Aynalem Hadra Maruf – Assessments

As a Man Thinketh
Assessment by Aynalem Hadra (Ethiopia)

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

“As a man thinks, so is he.” I think this statement carries the central point of the book. Who we are is determined by what we think. Thought is a potent power that determines the quality of life we live. Good thought results in good character whereas evil thought attracts bad results in life. James Allen compares mind with a weaver. He said that it is a master weaver of character and circumstances. In my understanding, the author showed two extremes of thought, and he points out which one is better for us if we really want to change our life. Both sides base themselves on our thought.

The one mind that we have brings forth both good and bad. The one mind that we have can think the positive and the negative. So, working on what we think is the source of the actions we take regarding different circumstances. It is also natural that action will bring about a certain consequence.

The web begins in the mind; in our thought process. Cultivating our mind with positive thoughts is what James Allan suggests is the basic thing that we should focus on.
Removing bad thoughts out of our mind is also the most important point mentioned by the author. I love the story of the rich man who has a painful disease as a result of gluttony. He is in pain and he is ready to pay millions to get well, but he is not ready to sacrifice his gluttonous desires. James Allen concludes the story by saying that “the man is totally unfit to have health, because he is not ready to put in to practice the main principle of a healthy life.” What a story! Just like this if we want to have a quality life, we must work on the root; our thought. We should remove the toxics in mind (bad and negative thoughts) and we must cultivate our mind with good thoughts. In addition, I think the author wants us to say “I am the master of my life not them.” Them may refer to whatever it is in the outside world trying to feed our mind with negative thoughts.

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 is important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

i. Thought and Character
One of the most important points I got from my reading is the relationship between thought and character. As it is explained in the book, what we think directly correlates with how we act. What we think is the seed; the seed bears the flower which is act. Finally, the act results in with a fruit of that same seed. Cherishing only good thought guarantees noble character, whereas working opposite side brings forth evil character.

There are statements made by the author I like: “Human is always the master. Humans hold the key to every situation. He is the maker of his character, the molder of his life, and the builder of his destiny.”

All these shows we ourselves can shape our character. That is the truth, but it requires hard work. It asks diligently feeding the mind with good input /noble thoughts/ to harvest a noble character. The outside world or environment might have an impact on us, but having that in mind focusing on the good will help us to win the environment and act well and behave well. Having read this section, I have realized the strong connection between thought and character. Now, I do things more carefully than before. I check and recheck my reaction towards ideas and people. I ask why? I look deep in to my thought and make correction if there I think is something wrong.

ii. Effects of Thought on circumstances

“A man can not directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely shape his circumstances.” Based on my experience most of the time we human beings focus on circumstances instead of the inner force we carry that can alter them. We let ourselves to be led by the circumstances. James Allen encourages us to build right thinking and self-control. He emphasizes to change our mentality than struggling to change the circumstances. We can influence situations and circumstances once our thought is in control. This truth is helping me a lot. In my daily life it lets me focus on the inside than the outside. I am able to be sure if I am fighting the wrong fight or not. I have started examining the root cause of circumstances.

iii. Effects of Thought on Health and Body.

Although I have read books and heard facts about the connection between health and thought, the way James Allen put it makes me understand how much I deprived my body. I really failed on this point and it is like a revelation. Let’s see the following amazing statements from the book:
If you would protect your body, guard your mind.
If you would renew your body, beautify your mind.
Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, despondency, rob the body of its health and grace.
Sickly thoughts would express themselves through a sickly body.
Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a bullet, Thought is not something which feels the air and disappears after a while, whether we like it or not it reveals itself through our body or through our actions and it becomes concrete. As to James Allen, the influence of thought goes deep to our body. Indeed, it is worth keeping our mind from evil and toxic thoughts to lead a peaceful life and to secure our health.

iv. Purpose

When I was a teacher, each year I meet new students. The first class was allotted for discussion. One of the major points of discussion was their purpose in life. I thought that was the first thing they should ask themselves. Then they will be able to decide what kind of student they should be and how seriously they should take their education. At different times in the school year, I remind them about our first day discussion just to awaken them if they are off the path. I give great emphasis for purpose. I completely agree with James Allen that a person without a certain purpose is easily exposed to failure, unhappiness, and loss. Having a purpose and making that purpose the centralizing point of thought, gives meaning to life. Devoted person with a concentrated thought marks out a path way to his/her accomplishment. This idea gives me the opportunity to rethink and refocus. Especially the statement:
“Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force,” helps me to work on avoiding fear and doubt of any kind to overcome difficulties and move on.

v. Thought, Effort and Achievement.

“All achievements, whether in business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the result of definitely directed thought.” “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly. “These two ideas from the book show the interrelatedness of thought, effort and achievement. Having read this section from this book under the sub topic The Thought Factor in Achievement, I paused and asked myself: “what do you want to continue thinking Aynalem?” I responded; “I need a change-change of thought.” I know it needs a lot of effort, but I decided to pay every price. Now, I am working on thinking direct and going with high effort for a high-class achievement.

vi. Visions and Ideas

The ideas reflected about vision and Ideals carries tremendous truth about the issue. Throughout human history visionaries changed not only their life, but impacted people around them and of course the world. Yes, having a vision by itself is a great achievement. Dream big, so shall you become. Imagining what you will be and where you will arrive, will indeed take you there. For a visionary there is no extra time to be spent on the trivial.

Martin Luther king was known for his prominent phrase: “I have a dream.” was a dreamer. He was an influential person and brought a tremendous change in the world.
The legendary Ethiopian athlete Haile Gebresilase used to say “It is possible.” Indeed he showed us that it is possible. The dreamer has won two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 meters and four World Championship titles. He won the Berlin Marathon four times consecutively. In general he has won more than 12 medals. These personalities have sacrificed a lot to fulfill their dream. Luther lost his life, and Haile had to work rigorous sports activities daily.

The explanation given by James Allen reflects the life of such winners which I completely agree with and putting it in to practice in my daily activities and in my journey to the big dream I have. I am really lucky to be part of this training. I have got numerous ideas from the book. Some has encouraged me to stick to what I have started, and others have made me do an amendment. In general, the explanation about vision helped me to reorganize my way of doing things regarding the dream I have.

vii. Self-control/The finished character
James Allen clearly stated how badly lack of self-control destroys a person’s life. I have seen good people who are generous and well educated, but who have lost respect because of bad temper they have and lack of self-control. They are not bad at all, however their uncontrolled move blurred their good behavior. On the other hand, those who are “well balanced” and are able to control themselves have got calmness of mind and bring the circumstances around them under control. I love the way the author express the idea of self-control- “the finished character.” it results in calmness of mind. Peaceful mind gets power move forward towards the road to success. From this lesson I have realized how serious the positive/negative effects of self-control in the life of a person. Having that in mind I am carefully watching out the state of my mind regarding different issues I encounter.

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 reading the book not just for the sake of information gathering. I was checking my thought and action based on the facts on it. Now and then I was asking myself questions like “what about me? Am I putting this in to practice or not? What should I do next?”

Besides asking many more questions I was planning to practice the lessons and change my life. Now I do think consciously for I know the consequences of thought.
Above all, I have realized that it is me and only me that can shape my life. No one can come and work out things for me (except what Jesus has done on the cross). Therefore, I have seriously started watching out what I think. I am working on the inside to change the outside. This way I believe, I will be the kind of person I want to be. I will be able to exert positive influence on the media station I am managing. I will also impact the media industry in Ethiopia, Africa and in the 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.

“As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”

For me, this is one of the most important quotes I come across. It also carries the central idea the author wants to convey. Whatever men think, they reap the harvest for the thinking is the seed. Saw the seed of evil, destruction will be the fruit and vice versa. That is the rule of cause and effect. In addition, the idea in this phrase reaches every circumstance in man’s life.

As Allen wrote it, “The human is made or unmade by him or herself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”

We have a power to create our own character and success. He encourages us to think positive which in turn makes us to act positively.
As the holy Bible says, “You know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” knowing the truth (As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.), has set me free of confusion. I have decided to work on the issue of right thinking and I believe the rest will be aligned together perfectly.”

The statement focuses on both the inside and the outside of man. Therefore I have got the chance to adjust the inner and the outer; the thought and the circumstances.

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a walking angel stirs.”

In this statement James Allen highlights the most important step in man’s life, which is having a dream. If you do not have a seed, you will not expect any fruit. If you have a dream, it may take time, but there will surely come the harvest season. The vision you have brings forth the kind of life you want to lead. Besides, one with a purpose is full of hope and enjoys happiness throughout his or her journey. In my case, I do have a dream which I am committed to accomplish. This by itself gives me strength to move forward. I believe there will come a time when the bird breaks the egg and reveals itself.

“He, who would accomplish little, must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly. Having a dream is one thing, and thinking right is another point dreamers should take in to consideration to fulfill their dream.”

Beyond this, achievements require scarification. They may need your time, energy or full attention.

As James Allen said, “Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort.”

The level of effort you exert determines the level of the accomplishment of your purpose. High effort lets you ascend to the higher level. I strongly believe in the idea of excellence and I do work for it in every area I am involved in, but to do so I know I have to sacrifice a lot which I am always ready for, and that is what I am doing now.

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

The book is written in clear and simple language. So I was able to understand the message well. I have not encounter vague ideas, or I do not have any point to disagree with the author. I love the content of the book, and I have shared it with family members, friends and colleagues.

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?

Even if the book does not directly contain exercises to complete, I have been practicing the lessons I have learned. For instance, I have been working on self control, right thinking, and concentrated thinking and so on.

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

As I have mentioned earlier, I have found the book very helpful, but I have one comment. I thought, of a “How to” is included in it, it will be more supportive. For example, explaining ways to change our thinking pattern and ways to develop good habits to be what we aspire to be.

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

 

 

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Assessment by Aynalem Hadra (Ethiopia)

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

Persisting influences of any kind and following one’s passion or going after one’s dream is what I think the central point of this book. No matter what the flock said, even though they cast him out, even if he was left alone and considered weird, Jonathan Livingston seagull trusted himself and the passion that drives him do what he was doing( learning to fly high). Jonathan continued learning to fly like no seagull had ever done it.
No one acknowledged his effort. His family members refused his acts and asked him to drop “the madness” and to return to the normal. As Richard Bach put it, they let him just to focus on “the simplest facts of flight- how to get from shore to food and back again”, but he refused and persisted. It was a challenging journey, but he focused on his goal- flying high.

Therefore, through Jonathan Livingston Seagull’s story it is highlighted that one should find his calling and work on that. Living your dream might require pushing the limitations and pushing the boundaries. It has to be done to bring it into realization. It may look you are the only person doing what you are doing and you might feel that everyone is on the right road but you. Even then trust your dream and move on.one day they will understand it.

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 is important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

Reading this book brought me with a number of life lessons like persistence, practice/ hard work, moving beyond limitations, being oneself, working on ones thinking/thought, living for a purpose, bringing heaven on earth, trusting self not necessarily the mob, not losing hope, sharing knowledge and the reward of the sum of all these.

i. Living for a purpose

Leading a purposeless life is like the saying “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” weather we like it or not, if we don’t have a plan that we live for, something will make us live for it. But that something since it isn’t well thought of and planed for our good may come up with a destroying result. Jonathan had the dream and he lived for it. According to the author, seagull’s life is too short because of boredom fear and anger, but Jonathan broke this cycle and lived longer because he was able to free himself from boredom and the other killers for, he was leading a purpose driven life. Therefore, having a purpose or a dream to live for is one of the most important points I got from my reading.

ii. Bringing heaven on earth

Jonathan had a dream- learning to fly high like no seagull has ever done it. Though he paid a price (like the rejection and others) he stayed focused and he was happy. While leading the usual life style of seagulls; life was meaningless for him. He was dissatisfied. After he began following his passion, he was enjoying life to the fullest. At last, as the dream come true (when he was able to fly as he wanted) he entered ‘heaven’.
In my opinion, heaven, which is the place of perfection, satisfaction and all the goods of life, is stated in this book figuratively. It is used to imply that it is when one accomplishes a dream that he/she enters heaven. To leave a happy and meaningful life as we believers expect to leave in heaven, we should follow our passion.

Ones in my lifetime, an incident happened and I was forced to live in a life style which completely contradicts my belief and the plan I have for my life. It was horrible. I felt like I was in hell. It was not joyful at all. To make the story short, there came a time and I was able to get back to my dreams. It was very difficult to forget that experience I had, but I focused on my vision and that was real fun and joyful; heaven on earth.
Having the experience I shared, I have read the book and I have decided to stick to the dream I have for that is what guarantee my satisfaction in life.

iii. The power of thought

“Don’t believe what your eyes tell you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”
In the story it is mentioned that seagull’s life is limited to a few distance of flying. This is the way it was; it is and it will be as the mass believed and accepted it, but not for Jonathan. His thinking was different. No limit for him and he succeeded. He was also able to redeem others off the limit bondage.The above phrase in quote, which I took from the book, and the experience of Jonathan, makes me rethink about the power of thought. I realized that what matters most is what I think about myself and my view of life. If I focus on what I hear and see I might drop the precious gifts I do have. I have to work on my thought and understanding of things very well. If I can visualize what is beyond what I see, that is the first step to achievement. Based on this understanding I am working on my mind-thought system.

iv. Practice/ Working hard

Working hard is another significant point I got from Richard Bache’s book. Jonathan, with no support from any one was trying to full fill his dream. He had to practice day and night till he was finally able to fly fast and to another places. Ones in his practice time Jonathan Seagull while practicing lost control and smashed down in to the sea.
That was hard for him. He lost hope and confessed that this was not meant for him and decided to quit. But after a moment he started again, continued practicing. Finally, he succeeded. It is like what they say: “practice makes perfect” indeed it is. Many years back as a junior journalist I had to cover different stories. It might be a live reporting or production. I was expected to write scripts for both. Writing the perfect script that can fit the allotted time and which can convey the required message was a real challenge. I needed help from colleagues and it took me some time and practice to master it.
Before the fruit shows up, there is the task of plowing, sowing, uprooting unwanted plant, and so on.

v. Persistence

Persistence is one of the significant messages reflected in the story. In some instances, you might stand alone, no one might acknowledge what you are doing and the task itself might be challenging. Jonathan faced discrimination, refusal and was left alone because he pushed the usual limits, though, he persisted and saw the fruit. Persisting until the moment comes is painful and time taking, but by having patience it can be achieved.
Fulfilling your dreams requires patience and persistence. That is what I have learned. For instance, I want to have a better knowledge on leadership. Thanks to God I have got the chance to participate in the IIGL program. I am married and have two kids to take care of. I have a full-time job. I work 6 days a week. The responsibilities I have in the company require even the extra times left. Having all these and other social commitments, I am dedicated to complete the program. I know it needs persistence. I am ready for it.

vi. Trusting self not necessarily the mob According to my experience, often, we believe that what a given mass says is true or what that mass do is right. In other words, the word or the practice of the minority seems false/wrong.

This is reflected in the case of Jonathan. He deviated from the normal Seagulls’ life style and he was taken as a wrong doer. He simply trusted himself / his dream. If he had heard the limiting comments of the crowed, he wouldn’t have lived his dream to the fullest.

vii. Sharing knowledge
I love sharing new ideas, insights, understandings and knowledge. I was a teacher. May be that is why I love the idea of sharing. In my experience, especially while attending College I used to bring friends together to study. It helped us to know the subject matter well. It was also a good opportunity for those who had difficulty understanding the course. Besides, I am a witness that sharing brings joy to the giver. Although Jonathan achieved his goal (reached heaven), his happiness wasn’t complete. He started looking for an opportunity to share what he knew to the flock. He did it and made an impact. He did not live only for himself. He sacrificed himself for others too. This act capitalizes the importance of sharing.

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 the lessons from the book will have a great impact on my life. I have a purpose that I live for. Every move I make affects it one way or another. What I think, what I do, how I spent my time, my relationship with others and etc. have a positive or negative impact on fulfilling my dream. The lessons I got from Richard’s book do contribute to shape these.

The seven important messages raised in question number 3 directly correlates with the journey I have started. The lessons will help me to develop the personality required for it and to have the impact on others too.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.
I found the following two quotes catchy and wonderful.

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

The statement has shown me the power of thought. It is saying like from our thought system life or death comes out. If the way we think and what we think is corrected, then our body responds correctly. The source is the thinking. If we say we can. Our body will be able to break any limit and works towards the accomplishment. The thought is the central point which makes a big difference. The outside world may report that we can’t move on and there is no way to perform but, if our thought is well defined and fixed, this gives us the power to win the surrounding and to move beyond the limitations of any kind. Finally, we can achieve our goal.

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

It is true that our world is full of limitations of any kind. That is not the question. The point is knowing how we can succeed in the middle of those challenges. This quote has a sound answer. Trust your thought; trust your understanding; and fix your eyes not on the outside world which magnifies all the existing limitations. Once you focus on the inside (your dream), it ignites a dynamite power to go beyond the challenges. Then the stumbling stones will be a stepping stone.

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

I really enjoyed reading the book. And I have got significant lesson for my life. I am even encouraging some of my friends to read it, but I questioned a point the old seagull raised. Let me first state the phrase as it is put in the book:
“Forget about faith!” Chiang said it time and again. “You don’t need faith to fly, you needed to understand flying. This is just the same now try again.”
Chiang avoided the idea of faith here. Why? I do not get it. Of course, Jonathan needed understanding, practice and hard work to learn how to fly as he wanted. In real world also I believe we have to work hard and continue practicing to master something. I believe in working, giving time and energy to accomplish duties and responsibilities we have, and for our vision to come to a realization.

I also believe that faith plays a great role in the journey of success. Jonathan needed to have faith in himself or trust in what he was doing. That is the element of faith. I do not understand why the author wanted to avoid faith. Jonathan was an ordinary Seagull like the other seagulls, but the thought he developed and the faith he had made him extra ordinary. So why should Jonathan have to forget about faith?

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?

The book doesn’t contain exercises to be completed by the reader except the assessment questions sent by IIGL.

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

No comment. I have reflected my ideas in the above questions.

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? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 10

PsychoCybernetics
Assessment by Aynalem Hadra Maruf (Ethiopia)

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

Psycho Cybernetics is a book with a how-to content. It shows the way for change. It guides us through the path that we can get more living out of life. The theme of the book is showing the mechanism of building adequate self-image and self- esteem to achieve our goals and be successful. It focuses on how we can use our mind to steer ourselves towards positive goals and success. Maxwell Maltz emphasizes that our destiny, success and happiness in life depends up on us not others. “We are the master of our own destiny.” Besides, to reach the desired goal we should work on ourselves. He states that Self-image plays a major role in personal development and generally in life. The self-image we do have dictates the limits of our accomplishments. In short, Psycho-Cybernetics is all about shaping our thought and using the astonishing servo mechanical aspect of our mind system for our success.

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 is important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

i.Self-image

Self-image is the master key for living a better life. It is the determining factor in the failure and success stories of ours. “To find life reasonably satisfying you must have an adequate and realistic self- image that you can live with. You must find yourself acceptable to “you.” You must have a whole some self-esteem. You must have a self that you can trust and believe in.”

Maxwell Maltz in the above expression clearly puts the dynamic energy self -image carries. It plays a major role to be successful in every aspect of life. Someone with adequate self- image is able to defeat any challenge coming on his/her way and achieve his/her goals. No barrier can stand before him/her. He/she has the inner strength to withstand any form of obstacle, even he/she has the wisdom to use the obstacle as a spring board to arrive the highest performance.

In my case, I believe in myself that I can accomplish every task I have taken with excellence. I have adequate confidence in God and myself. This is how I used to act in life. However, recently I have encountered a challenging situation in my family. Things that I have never expected happened and that was devastating. I have lost hope, confidence, the energy I used to have and many more things. I was confused. After reading psycho- cybernetics, I have seen the way out. Especially, the explanation given on self- image lifts me up. It is never too late. Self-image can be changed. That is the good news and the book reveals how. Therefore, based on the helpful insights I have got I am working on myself to be successful.
Maxwell Malts quoted Dr. Leslie D. Weatherhead. The Doctor mentioned how God our creator sees us as follows:“He sees us as already serene, confident, and cheerful. He sees us not as pathetic victims of life, but masters of the art of living; not wanting sympathy, but imparting help to others, and therefore thinking less and less of ourselves, and full,
not of self-concern, but of love and laughter and a desire to serve.” This is how we should perceive ourselves and that is what I am doing.

ii. PsychoCybernetics/Servo-Mechanism the Automatic Creative Mechanism.

As Maltz expressed it “Psycho-Cybernetics” is a new concept which applies the principles of Cybernetics to the human brain. Cybernetics is about a mechanical principle where we set up a certain instruction to a machine then it works on its own to reach the end-result /the goal. Maltz after numerous studies found that the human mind operates like a “servo-mechanism” or “cybernetics.” His greatest finding was, we can purposefully apply this cybernetic system to the human brain to achieve any goal we want. The mind can be made to act as an automatic goal-striving machine to manifest and establish success or failure. We can feed it with the information we want and give it the picture of the desired output then it processes it on its own and provides the final and the required output. For instance, as soon as it is shown a positive self-image, it employs every resource available to make that image become real. It does the same with a negative self-image. This understanding of using the principle of Cybernetics to let our mind work towards a desired goal makes me trust the principles suggested by the author for living life to the fullest. I have confidence that it can work for me too.

iii. The power of imagination

“Great living starts with a picture, held in your imagination, of what you
would like to do or be. A human being always acts and feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment. This is a basic and
fundamental law of mind. It is the way we are built.”

The author highlights how great the importance of imagination is. He points out that our brain cannot tell the difference between an imagined and an actual experience. It automatically responds to what we imagined. weather it is good or bad it reacts that same way we feed it. So, if we want to be successful in life, visualizing what we want as it is happening now will be of great importance. Our mind, applying the servo- mechanism, will find a way to bring it to reality. Imagining the wanted result helps us to activate this mechanism and works for our success. In the book, it is also advised to be careful of what we imagine. Successful men and women use “mental pictures,” and “rehearsal practice,” to achieve success. Therefore, we need to see and feel our goals before we can achieve them. I have a habit of enjoying imagining/visualizing goals I have in different areas of my life. The points from the book help me to be well informed on the subject and thought me how to do it in a better way.

iv. Happiness
Science proves that when we are happy, we perform better and our organs function better. Even in the holy Bible king Solomon said; a merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. According to Maltz; “Happiness is simply a state of mind in which our thinking is pleasant a good share of the time. He adds: “Happiness is a mental habit, a mental attitude, and if it is not learned’ and practiced in the present it is never experienced.” It is also internal. Many of us, including me, plan to be happy in the future. We expect to be happy some times in the future when we accomplish this or that. However, Maxwel Maltz clearly states that we should be happy now at the present. We will never be able to be happy if we cannot be happy at the present moment. The future does have its own pros and cons so we do not have to depend on it. We should focus on the present and practice happiness. “If you are to be happy at all, you must be happy period! Not happy “because of. Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

v. Tranquilizers for peace of mind

Tranquilizer drugs are drugs taken when one is experiencing anxiety and stress as a result of crisis. The drugs are given to bring calmness. The same way the author prescribes natural tranquilizers that we can apply when we face crisis. These natural remedies reduce, or eliminate, our own response to disturbing stimuli. They reduce or tone down our over-response to negative feedback. They do not change the environment. While the stimuli are still there the tranquilizers makes us not to respond emotionally. We often expect external solutions for crisis, but it is us who can handle the situation and make it work for our own good. The situation is there yet you manage how you respond to it and you save yourself from depression, anxiety, and anger. In my case, I usually get obsessed with the crisis situation. I spend time meditating on it and lose my precious time on trivia, but not now. Currently, I am putting the suggested tranquilizers in to practice.

Ignoring: One of the way outs is ignoring. The disturbing stimuli is there but you just ignore it. According to Maxwell response means tension so do not respond. You simply focus on working on other things.

Delay your response: The time gap between the negative stimuli and your response brings reduces the damaging tension.

Relaxation: “Tension in muscles is a “preparation for action” or a “getting ready to respond. Relaxation of muscles brings about “mental relaxation,” or a peaceful “relaxed attitude.” Thus, relaxation is nature’s own tranquilizer, which erects a psychic screen or umbrella between you and the disturbing stimulus.” Relaxation is one of the suggested tranquilizers. When you encounter a negative stimulus take time and let your muscle relax. Do nothing ignore it and just relax. “The same attitude must be maintained in spite of environmental changes.” I have really enjoyed each exercise. Especially, the relaxation method. It indeed helps me.

vi. Breaking a habit/substitution

According to Maltz, either to break a bad habit or learn a new one making an effort to refrain from it actually reinforces the habit. The best way to break a habit is to form a clear mental image of the desired end result. Then practicing the desired habit without effort helps to achieve the required goal. I had no idea how to break a habit or build a new one, but now thanks to Maltz I have got the key to do so.

vii. Success/Failure

According to Maltz the success-type personality is composed of: sense of direction, Understanding Courage, Charity, Self-Confidence and Self- Acceptance.

Sense of direction: such person has purpose in life and knows what he/she wants out of a certain project. He/she knows what he/she wants out of that project and where he/she wants to go.
Understanding: successful people, as to Maltz, seek for true information concerning themselves, others, and a problem /situation. They adapt the motto “It doesn’t matter who’s right, but what’s right.”
They admit their mistakes and errors but they don’t cry over them. Instead, they correct them and go forward.
Courage: They do have the courage to take a calculated risk and to act. So that they can get what they want.
Charity: success type personalities are givers. The care about others’ problems and needs. They also respect others.
Self-esteem: “of all the traps and pitfalls in life, self-disesteem is the deadliest, and dug by our own hands, summed up in the phrase, “It’s no use-I can’t do it.”
The above quote highlights how deadly holding low opinion of ourselves is. Self-esteem Is all about respecting oneself and others for we are all created in the image and likeness of God and we are all his children.
Self-confidence: for a self-confident person it doesn’t matter how many times they fail. They take lessons out of their errors and mistakes. They look back their successes and focus on them. In addition, they trust themselves that they can be successful now and in future engagements of any kind.
Self-acceptance: Accept yourself. Be yourself. You are what you are.

The above explanation given by Maxwell Maltz shapes how I interpret 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?

The lessons I have got from this book has helped me in a number of ways. Above all it has changed the way I see life in general. It introduces me to the ways that can help me to live life to the fullest. It gives me direction which can lead me towards success.
Mainly the ideas from the book help me realize the power inside me (we human beings) and how significant is the attitude and the stand I do have regarding myself. It is me who can change my life. It is me who can handle any situation and make it work for me. No external power has the significant say as I do have over my life except God.
Moreover, it confirms me that I can do anything and I am naturally armed to do the extraordinary as far as I have the readiness and the commitment.
Especially, the exercises, I am practicing them daily, in every circumstance and I am enjoying the results I have observed. (The relaxation activity, getting a new mental picture of yourself, letting the telephone ring, delaying, and etc.). they are not a one-time activity so I will continue using them and will be able to shape myself, my life and reach the goal I dreamt about.
In general, the knowledge and the helpful insights I have got from the book makes my journey easier.

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.

“Great living starts with a picture, held in your imagination, of what you
would like to do or to be.”

This powerful statement is printed in my mind. Imagining my goals gives me satisfaction and power to stretch forward. No confusion. No hesitation.

“Of all the traps and pitfalls in life, self-disesteem is the deadliest, and the hardest to overcome. For it is a pit designed and dug by our own hands, summed up in the phrase, “It’s no use-I can’t do it.”

“Nothing can work me damage except myself.”

After finishing reading the book, one of the most important points I have grasped is the authority of man. Man, willingly can kill or heal himself. The quotes above explains this well. The power of self is beyond our imagination. Currently I’m checking myself in relation to these points and rebuilding self-esteem. On the other hand, there were situations in which I expect external solutions but with no response. Now I have changed the gear, I have taken responsibility to take myself out of that unwanted situation.

“If you are to be happy at all, you must be happy- period! Not happy because of.
Happiness-practice it in the moment.”

I used to plan for future happiness. I used to say I will be happy after accomplishing this and that. Of course, accomplishments bring joy, but the insights from the book and the quotes above convince me that happiness should be practiced at the moment- in the present time and I am enjoying it. I do not look for a reason to be happy I just be happy.
It makes my life easy.

“Decide what you want not what you don’t want.”
I usually focus on avoiding what I do not want. I spend most of my time on the unwanted. It is really depressing. After Maltz’s explanation, I started practicing according to the above quote. I feel relieved for the previous practice of mine was stressful.

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

There is nothing unclear and nothing that I disagree with.

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?

As I have mentioned under question number three, all the exercises in each chapter are very helpful and life changing. I am using them daily and sharing them with colleagues.

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

No comment. I have reflected my ideas in the above 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? 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 Aynalem Hadra (Ethiopia)

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

Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success is one of the most helpful personal development books I have ever read so far. The book reveals principles (seventeen in number) to achieve success in anything we do. It mainly helps in shaping our attitude and actions so that we can be achievers. Through the seventeen principles of success, it shows how to have the right mental makeup of a successful person and how to do things to achieve success in life. Besides, it incorporates real life testimonials of prominent successful people on the planet which encourages the reader to press forward towards his/her goal. Each principle is followed by an explanation of how to put it into practice that I found very interesting.
It is a great book which gives the opportunity to do self-analysis. It gives a checklist to evaluate what kind of personality you do have which is helpful in personal and professional development. The list indicates if you have a success or failure type attitude. The good news is it doesn’t leave you there. It also provides the way to build the right kind of attitude, personality and commitment to be a success type person or to be an achiever.

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.

1. Definiteness of purpose

This point is one of the most helpful insights I have got out of this book. Definiteness of purpose is the cornerstone of achievement. On the road to success, defining your purpose is the initial and the most important step which should be taken seriously. It is all about knowing where you are going. Primarily define your goal and then develop plans for reaching those goals, and devote all of yourself to reach to the ends. The explanation in the book has helped me to recheck my position regarding my purpose in life and how I am handling it. For instance, it makes me think over what I am doing to reach the goals I have set. It reminds me of developing a sound plan to achieve those goals. The book also elaborates the benefits of definiteness of purpose like: specialization, budgeting time and money, alertness to opportunity, decision making capability, etc. Therefore, it gives me helpful tips and encourages me to continue the journey I have started towards achievement.

ii. Going the extra mile/Doing more than you are paid for

Right now, I am experiencing this principle very well. I focus on the quality and the quantity of the service I render. I do my best and almost everything beyond the written duties and responsibilities I am obliged to perform. Whenever my hand is required in the company, I am there and I do the task with passion. I deal with journalistic activities, finances, secretarial works, and related office works besides the leadership. If necessary, I render service beyond working hours. I am happy about it because it is an opportunity for me to develop an all-rounded personality.

“The quality and the quantity of the extra service you render will come back to you greatly multiplied.”

Even if doing more than you are paid for is very hard, as it is stated in the above statement taken from the book, it does have a reward. The benefits of going the extra mile listed in the book enlightens my understanding of going the extra mile. The points raised have shown me how to put this principle into practice in a well-organized way to get the maximum result.

iii. Forming Mastermind Alliance

Reading the chapter under the topic establishing mastermind alliance provides me with a lot of lessons. First it equips me with helpful points of how to establish a master mind alliance and what to consider when selecting group members. It also shows me how to maintain the alliance. The next important point is connected with the following statement:

“You will begin to take charge of the efforts of others only when you take
complete charge of the power of your mind.”

This is one of the striking statements I come across while reading Keys to Success. The point is about forming a mastermind alliance with yourself. I have got the story of the woman full of bad incidents for more than two decades very explanatory. The key to change her situation, suggested by Napoleon Hill, was developing a mastermind alliance with herself. It reveals the danger of lacking mastermind alliance with yourself. Therefore, I have realized the power of mastermind alliance with oneself before establishing mastermind alliance with others.

iv. Applied faith

Napoleon Hill encourages us /readers to use the faith we have. According to him, active faith is an important ingredient in achieving lasting success. Active faith for Hill is “the process of relating yourself to the vital forces of the world, “which he calls it infinite intelligence/supreme being and I call Him God. Hill explains that discovering, embracing and disseminating fundamental ideas and concepts is a result of a relationship with infinite intelligence. Entering into that kind of relationship and benefiting from it is possible only through applied faith. Therefore, in the fourth chapter Napoleon Hill encourages us to relate to the infinite intelligence to accomplish our goals in life, which I strongly believe in and apply it in every area of my daily activities. In general, this chapter adds important insights in applying faith in the supernatural for the successful accomplishment of goals.

v. Self-discipline
Hill asserts that self-discipline is the channel through which our personal power for success must flow. As to him, the essence of self-discipline is releasing the potential power stored in our mind in precise quality and specific direction. Understanding this lets me be aware of the key role self-discipline plays for achievement. Balancing emotions with reasoning and controlling and directing emotions is one of the significant points mentioned in the area of self-discipline. In addition, I have got the chance to know the importance of self-discipline in the area of managing appetite of any kind, developing mental attitude, and properly managing time. He also states that we can control our emotions. In relation to this I have identified the major positive and negative emotions. I am working on cultivating the positive emotions I have and avoiding the negatives.
On the other hand, I have learned that there are those which we cannot discipline like: infinite intelligence, the subconscious, telepathy and the five senses. In such instances we work on disciplining ourselves and learn to understand and adapt to their way. No need to struggle for the unchangeable, instead we should focus on ourselves.

vi. Fear

“Whatever you fear will follow you around like a puppy. Your mind attracts anything it dwells upon. Most people go through life thinking about the things they don’t want to happen, and they probably experience every one of them.”

Where there is fear faith will be paralyzed and cannot be used properly. As Napoleon Hill stated in the above statement our mind attracts what we are possessed with. When we continue entertaining fear, what we fear overcomes us, but there is a choice- not to fear, and to take a step of faith. That way we can attract what we want to happen.

What I like most out of the explanation given by hill is summarized in the following quote:

“Wouldn’t it be a better idea, then, to refuse to think about the things you don’t
want and to feed your mind with pictures of the things you do want? There is
nothing more im¬portant than learning the art of keeping your mind focused
upon the things, conditions, and circumstances you really want. This is the greatest
application of applied faith you can make.”

I do not want to live in fear and take part in the destruction of my life. So, I give this point a 100 percent emphasis and I am working on shaping my mind regarding fear.

7. Control your attention

Napoleon Hill said; controlled attention is self-mastery of the highest order, for it is an accepted fact that the person who controls his or her mind may control everything else.
Concentrating on your definite major purpose with no wasted energy and time is one of the essential principles I have learned out of my reading. Hill advises us to concentrate on the task at hand and to apply our attention only where it is needed. That can make every moment of our life valuable. He mentioned that the object of controlled attention is to keep our mind busy through thoughts which will be helpful in attaining the object of our desire. If we neglect controlling our attention, our mind will become fixed on negative influences. I have been applying the basic lessons I have got from the readings so far including this one and I have brought an incredible positive shift of doing things.

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?

Primarily, the ideas provide me with practical principles of personal and professional development. Personally, those lessons are rooted in my mind and are changing the way I think and I do things. The improvements I have in the areas I have raised in question number two influences not only my life, but also the life of those around me. Professionally, the insights I have got have also turned around the way I have been handling things. For instance, practicing mastermind alliance is a great move for me and my company. So, the lessons have been impacting me personally and professionally, and are helping me to work for the betterment of others.

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.

“Take a complete inventory of every asset you possess. You will discover that your greatest asset is a sound mind with which you can shape your own destiny.”

The source of every good or evil thing is the mind. If the mind works well and focuses on the good, whatever it conceives can be achieved. Not only assets, other things considered great will also be held through a sound mind. The mind is the source, so cherishing thought and developing a positive mental attitude is the greatest achievement of a lifetime. Indeed, the greatest asset a human being has is a sound mind. It has a magnetic power to attract everything we need. The quote helped me to understand the power the human mind has and awakens me to use it to the fullest capacity.

“Remember, at sunrise every soul is born again. That rebirth is the opportunity to put defeat behind you.”

By comparing Shakespeare’s and Malone’s works, the author shows how the attitude we have towards defeat influences our life. If we accept our defeat as a dead end, there and then we are dead, but the quote highlights that there is another opportunity in front of us. If we accept defeat as an inspiration to come again with a positive mental attitude and determination success will be attained. The statement shapes the attitude I do have towards defeat. Once it happened, that is not it; there is another opportunity, so that I must redouble my effort to gain success.

“Keep your mind on the things you want and off the things you do not want.”

The quote reminds me to focus on things which are positive, helpful and encouraging. The objects/ideas/things we deliberately concentrate our attention on become dominating us and our surroundings. The things we meditate on whether positive or negative brings forth positive or negative results. This quote makes me choose the positive one; only the thing I want for it is a waste of energy, time and even is a destroyer of my future.

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

There is nothing unclear and nothing that I disagree with.

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 which have been very helpful for personal development, career development and the relation I do have with others.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on something that was not covered in the previous question? If so please comment.
No comment. I have reflected my ideas in the above 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? 9
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? 9