Ezeji Obinna – Assessments

As A Man Thinketh
Assessment by Obinna Ezeji (Nigeria)

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

“a man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of his thoughts.” I find this statement by the author very true and indeed profound. If one examines his actions, especially the minute moments preceding every action he takes – even those judged to be spontaneous, he’ll agree that the action have already acted out in his thoughts at a flashing speed before it begins in the physical. However this is nothing compared to what the author seeks to expose which is: that our personality, character, core beliefs, psychological make-up and even our views of fashion, all these and more frivolities which we indulge are given birth in the womb of our thoughts. A man stalks a lady snatches her red purse and disappears. Another closes from work and heads straight to the bar, he arrives home very excited, challenges his wife and turns his home to a boxing ring. Elsewhere, another man stalks in the dark near a mall where a teenage girl has gone in to shop. Waiting with the evil intent to harm. All this while, a certain business man is closing a deal that will land him a six digit income and improve the lives of his employees. The man you see is his thoughts you can’t see. The inner surely shapes our outer world.

The Garden. As a little boy I used to go with mum to her garden where she grew maize and vegetables. I enjoyed the part where I had to water the plants with a make-shift sprinkler made from an old tin with many tiny perforations beneath. Watering the plants was easy to do and had to be repeated daily without which the plants could die. Weeding though required more effort but if I uprooted soon as I found a weed, then my work was easier than when I left it for days to grow. Interesting to note the weeds were never planted deliberately by anyone and yet all we had to do if we wanted to ruin our vegetables and cover the garden with bushes was to let them be.

In the same way is the mind described by the author and I strongly agree with him. Most importantly, the weed is introduced either willfully or unconsciously. There’s no such thing as safe a house or a vacuum and the effective remedy is to daily work at weeding out those thoughts that cloud our judgment and gradually eat up our lofty dreams and ideas. Most
importantly is the fact that you reap only what you had sown some time in the past.

Fighting against circumstance. We all are always wishing and praying for the beautiful things and at the same time nurturing thoughts that revolt against our wishes and prayers. it is imperfect practice that makes perfect. It is the positive thoughts that we sow in our heart, nurture and grow with its roots digging firmly and deeply into our subconscious mind that is eventually made manifest in the physical realm in agreement with our earnest prayers. Someplace there’s such a couple, newly married with lofty dreams of raising their child with all the love they wish to summon. Along the way they encounter the storms of matrimony and instead of brazing up to challenge and correct the problems facing their marriage, they opt for the selfish option of splitting. Theirs is hardly mere failures but an institution of cause and effect set in motion and if not redressed would roll on into another generation or two.

Law of attraction “the soul attracts that whish it secretly harbors, that which it loves and also that which it fears.” This law is more than true and is played out in our daily lives most times without our noticing. When the mind holds a thought very strongly and tosses it day and night endlessly, the thought becomes alive goes after that which the mind seeks. “Seek and you shall find.” Very important is the fact that it goes for both good and positive thoughts as-well-as destructive thoughts. The author teaches how good thoughts can attract good health, vigor and grace while anxiety demoralizes the body’s resistance to disease. To win the love and respect of others, we must first give love and respect. ‘Do
unto others as you will have do unto you’ – the Golden Rule.

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

My relationship. Ten years ago my mum passed-on at a young age of 38. I was then 16 and growing to love and appreciate mum better. I was in a boarding school far away from home and yet every two weeks my mum will embark on the 5 hours journey by road with lots of stuff to see me. Losing a loved one is not something anyone should experience and it takes only little for the bereaved to fall into the pit of self pity. Back then I’d always wallow in self pity and would keep wondering what else is left to do on earth without a mum. At a point I harbored suicidal thoughts and was a little bit withdrawn and angry. The trend continued for more than two years until I suddenly began to see the futility in allowing this singular incidence rule my entire world. I began a gradual shift from a pessimistic and self-destructive mind set to optimism. It change really helped me become a happier and friendly person. It occurred to me that I really owed the world and my generation a duty and not the other way round. A duty to serve and support with love and materials children who are worse off than I was without a single parent. I now used my love for her constructively instead of otherwise. I was once approached in the university with the idea of joining a secret cult and alone in my bed at night I asked myself – how’d she feel if I honored their request. I declined. In line with the teachings of this book, man must decide for himself what course to chat. To succeed we must hold ourselves responsible when we fail.

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

“thought and character are one” this idea that the character of the man is a mirror of his thoughts is entirely new to me. The writer proceeds to tie a man’s in direct relation with his circumstance. So the serial killer molded his character as cold murderer from harmoniously related\ thoughts.

circumstance reveals the man to himself this in indeed profound and all my life I have never examined this topic under this unraveling light. When the serial killer eventually gets locked up in jail for life, his circumstance will only be in conformity with the person he has made out of himself. In the same way, we will find ourselves in a circumstance that is rewarding and achieving when we continuously cultivate virtuous aspirations. Man attracts that which he is not that which he wants

the honest and the dishonest the insight gained from this topic strengthens the well-known fact that all humans are tainted with a degree of weakness in certain directions. We can at best improve our character by a daily practice of reinforcing our strengths. Man is not perfect. The honest man may fail in a certain venture as a consequence of an ignoble side of his. He must therefore make extra effort to deny the cravings of the weak flesh which does not disappear regardless of the high moral perception you attract, but can only be subdued by good – “let he that thinks he stands take heed less he falls.” On the other hand, one with a dishonest reputation may attract wealth by certain virtues he processes which are absent in the honest man. I learn therefore not be quick in casting aspersions on the reputation of the man society deems to be dishonest but to weigh the integrity of his actions without bias nor judgment.

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

It has indeed challenged my thinking in so many ways. Foremost is in its teachings that describe all good fortunes as consequence of our deliberate actions and choices. The book does not in anyway lend credence to the theory of luck, instead it promotes the thought that all our good fortunes or misfortunes are manifest only through deliberate actions. This approach to life gives one greater powers to exercise since he chooses to take responsibility of the quality of life he wants to live. If a man must succeed, he must first make goals that keep him focused and then doggedly chat a path that leads him to achieving his goals.

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

One may ask in what way to describe the lot of those born with ‘silver spoon’ – staggering amount of wealth as inheritance. Or those willed great fortune by a diseased friend or relative in the later part of their shabby life. I cannot help but ask if these scenarios aren’t mere good fortunes or luck.

However I’m sure if the persons described above are given to recklessness and do not make concerted effort to manage their inheritance wisely, they will inevitably lose it with time. Nonetheless, they did very little to earn their good fortunes and hence I cannot subscribe to the school of thought that entirely disagrees with the hands of luck in the affairs of men. Some good fortunes I have experienced in my life I believe would not have been without the Almighty’s express command to nature to serve me with unmerited favor and good. I do not agree that we imperfect humans can achieve whatever circumstance we desire by deliberate calculation. Sometimes – yes, but not all the time.

How do you describe the fate of those who suffer from the impact of a natural disaster, disease or unprecedented accident they are not responsible for?

We do not have all the answers and some things in life we cannot control. But we can work hard enough at the sphere of things we can control, towards achieving our set targets – then; we might just tickle providence enough to smile heartily at us.

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

Its not really an easy question because every teaching in this book comes with the power to ignite strong positive emotions that strengthens and inspires the mind of the reader. However the part that dwells on the power of vision was indeed profound.

I’ve learnt to continuously visualize the fulfillment of my dreams and aspirations through feeding my mind with thoughts and declarations that focuses my mind towards my goals. The simplicity in the manner of language used also paves way for a stronger grasp of the teachings this book portrays.

Am working towards cultivating the attitude of serenity and though it is not easy, I believe with time I’ll master it.

I cannot say so and so was least helpful because even lessons I had learnt from other books in the past was elucidated from new dimension.

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

Man is an intelligent being equipped with a mind so powerful that he can rule his circumstances. In the light that the mind can achieve whatever it sets out for with focus and resolve, total failure in life therefore is consciously or otherwise self-designed.

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

A. How interesting was it to read? 7
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9



Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Assessment by Obinna Ezeji (Nigeria)

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

“he narrowed his eyes in fierce concentration…”
Concentration is key in whatever project we seek to carry-out to fruition. We must learn to focus with our eyes trailed on the task at hand or the goal set to be achieved. Prior to my penultimate year to graduation from the university, I had been unserious with my studies. I had outstanding credit to pass if I wanted to graduate the next year and it was indeed a very challenging situation. I read a book – Goals by Brian Tracey and took time set long and short term goals as prescribed in the book and most importantly, I concentrated on the goal of achieving success in my exams and graduating with my classmates the following year. It paid out.

“Then his feathers ruffled, he stalled and fell.”
-failure. This idea is very important because it is a hard truth we have to live with daily- failure and disappointments will always be part of us. How we deal with it is what makes the big difference. Even though Jonathan failed many times he always picked himself up, dusted the shame and disappointments and tried again. “Ten times he tried, but all ten times…crashing down into the water.” According to Brian Tracey, it is not practice but imperfect practice that makes success. The great inventor Thomas Edison failed many times in his quest to invent the light bulb but he learnt from the positive side of his mistakes and persistently applied what he had learnt to right his wrongs. There is always a lesson to learn from every failure if we can only put aside the fear of failing again and like Jonathan see failure as a learning process and not an end.

Purpose and Passion.
While the rest of the flock set out each day with the purpose of finding food, Jonathan’s purpose was to attain mastery of flight. Jonathan was passionate about his purpose and this quality kept him focused even amidst hostilities and failures. Reflecting, I can call-up a good number of great men who wrote their names in history book because they continuously fueled their dreams and purpose with passion, emotion and zeal until they broke all resistance and fulfilled the purpose they set out to achieve. Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, to recount a few are all remembered for the purpose-driven life they lived and the passion with which they followed their dreams.

“…there is a reason to life! We can list ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill.”
If I must succeed then I must see life from the perspective Jonathan saw it- long term fulfillment of value created or gained. Without a long term approach to life we can hardly accomplish most of our lofty dreams because like Rome, they are hardly built in a day.

Learning & Practice.
The zeal and determination with which Jonathan went about learning and practicing is indeed overwhelming. I really do wish I can learn to be this driven in acquiring Knowledge and utilizing the knowledge acquired.

In the bible God said ‘My people perish for lack of knowledge.’ It simply means that not even providence condone ignorance. We have to keep pushing to learn if we must survive in this highly competitive world of ours. However, it’s one thing to learn and the other to put the knowledge acquired into useful venture- this is where I most admire Jon. He kept putting what he had learnt into practice and did not recant after series of failure. Sometime in the past, I heard over the radio that acquiring knowledge can be likened to a man in possession of a gun, the bits of knowledge he has is like the bullet in the gun. Notwithstanding, you are still not regarded as powerful until you can effectively use your loaded gun. A look at the biographies some great men highlights one parallel quality they all possess- thirst and hunger for knowledge; they were readers.

The Price of Success.
Like every good thing success comes with a price and price will always be in direct proportion to the value of goods or services you seek to acquire. Whatever is got for nothing is most likely immaterial or worthless. The parable of the talent in the bible teaches us that onto whom much is given, much is also expected. From the story of Jonathan, I deduced the following prices he had to pay:

time: time and again he had to study and learn how best to fly. In my opinion time is so important that God had to apportion it equally to everyone so we have no excuses to make with it. So many times we shy away from responsibilities because we feel we do not have enough time for it and then we turn around and squander the time we supposedly gained on trivialities. What I learnt from Jonathan is that it takes a substantial investment of time to master any art or skill that is valuable. To attain the expertise and mastery of flight Jonathan had to sacrifice the time he would ordinarily had spent squabbling for food for practice time.

pain: everyone abhors the feeling of pain whether to our body, heart or to our ego. However way it comes, pain isn’t enjoyable and yet we will always live with its threat until our last breath. There is such thing as the fear of pain and this can be as dangerous and limiting as pain itself. If for the fear of getting injured I decide not to go out to the field and join my friends in a football game, then I might never be good at the game and consequently will not reap the financial and social gratification that comes with being good at playing football. If the Lander brothers had dwelt hard on the pain that can arise from an airplane crash, they would have abandoned their dream of building an airplane. Same goes for many worthy inventions we enjoy today. Whenever we set out to do a good job worthy of recognition or satisfying customers’ expectations of us, then we must be prepared to bear the mental and bodily stress and discomfort that will come along.

In the bible Jesus knew he will be and he was eventually crucified. Martin Luther King was mobbed and imprisoned many times same as many great heroes of the past. No cross, no crown. No pain, no gain.

dejection: while in the University during one of my industrial trainings, I learnt of a network marketing business and joined soon after. I returned to school with so much excitement and enthusiasm and started talking to friends about the business and prospecting for potential down-lines. I had made a wish list of all those I hoped to introduce into the business and another list of those I wanted to market the products (health) to. However I was not prepared for the deluge of scorn and mockery that came from my very friends. After a hard go at selling my products, I gave-up mostly because I wanted to regain acceptance among my peers. I wasn’t passionate enough about my business to pay the price of dejection and it cost me the experience if not profit that I had stood to gain.
Jonathan paid the great price of dejection and was banished from his kindred in exchange for the fulfillment of his dreams and is an example I must inculcate if I must succeed in any project.

Friendship and Partnership with positive minds.
“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…” No man exist an island all by himself and iron it is said sharpens iron. Everyday we inter-relate with people around us and are influenced somehow by their actions or inactions. Jonathan was able to remain focused in flying and learn better when he had birds of like minds around him. If we hang around enough with success-conscious individuals, unconsciously our interest to succeed starts to heighten and same goes when it’s the other way round.

The sports men in the world have coaches. And I totally agree with this idea. If not for Chiang, it would have cost Jonathan more work and time to understand the teachings on perfection. The sage words or guidance of an experienced person can save us the time we spend making erroneous trials.

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

Passion: I’m very passionate about living a life that will impart value in the lives of so many Africans living in this continent. I strongly believe some day I’ll be called upon to cater for the needs of many motherless children living across Africa and other war thorn areas around the world where children are always the worse hit victims. My continent Africa is wasting with each passing day. Aids has ravished millions of people in Africa; poverty and illiteracy has become synonymous with the continent and our corrupt leaders in their power drunkenness and greed has only battered the situation, eroding the confidence of the masses as well as foreign investors. Nonetheless, I have a dream. A dream that someday Africa will braze up to its challenges and seize to be regarded as a third World continent. A dream that very soon a new crop of Africans will rise up to compete constructively with their peers in Europe, America or Asia in issues of science and technology, business, and wealth creation to promote a mutually beneficial global advancement. I pray to be amongst the men and women that will catalyze this transformation.

Winning through failure: paradoxical as it may sound, I strongly believe that inculcating this attitude to life is important if one seeks victory in this uneasy world. Jonathan Seagull persisted through pain, failure, tribulation, and this quality I believe was the driving force that propelled him to achieve his dream. I love Jonathan. I pray to become this purpose driven in spite of barriers and mountains that stand between me and my goals. Winning through failure must start with an attitudinal change in how we interpret failure and its fear. We are all so hard on ourselves when we fail that we fail to see that failure is part of the learning process, sometimes a providential correction and not an end. Serendipity mostly comes our way when we are working persistently in spite of barriers and failures towards attaining a goal.

Stephen Covey advices that we begin with the end in view, this will keep refueling our motivation in crises period, and keep our minds in tune with the broader picture.
During one of my industrial trainings, while I was still in the University, I was attached to an Engineering company for a period of 4 months. One morning, my boss asked me if I could correct the company’s catalog which was in PowerPoint format and had gone corrupt in the system. Prior to that time, I had very little knowledge of PowerPoint but opted to embark on it. What followed was at first funny but at last insightful and rewarding. Daily I kept spurning out waste upon waste from the printer since I was supposed to print out correct and well edited copies the company needed to send out for its contract bids. At the end, after I had learnt from various mistakes, I came up with a very good work that was greatly commended by all.

Marie Curie wrote: Life is not easy for any of us, but what of that. We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe we are gifted at something and that that thing at whatever cost must be attained. Perhaps, everything will work out well for us at the moment we least expect it.

“Keeping working on love.” For there to be peace and development in our society today, there must be love. If the international society come together to raise and donate all the money we need to achieve real development and yet there is no love within ourselves, we’ll fight and squabble for the money until we end up worse off then we were. Love is selfless and it seeks to satisfy the need of the other man, the reason I choose to believe that great inventions that has added value to earth did not come to being without a measure of love for us all by their inventors.

Mother Theresa devoted herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.

200,000 child slaves are sold every year in Africa. There are an estimated 8,000 girl-slaves in West Africa alone. (sources: BBC 5 October, 2001 & Anti-Slavery Society)

About 120,000 African children are participating in armed conflicts. Some are as young as 7 years old. (source: Africa Children’s Charter)

Nearly one third of children in Sub-Saharan Africa are underweight. (source: UNICEF)

In sub-Saharan Africa, measles takes the life of a child nearly every minute of every day. An effective measles vaccine costs as little as $1 per child. (source: UNICEF)

Kenya has introduced free primary education, which has brought 1.2 million children back into school;

According to the BBC, in many African countries more money has been spent on buying weapons and training soldiers than helping farmers. It’s often difficult for people to find food in areas where there is fighting.

This happened in Sierra Leone, where conflict stopped food getting in.
In Ethiopia in the 1980s, government forces burned fields, spoiled food that was being stored and contaminated water.

This led to loads of refugees searching for safety, food and water.
It is also impossible to grow crops in areas where there are land mines. With less food available, prices go up and poverty increases.

“…of the three: Love; Hope; and Faith, Love is the greatest.” – Apostle Paul

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

Holding firm to my passion in the face of dejection: I have learnt from this book that people will always have their opinions about my projects and some may be divergent to my belief. For this reason, I should always guard against allowing the opinion of others cut short any worthy cause I choose to undertake. Warren Buffet advices young people in these words: Don’t do what others say, just listen to them, but do what you feel is good.

Learning & practice is a continuum: there was no end to Jonathan’s willingness to learn anywhere in the book. Also the passion with which he sought to learn and practice was exemplary. I learnt from this book to always put on a healthy thirst and quest for opportunities to develop myself. I have learnt to never tire in learning because if I persist… then will the teacher appear. The teacher is attracted by, and in proportion to the force and intensity with which I learn and practice. Practice and learning I have learnt must follow simultaneously if I must attain mastery and deploy knowledge gained in creating value.

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

Perfection is being unlimited. Prior to reading this book, my thought process has never really being stimulated enough to see a light in the idea of attaining perfection. Perfection, like the old seagull Chiang described it- ‘is being there’. This idea that there is such thing as the attainment of perfection is very new to me and I’m very interested in learning more about it. I want to believe the words of Chiang echoed the words of Jesus when He said: ‘be ye perfect as their father in heaven is perfect.’ This verse in the bible had never made sense to me and truth is I had never even given it a second thought. This idea of attaining perfection is profound and I believe possible considering the complexity, ingenuity, intelligence, and power we see exhibited in the physiology of every single part of the human body especially in the brain. Chiang advised: “you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived…” that means that you must start with choosing your destination or point of arrival, and then… arrive there.

I once watched a documentary on how Placebo drugs were used to stimulate the human mind to achieve overwhelming results in medicine and surgery and at the end of the eye-opening documentary the narrator said: “anything is possible if we put our mind to it.” This I believe is the road to perfection- we must focus our mind unwaveringly at the goal we intend to reach, and not at the road that leads to that goal.

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

“Forget about faith!” Chiang said it time and again. I do not agree anyone should forget about faith. Faith is important even as ‘little as a mustard seed’. I believe having faith in oneself and in ones dream is invaluable. Faith alone though is insufficient except it’s complemented with action and a tenacious drive.

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

The book was easy to read and digest. Also the protagonist- Jonathan was alive; I could see and feel him; I could associate with him and learn from him.

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

In pursuit of any worthy goal in life, focus is primary. There will be roadblocks standing between us and our goals- it could be family roadblocks; society; educational; health. Howbeit, no barrier is insurmountable and every skill can be learned, depending on the strength of our resolve and our attitude.

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

A. How interesting was it to read? 7
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 8
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 10

It has taken me so long to complete this assessment. I had intended to make an excuse, but deep down inside I know my excuse is not valid. I hope to be admitted as one of your students but should you consider otherwise, I want to say thank you for the insight and awakening that reading and assessing these books has brought me. Please, I want to be your student.

Psycho-Cybernetics 2000
Assessment by Obinna Ezeji

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

Psycho-cybernetics 2000 is a tool aimed to address the consequences of a poor self-image by explaining how our self-image ties inextricably to our habits. Our thoughts, actions and reactions will always be consistent with the image we have of ourselves. The word ‘always’ is the key to reinforcing the consistency of our acts and thoughts with our self-image. Reason is that ‘always’ is the mother of habit.

Our self-image is not formed from one-off circumstances or instances but from how we act, feel, and behave… always, and ‘always’ breeds habit. Hence, Psych-Cybernetics is essentially about changing habit- habit of beliefs, habit of attitude and habit of action. The corollary is- the renewal and enhancement of our self-image.

It is our self-image; Maltz explains that prescribes our limits. We cannot become what we cannot see and what we cannot see, we cannot identify with.

The person I am and will become will always be consistent with the picture of the person inside of me. Picturing or imagining becoming that person we love to be is therefore key to enhancing our self-image.

If an engineer must start and succeed in a project, then he must utilize the right tools, equipments, and resources required in carrying out that project. The same goes with the process of imagination. To engage our imagination, to paint and internalize the picture of the self we want to radiate outwardly, we must enlist the services of the part of the brain that thinks holistically, spatially, or imaginatively- the right brain. This is the reason why this book describes positive thinking and will power as pit falls that causes frustration because the right brain does not think logically, analytically, or verbally.

Entering my ‘Theatre of imagination’ as the author describes it or creating ‘Mental pictures’ of whom I want to become is leveraging the power of the right brain for developing a self-image I can live with, one in which I can feel secure, and one in which I can be proud and confident to express to others.

Psycho-Cybernetics relates the human mind to the science of Cybernetics. The workings of the servomechanism that operates as an automatic guidance system that keeps airplanes and other machines automatically targeted at a specified course most likely mimics the operation of the human mind in terms of goal seeking and goal scoping.

The book reveals that we may be heading for failure or mediocrity unconsciously because we have automatically placed a set point on our achievements by virtue of our self-image.
However good news is, we can reverse the failure trend by consciously challenging our poor habits, replacing them with habits that are consistent with a big and successful self-image.

An image that dwells on our strengths and successes, one that accepts our weaknesses and failures dispassionately as feedbacks and signals intended for correcting our course. Only then can we fully expand the size and scope of the targets our goal-seeking device will aim for, reprogramming our set point for success!

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.

* Self-image defines “the area of the possible.”
* Focus on the destination not the curb
* The CRAFT of reprogramming our self-image
* Imagination- ‘Fake it till you make it’.
* Self-esteem
* SMART goals

Self-image defines ‘the area of the possible’
I believe in this statement 100 percent because I have experienced it. I got into my 400 level Mechanical engineering class in the university with a very arduous task- carrying-over four courses I failed the year before into this new class. After the initial shock and horror of narrowly escaping repeating another year had waned, I quickly set out with a goal of passing all four courses together with the six courses of my immediate class. I came across a book on ‘goals’ written by Brian Tracey and suddenly something remarkable started to happen. I began to see a new me who believed he could achieve anything and was so sure I would hit my immediate goal of doing very well in all ten courses I enlisted. I began to mix with the upper academic echelon of the class and changed my usual seat position from the back to the front row. I changed my image of not being good enough in certain courses and distanced myself from my former backbench friends without any apologies. Most of my friends at the back rows were not happy with me and even made jest at me. Eventually though, in the middle of the semester and with me having a good grasp in all the subjects, my former friends could not help but run to me for mentoring. My classmates regarded me along with those described as intelligent in class but this did not happen until I had perceived myself as intelligent. At the end of the semester, I came out with very good grades in all ten courses.

Focus on the destination not the curb
Most times as humans, we are so concerned about ‘what might go wrong’ when we embark on a project. Our concern then grows into a fear of ‘ that thing going wrong’ and eventually that fear catches up with our sense of creativity, cripples it, and leaves us accomplishing what we were focused at all along- failure!

Curbs could come in the form of failure, fear of the unknown, setbacks, illness, laws and regulations, or even death of a loved one. However way they come, they are of best use as a guide and not an end.

If I take them for a guide, then I will always focus at the goal, measuring my position towards the goal relative to the guide. However, if I focus on the curb, I will lose track of the position of my goal and unconsciously turn the curb into my goal.

While in secondary school, my football team was up against a rival team in a stiff competition. We had exhausted the full and extra time for the game and had to go into penalties. My team mates and the rival team where all given out what seemed to me as cheap shots to the goalkeepers until our rivals scored the last of their five kicks and the onus to redeem our team from losing fell on me as the taker of our last penalty kick. As I positioned the ball on the spot, all I kept thinking was “how do I beat this goal keeper who had saved all of our last four kicks. I did not even pick out a spot on the goal to place the ball as I made towards the spot for the kick. When eventually I kicked the ball, I hit it so hard it went straight up like a rocket heading to Mars. I made it to the nearby bushes quickly enough to escape manhandling by my teammates and fans that came chasing after me. Now I have come to understand that my target at that moment was to beat the goalkeeper (curb) and not to score…and I did.

The C.R.A.F.T. of reprogramming our self-image
A very valuable insight I have gained from this book is, knowing that my self-image is a product of the habits I have built over a period. My self-image was shaped over time through subconscious habits and it had nothing at all to do with reality but with my interpretation of reality and reaction to past events.

It had been learned. ‘Anything that has been learned can be reevaluated and challenged. Anything that has been challenged can be “relearned” with new data to replace the old.
I can now better understand what Aristotle meant when he said that ‘Success is not an event but a habit.’ It is a continuous cycle: Habit-Self-image-Limit of goal-seeking device- Success/Failure and back to our habits. Therefore my habits whether good or bad are the fundamental program that supports my self-image which in turn sets the scope and size of target my internal guidance system will aim for.

When I was a young boy growing up, certain circumstances I experienced made me very self-conscious in public and then I tagged myself as ‘shy’ and so did others, I inhibited my expressions in public to the point where some people saw me as a snob. I was never really an introvert either, in fact I was a bit aggressive and stubborn as a little boy. Moreover, whenever it mattered most I would become very self-conscious and begin to stutter that people even thought it had the vocal defect from birth. As I grew older while in secondary school, I would practice flowing in a conversation with friends, both male and female in my mind. Even before I asked questions in class, I would practice my posture and how I would phrase my question in my mind before I went on to act it in reality.

My awareness that my shy habit was bad was very important and taking the right steps both mentally and physically eventually freed me from most of the grip that bad habit had on me. I even joined a Christian drama wing and starred in many dramas in school before large crowds. In my final year while others where campaigning to become school prefects, I was appointed by the authorities without a single campaign.

It is worthy of note that no matter how bad the habit is, so long as we can reach the state of awareness, we can challenge the bad habit and relearn new habits to replace the bad one. It will not be easy though but with a patient and ‘firm tug at our horse’, we will eventually change the old path and chat a new one for our horse.

Imagination- ‘fake it till you make it’
Like in my previous example, I had to imagine in my mind being in public with friends and making meaningful contributions in discussions without stuttering or shyness before I eventually started to experience my confidence in the physical. Up until now I never new this principle and yet I had practiced it before and it worked! These days, when I am in a conversation with females, some believe I’ve always had a natural charm and flair. If only they had met me a few years back, they will marvel at the change.

Men, women of old, and present have achieved great discoveries and inventions with little or no formal education but with a keen mind and broad imagination. Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Mary Kay Ash, Martin Luther King, Bill Gates, and countless great names have all created value in their respective fields not because they knew all the answers, but because they created solutions imagined out of their minds to fill a gap that existed in our world.

“Imagination” to quote Albert Einstein “is more important than knowledge.”

Self-esteem- appreciating my own worth and importance
Most times, we are so critical and unfavorably judgmental of ourselves that we fail to observe this very simple principle of life: “love your neighbor as yourself.” Except I start with loving myself, I will always experience the self-destructive feeling of envy whenever I see the other man progress. When a person does not appreciate himself, he will lack the confidence and the capacity to appreciate the works of other sincerely.

Self-esteem also involves me being ‘accountable for my self and acting responsibly towards others.’ Personal accountability is very important if I must take charge and control of my life. Blaming others for our problems takes away our power to recognize negative feedbacks and retrace our course; it locks up our creative mind leaving us very dependent on the actions others for our survival.

Moreover, self-esteem is not only a character for us to exhibit or portray- we must learn especially to pass it across to people around us. “Business leaders have come increasingly to recognize that while capital and technology are important resources, it is people that make or break a company.” How do I treat the cleaners and janitors working in the office? Do I regard them with disdain such that they feel lowly about themselves after an encounter with me or do I reinforce the positive in them and greet them with the respect deserved of a human being? This ingredient -self-esteem should be fostered in all our relationships whether it is between parent/child; husband/wife; management/employees or whether it is between friends.

Any relationship that erodes the self-esteem of its stakeholders stands to fail eventually unless we reverse the trend.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Very recently, my boss where I work had to travel to our companies head office in the US for an assignment that lasted for about three weeks. He called me into his office asked me to write down what I will be busy doing while he was away. I went back to my office wondering why he would not just propose an assignment for to me work on. After a long thought, I came up with a list of nine important assignments I wanted to start and complete before he was back. Amongst my self-proposed responsibilities were issues only my boss seemed capable to deal with, e.g. corresponding with supervisors far high and above my level as-well-as engaging them to provide data from their respective departments that I’ll work it. In addition, I set out to start and complete a computer-based Knowledge management training and apply the knowledge gained in delivering better services in my job.

After my boss left, I regretted why I had given myself so much to do, fearing I might not be able to accomplish all of them given the time. However, I began to tackle each assignment one after the other. I allotted the time I wanted to spend in completing each of my task and worked with that time frame in mind. By the time my boss was back in the country, I had completed all of the nine assignments. He was very impressed and my confidence in myself soared right to the top.

The factors I believe helped me were:
* I wrote down my goals;
* I placed it on my desk and referred to it daily;
* I could measure my progress at each of my assignment;
* I worked with two time frames: Long term- when I intended to complete the entire assignment, and Short term- when I intended to complete each of the integral assignments.

I should see SUCCESS as a continuous journey towards my goal and the person I want to become and FAILURE as feedbacks to help me retrace my course towards my target when I am off track.

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?

About a week ago, I had a brush with a colleague of mine in the office. In an attempt to make peace with him the following day, I extended a handshake to him in greeting, and he snubbed me outright before everyone. I was very embarrassed and I resolved within me to play the game according to his rules, which was, stay far away from me! However, I noticed I was not happy whenever he was a few meters from me. Even though I feigned oblivious of his presence, my systems knew better that I was better without the grudge I bore for him in my heart.

Psycho-Cybernetics 2000 principles made me understand that I had given the control of my life to another person. I learnt from this book that it was my reaction and interpretation of an event that mattered and not the event in itself. I came to understand better that not only am I to radiate self-esteem; I should reinforce self-esteem in others around me.

According to Maltz, “old emotional scars cannot be doctored or medicated, they must be ‘cut out’ given up entirely, eradicated.” This I resolved to do- ‘cut out and eradicate entirely’. I walked up to my colleague the following morning and trust my hand forward. It was as though he had been praying for this moment. We shook hands and in about half a minute, we had freed our hearts of the weight we carried about for more than a week. I guess my heart will be happier pumping blood free of adrenaline.

Moreover, since I began entering my ‘theatre of imagination’ you cannot imagine how my confidence and esteem has soared. I go out every morning feeling like a success. I have no reason to doubt that I am designed for success- “growing in my own direction and capable of making competent and responsible progress as I learn”. In fact, I now see a successful me, a me that will add value on earth.

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

“We are not on earth to live up to someone else’s expectations. To make our unique contributions to the world, we each need to prize our individual worth and pursue our dreams. (pg. 233)

Every human is unique in his own rights. The fact that our DNA’s are different further proves our individual peculiarity.”

“You are responsible for the thoughts you have in your head at any given time. You have the capacity to think whatever you choose, and virtually all your self-defeating attitudes and behaviors originate in the way you choose to think.”- Wayne Dyer, Ph.D. The Sky’s The Limit

While our actions are the harvest, our thoughts are the seeds we sow.

“Creative ideas are not consciously thought out…but come out automatically, spontaneously, and somewhat like a bolt from the blue, when the conscious mind has let go of the problem… After a person, sees in his imagination the desired end result, secured all the information and facts that he can, then additional struggling, fretting, and worrying over it does not help, but seems to hinder the solution”. (pg. 95 — Maxwell Maltz

“Develop a nostalgia for the future. When you’re not goal-striving, not looking forward, you’re not really living.” (pg. 235”) — Maxwell Maltz

I believe the mind is automatically programmed to target goals. I noticed that whenever my mind is inactive and idle, I feel more exhausted both physically and emotionally than when I am tackling an immense task.

“The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” (pg. 244) — Alvin Toffler

Learning is a continuum and not an end. Looking at the history of the universe it is obvious that even God in his infinite wisdom has been dynamic in his processes of creation.

“We can grow, solve problems, and discover the potential within ourselves only by developing the courage to explore new thoughts, behavior, and possibilities, to take appropriate risks, and to venture out across ‘safe boundaries.’ (pg. 244)” -California Task Force to promote Self-Esteem, Personal, and Social Responsibility

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.’ (pg. 249) – Maxwell Maltz

When we believe we are not good enough or that we are incapable of acquiring the requisite knowledge for success in a given venture, our subconscious mind complies with this believe and brings it to reality.

Our goals are like orchards: the more energy we put into them, the more they bear fruits, we need goals that are appropriate and attainable… Setting our own goals reflects our self-esteem: ‘I want to grow in my own direction and I am capable of making competent and responsible progress as I learn. It is important to know that we’re not on earth to live up to someone else’s expectations.” (pg. 256) -California Task Force to promote Self-Esteem.

This underscores the words of Aristotle when he said that Success in not a circumstance but a habit.

“I am not judged by the number of times I fail but by the number of times I succeed, and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying. (pg. 274)” -Tom Hopkins

This underscores the words of Brian Tracey: “It is not practice that makes perfect but imperfect practice makes perfect.”

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 easily warmed into the central theme of this book without any issues or bias.

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, it contained exercises. I found them useful though initially I found the exercises too engaging but I understand if I have to deal with deeply engrained habits I had to engage my mind to thoroughly challenge the roots of the habit.

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


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

A. How interesting was it to read? 7
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



Success through a Positive Mental Attitude
Assessment by Obinna Ezeji

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

Man can achieve anything he desires so fervently if sets out to achieve it with a positive mental attitude. As long as his definite goal or desire does not contravene the laws of God or the rights of his fellow man, he can keep trying with perseverance in the face of adversity and setbacks until he eventually achieves his major definite goal.

A man with PMA thinks and works in the following way:
a. He sets goals and hence knows what he wants and believes he can achieve it.
b. He engages his mind in thinking and exploring all avenues to achieve his goal.
c. He does not take failure personally but learns his lessons and corrects his course towards the goal.
d. He knows that his body and mind are his greatest assets and hence will nourish them with physical and spiritual vitamins, exercise, and rest.
e. His daily pursuit is guided by the principles of love: Love for his God; Love for himself; Love for his fellowman and country.

This book aims at keeping the reader highly motivated for motivation is the fire that fuels our passions and like every fire, it will burn out if coal is not replenished. Like the authors rightly states, ‘a motive is the inner urge that incites us to action’. The strength of our motive therefore sets the threshold of how much we can withstand the temporary setbacks and failures that precedes all true and worthy accomplishment.

No matter how loud we express our want for a goal if our motive is weak, so will be our willingness to pay the price for that goal in the face of adversity. Success through a Positive Mental Attitude therefore is a book written to keep us motivated and programmed for success with PMA and to teach us how to motivate others towards attaining a collective goal.

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) The role proper parenting in molding a child
2) OPM!
3) Anything in life worth having is worth working for
4) … And something more
5) Auto suggestion
6) Inspirational Dissatisfaction
7) The burden of learning is on the person who wants to learn.

The role of proper parenting in molding a child

S.B. Fuller was greatly inspired and motivated by his mother in the midst of poverty to the point where he developed a burning desire to become rich. Out of the thought seed sown by his mother- “we are poor not because of God” -he eventually overcame the circumstances around him to become rich.

Tom Dempsey was born without half a right foot and with only a stub of a right arm. He had a burning desire to play football and his parents supported his desire by having an artificial foot made for him. I would like to think that his parents tremendously influenced and nurtured his desire for they unconsciously or otherwise played down his limitations and emphasized the power within his mind. He not only fulfilled his desire but also kicked a record-breaking goal with his wooden foot.

Henry Kaiser under the tutelage of his mother learnt and acquired what he called the priceless gift: ‘the joy of work’. More also, he learnt the greatest value in life: ‘Loving people and serving them’. He applied these principles in creating enormous wealth and I will say he indirectly helped mitigate the losses of the World War with the ships he manufactured at great speed to help fight the World’s common enemy at the time.

Thomas Edison wrote this of his mother: “She cast over me an influence which has lasted all my life. The good effect of her early training I can never lose. My mother was always kind, always sympathetic, and she never misunderstood or misjudged me.” Once branded a “dunce” by teachers and schoolmates, Edison, under the positive influence of his mother grew to become one of the greatest inventors of all time.


Other People’s Money -that is business. Most of the time bright ideas die because of the seemingly lack of money. OPM emphasizes the fact that ‘wisdom is the principal thing’. If we develop an idea that is good enough to meet and satisfy the needs of others, then we should confidently approach investors and financiers. However, the basic unwritten premise in using OPM must be underlined in all of our dealings with people – integrity; honor; honesty; loyalty; consent; and the Golden rule must never be compromised if we are to become and remain successful in using OPM. I usually shy away from asking people for money but a lesson I hope to take away from this topic is that every millionaire is also a heavy borrower.

Anything in life worth having is worth working for

Success in any worthy venture comes at a price. Work is one of the prices we must pay from time to time. A common denominator in successful people is the energy, time, and effort they invest in mastering their trade and being ahead of the competition. If we seek for extraordinary achievements then we must back up our desires with such zeal and effort that is well above the ordinary. “As a man perfecteth himself in his calling, his craft or vocation” to quote from Clason’s book ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’, “even so doth his ability to earn increase… more interest in my work, more concentration upon my task, more persistence in my effort, and behold, few men, very few could carve more tablet in a day than I.”

One great benefit I have derived from reading great books such as this as well as biographies of great men is cultivating the culture of never shirking from work. I am better influenced by such books not only to enjoying my work but also to always seek out ways of improving the quality of my work. Research now shows that natural talent does not guarantee greatness. Practice, Practice, Practice whether in sports, music, business or science is one of the attributes that separates masters from the rest of the lot. To drive this home with Edison’s definition of success: 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration!

… And something more

More effort, more practice, more learning, more dreaming, more praying, more giving, whatever it is I do I should always keep in mind that there is room for improvement. ‘Failure is experienced by those who, when they experience defeat, stop trying to find the something more.’ Likewise, success is not an end but a continuous effort to develop and improve whatever it is we are successful at doing. Change is the only constant that exists in nature. A keen and questioning mind is the fertile soil from which new ideas and creativity sprouts. Rudyard Kipling wrote, “I kept six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names are: What and Why and When and Where and How and Who.” Most great discoveries would never have seen the light of day until someone was curious and courageous enough to question the status quo, or stretched the limits of popular perception.

To stand out successfully in this competitive world one must always seek out ways of adding the extra value that the competition lacks. I made sure to note from this book that it is not the quantity but the ‘inspired quality’ of the something more that counts. Therefore, instead of waiting to make the big and radical improvements that usually attracts a great dose of procrastination, we should seek out the little improvements to add which will keep us growing in the right direction and at the same time steadily fuel our confidence with each little success attained.


I will describe this as the programming of our mind to automatically stay aimed at the target we have selected. The motivation to pursue any goal does not stem from our conscious mind but from within. For me this principle is very true and very similar to entering the Theatre of Imagination which I learnt to do after reading Psycho Cybernetics 2000. Each time I have stated aloud to myself my goals, I feel a release of energy and heightening of my confidence in myself in achieving that goal. The quality of my work has not only improved but since I began practicing this principle, I have become more focused and hungry for success.

Inspirational Dissatisfaction

We cannot truly consolidate our success while remaining in the comfort zone. Inspirational dissatisfaction is one formula that champions in all fields of life exploit to achieve record-breaking feats over and over again. As he musters all of his mental and physical fortitude for that last lounge towards the finish line to come first amongst other competitors, the fans jumping off their seats with cheers and screams that pierces into the quiet havens in adoration of their hero, the champion dotting his gold medal gets home satisfied. Soon after, the euphoria wanes and he longs for that greater satisfaction that comes from conquering his own victory. This describes the life of the champions we all adore.

The burden of learning is on the person who wants to learn

There’s a story about Socrates in which a proud young man supposedly asked, ‘Oh great Socrates, I came to you for knowledge.’ Socrates led him down to the sea into waist-deep water. ‘Tell me again what you want,’ he said. ‘Knowledge.’ Socrates pushed him down under water, holding him there for 30 seconds. ‘Now what do you want?’ The young man sputtered, ‘Wisdom, oh great Socrates.’ Again, the philosopher pushed him under. When he let him up again he asked, ‘What do you want?’ ‘Knowledge, oh wise and…’ he managed spit out when Socrates pushed him under again, this time holding him down even longer. ‘What do you want?’ repeated Socrates. The young man coughed and gasped. ‘Air!’ he shouted, ‘I want air!’ Socrates replied, ‘when you want knowledge as much as you want air, you’ll get knowledge.’ Then the old man returned to the shore. This is a lesson for me.

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?

Enthusiasm, optimism, a keen spirit, integrity these are attitudes I would love to shape my character and my daily lifestyle, because not only will it open me up to see potential opportunities around me, but also because such attitudes are contagious and inspiring to those I will meet with daily. Just like the first time I read this book, reading this book again has made me hungrier to make a difference with my God-giving talents.

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

To be enthusiastic, ACT enthusiastic. (p.167)
-Frank Bettger

Action is the key to doing things that we have a natural propensity not to do. It is ACTION that breathes life into our beliefs and resolves. “For faith without works is dead.”

“I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know how to get it… If you know what you want, you’re more apt to recognize it when you see it.” (p.6)
-S.B. Fuller

Before houses are built, they are first drawn on paper, and even before they get to the paper, they are first built in the imaginations of our mind. Therefore, the starting point is knowing exactly what we want to accomplish in out mind.

“Henry, nothing is ever accomplished without work. If I leave you nothing else but the will to work, I will have left you the priceless gift: the joy of work.” (p.9)
¬-Mary Kaiser

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


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

The exercises were helpful I completed most of them.

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


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

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



The New Dynamics of Winning
Assessment by Obinna Ezeji (Nigeria)

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

Developing the winner’s character that lies dormant in most men and women is what this book seeks to achieve. At the onset of any prospect towards any achievement is the drive to win. Largely, the drive to win determines when; and if we will ever achieve what goal we have set out to attain. Hence, this book starts with fanning the heat that generates this drive in the mind of all winners. Call it unquenchable thirst, or hunger, or ‘fire in the belly’, or inspirational dissatisfaction (as in the book: Success through a Positive Mental Attitude), or you may even call it the fuel. However, by all means, this drive towards success must remain in us and be of greater intensity than all of our fears if we must win our set goal in any pursuit in life- be it in business, in sport, or in any given career.

Nonetheless, the book does not elude the supreme fact that success of any true kind comes at a price. Moreover, that the price must be in direct proportion to the quality of success we desire. You cannot go to a Mercedes sales garage with a check for a 2004 C-class model and drive home a 2007 chrome-black, full option G-class SUV. That is, ‘you get what you pay for.’ Commitment must complement the conquest!

In summary, this book teaches the need of always be adaptable to changes that will confront us in our journey towards success. A straight line, being the shortest distance between two points is the ideal route towards winning. However, in reality of attaining success in business, career, sports, or any worthy endeavor, there is no such route as a straight line. Toughness therefore cannot be overemphasized, being malleable as we acquire skills and adaptable to the challenges we confront, as we remain focused on the ultimate prize and less focused on the undulating path.

From the start and through to the end, whether he achieves the ultimate prize or not, a winner remains a winner first from within. The ‘inner winner’ is what distinguishes the winner from the loser whose perceptions and responses programs him for failure.
“The secret of wearing the gold medal around your neck in the external world is that first you must be an Inner Winner. You must recognize that you’re already an Olympian within.”

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) Champions are propelled by desire, not compelled by fear
2) Champions embrace change
3) Maximum success is built upon minigoals
4) Total commitment – the entry fee of success
5) Believing is seing
6) Self-worth and Self-trust
7) You are your own most important judge

Champions are propelled by desire, not compelled by fear:
Necessity they say is the mother of all great inventions, and I will like to add that fear is a killer of many dreams. Bill Gates of Microsoft once had a desire to have a computer placed on a table in every home. To many back then, that desire must have sounded very ludicrous, not anymore today. How about the means of transportation we call the Airplane? Today we can rush to an airport to board a plane that will fly us across oceans and over 1000 feet above the earth. However, if the inventors of the airplane had dwelt on the fear of falling from such sheer heights, and had judged that the dangers outweighed the potentials, one can only imagine how far apart the World would have been today. I read about Dr. Michael Debakey who passed away recently at the age of 99. He is renowned as the world-famous Heart surgeon who pioneered such now-common procedures as bypass surgery and invented a host of devices that has helped heart patients. If his fear of seeing a patient die under his knife had kept him away from the fragile work of repairing the invaluable engine of life – the heart, imagine the negative impact that fear would have had on the field of cardiovascular medicine, and how many more people would died as a result. Fear, however, must always be present. For it is the check the Creator in His infinite wisdom has programmed into our nervous system to keep us safe from danger and even ourselves. I would say champions use fear as a driver uses his side and rear mirrors, and his windshield wiper. While most others pour fear into their fuel tank and run their engines on it until eventually, and inevitably, Knock occurs.

Champions embrace change:
This area truly distinguishes champions from the rest of the bunch. How? Champions don’t rest on their laurels. They keep seeking out areas of opportunities and growth no matter how accomplished others may perceive them to be. They are dynamic in whatever field they find themselves, always seeking out ways to do their work better, faster, or cheaper. As they seek out ways to increase value or growth, they may make losses, or seem to be backtracking, but never do they just fold their hands and do nothing. Champions epitomize the meaning of the word change, and that is because everyday they are changing positions in the main areas of their lives. They are adding to their knowledge base, practicing more to better master their skills, striving towards their targets, making and correcting mistakes, setting new goals, breaking their old records, challenging popular thoughts, and creating change. In their own small worlds, champions are constantly seeking out what new formula there is to attaining excellence. It is no wonder therefore why they are better prepared when the capricious wind of change befalls an entire populace. Whereas everyone might have seen the change coming, champions are better prepared to harness the hidden opportunities that always accompany change.

Maximum success is built upon minigoals:
I just imagined myself holding up a full plate of rice and chicken, and with my mouth wide open, I try to empty the entire food into my mouth and down my gullet at one go. Even if my life depended on the food, attempting eating it at one go would definitely be the stupidest thing I ever did and might even get me raced into an ICU, and if per chance I accomplished the absurdity, I would have lost all of the fun and enjoyment. But it just occurred to me that this might be exactly what I do with some of my projects that fail almost as soon as they start. I try to rush success. This might explain why huge multinational corporations have simple one-sentence vision statement, and at best a one-page mission statement.

Total commitment – the entry fee for success:
Is there is any formula for success that cannot be substituted or allowed to dwindle? I’m not sure but my guess will be this one – total commitment. I once started a business with a friend who had this great idea with good prospects. It took me some time to understand the technical side of the business and when I did, I became excited just like him and we began meeting prospective clients and investors. Everyone we met thought we had a great idea and this was encouraging. The part we were ill prepared for was the fact that people were not going to willingly thrust their money in the hands of two young men with a novel idea that would require a great deal of capital for startup and maintenance but with little experience. After a few sales calls and presentations without any head start, we gradually began to chicken out. We began to spend less time talking of our business, we could no more find time to brainstorm on how to overcome the challenges we faced. Instead, we took to our regular jobs, which were the bread and butter we could see. Whenever I look back, I see so many areas where we lacked commitment starkly. We never went about the business like our life depended on it and so when came disappointments and challenges; we quickly opted for plan B – the easy way out. Total commitment must be there at every stage, right from the start, and through to the finish line. It sets the limits on many other factors – how long you are willing to prepare, how much time you are willing to pay, how much of comfort and even relationships you are willing to shed, all for the attainment of your goal.

Believing is seeing:
I think the act of envisioning success long before ever it becomes reality is one great edge that champions have over the cheering spectators. I love Maxwell Maltz elaborate teaching on this topic in the book Psychocybernetics 2000. Practicing the act of entering my ‘Theatre of Dreams’ has helped drop a habit I really had fought to overcome. I had to start visioning a new me that mirrored the person I wanted to become, which actually was me but without that old habit. Today I live without that old feeling of regret and disesteem that accompanied that old habit of mine. It wasn’t easy overcoming that habit especially at the earlier stage of practicing this principles but today, the price of the discipline I paid and still pay is far cheaper than the price of regret and the feeling of helplessness. The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors”, writes James Allen in his book As a man thinketh, “that which it loves and that which it fears.” Planting the right seeds, or painting the right picture for the soul ‘to secretly harbor’ must therefore be the goal of anyone who seeks to be a champion. Years ago, I watched a medical documentary that showed how doctors were achieving excellent results using Placebo drugs and even carrying out surgeries that were as good as farce. The remarkable recoveries recorded by the patients underscores the servo-mechanism-goal-seeking powers of the mind if only we can step aside with all of our negative emotions to allow the mind operate in that mode. “Anything is possible,” said the documentary narrator at the end “if we put our mind to it.”

Self-Worth and Self-Trust:
“Love your neighbor as thyself”, I believe this principle is one that cuts across many religions and faiths of different fundamental beliefs. You cannot claim you truly love your neighbor if you do not love yourself enough. Can a man share with his friend water from his empty well? I will say self-worth is feeling good and appreciate about oneself. When you feel good about yourself, people will feel good being around you. People, who are overly critical and conscious about themselves, tend to be overly critical about others, and that is no recipe for a healthy relationship. Self-worth does not mean denying our areas of weakness, it is acknowledging that we have weaknesses but loving ourselves notwithstanding. And this is where Self-trust comes in, we have to believe in our repertoire of God-giving talents and areas of strength, and also believe that our strengths far outweighs our weaknesses. I believe this two are major ingredients in achieving success, and they have to be cultivated and fostered everyday of our lives. Self-worth and Self-trust does not deny that we live in a tough world; it is to love and believing in ourselves in spite of the reality of the World around us. Our level of self-confidence and self-esteem is rooted in these two, and total accountability of maintaining how we feel about ourselves on the inside lies in our hands. To quote Mahatma Gandhi, “they cannot take away our self-respect unless we give it to them.” Self-trust does not mean deluding oneself to pursue goals without requisite training and practice. It is identifying areas where we fall short and working towards making necessary corrections. It is like the Leopard that stoops low to the ground, lurking noiselessly and sneaking behind the bushes towards the Deer it preys. It acknowledges its lack of stamina for a long wide chase but relies on its strength and power to overwhelm the Deer in a burst of surprise.

You are your own most important judge:
Like the saying goes, “it is he who wears the shoes that knows where exactly it pinches.” We can deceive everyone else but ourselves. The spectators only cheer or jeer at champions at the stadiums, but for the rest of the days we are our own spectators. How we cheer or jeer at ourselves in our daily practice, as we lay out goals to attain, and as we work with the rest of the team is what really counts.

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 now understand that setting out and achieving mini-goals is the simplest way to achieving the big goals I have. I plan to help provide education, food and an enabling environment for a great number of less privileged children of Africa in a large scale. At the moment, I am involved in doing small volunteer work in teaching secondary school students in an orphanage home. I believe if I work at it well enough to better the education of this children, then I would have moved a step towards the big goal.

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

‘At the world-class level in any field, it truly is mind over muscle, mind over competition, mind over everything.’ p.21 – Dennis Waitley

We all have a large reserve of strength, energy, creativity, and power hidden in the depths of our mind. However, we have to make the effort to access these hidden and innate reserves of our mind in a systematic and repetitive way and hence channel these extraordinary resources towards overcoming seemingly impossible challenges that confront us.

‘First and foremost, champions in every sport and in every industry are driven by a burning desire to succeed. Lee Iacocca called it “fire in the belly.” It is the internal force that drives you to peak performance.’ p.22 – Dennis Waitley

If we are passionate with any cause we embark upon, we are more inclined to persist a little more in the face of challenges than if we were dispirited or lukewarm.

“I needed someone pushing me, I needed some other girls around who were shooting for the same goal I was.” p.39 – Mary Lou Retton (Olympic champion)

As the saying goes, iron sharpens iron. We should surround ourselves with positive and success-minded individuals in our field of work and outside but who are hungry as or even hungrier for success than we are. That way we always get that mental and psychological push especially when our steam begins to burn out as well as leverage other people’s knowledge, experience, and mistakes in straightening our learning curve.

“Mistakes are painful when they happen… but years later a collection of mistakes is called experience.” p.46 – Ray Kroc

There’s no denying it, mistakes can be very painful and some very costly but the difference between a Ray Kroc and millions of other business men is not the absence of mistakes but the absence of perseverance, it is not the presence of failure but the presence of an unhealthy fear of failure.

“There is no question that thoughts give birth to action, for better or for worse.” p.61
-Dr. Bruce Ogilvie

The saying ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is’, complements the above quote and I believe it wholly. For it is our thoughts that give birth to our habits, and habits begets character, and character is like a computer program encoded into a chip, or like a compass that inclines all of our actions to our goals.

“Success in developing any skill requires a basic trust in your ability that should never be allowed to waver. True confidence doesn’t precede this trust, but is built upon it. p.67
– Scot Hamilton (Olympic gold medalist in figure skating)

I remember a quote I picked up from a movie by Robert Deniro, “if you love someone” he said, “you’ve got to trust them, or what’s the point loving.” In the same vain if we love ourselves enough to pursue and attain any cause we deem worthy, we must trust in ourselves and never stop trusting in the powers we already possess in our mind and in our capacity to break all of our past records and to acquire necessary trainings.

“You truly cannot separate your personal life from your professional life. You bring the same person to your place of business and home again. Integrity in nonsituational, and it is absolute.”p.76 – Dennis Waitley

Except we are starring in a movie or diagnosed suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder, then living a life of double standards will always get us into trouble with the law and with our fellow man. Integrity is not mere living by the law; it’s also keeping with the spirit of the law. It is treating oneself as well as others with high esteem and respect at all times.

“High expectations are the key to everything.” p.80 – Sam Walton

Without high expectations, man would never have landed on the moon; we would never have conquered even the immediate space above us with the invention of the airplane. Without high expectations, electricity would never have been born. Polio, small pox, malaria, and countless other diseases would have continued to ravage lives and economies of nations if it were not for the courage and persistence of men and women who demanded nothing of themselves but the very best.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of determination. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent, and unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” p.104 – President Calvin Coolidge

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. We cannot afford to substitute or relegate these two to the background in the pursuit of any worthy endeavor. Where other factors have been found wanting, these two have been known to defy just about anything – horrible weather; climatic changes; natural disasters; gravity; and even death, to produce outstanding victories.

“Bend with the wind and you’ll still be around when the hurricane passes and the good weather returns… the paradox of toughness is that what appears aggressive and hard is in fact easily broken. What appears soft and patient is really strong. p.118 – Earl Nightingale

This wisdom is profound. And I will have to reflect on it even more to determine its strength. However, if one considers the lives of men and women of ancient past whose names and philosophies has remained ageless and fresh as daylight, you’ll see they are mostly people who did not resort to force nor dictation but who relied on patience and toughness in purpose. Neither Jesus, nor the prophet Mohammed nor the great philosopher Gautama – founder of Buddism were renowned as great warriors. Yet their countless discipleship from centuries past has inspired the entire world to be a better place. On the contrary, the Hitlers, the Napoleons and all the great emperors of old Rome have all been consumed in the heat of their own fury. Though great men in every right, they have been blown apart and away together with their disciples and fellow dictators while in contest with the hurricane of nature.

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


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

I didn’t complete the exercise at the end of the book but I hope to do that at the right time.

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


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

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



Real Magic
Assessment by Obinna Ezeji (Nigeria)

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

Can I transcend above the seemingly insurmountable problems I face each day to achieve my most treasured goals in life? Who is my spirit self and how do I define living in that realm? Can I truly access the realm of unlimited potentials and perfect health? Which of my being precedes the other – the spirit or the physical? How do I discover my purpose on earth, and how can I add value to the world I live in? How can I relate at a genuine and unlimited level with God? These and some more are deep and very personal questions of mine, and this book has afforded me real insight to a large extent to answers I can better relate to.

This book pays attention to the part of us we almost always relegate to the background – our spirit being, and how this divine part of us controls every facet of our physical or material world. Real Magic, paradoxical and very ironic in its meaning, giving that Dr Dyer describes ‘REAL’ as spiritual, and ‘MAGIC’ as physical manifestation of our spiritual consciousness. For most people Real is the gas bill they cannot afford to pay; Real is consciously choosing to see a quack when ill since they cannot afford to pay the doctors charges; it is living a dubious, selfish, and unscrupulous lifestyle in order to ‘survive’. Not so for Dr. Dyer. On the contrary, Real for him is living a life that is in consonance with our spiritual need to gratify a higher calling, to transcend the trivial and petty worries of our physical world, and to pursue a purpose that enlightens not only ourselves but that betters lives others in material ways.

From the author’s standpoint, what the world call reality is simply a charade for it is projected from a limiting and myopic instrument called the human eyes, and supported by the other four senses. The real humanity made in God’s likeness and that which radiates the infinite intelligence at work in God’s creation is a spirit being equipped with a mind of unlimited potentials and boundless ability. When guided on purpose, the spirit being transcends all the weaknesses of the physical man, and radiates its boundless vision and unlimited powers in our material world in ways we are at great loss to describe, than to simply call …magic.

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. Being a student
2. Living a life of purpose
3. the origin of every action -Thought
4. Meditation
5. Be a no-limit person
6. ‘Something out of nothing’ phenomenon
7. Focus on purpose not outcome

Being a student.
It all begins with curiosity, an insatiable quest to discover, a tap at the outer shell, a persistent scratch and nudge on the surface, and then… at some point, we inflict crack, and soon what lies beneath becomes exposed …summarizing the metamorphoses of great inventions. But at the beginning, all there was was curiosity, an inward and unflinching desire to know. If we remain keen with interest, our desire to know turns into a flame, and in the passion to discover, a burning flame ensues -purging answers out of stiff challenges, refueling our zeal to know more. “If anyone of you desires to come into my kingdom,” to quote Christ, “he must learn from these little children.” Growth comes from having room for new inputs. ‘When you are green you grow’. Great scientists started out early on with the habit of asking lots of questions as kids and what eventually distinguished them was they never relinquished that habit even in their adult lives. ‘When you are ripe you rot.’

Living a life of purpose.
I doubt there’s anyone who does not agree that without purpose life is a meaningless rat-race around a maze. In its absence, the spirit is relegated to the background, and like a sleeping giant its unlimited potentials lays dormant and untapped, buried in a heap of urgent rubbishes that come with each passing minute of the day. I believe one of my purposes is to provide material assistance to motherless children and orphans. Recently I talked to some friends about us visiting some orphanage homes with gift items. I had done this a few times in the past but not in the scale I currently planned, and I found it little hard to bring it up with my friends since I regarded them as ‘sophisticated’. But to my surprise, they immediately bought into the idea and not only contributed their time and money, but suggested we plan such outings more often. I believe living a life of purpose will bring the world to your aid in ways we least expect.

The origin of every action–thought
A few moments ago, while walking past a dark lawn I saw a figure curled up in the dark grasses and hooded by the shadows of the night. And I thought to myself -that could be a snake, and if its one, then I have got to alert people around so no one gets hurt. I immediately got the attention of the first passer-by, he walks back with me and after a good look, “no that should be some wood or branch from the trees” he said, and walks away. Nonetheless my thinking remains the same and so I go a step further to get the security guards, urging them to bring along a touch light which they owned up not having. I take one of the men back to the same spot, he stands from a distance like I to survey. Not trusting his vision he throws a stone at the ‘snake’, and then another stone, while I stand slightly behind prepared for the dash down the road at the slightest move. At last we agree its nothing hideous or to worry about and we walk back our separate ways, feeling a bit embarrassed at my mock show, I nevertheless felt pleased to had satisfied my curiosity. But none of these would have happened if it were not for my… thought -hey take a look at that, no I mean a good look…wow! No it can’t be that big, why not you get someone else to look. Ok. Maybe his wrong, who can better fight this than the men in uniform? fetch them! If it jumps at us, that direction is my best bet. Hey, that’s dangerous. Be ready to run! You might have to rush the other man to the hospital later… In about 3 minutes with the help of others, I had already acted out most of the parts, thank God except from the running and hospital part. But that is the power of our thoughts; it jumps out from a place called nothing. If we let it pass, it will disappear into the air like a thin smoke. If we harbor it, it turns into something real and tangible, like the stain of soot we can see and feel from a dense smoke confined in a room.

I liked the author’s extensive focus on meditation and wished he had elaborated even further. If its so important to us that we take the extra effort not to lose touch with the outside, or even fear to be seen as having lost touch, then I wonder how much more we should guard against losing touch with the core of our being. I believe meditation is the like the light unto our feet that guides us in the path of living our purpose on earth. Without the light, we would roam in the dark scuffling around and getting entangled with objects not necessarily on our path. Meditation empties our heart of those nagging worries and trifling issues that litter all around us obstructing our path of motion, and clogging our creative abilities. “All man’s miseries derives from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone” to quote French scientist Blaise Paschal. If there’s one take home from this book, it’s for me to learn to meditate, and to make conscious effort to practice it everyday, and in those moments when all ideas seem exhausted.

Be a no-limit person
Living our lives from inside out, with our spirit being on the wheel while our physical being follows I believe is the only true way we adopt this mentality. I must believe that first I am a spirit being created by the Almighty God, and that His infinite intelligence and immeasurable love flows through my entire being. I must believe that my spirit being exist in a dimension where there are no boundaries and it has the potential to affect my material world, pushing away all boundaries in the physical world, and defying even the laws of gravity. I have seen miracles happen and I believe the origin of their manifestation is in that part of us that refuses to submit to the countless impossible warnings all around us, that part that vigorously challenges doubt with reason; that fights off unbelief with grit faith; and that responds to cynicism and discouragement with the age-old creed: yes I can!

‘Something out nothing’ phenomenon
I never heard of this before and I guess it’s because it is such a simple truth not to ignore. Everything, if we are willing to sit down and analyze to the very least detail, really comes from nothing. What this means to me is that, I should not discount the baby strides I am taking towards accomplishing any project. In very challenging times during the course of any task, I should learn to remind myself that everything I see that is worthy of my admiration came from the same place as mine …nothing. With this knowing, I should learn to see challenges as part of the refining phases in my quest to achieving a goal and not as a show stopper.

Focus on purpose not outcome
This learning is also very critical to me, for I see a connection between a focus on outcome and doubt and dillydallying around things. When we focus on outcome, then we leave little or no allowance for the usual glitches, and momentary failure that accompany success, and hence leave our focus exposed to corrosion from doubt. This has been my undoing so many times in the past, I get too focused on the current outcome that I eventually lose the big picture and derail from the ultimate prize. Now I’m relearning to keep my mark focused on purpose, and see outcomes for what they are -a guide, or just another learning opportunity but definitely not the end.

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 lessons are already helping me, I better recognize who the real me is my spirit, and seek out opportunities to be in consonance with me. In living in harmony with my spirit, I feel more energized both mentally and physically throughout the day. I better understand why and how the spirit being can affect our material world and can count scores of individuals whose lives attest to this truth. I am currently planning another fund raiser with the help of friends for the orphanage, and though I cannot say this is as a direct impact from reading this book, I can better relate it to my 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.

“Be a student. Stay open and willing to learn from everyone and anyone… When you are green you grow, when you are ripe you rot.” p.18

I believe to be open to learning in every circumstance is to stay adapted to our ever changing world. We’ll remain fresh and in touch with the trends and by so doing keep ourselves immune to the winds of change.

“People who believe only what they can see or prove scientifically are limited by the current level of sophistication of our measuring devices.” p.25

All great inventions or theories are born out of the ability to think deeper than the current level of accepted thinking or beyond the status quo. It all starts with believing, believing our thoughts unwaveringly. That is the fetus of all that we see in the physical.

“Remember, all that you fight weakens you, all that you support empowers you.” p.69

The mind is very potent when it is focused on a purpose it seeks to achieve not when it’s torn between conflicting issues.

“The mystic does more than quote scriptures, he not only says ‘seek ye first the kingdom of God,’ his whole life is absorbed in that seeking.” —Hazrat Inayat Khan p.72

The world pays more attention and respect to the doers rather than the talkers. All the great spiritual leaders whose doctrines has transcended centuries and generations were all doers, likewise are political heads whose names and principles have endured decades. But our actions are not independent of our thoughts; they only reveal what we are inside.

“For you, the belief in any limitation, and I emphasize any, is a strike against you in your desire to experience real magic.” p.81

While I will confess that this saying is not so easy to exercise, I totally agree and will endeavor to adopt it’s profound wisdom as a way of life. When we see limitations around us, we have elected to see and live in the confines of our physical phase, inhibiting the boundless capacity of our thoughts and the Infinite Intelligence that flows through our spirit.

“If you want to become acquainted with real magic, fear and doubt as your primary method of learning must be replaced with trust and a strong reliance on internal knowing.” p.89

My 10-month-old niece knows that she has the ability to walk on her two legs like every other human she sees around her. Armed with that knowing and an unwavering trust on her feeble limbs, she is willing to risk countless falls and momentary pains to learn and experience the magic of walking. This exhibits the power God has put in every one of us which as adults we come to doubt for reasons bordering around fear of the challenges we meet in our physical world, while ignoring the unlimited potentials of our spirit being.

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 have only read this book once and hope to read it over and over again, but so far I cannot find an idea 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?

No exercises to complete except for some rhetoric for me to reflect upon

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


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

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 8
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9

The Winning Attitude
Assessment done by Obinna Ezeji (Nigeria)

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

All great inventions always have a way of mimicking nature, for nature indeed is awesome! Until I read this book, I never knew there was such a device called the attitude indicator located in the instrument panel of an airplane. So, if the performance of an airplane is dependent on its attitude, how much more is this true for us humans in the course of our daily ‘flights’?
The author defines attitude as an inward feeling expressed by behavior. Our behavior therefore is an outward reflection of our inner person, meaning… a person with a winning attitude will often exhibit winning behaviors even when faced with dire challenges.

This book is about winning, winning not as a random occurrence experienced in the heat of the moment, but as an attitude; an impulse ingrained into our habits, helping us adjust our performance in changing circumstances to deliver superior results over a longer period -even a lifetime.

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. Change in attitude changes performance. p.14
2. Attitude can be contagious. p.21
3. The Golden Rule: “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them.” p.29
4. 87.5% people knowledge + 12.5% product knowledge = Success. p.31
5. What really matters is what happens in us, not to us! p.90
6. Try to make major decisions before the storm. p.92
7. Failure is a necessary step to success. p.98

Change in attitude changes performance:
I agree with this idea that attitude determines excellent or below par performance. It’s quite simple, when our attitude is so-so, we can hardly summon the required effort and enthusiasm to accomplish big task, in fact a negative attitude undermines our belief in our strength and our capabilities. What I have experienced personally is that when my attitude towards life is bright and positive, I accomplish things I never knew I could achieve, and even when I fail, my response will be to try again, and again, and again….at last, more often than not, it becomes a win! I think the primary ingredient in attitude is the element of belief -a belief in oneself; a belief in all of nature and its ingenious design to support us (when we operate within the laws of its design); a belief in change and our adaptive abilities as humans; and ultimately, a belief in the loving and infinite powers of God. If our mindset or conditioning to any of these beliefs is positive, it inspires some amount of inner energy in us that is evident in our outward performance. Our performance will hence be affected in aggregate scale by the number of positive beliefs and the consequent positive energies we generate internally. On the reverse, our performance will be hampered by the weak or negative energy we produce as a result of negative and self sabotaging beliefs.

Attitude can be contagious
I still remember very much the face and smile of my Primary 1 class teacher when I was only 6 years old. Frankly I don’t remember her as having thought me better than the other teachers that I passed through up the road, but I remember her smile, her warmth, and ever-welcoming spirit. She happens to be the only teacher that didn’t judge me a ‘very stubborn’ boy. As a little boy, I simply never doubted her faith in me, little wonder my best result in all my regular educational life was my result in Primary one. Lately I was very lucky to have a boss with a very positive attitude towards life. He exuded confidence, enthusiasm, respect for others, and integrity in all of his dealings at work and at home. It’s invaluable the technical and inter-personal skills I learnt from him for the about 1.5 years I worked with him. Working with him had such tremendous impact in my confidence and competence at work that I expressed interest and was giving the opportunity to facilitate a company meeting of the entire department. While everyone kept on happing about my excellent facilitation, inside I knew it was the influence of my former boss that inspired my performance.

The Golden Rule
‘Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them.’
Whenever I read these words, I always take some time to re-read it and try to internalize it. This to me is one of the most powerful messages of Jesus; the simplest, and yet the most difficult to keep. The Golden rule to me is the true definition of the word Love. What I have found out personally is, when I practice it in my relationship with others, I’m happy. I believe that what makes it difficult to practice is the element of patience. Without patience, you cannot reap the positive rewards of keeping with this rule. I say ‘positive rewards’ because yes, there are negative ones, and in my opinion, we actually practice the Golden rule everyday. In all our dealings with people, we’re either treating them nicely, poorly, indifferently, etc… When we apply it wrongly on others, we get an almost instant result; the same result a farmer will get when he plants a bad seed or a good seed on bad soil. When we apply it rightly and patiently, we can expect to reap its rewards like the farmer with a bounty harvest over a period.

87.5% people knowledge + 12.5% product knowledge = Success
I may not totally agree with the numbers, but I totally agree with the fact that people knowledge is of greater value, and it’s payout, to a large extent outstrips product knowledge. However, I think you cannot reap rewards of great value if you adopt one of this knowledge independent of the other. I’m imagining where we would be today if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs had no people skills, or worse still if they had no product knowledge… of course, there might have been others who had as much interest and even more knowledge in computers than they had at the start of their respective careers. Absolutely, success is a mixture of these two knowledge, but where dividends from product knowledge is geometric; that of people knowledge is compounded -growing at multi-levels and taking advantage of vast and diverse human resources and energy.

What really matters is what happens in us, not to us!
From within springs forth our responses to the issues of life. We have very little influence on what happens to us at the very instance of its occurrence. I say very little influence because I think we could have more influence, but our influence reduces with time. We probably had considerable influence… weeks, months; or even years ago before the issue -as it were- rears its face in the present. However, at any given moment, our response or reaction to what cards life deals us is very critical and decisive in determining future events. And I believe our response and reactions is inextricably linked to our attitude. We all have heard of people with critical physical handicap, and how some of them have chosen to live lives that defy their physical limitations to become successful. In the book Psychocybernetics 2000, the author likens the human mind to the workings of an automatic servomechanism, which when rightly programmed operates with little error in reaching its target. In the same way, I believe our internal programming guides our reaction to what happens to and around us without losing focus on the target. To mark the last Children’s day (May 27) in my country Nigeria, I decided to raise funds for two Orphanages. I solicited the help of two friends and together we went out meeting people to support our cause. As good as the project sounded, I was surprised at the cynicism of a few people I met, and some were quite vocal with their negative comments. Ignoring the negative sides, I continued for 3 days with the fund raising, ant at the end it was very worth all the effort. While we didn’t reach the target sum, we raised more than 80% of the planned sum, and even got my company management promising to match the fund in future.

Try to make major decisions before the storm
This an entirely new theory to me, and one I truly appreciate. Decisions made during the storm are usually rash and understandably so, how do we expect to think clearly with all the adrenaline flowing through our system. For me, truth is, I usually end up regretting the big decisions I’ve made during the storm, and now I better understand the reason why. We rarely have the composure and confidence in ourselves to make big decisions during a storm, let alone the vision to see past our current state.

Failure is a necessary step to success
I agree with the above saying 100%, and I hope never to lose my belief in this saying. I think for one to be successful, one must desire success at the cost of failure. The fear of failure will almost certainly keep us safe from the experience of 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?

I’m encouraged by the lessons from this book on the need to safeguard my positive attitude towards life. There’s just no benefit in worrying and being negative about life. By staying positive, I’m more open to the concept of a constantly changing 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.

“A hardened attitude is a dreaded disease. It causes a closed mind and a dark future. When the attitude is positive and conducive to growth, the mind expands and the progress begins.” p.24 Just as we can only see clearly in light, and walk around with little visual difficulty during the day, the same way a positive attitude like a light will brighten our behaviors, character, and even habits. We will indeed see more clearly in a spiritual sense of the word and be capable of making decisions through a thought process that is unencumbered with constant rivalry and inner conflict.

“Our attitude is the primary force that will determine whether we succeed or fail.” p.26
I believe there is a great measure of truth in the above statement. I think our deepest beliefs are a product of our attitude, and hence if our attitude towards success is negative, our belief will be consistently negative and our actions will always be self-sabotaging.

“Adopting a good, healthy attitude toward life does not affect society nearly so much as it affects us. The change cannot come from others. It must come from us.” p.27
Yes, the change must truly come from us. I think this saying is true in whatever circumstance we choose to apply it, but without a conscious effort with such consistency that develops into a habit, we’ll find ourselves constantly pointing fingers to every other person but us. Apportioning blames never got anything done on the longer run other than brew bad blood and tear apart relationships. True and lasting change must come from within and when eventually it radiates outwards, people will see the change, admire it, and feel comfortable to identify with it.

“It is impossible for us to tailor-make all situations to fit our lives perfectly. But it is possible to tailor-make our attitudes to fit.” p.28 In life there will always be day and night; dry season and the rains; planting season and a time to harvest; economic boom and recession; while most of life’s rhythm and seasons are beyond our influence, we are reserved the right to choose how we respond to all of the stimulus around us, and seasons we encounter.

“Usually the person who rises within an organization has a good attitude. The promotions did not give that individual an outstanding attitude, but an outstanding attitude resulted in promotions.” p,32

“All my country has is spirit. We don’t have petroleum dollars. We don’t have mines or great wealth in the ground. We don’t have the support of a worldwide public opinion that looks favorably on us. All Israel has is the spirit of its people. And if the people lose their spirit, even the United States of America cannot save us.”p.34 -Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
True strength and fortitude comes from within, not without. If we lacked the inner mental strength, the help from without will be of little use, and in fact, we will unable to attract the outside help in the first place. As the author further emphasized,: Resources – Right Attitude = Defeat. Right Attitudes – Resources = Victory.

“Life can be likened to a grindstone. Whether it grinds you down or polishes you depends upon what you are made of.” p.39 If we see our daily challenges in life from this perspective, we will dwell less on recounting the difficulties and rather concentrate on the growth and learning achieved along the way.

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?

Not really, while I do not totally agree with the author narrowing some of his concepts to a Christian community, I think the central theme of his message is basically circular.

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


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


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

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



Keys To Success
Assessment by Obinna Ezeji (Nigeria)

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

This book describes the seventeen success principles thoroughly researched over the course of a life’s work by the author. And at the heart of these seventeen principles is one rooted as a foundation upon which the other sixteen principles will thrive and flourish, and without which we cannot “get maximum benefit out of the other sixteen principles”- this principle is dubbed: Positive Mental Attitude PMA.

PMA is the cohesive force that binds all the seventeen principles and gives one the courage to dare to dream again after one has experienced failure.

While achieving our simple fantasies to grease our vanities has its place, success as implied in this book starts with finding ones definite major purpose and achieving this purpose with sound principles that preserves harmony and balance between the unlimited powers of our minds and the eternal laws of the universe.

Sustained and lasting success is one in which the means and the end is inseparable. For at the end is the creation of a value that improves the lives of other human beings, while utilizing the means made available to every human by the Infinite Intelligence –God.

Taking into consideration the changing world we live in, the author rightly admonishes that we stay flexible and open to new knowledge even at the height of success, for in doing so we attune our minds to seek out the extra value to add and to go the extra mile in doing so. That way we cultivate a success mindset that is sustainable in all seasons.

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.

Building a Positive Mental Attitude:

I have experienced the benefit of living this mindset in very practical ways. I have also experienced the self-sabotaging effect of being negative about life. When I lost my mum at the age of sixteen, the only thought I harbored for a very long time was how unfair life was to me, and I used to wish I took my mum’s place in death. I cannot write in details how detrimental this thought was to me; my academics and my relationships. Today I’m positive not only about that incident but about life in general, and the benefit from PMA is simply exciting!

Use Applied Faith:

Applied faith to me means faith that is active not passive and it should be practiced in every area of our lives. Without faith in ourselves, our vision of our definite purpose will immediately falter when faced with opposition of momentary failure. Without faith in people, we cannot create the atmosphere that engenders harmonious team work. Without faith in God, and in his creation of a perfect and friendly universe, we’ll waste our energy fighting our best friend -the universe.

Go the Extra Mile:

History books are dotted with stories of men and women who achieved great success only because they carried on asking questions and seeking for the extra value to add when all of their contemporaries had given up on the given endeavor. Thomas Edison is an epitome of one who lived by this principle. Some of his inventions actually originated in the labs of other inventors, but when they gave up on their works, he was there armed with perseverance and commitment to seeking out the extra value to add, to bring such works into fruition.

Control you Attention:

I personally agree that a great part of our ability to solve any problems in life lies in staying focused on the searching for the answers with unwavering attention. Controlling ones attention towards attaining his definite purpose saves him the energy that would have been lost from entertaining fear, or the discouraging voices of others.

Inspire Team Work:

TEAM –Together Everyone Achieves More –an acronym for team that I like. When we work in a complementary team, that is one in which a member’s weakness is complemented by the strength of others, we achieve results a lot faster and in geometrical scale.

Cultivate Creative Vision:

This simply means to visualize our definite purpose in our mind so strongly that creating our vision almost seems effortless. I’ve practiced this principle in my life and it makes everything about life seem like a miracle. I once had to make presentation to my department with several Managers in attendance. Before then I had no prior major presentation experience and was advised not to take the “complex subject” by the ‘experts’. Weeks before the presentation I visualized several times a day the end I wanted to experience. I kept visualizing that I received a standing ovation and that participants would gain valuable knowledge from my presentation. At the end that was exactly what I got. Long after that day, I still had people stop me to express their appreciation for the knowledge they had gained from that session.

Learn from Adversity and Defeat:

The underlying word here is to learn. This should be the only way to view or rationalize adversity –a learning process that brings us closer to our definite purpose but through different route.

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’m encouraged to remain positive in outlook to life. The lessons I’ve learnt reinforces my belief in a PMA and to always remember that I have control over my thoughts, and this responsibility is what creates my external world. I have also learned the need to always have a definite purpose, for we can better focus our thoughts and mind only when there’s a purpose; a burning desire to achieve. To create a better world, I’d have to cultivate and imbibe the habit of going the extra-mile in everything I do, and to keep asking the question: what extra value can I add? I very much liked the part that talked about planning. I’ll make efforts to adopt such systematic planning as taught in this book, it just makes sense to me.

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.

“…but possessing faith in yourself and in the fact that the universe is constructed to allow you to achieve your greatest potential will help you—starting from now.” _p.5

It’s obvious that God has designed the universe in a manner that is friendly and totally supportive of us humans. The water cycle, the law of gravity, photosynthesis, even our designs as bipedal and highly intellectual beings all goes to prove that the great creator has us humans at the heart of his considerations when creating the universe. It’s totally absurd and self deprecating to think otherwise.

“The subconscious mind can be compared with a car, while the conscious mind can be considered the driver. The power is in the car, not the driver. The driver must learn to release and direct that power.”_p.7

This I believe I one of the profound attributes that distinguishes us from other animals. We have the power to create our future at a conscious and subconscious level, and history books are filled with testaments of individuals who utilized this power to add great value to our world –sometimes against great odds stacked against them. This quote is one of the simplest illustrations relating the conscious and subconscious mind, and when we as humans take control of the wheels with a clear picture of where we’re headed, and with the discipline and patience to hold this picture though thick and thin, then there’s no other option left for the car than to drive us to our target destination.

“No single mind is complete; no one person can answer every question. But two or more minds, united behind a definite major purpose and working in harmony to achieve it, will accomplish great things.”_p.10

This simply underscores the geometrical scale to which you achieve results when working in a team, or a mastermind alliance. The Christian bible puts it this way –“one shall chase one thousand, while two shall chase ten thousand” –we can get at least ten times leverage working in a complementary team than we can ever achieve going solo. Ten times! That is a lot of savings in energy; time; money; etc, and a surer way to accomplishing our definite major purpose.

“A person’s salary is determined by the sort of service he or she renders—the quantity and quality of that service, plus the mental attitude under which it is rendered.”_p.11

I agree with this quote, and even at times when it seems like some individual are too lucky than they really deserve, if we closely observed their lives without the bias that goes with envy, we might come to a conclusion that had duly earned their dues. The laws of nature has its way of correcting any anomalies over time –it’s certainly not for us to cast aspersions on others but to commit to producing only the best quality and quantity of service and value in our work. I must learn to cultivate this principle and to put first things first –best quality and quantity of service or value comes first, an increase in my compensation follows after.

“Successful people reach decisions definitely and quickly,…Prompt decision making is a habit, and it is supported by your positive mental attitude, which gives you confidence.”_p.29

Dillydallying over decisions and actions to be taken only fosters procrastination and the stress that will obviously accompany a heap of key decisions to be made after you eventually have run out of time.

“ A final word: If you make your prayers an expression of gratitude and thanksgiving for the blessings you already have, instead of requests for things you do not have, you will obtain results much faster.”_p.51

How often most of us forget the good and beauty around us and focus all our attention on the things we do not have. Discounting our strengths while amplifying our weakness does nothing than erode what little strength we already have. I think a heart of filed with gratitude fuels our energy to give more of ourselves in whatever work we’re engaged, and we’re more likely to appreciate and relate better with people around us.

“Faith exists only so long as it is used. You cannot develop muscles by not using them; you cannot increase your capital by not invest it. Persistent action backed by definiteness of purpose will pump up your faith.”_p.58

And I believe that the faith referred here transcends the one preached in different religions. Faith as described here is at a very personal level, a faith in oneself; in our ability to achieve whatever we set out to achieve; a faith in other people, and in the harmony of a team headed towards achieving a goal; and above all a faith in the Infinite Intelligence whose perfect and harmonious design we can only question with a sense of awe and openness to learn. This kind of faith is not passive, but an active force –the type at the heart of all great inventions, breathing life into things once called impossible!

“Remember, you are what you are and where you are because of the dominating thoughts in your mind. Procrastination in dealing with these thoughts only sentences you to further limitation and frustration.”_p.61

To support this quote with another from the bible –“as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” Our thoughts are all we have control over. I guess this is probably the reason why sometimes when we try to control the situation we see around us, we tend to end up worrying, stressed out and frustrated. Worrying never solved any problems, however when we see the problem as one with a solution, and as a seed with opportunity and benefit to be harnessed, and when we patiently and tenaciously decide to learn all there is to learn about the problem, tapping deep into our knowledge and those of others, then we have shifted our thoughts and eventually stand a good chance of shifting our physical world.

“You’ve probably heard something like the old saying “success attracts more success while failure attracts more failure.”_p.87

And since the success we see is only a manifestation of the thoughts we have held strongly in our minds, we can reverse a failure trend by replacing the prevalent thoughts of failure running through our minds.

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


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


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


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

A. How interesting was it to read? 7
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 8
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9



The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People
Assessment by Obinna Ezeji (Nigeria)

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

Following the authors distinction between the Personality Ethic and the Character Ethic, this book goes on to highlight Universal principles that support the Character Ethic and how a person’s choice of living this principles is of greater benefit on the long term than living guided by the Character Ethic. The author takes a holistic approach in teaching how to live and organize one’s life in congruence with principles that are correct, timeless, and universal. It takes into cognizance the basic fact that we live in an inter-dependent World, one where we’ll be required to communicate with people, build relationships, negotiate deals, protect personal and collective interest, severe ties, love, and care for ourselves and others, and if we must achieve success on a long term, then we must choose to be internally guided by a moral compass that is aligned with principles that govern the Universe. The Character Ethic focuses on behaviors such as integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule.

In contrast, the author perceives the life centered on the personality ethic as one embellished with superficial quick-fixes, and attempting to solve relationship and behavioral issues on the short term while lacking the tough moral center and principles required to succeed on a longer run in a World of inter-dependent realities.

In developing effective habits and principles, the author is wise to point out that at the center of every growth, there is a principle known as the principle of process. We must acknowledge and accommodate the time required to attain growth in any endeavor in life. In about the same way a child by nature learns to turn over, sit up, crawl, walk, and run, we as grown-ups must understand that this Universal process exist in every areas of our lives, and we must try to inculcate within us the patience, and openness of mind required to develop new habits and to break new frontiers of knowledge in the process of growing.

For the purpose of this book the author defines “Habits” as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire. Where knowledge represents the theoretical paradigm of the what to do and why. Skill is the how to do. And desire is the motivation, the want to do. To make something a habit, all three must be present.

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.

• Habit 1 –Be Proactive
• Habit 2 –Begin with the end in mind
• Habit 3 –Put first things first
• Habit 4 –Think Win/Win
• Habit 5 –Seek first to understand and then be understood
• Habit 6 –Synergize
• Habit 7 –Sharpen the Saw

Be Proactive
This is taking the initiative to act. I believe succeeding in any worthwhile goal involves actively acquiring the requisite skills and knowledge, as well as building the necessary partnerships, and in general, making the necessary positive adjustments aimed at achieving the set goal. To paraphrase the author –being proactive means more than merely taking initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. We can make our behaviors dependent on our decisions and not on our conditions. “We have the initiative and responsibility to make things happen.”

As the author put it –‘act or be acted upon’. When I choose not to act right in eating healthy diet complemented with exercise, I notice not only that my weight increases, but that my level of energy and excitement decreases. The same applies when I procrastinate with my responsibility at work, eventually the urgency to deliver results increases along with stress and then the pressing condition takes control of my actions.

Begin with the end in mind
To begin with the end in mind in any endeavor is to frame the vision of success in achieving that endeavor in our mind. It means to know in my mind where it is I’m headed or what it is that I want, and then set out in my journey of discovering it taking into account where I am in that journey today. As explained by the author, habit 2 can be applied in different circumstances and levels of life, but its most fundamental and holistic application is to begin today with the image, or picture, or paradigm of the end of your life as your frame of reference or criterion by which everything else is examined.

At a personal level I can identify with the application and relevance of this habit. An experience I’ll love to share happened very recently. It had to do with a very challenging assignment my team at work had to accomplish, and we were being pressed by our leadership to complete this assignment at very limited time. Everyone in my team especially our boss agreed that the expectation and work demanded of us was arduous, and as a group we kept reeling out all the reasons why it wasn’t going to be possible to accomplish this task. We were at the verge of making a decision to go back to our leadership to explain why we needed more time and to negotiate another route in solving the problem –one which was going to be simpler but less efficient and of lower quality than was demanded of us –and then I dared to muster some courage from within and volunteered to have a go at it the way we all knew in our hearts was superior. Two days later I put together an action plan, and working along with a committed team we all agreed to give-up our entire weekend for the task. To help me I engaged my skills of visualization, and I kept envisioning an end where we completed the assignment ahead of time, and an end where I was formally recognized for having met and exceeded the expectations of our departments leadership. Even before we began carrying out the job, I held a strong vision of this end in my mind. At the end, what I envisioned was exactly what I got, and even more –given that my recommendation to my supervisor to honor a member of the team with the same award I received was honored.

Put first things first
Where habit 2 is the mental creation –the ability to envision and create with our minds, habit 3 –Put first things first –is the second creation. The practical real-life day-to-day actions we take towards the attainment of our dreams and purpose in life. This habit entails the exercise of independent will, perseverance, grit in living our lives in congruence with principle-based values in spite of challenges that lie ahead of us. It is effective management of oneself. I find this habit very important on a personal level, and quite frankly I also find it challenging and cumbersome to manage and organize my life exactly the way I want it to be. A lot of times I find myself plan and prioritize task only to later get caught up in the middle of less important but urgent task, and then later find an excuse to delay the task of higher priority. I agree with the author in his statement that the essence of the best thinking in the area of time management can be captured in a single phrase: Organize and execute around priorities. Using the Time Management Matrix described in this book, I’ve come to understand that the high value activities are grouped in the Important/Not Urgent quadrant 2. And if I fail to perform these activities while they still sit in quadrant 2, then they progress to quadrant 1 –the Important/Urgent –by which time events begin to act upon me rather than me taking action. The goal is to spend quality time on the important activities that will present us with the opportunity to make unique contribution towards achieving our ultimate career and personal goals, than to spend our time fighting the urgent fires that drains our energy and diverts our attention from our true purpose. E.g. completing this book and taking time to write this assessment is an activity I’d place in the Important/Not Urgent quadrant. Why? Because of the invaluable learning experience I’m exposed to –personal management and leadership skills aside, I’m cultivating skills in writing and communication. However, activities in this quadrant are the ones we are most prone to procrastinate about, and understandably so giving the greater level of planning and discipline they require compared to executing activities in the other quadrants. But since the payout in executing activities in quadrant 2 surpasses those of the other quadrants, I’ll stick with the author’s advice to –organize and execute around priorities.

Think Win/Win
This idea of making Win/Win a habit is so important to me because I agree it is in harmony with the fundamental principles of the Universe. Imagine if the Sun tried to win at the expense of the Moon or that the Earth, the Land and the Sea were in conquest to annihilate one another other…corporation and diversity is a principle I see at work at the centre of God’s design of the Universe. Everyone of us humans have got his or her unique contribution in making the World a better place, and corporation in the mist of diversity –in culture, race, personality, religion, belief, etc –is the frame of mind that is in harmony with the Universe. As defined by the author, think Win/Win is a frame of mind that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. It is not your way or my way, but a belief in the third alternative –a better way, a higher way.

As rightly pointed out in this book, Win/Win is not a weakness. It does not mean a lack of strength or courage in our interactions or negotiations with others, -that is Lose/Win. On the contrary you’ll have to be courageous, emotionally strong, confident, considerate and sensitive to live this habit.

Integrity, Maturity, and Abundance Mentality are three character traits listed as essential to the Win/Win paradigm. These characters have to be deeply ingrained in us for us to successfully live the habit of Win/Win.

Seek first to understand and then to be understood
To have a successful relationship at work, at home, or anywhere else I believe I must inculcate and practice this habit. This habit I believe is at the heart of the habits of inter-dependence –habits 4, 5, and 6. When we first seek to understand, we’re acknowledging the individuality of the other person, and opening ourselves up to see from a different and possibly better perspective. Since we spend most of waking hours communicating, communication is the most important skill we can develop in our lives, and one which is –as the author puts it –absolutely critical to our effectiveness. I had an experience of failed communication very recently. It had to do with a plumber a repair on my bathtub. The plumber had two alternatives to fixing the problem –one which I understood and preferred, and the other which I didn’t understand and didn’t care to but which happened to be the plumbers preference. It turned out at the end –and after he had completed the repairs my way, and after I had rid myself of stubbornness and come around to understand his concept, –that his option would have turned out a lot better than the one I chose. If had probed well enough to gain understanding it would benefitted me more than being understood. The author rightly points out the fact that listening is a medium of communication for which we have very little training. While we’re trained to read, write, and speak, our conventional schooling is equipped with little or no material for teaching listening skills. And that is why I find this book very helpful in distilling knowledge of the skill of listening –for how can we truly influence understanding in the other person when we haven’t understood?

No man is an island alone by itself, we’re all put together in this World with all our unique differences and diverse background to interact and comingle for the collective good of the whole. As defined in this book, Synergy -“…means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself. It is not only a part, but the most catalytic, the most empowering, the most unifying, and the most exciting part.”

Synergy goes beyond the realms of friendship, to value and respect the differences in others –to compensate for weaknesses, and to build on the strengths.

I believe the whole Universe is a synergistic whirlpool. Everyone, everything, every process has its place in making the Universe a complete entity. Imagine what will happen to us humans if we decided to remove –in a universal scale –all the greenery and bushes around us to make space for ‘other more important things’… wouldn’t it be suicidal? In doing that we would have altered an age-long process of Photosynthesis –without which the earth will be starved of a fundamental element that supports our very existence –Oxygen.

Sharpen the saw
The process of renewal is basic principle of life. The Oceans replenishes itself through its tributaries. Our atmosphere is designed to cleanup free negative electrical charges, and toxic greenhouse gases, leaving it neutral and balanced. Even we humans shed all the old cells in our body, completely rejuvenated to start another cycle another cycle of cell renewal.

I want to liken this process to what happens in a four-cylinder engine car when one or more of the spark-plugs go bad inhibiting the engine from firing on all four cylinders. A ride on such a car would be jerky, and you’d expend more fuel and energy than normal to get around. Sharpening the saw is that renewal process of cleaning and maintaining our spark-plugs ensuring that we’re efficiently firing on all four – the Physical; the Spiritual; the Mental; and the Social/Emotional cylinders that makeup the engine of our life.

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?

Firstly, the ideas in this book has increased my awareness and consciousness of the need to cultivate habits that are in congruence with Universal principles.

Secondly, I’m honing my listening skills guided by the teachings in this book. And thirdly, in the area of personal management, I’m more attuned and learning to practice the concept of ‘organizing and managing around priorities’.

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.

“But secondary traits alone have no permanent worth in long-term relationships. Eventually if there isn’t deep integrity and fundamental character strength, the challenges of life will cause true motives to surface and human relationship failure will replace short-term success.” p.22.

It is the core of who we really are that makes the big difference on the long run in our dealings with people, and it is what eventually makes up people’s perception of us.

“If you don’t let a teacher know at what level you are—by asking a question, or revealing your ignorance—you will not learn or grow…Admission to ignorance is often the first step in our education…Thoreau taught, “How can we remember our ignorance which our growth requires, when we’re using our knowledge all the time?”p.37

Nature teachers us a classical lesson in the development of a child that echoes the wisdom contained in this quote. An open; curious; and adaptable mind—these are major ingredients that speedup the development of a child in remarkable ways. Children whose natural flare has stayed free from the stifling criticism of adults around them are not afraid of being labeled stupid in order to gain knowledge. They could be embarrassed, but they’re free from the trap of perceiving admission to ignorance as a ultimate indictment or failure. Lesson here for me is to stay young and foolish at my core.

“To relate effectively with a wife, a husband, children, friends, or working associates, we must learn to listen. And this requires emotional strength. Listening involves patience, openness and the desire to understand—highly developed qualities of character. It’s much easier to operate from a low emotional level and to give high-level advice.” p.37

There’s so much wisdom in this quote that I’ve decided to give myself a 7-day listening exercise to groom my listening skills. During this period I plan to make significant changes in my usual mode of communication with people. For this period I want listening to replace about 60% of the time I would normally have spent talking or advising, or criticizing both verbally and non-verbally. I’m positive that at the end of these 7 days there’ll be valuable lessons I’ll carryon for the longer run.

“As we continue to grow and mature, we become increasingly aware that all of nature is interdependent, that there is an ecological system that governs nature, including society. We further discover that the higher reaches of our nature have to do with our relationships with others—that human life also is interdependent.”p.49

All universes’ design is replete with this principle. While the Earth rotates about its axis, seemingly alone in the universe, it is synergistically tied to the orbits of the Sun and Moon and the other bodies in our galaxy. Man cannot exist as an island alone on its own, we have to relate with other people in our different roles and social circles of life. And I think the better we are at managing our various relationships, the happier we are with life.

“In the mist of the most degrading circumstances imaginable, Frankl used the human endowment of self-awareness to discover a fundamental principle about the nature of man: Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.”p.69

How true I believe this is, Frankl was met with extreme human torture and abuse at the hands of his Nazi captors, and in such dire conditions he could choose to keep his sanity, and even inspire his fellow captives and some of his captors. I’ve also read of people with extreme physical and health challenges replicating this same ability to choose a positive response to a negative stimulus, and it makes me marvel. Marvel at the ingenuity of my creator; marvel at my boundless freedom to choose my response to my environment based on the moral values and principles I have internalized.

“Anytime we think the problem is “out there”, that thought is the problem. We empower what’s out there to control us. The change paradigm is “outside-in”—what’s out there has to change before we can change.

The proactive approach is to change from the inside-out: to be different, and by being different, to effect positive change in what’s out there—I can be more resourceful, I can be more diligent, I can be more creative, I can be more cooperative.”

To “act” consciously out of an inside-out paradigm, or to be “acted upon” by our external environment—these are choices we’ll have to make in our daily lives.

“And I can change. I can live out of my imagination instead of my memory. I can tie myself to my limitless potential instead of my limiting past. I can become my own first creator.”p.105

Change is the only thing constant in life, and it is to our benefit. We can choose to change from living out a negative scripting from a painful past. No matter what we’ve been through in the past, man is gifted with the power to pick himself up and change his present or future conditions for the better. There is hope ingrained in all of our DNA’s. But the change must start from our thought, and that is a lesson for me to remember.

“The degree to which we have developed our independent will in our everyday lives is measured by our personal integrity. Integrity is fundamentally the value we place on ourselves. It’s our ability to make and keep commitments to ourselves, to “walk our talk.” It’s honor with self, a fundamental part of the Character Ethic, the essence of proactive growth.”

This goes to buttress the saying that ‘one cannot give what he does not have”. If we cannot keep promises we’ve made to ourselves, we cannot keep promises to others.

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


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

Yes, I completed some of the exercises, and found them very helpful.

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


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

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