistake and make it permanent. If you really want a spiritual lift, new life and new vitality, then separate yourself from the mistakes.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas are life-changing ideas for me. Reading this book has been a revelation and a great learning experience for me. It has changed my outlook on my life. I tended to reflect on my past, to understand and question where things went wrong and why did I not achieve what I wanted to. But now, I will only look forward. I can’t change my past, so there is no point in thinking about it. I will only look ahead and give my best. Also, I will be very cautious of my thoughts about myself because I now know that our mind cannot differentiate between real experiences and imagined experiences. Being happy is a choice, a mental habit, an attitude, and I have developed this habit after reading this book.

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.

“Your nervous system cannot tell the difference between an imagined experience and a real experience. In either case, it reacts automatically to information, which you give to it from your forebrain.”

This concept is new to me. I had no idea that our nervous system couldn’t differentiate between an imagined experience and a real experience. Going further, I will be careful regarding my imagination, thoughts and real experiences as I know that this will have a huge impact on my life. I will imagine what I really want, not what I don’t want in life. I will focus on the positives instead of the negatives. It’s all in mind. If we can control it and give it a proper direction, we will be successful.

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 understood everything in the book.

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, this book contained exercised to complete. I did complete them and I feel a different person altogether. I am a relaxed person now. I am a little less critical and a little more tolerant of other people, their faults, failings and mistakes. I smile more.

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.

None.

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? 10
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? 10

Success through Positive Mental Attitude
Assessment by Vandana Anand (India)

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

The main idea that the author conveys through this book is you’re your attitude defines your life. With a positive mental attitude, you not only achieve success, but it becomes a part of your subconscious mind, shaping your behavior, motivating you and inspiring you to dream whatever you desire. You can change every aspect of your life with a positive mental attitude – health, relationship, work, or spirituality. Every situation presents before you two options. Being positive in an adverse situation is tough, yet that is the only mindset that helps you see through your most challenging times.
As per my experience, I have realized that freedom, imagination, faith and attitude are the four pillars that guide your life. Through this book, I got an in-depth understanding of the massive potential that a positive mental attitude can have on 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. What the mind of man can conceive and believe the mind of man can achieve with PMA.

The author says that no machine or artificial invention is as marvelous as the beautiful human computer you own. It is not easy to understand the way our body and mind functions. There are several layers of the conscious and subconscious mind and the way it impacts our lives. We are small magnets in the huge magnet called the universe. I believe in the law of attraction. All you need is the right frame of mind. The problem is you don’t know what you want in life. Self-examination is not easy. Setting goals and being consistent with them is not easy. It is essential to visualize your destination, and with autosuggestion, your subconscious mind gets into work to help realize your goal. To achieve anything worthwhile in life it is necessary to set high goals for yourself. This idea is vital for me because I am practicing it in my life. I have created a vision board, and I think about my goal all the time. I am sure that with a positive mental attitude, I will achieve it one day.

ii. The starting point of all achievement is definiteness of purpose with PMA.

It is essential to question what do you want in life. Write it down, but be precise in fixing your goal. There are many advantages of selecting your goal.

The first advantage is that your subconscious mind begins to work under universal law. Because you visualize your intended goal, your subconscious mind is affected by this self-suggestion. It goes to work to help you reach your destination.
Secondly, because you know what you want, there is a tendency for you to take the right approach and walk in the right direction. You get into action immediately without wasting time.
The third advantage is that you start enjoying your work. You are motivated to pay the price. You budget your time and money. You study, think, and plan accordingly. The more you think about your goals, the more enthusiastic you become to achieve your goal. And with enthusiasm, your desire turns into a burning passion.
Lastly, you are alert to the opportunities to help you achieve your objectives as they present themselves in your everyday experiences. Because you know what you want, you are more likely to recognize these opportunities easily.

This idea is crucial because I look out for Why (purpose) in whatever I do. To know the intention behind each action is important because without purpose, you are directionless and action less.

iii. What we see is always an interpretation of the mind. We have to train the mind to interpret what we see.

It is essential to understand how we see things around us. The author elaborates that most of the seeing is not done by eyes alone. According to Dr Samule Renhaw; “The eyes act as hands which reach out there and grab meaningless things and bring them into the brain. The brain then turns the things over to the memory. It is not until the brain interprets in terms of comparative action that we see anything. Observing is more important than seeing, and you observe with your mind involving both conscious and subconscious mind. This requires training of the mind. Your eyes are only the outer manifestation of what your brain sees. So train your mind to see and know what you want to see.”

iv. Sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.

The secret to getting things done is to take action. Developing a habit can do this. Habits become part of your life and build your character. This character ultimately shapes the course of your life and your destiny. So, one action can have a profound impact on your life. Never procrastinate. Before you act, mind your thoughts. Your thoughts become your actions. And those dedicated actions lead to your outcomes in the form of your success. If you want to change your destiny, take action and develop the proper habits.

v. The secret of getting things done is to act. The self-starter is the self-motivator Do It Now.

The difference between success and failure is action. You all dream of a successful life, but you cannot get things done because you procrastinate, over think, and doubt yourself. The motivation is to do it now. You take action only when you live in the present and have a positive mental attitude. If you need inspiration in life to do things and achieve your goal, write Do It Now in your study or workplace and keep observing it every time. Also, write the goals in front of you. This will become a reminder for you to act today to achieve your goals. I got so motivated by this phrase that I have “Do It Now” written near my work desk always to be willing to take the right action at the right time.

vi. When you share with others a part of what you have, that which remains will multiply and grow. The more you share, the more you will have. Therefore, share that which is good and desirable, and withhold that which is bad and undesirable.

Whatever you are today because someone has shared something with others. Whether it is life, wealth, spirituality, and philosophy your life has benefitted because of the generous act of others. So now it is your turn to do the same. Remember, whatever you share multiplies, whatever you keep within, diminishes. Share your life with others without expecting any favor, any reward in return. Develop within yourself a burning desire to help others in whatever way you can. Develop a magnificent obsession. Remember, you are here for the greater good. Have a wider vision, share your goodness, share your knowledge, lend a helping hand whatever you share with others, you will get back in abundance. When you give, God always fills your life with plenty.

vii. Develop Inspirational dissatisfaction: I hope you will never be satisfied. I hope you will constantly feel the urge to improve and perfect not only yourself but the world around you.

How can you be inspired while being dissatisfied? I found this term quite interesting while reading the book. When your positive side takes over your negative side, you turn each failure into success. No matter how successful you become, there is always room to be better and do better. This dissatisfaction can always inspire you to achieve more incredible things in life. Even when things don’t go your way, even when you fail, don’t take the wrong path. Have a positive mental attitude. The author says, find a silver lining in failure, change your perspective, and turn your loss into success.

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 I am on this journey of this fantastic course on leadership, I often question myself, how can I be successful, what can I do right, which path to take and other similar questions. Reading books like this adds to my motivation and raise my confidence level. Eight months into this program – I am already a changed person. I want to inspire others in the areas of communication, leadership and personal development.

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.

“Awaken the sleeping giant.”

I found this chapter extremely motivating. We often waste our lives by not realizing our full potential. You undermine your power. The author further adds, “when you think with a positive mental attitude, you awaken the sleeping giant within you. A positive mental attitude brings success, wealth, physical, psychological and spiritual health, and happiness when you react favorably to it. You are the product of your: heredity, environment, physical body, conscious and subconscious mind, experience, and particular position and direction in time and space and something more, including powers known and unknown.”

You have the power to affect, use, control or harmonize with all of them. And you can direct your thoughts, control your emotions and ordain your destiny with PMA.
You are a mind with a body. And your mind consists of dual, invisible gigantic powers: the conscious and subconscious. One is a giant that never sleeps. It is called the subconscious mind. The other is a giant which, when asleep, is powerless. When awakened, his potential power is unlimited. This giant is known as the conscious mind. When the two work together, they can affect, use, control or harmonize with known and unknown powers.

“Day-by-Day in every way through the grace of God, I am getting better and better through PMA.”

The author stresses on the fact how effective self-affirmations can be. He adds that self-affirmations repeated with frequency, rapidity, and emotion affect the subconscious mind and causes it to react. Conscious autosuggestion and self-suggestion are synonymous. Autosuggestion automatically sends messages from the subconscious to the conscious mind and parts of the body. Before reading this book, I knew few things about self-talk, but I was never consistent. Now I repeat these words daily, and I know I am getting better and better with each passing day.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas that you disagree with and, if so, why?

I understood everything in the book.

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, I completed the exercise mentioned in 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 am happy, confident and I feel motivated after reading this book. A sense of positivity has engulfed my life. This book is not a one-time read; it must be read every day as a Bible, Quran or Gita. I also liked ‘thoughts to steer by’ at the end of each chapter. It summarized the ideas of 17 principles that the author wants to convey.

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

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

How to Win Friends and Influence People
Assessment by Vandana Anand (India)

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

Dale Carnegie’s book on relationship management is over 80 years old, but the principles it teaches remain just as true today as they did back when it was published in 1937. A leader in the self-help genre, this classic helps one master the social cues and techniques that can help you relate better with people, handle complaints, avoid arguments, make you a better speaker, and lead with charisma. It is a Bible on how to deal with people and live in this world. There are many takeaways from this book. But I would like to mention five here. Think in terms of other people’s point of view. Focus on their wants and interests. Praise and encouragement are far better motivators than criticism and condemnation. Humans are emotional beings. Respect their need for recognition and importance. Respect the opinions of others, give away credit, and always avoid arguments. Flattery is counterfeit. Always speak with truth and sincerity.

The core idea is that you can change other people’s behavior simply by changing your own. It teaches you the principles to better understand people, their perspective, become a more likable person, improve relationships, and win others over.

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. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be under-standing and forgiving.

Criticism more often is met with resentment than behavioral change. When you don’t agree with someone, feel they have done wrong, or need to give someone negative feedback, it’s hard not to be critical. However, Carnegie argues we cannot change behavior with threats or punishments. One of the tips given in the book is to let other people do the talking and don’t tell them that they are wrong. Be curious and understand other people’s perspectives. Making others feel important is essential in all kinds of relationships, even within the work team. Sometimes we are so quick to jump to conclusions and not let others do the talking. By doing so we don’t make others feel important.

ii. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers

People have more faith in the ideas they discover themselves than in the ideas that are given to them. It’s wiser to make suggestions than to ram your opinions down the throats of other people. No one likes to feel that he or she is being sold something or told to do a thing. The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them.

iii. “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

This quote is by William James; “A simple smile, being open to others, being honest and the ability of a smile to get someone into a conversation or positive interaction. The desire for a feeling of importance is one of the chief distinguishing differences between mankind and the animals.”

It was this desire for a feeling of importance that inspired Dickens to write his immortal novels. This desire inspired Sir Christopher Wren to design his symphonies in stone. This desire made Rockefeller amass millions that he never spent! And this same desire made the richest family in your town build a house far too large for its requirements. This desire makes you want to wear the latest styles, drive the latest cars, and talk about your brilliant children.

iv. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

We often think that being a good conversationalist means coming up with witty stories and funny jokes. But, actually, we like to hear ourselves talk. If you want to be seen as interesting, ask interesting questions and try to get the other person to open up. This doesn’t mean you have to sit listening in silence. I like to think about listening as an active experience. Ask questions, use “aha’s and wow’s” and give them nonverbal encouragement. Are you really addicted to talking? Or worse, are you an interrupter? You might consider taking a vow of silence. I do one of these every year and have found it to be life-changing for my listening ability. Many people fail to make a favorable impression because they don’t listen attentively. People just want to be heard. If you want people to shun you and laugh behind your back, do the following: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. And interrupt them with your idea in the middle of their sentence. If you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that the other person will enjoy answering. Encourage others to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. People are 100 times more interested in themselves and their problems, than they are with you and your problems.

v. Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely

If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will. Buddha said: “Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love” and a misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint. Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.

Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends. You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.

“You Can’t Win an Argument”

Carnegie makes a great argument about arguing you can’t win. Even if you have the best possible stances and evidence, if you shoot down your opponent or make them feel wrong, they will resent you. So, even if you technically ‘win,’ you actually lose. This is especially hard in the age of data, instant Googling and research. If you want to prove someone wrong, see how you can discover what is right together. Abraham Lincoln wisely said, “No man who is resolved to make the most of himself can spare the time for personal contention.” Mostly, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. A misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.

vii. If you’re wrong, admit it

Admitting you’re wrong is actually a great way to build empathy, rapport and trust. Instead of avoiding your mistakes or trying to hide them, Carnegie encourages readers to admit wrongdoing “quickly, openly, and with enthusiasm.” This helps people see you as human. And when you condemn yourself, other people seek to understand you and perhaps even defend you. If you know that you are going to be rebuked, beat the other person to it and do it yourself. It is much easier to listen to self-criticism than to bear condemnation from somebody else. Doing so will very likely cause the other person to respond with a generous and forgiving attitude. There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors. It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error. Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes and most fools do but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.

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 a deep, driving desire to learn, a vigorous determination to increase your ability to deal with people. We learn by doing. I will apply the rules at every opportunity.

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.

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Build a system for remembering people’s names. The average person is more interested in their own name than in all the other names on earth put together. You win people’s loyalty by naming things after them. Most people don’t remember names for the simple reason that they don’t take the time and energy necessary to concentrate and repeat and fix names indelibly in their minds. The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others.

“Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.”

There is a simple test you can use to test your own opinions: Try arguing against yourself. If you clearly are able to argue someone else’s point of view, it means you can see both sides clearly. Make a practice of stepping into the other person’s shoes and arguing their points for them. This helps you check in on your own opinions. And regularly remind people that you understand and empathize with how they feel. The only way to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it. Focus on the other person’s needs and desires not your own. The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. Think always in terms of other people’s point of view. See things from their angle. When we have a brilliant idea, instead of making others think it is ours, why not let them cook and stir the idea themselves.

“Become genuinely interested in other people.”

Learn from dogs. They are the only animal that doesn’t have to work for a living. All they do is love you. You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Before you give a presentation, tell yourself that you love your audience. Put yourself out to do things for other peoples’ things that require time, energy, unselfishness and thoughtfulness. Make a point of remembering the birthdays of your friends. Greet people with animation and enthusiasm. It goes without saying; shows of interest must be sincere.

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

This is an important idea on handling people. The author says, it is very easy to criticize or hurt anybody. He says, any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be under-standing and forgiving.

“Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.”

Give people the opportunity to do things themselves. Let them learn from their own mistakes. This technique saves a person’s pride and gives him or her a feeling of importance. It encourages cooperation instead of rebellion. Resentment caused by a brash order may last a long time – even if the order was given to correct an obviously bad situation. Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas that you disagree with and, if so, why?

I understood everything in the book.

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?

There were no exercises. But the author has mentioned a great amount of books one should read and apply in life. So I will be reading those.

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.

No, I understood everything.

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? 10
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? 10

Awaken the Giant Within
Assessment by Vandana Anand (India)

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

This book completely moved me and awakened my spirit. I found a stark resemblance of the ideas in this book with Gita, the holy book of the Hindus that is based to a great extent on karma, thoughts and beliefs, understanding the reality of life. Everything that happens in your life begins with a decision. Therefore, you must take control of your decision-making processes. This means fine-tuning your focus, clearly understand your values and develop a plan of action to achieve the results you desire. Your perceptions, viewpoint, and conditioning all influence how you evaluate or interpret your life and experiences. Five basic elements make up your “master system of evaluation:”

Your mental and emotional state
The questions you ask yourself
Your values
Your belief system and
The experiences that shape your perceptions

This book touches upon body, spirit, mind and all other aspects of our life that creates our destiny. It has made me reflect on my value systems, my decisions, our internal power, my association, my control over language, focus, concentration and myself. I never read a book that touched upon so many aspects of our lives. It’s amazing.

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. Making a true decision means committing to achieving a result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility.

Taking any decision is tough but making a true decision, even a tough one, we feel tremendous amount of relief. There is a sense of clarity. The challenge for most of us is that we are not used to taking decisions often. Tony Robbins says, we’ve got flabby decision-making muscles. So, how do you take better decisions in life. The key is to make more decisions and make sure you learn from each one, including those that don’t seem to work out in the short term. It will prepare you to evaluate better in future. Realize that decision making, like any other skill, improves by using it more. The more often you make decisions, the more you’ll realize that you truly are in control of your life. You’ll look forward to future challenges, and you’ll see them as an opportunity to make new distinctions and move your life to the next level.

ii. The most important lesson we learn in life is what creates pain for us and what creates pleasure. This lesson is different for each of us and, therefore, so are our behaviors.
Pleasure and pain are different for different human beings. Our behavior is driven by pleasure and pain we experience in different circumstances. Everything you do, is either out of your need to avoid pain or your desire to gain pleasure. For most people, the fear of loss is much greater than the desire for gain, hence the change in the way they act.

iii. “The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.”

There are various levels of pain and pleasure. Why is it that people can experience pain yet fail to change? They haven’t experienced enough pain yet; they haven’t hit emotional threshold. If we link massive pain to any behavior or emotional pattern, we will avoid indulging in it at all costs. Pleasure and pain guides our behavior.

iv. If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible.

The world will always judge you, doubt you but you need to have certainty of belief. We all have a vision for the quality of life that we desire and deserve. You can make a decision to change virtually every aspect of your life. Never settle for anything less. Your aim might look impossible to others, but once you have decided, go for it with a firm belief.

v. Change your values and you change your life

Find out what your current values are, and rank them in order of importance. This will give you insight into what you want to experience most your moving-toward values and what you want to avoid most in your life. Your life values are the principles, morals, and ideals that are the most important to you. Moving-toward values are the feelings you most want to experience because they enable you to attain pleasurable states, such as love, success, comfort and freedom.

“Moving-away-from values” are the emotions associated with pain, such as anger, loneliness, failure and depression. Every person has a unique “hierarchy of values.” To some, love is more important than health. To others, security is more important than adventure. Knowing your value hierarchy allows you to make decisions that can help you reach a profound level of fulfillment. By simply reprioritizing your value hierarchy, you can transform the way you conduct yourself in every area of your life. First, you need to know what you want to move toward.

vi. The only way we’re going to make a change now is if we create a sense of urgency that’s so intense that we’re compelled to follow through.

If we want to create change, then, we have to realize that it’s not a question of whether we can do it, but rather we will do it. Whether we will or not comes down to our level of motivation, which in turn depends on pain and pleasure. How do we turn this around? One of the things that turns virtually anyone around is reaching a pain threshold. This means experiencing pain at such an intense level that you know you must change now; a point at which your brain says, “I’ve had it;” Tony Robbins further asks the reader about their experience in personal relationship. Why do we keep hanging in a bad relationship? We rationalize by saying that it would get better, without doing anything to make it better. Though, one day the pain of being in that negative relationship became greater than your fear of the unknown, so you hit a threshold and made the change.

vii. If you truly commit to your Code of Conduct, imagine how incredible you will feel! You’ll no longer be controlled by events; you’ll know that, no matter what happens around you, you can maintain your sense of yourself and live up to the vision you’ve created.

There is a tremendous pride that comes with holding yourself to a higher standard and knowing that each day you alone will determine how you feel, that you will conduct yourself only at the highest level. These words touched me to the core.
Rules are the personal criteria you use to establish when you will feel good about an experience. You will never be happy or feel fulfilled if you create rules that prevent you from attaining your values. Make your rules wisely.

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 read in this book “One of the best ways to interrupt someone’s pattern is to do things they don’t expect, things that are radically different from what they’ve experienced before.” I will apply this principle in my life to get rid of my old habits – for example, having tea. I want to quit tea for the last one year but have not succeeded. I will link pain in this behavior and break the pattern and will create a new powerful alternative. I want to create a positive impact on this world through communication, leadership and personal development. This book has made me reflect my decisions, my values and what I really want to do in life.

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.

There were many statements that had a positive impact on me. I have listed a few below.

“Repetition is the mother of skill – Only practice brings perfection, no matter what the skill.”

“Our internal systems that helps us in taking a decision is comprised of:
1) Core beliefs and unconscious rules, 2) Life values, 3) References, 4) The habitual questions that we ask yourself, and 5) the emotional states we experience in each moment.”

Now I have actually started reflecting on my decisions very closely and I am understanding myself better.

“Success truly is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is the result of experience, and experience is often the result of bad judgment.”

This sentence nicely sums up what success is in its true sense.

“ There are no failures in life. There are only results.”

In life there are no failures, only lessons and experiences.

“Everything you and I do, we do either out of our need to avoid pain or our desire to gain pleasure.”

I recall all decisions that I have taken in my life and I am stunned to know that each one of that is driven either by pleasure or by pain.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

I loved this quote of Marcus.

“Establish references.”

Everything you experience, imagine, see, feel or read about is stored in your brain. All of your meaningful experiences become resources that you use as guidance in the future. These “reference experiences” exert a primary influence on your decision-making processes.

By expanding your references, you can expand your potential and your ability to achieve. Enlarge your reference base by reading, gathering knowledge, using your imagination, and pursuing new concepts and ideas.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas that you disagree with and, if so, why?

I understood everything in the book.

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 were exercises and it helped me tremendously.

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.

No, I understood everything.

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? 10
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? 10