Francis David Masimba Mwale – Assessments

As A Man Thinketh
Assessment by Francis David Masimba MWALE (Zimbabwe)

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 person’s character is the “complete sum of all his thoughts.” This view rejects the notion that there are “spontaneous” and “unpremeditated” acts. It suggests that the definition of a person is incomplete if it fails to recognise that his/her thoughts are the primary determinants of this person. In doing this, Allen makes two important observations of the nature of man:

a. That man is the sole controller of the determinants of his character

b. That there are laws that determine the growth of this character

* The world is divided into good and evil. My observation in the book is drawn by the apparent argument that Good and Evil are not a “God and Devil Affair” as I have been nurtured to believe since entering this world. Good and Evil are the result of mental choices, either to ascend to “divine perfection” or descend below the level of the beast. All this is done by one’s ability or lack of it at making the right choices in thought application.

* There are two possible explanations to destiny that are fundamental:

a. “The soul attracts that which it secretly harbours” receving these attractions by way of circumstances.

b. “Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns”

In keeping with these two observations, we are who we are by definition, from a set of interdependent factors of thought that are hidden from the world. Through an intricate cause and effect interaction, thoughts cause effects in his situation in life such as the state of a persons circumstances. We see the effects of what I really hold in high esteem. I have often observed how a person will say one thing and act the other way. Their attitude cannot be masked in an act, it is as John C Maxwell puts it, the true man! As such I am not unwillingly yoked to evil but that I believe at the core of my mental make up in Evil. I lie not because someone makes me, but because deep down I value lying. I lose sight of the need to work hard at work not because I am feeling lazy during one isolated day but because laziness is a thought valued feature what makes up the person that I am. To deal with my problem of time management by scheduling my day is not enough. I must go back and address the way I prioritise what I do and how I choose what I do. My mind has to change its views. In doing this, I effct changes to my destiny. Destiny becomes non existent as a force outside my life, but as one that I control.

* We are not the sum total of our wishes. My nature, that is, the real me, the “me” that meets the world is not the product of what I pray, it is the product of the thoughts that I value in my heart. It is that which in private I hold in high esteem. So when I pray and my prayers are answered, it is merely a presentation of my wishes being in harmony with my thoughts (presentated in my actions and circumstances [my social, emotional and economic conditions]).

* Man must change the cause of his circumstances within, in order to determine the effect, that is, what we see from without his person; This process is the direct product of self control which feeds the thoughts that determine my circumstances, revealing in its wake, my character and how I act. This results in a change of thoughts, character and action. This change brings about an ability to control my destiny in what I have termed a LEAD YOUR LIFE STYLE. This styles sits of the following premises, that:

a. One continuously redirects the wishes of your soul by educating your thoughts

b. Thereafter use this as a way to manage a balance between vice and good, in favour of good

As I sift what I think, I control my mindset and actions. My character is effectively shaped slowly. I can remember from the my first days in school how I always wanted to learn, avoid breaking the rules. It made me some what careful and a low risk taker. Only when I began to gain confidence in myself did I take bolder steps, sometimes so that I could find importance in myself. Slowly I became a better leader, sometimes a natural one and a initiator. I won awards and became involved in many important initiatives in the organisations that I was a part of to this day.

* Self cricifixion is a point of departure towards taking control of your life: This is done by losing that which through application, self analysis and experience has been proven as gratifying the evil desires of your soul. In this way you create a value system that reinvents the priorities of your soul. Once the soul is managed it will begin to attract its desires and again application, self analysis and experience will show that there is a change even in personal circumstances. It would be great to live a life without rules but I soon discovered in College that rules are functional. This is my understanding of this statement in my life. Sacrifices are an important rule that allows me to make useful the time that I have, gaining more strength and development as an opportunity cost.

* Outward good may be overweighed by inner vice and likewise inner good may overweigh outward vice. This is confirmation of how we are prone to judge others from a wrong basis. In so doing we feed their “boxes” of mental confinement with a basis upon which to lie to themselves. We perpetuate individual faults when we validate them in others by judging them erroneously from what we know. They start to live up to what we say, sometimes causing more affliction to themselves than good. When I am the subject of this judgement, I now realise that by living up to my publicly affirmed ego, I cause damage to a great future!

* We suffer more from our impure thoughts and rarely from our virtuous nature. Suffering is self inflicted and not necessarily a kind of matyrdom. Unfortunately suffering tends to validate our skwed thoughts so that from time to time we need, like addicts, to take a little of our “suffering drug” to feel better. We make no change to our personal circumstances, creating an even deeper foundation of false fruits of thought, that we remain unaware of. So we are dead before we die. We also sow the seeds of our downfall and that of those whom we influence long before the world witnesses it because we do not subject ourselves to arduous introspection.

* Good for good, bad for bad is the just law that governs life. Simply put, if we have good thoughts we create and become good and the opposite is equally true. Good however is not an entirely mental state but should be noted as a part true state. That is, we are not as good as we think we are but as good as we are. The measure of good is not within but without us. It is independent of our thoughts. We must therefore continously think good to remain good otherwise it loses sustainability and we slide back to evil.

* Men’s thought transforms into habit that solidifies into circumstance. Further confirmation of how we create the situations that we find ourselves in. We are the ultimimate authority in our lives. We must just search for the purpose of our lives and through this kind of “direction monitor” (or compass in Stephen R Covey’s words), we are able to make decisions about what is a good thought or not.

* The body is a psychological being rather than a physiological/biological one. To explain it, we must root all disease or health to the way we think. Age therefore is a perception that is expressed even in the physical nature of our bodies, with passion and discontent resulting is a physically tired body whereas for the righteous it is soft and mellowed. These statements are in my view, Allen’s call to keep a healthy diet and a fully exercised body and who would argue with that.

* Until thought is linked with purpose, there is no intelligent accomplishment. The law of nature is harsh with one who lacks an understanding of his purpose, limiting his thoughts to negativity. As such purpose validates thought only when such a purpose is a legitimate one. One’s strength of character will be measured by his persistance even in the face of repeated failure. At each stage of failure, his persistance spurs him towards gaining a new understanding of his purpose. This gains him more resolve or self control and creates a platform of true success through a path of growth to divine strength. This is perhaps the strongest admission of the impediment of human weakness in Allen’s advocacy for mental transformation. He states that knowing your weaknesses is a strength. Perhaps once one has adopted this way of thinking, his persistance is validated by an understanding that failure is not a choice but a mark on a learning point. The world in which we live constantly celebrates our weaknesses and is premised on a philosophy that frustrates distinction and improvement, suppressing it until it can no longer be denied or has died. Only a person who is fully convinced at the base of his convictions and can walk against the grain fearlessly, gains the kind of masterfulness that is exhibited in the successes that they record. Strength of character is the foundation upon which the resolve to achieve your purpose is built but most importantly upon which self control is sustained and recognised as the road to success. It is supported by an unwavering focus that creates a mental Island, pushing away as it were any mental waves of doubt that seek to flood it.

* Success can be achieved if the individual’s thinking pattern adopts a particular general order. I develop the Theory of the Order of Success from Allen’s so as to give it a level of application in my own life: a. Gain a deep understanding of your purpose, b. Align your thoughts to it and c. Support it with unmatched understanding of your abilities which transform your circumstances. Success is a conscious effort at re-arranging thoughts to align with one’s deeply understood and leigitimate purpose.

* All that a man achieves is the direct result of his own thoughts. This is the most profound statement that places responsibility of achievement squarely on the shoulders of one who owns his thoughts. Stephen Covey argues, as if to support this statement, that a person must win a private victory as a first step towards high effectiveness. As a precursor to public victory, the private victory is a reinforcer of strength required as you walk against the grain of doubt. In form, this private victory is a victory over the doubts that linger in your thoughts as you seek to create vital thought elements that support your legitimate purpose. You then walk into the world without need for external confirmation of who or what you are. As you seek achievement you carefully mark out a path of thought that carries your own DNA. Achievement is not only defined in your terms but is won in your own terms, terms that you can identify with and remedy once there is a challenge to them because for you, they are a specific set of experiences that only you know and understand.

* Slaves maketh the oppressor and so does the oppressor maketh the slave in a world unknown to them. None of the two realise that it is their own weakness that creates an opportunity for the adoption of the views that they now harbour. They present an example that is important for those on the road to free thought, that they must free themselves of stereotypes. Stereotypes are a box that confines thought, and forms a basis upon which to feed further one’s ignorance to levels of conviction that constitute a deprivation of an opportunity to define their own thought path. Descrimination on racial, tribal and religious lines is an apt example of this condition of thought.

* In order to achieve or change the way that you think, remove animality and selfishness to the extent that you earn clarity and method in your thought, to which you can ascribe a purpose as some kind of railway upon which your train of life must ride, using knowledge and perseverance as your fuel. Only persistent introspection can achieve this over time.

* Achievement is a direct result of effort. However achievement is in two directions, the positive and negative. In both directions, effort is the determinant of how much one achieve. As sure as a man can rise to high levels of success the day before he can fall to failure the next day if he lacks the discipline of watchfulness. A man without discipline is nothing. As my teacher in school used to say we never put any effort towards passing but exert ourselves to leave no stone unturned so that we can’t fail. We have perfected the art and we celebrate it in our societies arguing that honest living has no place in a seemingly unfair world.

* Vision is a reality tommorrow. If as you think, you are, then as you dream, you shall become. One must feed his mind with vision because it is the fuel of effort towards a reality tomorrow. Your vision is promise and prohecy of a future that you have. Dreams are therefore not tainted by your past or your present but are about your tommorrow which you can choose to start moving towards in your present, never mind what it is. Many times I have said I want to do something and I have no idea where I will get the resources but through faith in my vision I get strength to keep looking for the resources. A good example is my recent trip to Tunisia for which I had not one cent but still travelled! Once you reach a level where your today is out of harmony with your mindset, your present situation gives way to a new order. “You will become as small as your controlling desire [or] as great as your dominant aspiration.”

* Change is a vehicle in which you carry the strength of your effort as a measure of the result that you get. It avails to you the sad and good only as darkness before light. In my life I have learn’t to give myself the benefit of doubt all the time. I am hardly sure that every changing situation will definitely leave me better off, but I have faith that it will. So I trust change, I force myself, opening up new views on a subject that bothers me at the time so that I am sure that once I decide that I am not for it, I have confirmed that it was always against my vision. When I got my job, it was against what I wanted to be, an entrepreneur, but on further understanding the role that this job has in the business I realised I could give my vision a new touch, that of experience. I took on the challenges of submitting to authority, establishing business systems and leading people at work as training. I began to learn marketing because of the vision that I had. Above all one needs “long and patient effort” punctuated by the wisdom that a promise awaits in your vision for which you must mature before you can take it. This effort is in the calmness of self control which is itself a strength and with it comes the mastery of right, thought and power. In order to succeed we must attain a level of calmness that will deliver to us our vision in good time.

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.

Good and Evil are not circumstances of fate but of choice. In my mind this is a profound revelation that turns up side down my remedies for dealing with evil. I am now challenged to look at how I apply my thought process, observing as I do this, what impact this has on who I become. I have been taking my spiritual growth a little more seriously and taking Allen’s arguments I should create a positive mental ground for this growth before I can try to change what I do. This becomes a kind of leadership of myself based on internal personal transformation of my world view rather than an adoption of a few frenzied nice-to-have new practices that I pick from spiritual mentors. Closely linked to this is the important element of experiential self criticism only perfected by steadfast application of the laws that govern my growth.

I am not what I pray to become, but what I think I want to become: This presentation by Allen may have some truth but it ignores the core of religious belief, at least with my understanding of Christianity. Religion gives a supernatural being, in the case of Christianity, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, a role as Lord or power over all things in the world. The three (referred to loosely as God or the Holy Trinity), play the role of rewarding the faithful. In fact the book of Hebrews in the Christian New Testament Bible starts the 11th Chapter with a definition of faith, arguing, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (King James Version). By definition, therefore, it would appear that I can pray for something and gain the change or circumstance that I desire in contrast to the arguments furthered by Allen. Allen’s views are difficult to reconcile with my Christian faith but nevertheless worth the paper they are written on.

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

* That man is the master of thought, the moulder of character. Man can become the conscious master of thought if he discovers the law upon which his being is established. This is done through application, self analysis and experience. I am now searching my soul so I can discover the true meaning of this assertion. I have always heard of the statement “you are who/ what you think you are” but I never got such an intuitive explanation of it. I cannot find the words that show how deep I have been thrown to examine my life by this view.

* The outer conditions of his (man) life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state, although his entire character cannot be described by his circumstances, they are however connected to vital-thought elements within himself that for the time being they are indispensable to his development. This assertion has worked almost like a rude awakening, making me look at my life and circumstances more closely with a view to examining their relationship with the way I think. Am I in this job because of the way I think, am I struggling to start a business because of the way I think, and yes becomes an answer all too common. The next step is to say, how do I move from this way of thinking to the next. This is intriguing especially in Zimbabwe’s current economic challenges.

* Man is (almost always) the (unconscious) causer of his circumstances: Bring your thoughts to a level of your own awareness of them, so that you can deal with them. But where does this leave fate and destinity? Thought and action are the base of fate, also they are the agents of freedom. (They must not be viewed in isolation as attempting to help man build an island of himself where he is the ultimate determinant of himself. He can use them to determine his reaction to stimuli in the environment and in doing so, there is an ability to determine how his day goes. His day is isolated from a day he can have without change.) Freedom is freedom from the confines of his thought process. When we are born we are born into mental and physical boxes which confine us. They are described as normal, although they are in many curcumstances, the result of stereotypes and our vital thought elements have the ability to adopt them as the basis of upon which we detemine ourselves. For example we go to school so we can become good workers and rarely so that we can become good employers. It is so much our culturisation to “good” that stops us from realising “great”. Our fears are an expression of our experiences and a jolting of our comfort zones. They therefore collude to inform the way that we think, creating as it were, who we are, in our minds and in our circumstances.

* Vital – thought elements occupy levels/measures of height. (Allen seems to define these as little, much and great). These are calibrated almost entirely on a continuum that denotes at every level how much sacrifice of the old thought content one has managed. Each measure of hieght has a corresponding measure of success ascribed to it, defining the relationship between success and thought while giving out the rate at which negative is replaced by positive. Therefore the sustenance of achievement is also directly related to thought at each level on the continuum. Furthermore, at each level of height of vital – thought elements, a measure of virtue is present. On virtue sits integrity which is the informant of one’s choices to be able to rid himself of bad thoughts. Therefore one must gain more virtue which he must through a lifting of thoughts and a strengthening of his resolve towards his legitimate purpose. This reinforces his achievements and adds life to them.

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

What relationship does thought have with destiny? Can I think myself out of my predetermined path in life? If indeed I am the designer of my own path in life what role does the supernatural world play, that of God and Evil? If we are agreed that destiny is manifest in a person’s personal, mental and physical conditions or circumstances, then the answer to these questions lies at the core of the definition of who they are. If I am poor it is less a result of a force without but more the result of a harmonious co-existence of a vital thought element, one that is validated by the circumstances that I find myself. It could be that I have laziness as a value system that is gratified by no work, I blame a bad economy for my condition. I am however unable to discount the fact that in the first instance the reason for the poor application of thoughts may be the direct result of the choices I have made which have solidified into the environment around me. What is important to note is how difficult it is to see things differently when normal is there to accept.

There is no element of chance in your circumstances, every man is where he is by the law of his being. Man is where he is that he may grow, once he realises his creative power, even his circumstances cannot stop him from growing. His progress is the result of a systematic replacement of vital-thought elements so that in the final analysis there is change in his circumstances. His growth is Nurture rather than Nature to take the arguments in psychology further. Replacing “His” in the last two statements with “My” gives me the feeling that I am a step further than I was yesterday, that I have a better chance of being the leader I want to grow to be than I had before understanding this about my life. In effect it thrusts my life in my hands and asks me to make decisions about its direction.

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

The sole use of suffering is to burn out what is unpure. Suffering ceases for him that is pure. Can anyone ever be pure? Perhaps never. It remains an unattainable goal. This statement casts a shadow of doubt on a fundamental aspect of the book, the process of changing one’s thought process, or in a way, defining the role of suffering. While there is reference to a legitimate purpose in the book, it remains to be seen whether a legitimate purpose is not also as abstract an item as purity. Abstract in the sense that it remains aloof from reality or lacks the quality of practicality which I believe is present in the rest of his assertions.

Man is the master of his change. Allen argues that the dominant force in the univesrse is a just law of existence that defines the reason for existence of every individual. By subjecting oneself to right can a man be at peace with the universe, the spiritual order and life. This assertion fails to convincingly create an understanding in my mind where society’s smallest unit is the individual. Can an individual be an island in the world? So therefore is the smallest unit of society, the individual? How then does society come into being? These questions suggest that the argument by Allen is weak in as far as it suggests that change is dependent on the individual and not necessarily on the coherent efforts of individuals. It would appear that once change is based on the individual, his sense of right is what will direct him even if this is at odds with those with whom he shares the world. However, Allen admits that one’s sense of right will be correct when he finds that he is right with the universe. Nevertheless, he continues, that there will be a simultaneous change in the way that “things and other people” view him by altering towards him. This to me, is an acknowledgement that change is incomplete if the forces without the individual are not themselves in sync with him. Another view is that to bring “things and people” to alter towards him he must be on the extreme of right so that much like Jesus Christ, his philosophy of right is unimaginably attractive to things and people. In this view, it is impossible to attain such a level of philosophical development for every person. The notion of Island in my interpretaion can be recast to place the Island as one’s own sphere of influence, that is one’s life as isolated from the world. While this stretch tends to create a laboratory of thought devoid of contamination from the ongoing life in the world, it gives me comfort in that we expect change in what the individual can and is in a direct position to control.

Thought is the basis of Freedom. At the extreme of this argument you are as free as you determine yourself to be, mentally, creating as it were, freedom in what might appear to be a physical confinement, such as a jail, physical disability and so on. This is possible, for example there are disabled athletes and many african leaders were reinvigorated to continue to fight colonialism even in jail. It is however questioned that freedom can be obtained only on the basis of one’s mental condition because physical confinement does present formidable limiting factors that cannot be wished away. These physical impediments make it difficult to allow the thoughts to solidify into circumstances. You cannot suddenly be rich in jail and have five star treatment, however, you can have the right philosophy which untested as it might be, is worth implementing once you are out. In Africa, you may have to get out of the continent to overcome the developmental limitations and return with resources to make material changes to your environment. Allen’s admission that an individual cannot directly choose his circumstances, but can shape them from his thoughts is an important point to support the argument above. Therefore if the world is your kaleidoscope, it may be that true success as the author defines it, is almost always perception and that may be that your circumstances are in harmony with your perception of what is true success for you to achieve your mentally determined freedom.

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

Most Helpful

* The book places critical emphasis on me taking control of my life.

* It goes beyond measure by giving practical explanation to the ideas it proposes

Least Helpful

* Nothing!

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

The book suggests that an individual’s mental makeup is the basis upon which he lives his life and how its direction is determined while it encourages the pursuit of vision as the answer to greatness and success.

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

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

Comments – Feel free to share any additional comments about the book or about the ratings:

All my life I have always wanted to be big and with this attitude comes an inquisitive mind. But I have been careful to ascribe this attitude to the teaching that I can get in my Christian upbringing and faith. In the last two years, I have felt my connection with God become much stronger and my tolerance of different views become less and less. In effect I have blinkered my thoughts to God, questioning every other view on the basis of my belief. “As a man thinketh, that he is,” says King David. For me it presented yet another effort to blow out scripture beyond what appears to be the religious interpretation to its application in everyday life. It gave me the expectation of religious teaching complete with a level of piousness. As I read it however, I felt this view challenged, reducing it from correct to questionable because in truth, what I had was a way of thinking. If it was a way of thinking, then I was what I thought and not necessarily right or necessarily correct in my adoption of these vital – thought elements. The experience that I had when I read the book was not confined but open to criticism from within myself. It was a full opportunity to question the fundamental thoughts that define the person that I am. So my values were questioned, my beliefs questioned, my view of good and evil and my understanding of the role of prayer in determining my life questioned. It created a deeper understanding of God and what his wish for me is when he gives me will power to make choices. He is not giving me a shortrun at controlling my life but complete control for which I am accountable. With this control he can fully ask me why did you not become fully you and not why did you not become this or that.



Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

Assessment by Francis David Masimba Mwale (Zimbabwe)WALE

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.

* Jonathan refused to be labelled and above all refused the label – Ordinary. I found my own character described in that first page, “But Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, unashamed… was no ordinary bird.” This is the start of the personification of a character whose qualities, zeal, courage, conviction and determination, although fluctuating at the beginning become the cornerstone of a leagacy. For me it is a reinforcement of difference not for difference’s sake for fulfilment’s sake. The book is about finding a path to totality.

* Hungry, Happy, Learning! These three conditions are sledom in each other’s company as they are in Jonathan each time he tries something new. It is light that many around me including myself fail to see. We concentrate on the arduous rigour of learning and not the experience of change. In order to be able to get to the level of fufilment that we seek, we must be hungry for more, be inquisitive, be happy to understand and celebrate this success. Above all, we must learn that is, we must move from a state of disadvantage to a state of advantage. This state will play the role of change agent in our lives, spurring us when we lose hope, giving us reason to realise that our accomplishments to date are the result of a resolve, an inner greatness and future promise of vision that we own and deserve. A good example is Thomas Eddison who at the time of inventing the light bulb had discovered 500 ways of how NOT to make a light bulb. The difference is that he saw failure as a discovery and not an end of his experiment. Jonathan “discovered the loop, the slow roll, the point roll, the inverted spin, the gull bunt, the pinwheel” in his road to flying success. I need the persistence of Jonathan Seagull, if I have a chance of being big.

* The inner voice can speak louder and more negatively. “Get down, Seagulls never fly in the dark! If you were meant to fly in the dark you would have the eyes of an owl! You’d have charts for brains! You’d have a falcon’s short wings!” As we grow our convinction, we face the biggest challenge, that of convincing ourselves that we are able. Because we place so much emphasis on normal when we must not, in order to succeed, we validate our doubts by our reference to normal in our minds. We must therefore change the tone of our inner voice. To become newer and different means we break with tradition rather than remain in line. With this resolve comes the consequence of loss, losing what we have always known to be our idea of the world. I have a young brother who I have just recently made the resolve to grow. He has feels like a failure. You see, in Zimbabwe to make it, you must read your way up the social ladder, yet I must help him break with tradition and create a successful future out of other means than a high, well paying job! Sometimes being normal can be attractive, so attractive that it can make or break a big breakthrough.

* There is possibility in a learner’s life than there is in the life of one who is not a learner. “He learned more each day. … in the very times when every other gull stood on the ground, knowing nothing but mist and rain,” Jonathan developed. They say development is mothered by necessity. We do not learn not because it is expensive or inaccessible. We do not learn because we prefer not to. Before coming across this programme, I could have never dreamed that there is a programme like this. I would remained stuck in the impossible gropping in the dark for grwoth. I would have been stuck in a time and place where everything is expensive and unaffordable. Richard Bach gives the reader an opportunity to see what possibilities lie ahead of us once we are courageous enough to go beyond what seems to be our limit. Indeed, it would appear from the writer’s viewpoint that all limitations are self imposed. What a man thinketh, that he is or perhaps said better, what a man learns, he thinketh, he sees more possibility with his mind’s eye if he dares learn more and makes himself as good as that possibility, becoming as we see him, that which was impossible.

* Birds of a feather, flock together. When Jonathan meets like minded flock his need for belonging vanishes. Instead it raises for him an opportunity to “Stand to Centre for Honour.” We all wish that a moment like this can come, where we are recognised by the world for the great people that we really are. Sullivan gives us an image of the rest of the world that we identify with. We think so much that that this world has standards so high and that the people in it have a history so perfect and abilities so magnificent that they will learn nothing from us. Yet through Sullivan we learn that what we assume is sometimes wrong, that the succesfull crowd in our eyes can look up to us. When Sullivan says, “But you, Jon… learned so much at one time that you don’t have to go through a thousand lives to reach this one,” we soon learn that living out our purpose earns us rewards. For me it places critical emphasis on my looking glass, that is, the picture that I see when I see myself. It makes me realise that I am much greater than I admit that I am. It also makes me realise that my development will take its own unique course to enable me to reach my aspirations, as it does this, it adjusts its focus proportionately to fit my speed of understanding, my need for knowledge and my destination.

* Even when we look successful, we still limit ourselves because we use everyday measures! The language of success is not complete if it is not extended to challenge our whole concept of our measure of success. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, one sees a perfect example. Wealth as we know it is measured in terms of the bank balance that we have. Kiyosaki challenges this notion and redefines wealth in terms of time. He argues that wealth is infact the amount of time that I am able to live on what I own in whatever form of income, if I were to lose my traditional source of income. In effect what the definition does is that it gives Seagull as an illustration of how the folly of “the usual” can cloud our thinking so much so that we fail to conceive things as being any different, or there being any other way of looking at the same thing. In Chiang’s words we reach fulfilment or heaven once we are able to move our mindsets beyond the current context which is limited by time and space. He creates the notion that our ability to think in such a sphere is the true measure of success and takes away reference to time and space, focusing success on its owner, the individual.

* Our future cannot be spent regargitating the past or making it right. It is our future which must be made right. Through our vision, we are enabled to build a future that transforms into a legacy with each day that passes, through the benefit that it gives to to the rest of the world. When this is done we earn a much greater feeling of accomplishment. We urge our totality beyond the limitations of time and space giving our visions life beyond this place and today. This way we reach perfection.

* Our biggest limitation is anger. Anger clouds the real goal, which is to change the world. Anger manifests itself in disbelief of ourselves, disbelief of others and a constant fear of the unknown that stops us from acting out our visions. In anger we seek proof, a case and vengeance which only serve to divide the world. We lose sight of the potential that the world has if it can learn from its people. It must be allowed to produce more of them if it will become a better place. For me, it is refocusing my energies towards learning that will create possibilities and not a spirited lack of belief in any thing that I try. This idea in the book is a statement that reinforces my own need to remove anger, anger against the world in which I live or the metaphorical boxes in which I am born. I must not try to become a leader who is worried about where I grew up or what family I was born in. It will only make me angry. It is focusing my vision on a better world that will bring me to perfection, to the future, that I can change, because like Fletcher, I will waste my energies in rage and fury at the past and my physical inabilities.

* Once we have understood our thoughts we can conquer the world. Jonathan’s invitation to the outcasts is an important one. It is the image of an invitation to us to conquer our biggest fear, ourselves. Once we understand that what we see is all perception, that our eyes see pictures that our minds create and not necessarily those that are there, we reaslise that it is the competence of our minds that we must sharpen to see better and not change the world so that it looks better. To change the world we must train a lot more birds to understand that flying is freedom, that is, a lot more people that accomplishment is in us believing that we can accomplish than in actually going down to do it. For me it is realising that I am not bound by any path created before (the law of the flock) because I refuse to be normal (to belong to the flock). It is when we challenge conformity with reason and show that what we refer to is possible, that the world will lend us an ear. Richard Branson can only write the book, Loosing my virginity, an autobiography of Richard Branson and hit record sales only because the Virgin brand is successful. The Virgin brand is a vision that became real, madness at some point in time but reality today. I want to create that reality through power of the vision that I have.

* Our law serves our leaders and not our people. Our law is a kind of form of our conformity. It is only when society learns that it becomes a better society once it focuses on learning from ideas than from fighting them. The only way to do this is to embrace true leadership as servants of the people that we lead.

* All of us are limited more by fear than by our lack of belief in our abilities. Our world explains differences in terms of a power beyond our abilities so that it is not challenged. It pushes away every idea to a level of “no one can do that” reinforcing this with a kind of piousness that stops anyone from voicing challenge. The label, the ‘Son of the Great Sea Gull himself’ is the way the flock explained Jonathan’s flying. It did not occur to them that they had seen him practising.

* Without fulfilment we are dead! “He lives! He that was dead lives!” This statement said in reference to Sullivan is a more appropriate statement to me or to anyone for that matter. It is a statement that shows us that lacking understanding of ourselves inhibits us from doing that which is impossible. It is possible to love unconditionally and without limit or favour. We can love those that hate us in as much as we love those that love us. We only need to be convinced that we are able because our minds are able. Sullivan’s example of practice and determination is important as a reminder to me that I cannot change by doing all the wrong things, that through meticulous training can I hope to achieve what I want to achieve. But most importantantly, achievement gives life or meaning to and reason for it. With meaning and reason comes life and not death. We live for a vision and not for a momement. We create a capacity that will go beyond our time and our immediate sphere of influence. Jonathan’s vision is realised because he recreates himself in Fletcher, making him realise his potential and how he can sustain it.

* You need to keep finding yourself, a little more each day! As if as a parting thought Jonathan shares three ideas of philodophical value to me.

i. The real me must be understood and trained through practice

ii. All my eyes know is limitation, I must use my understanding to look at the world.

iii. I must find out what I already know and I’ll see the way to succeed in my thoughts

When I have listened to motivation speakers, counsellors and teachers, I have often wondered why there is an emphasis on some level of me that I supposedly am unaware of. Perhaps the truth is that at the point of missing the direction they are taking I often deny them any more room in my mind or reject their philosophy. But for a reason unknown to me now, I’m inclined to look at Jonathan Seagull’s words with a little more attention. The beginning is almost always shaky because it lacks experience but there is a time of steady yet phenomenal progress, when I can be in control. As a young professional, Jonathan’s words are an instruction, “you don’t know the way but you know how to go there, to succeed, just listen to yourself.” Often, I’m too busy minding the business of the moment to worry about how I feel or how I want to do something, in the end it doesn’t feel like I achieved anything. But today I realise why there is some “murkiness.” I have used my limitations to understand my unlimited nature and immediately I understood nothing. I use what I have not done to know what I can do.

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.

* Society wants to beat our heads down into conformity. Jonathan’s mother, the father and the elder’s are a representation of the voice that calls all of us everyday, to the temptation of normal. Someone said once, “Stand and be counted, but if you fall remember that it is better for you to fall because you fail because you ca rise than for you to be flattened by conformity.” This idea challenges one to reconsider all his ciscumstances and decisions in life. I am reminded that accepting normal is wavering your right to freedom, freedom to be full! When I was employed into my current role I was 24 years old and two days old from University. I was told that I could not get a permanent contract because the business did not want to grow its staff and that I could not get a car because there were none. I stayed on a short term contract for six months and did not drive for three months. In this part of the world, an employer can change his conditions just as soon as you sign the contract. Frustrated, I almost resigned to join a small company that offered to recognise me. When I complained my boss told me something to the effect, “All the other people are saying you’re too young to be in this job and that we are creating problems if we give you a car and all the big benefits.” My reply was to the effect, “I realise we are a company but frankly I am going to be selfish here, I just want to make sure that I get what is rightfully mine, a fair salary, car and contract.” I got the car and I got the contract. 2 out of 1. To this day, conformity still expects me to grow like all the other people did, start small and grow my career over 40 years. My mind says no, I can grow in 5, in effect I will not go through a thousand lives to learn how to fly, like Jonathan I will go through two. That has been my resolve and still remains!

* As a bird thinketh, that he is! Almost as if to reinforce my understanding of John Allen’s book, Richard Bach expresses the idea that once your situation is in disharmony with your mindset, it will give way to new circumstances. Jonathan tried to behave like the other birds but couldn’t make it work. In school I remember being a loner most of the time because I enjoyed reading, discovering and behaving like an academic, I found myself making friends with the teachers. This earned me the title of school spy, nerd and so on. Nearly ten years later, this year I met an old school mate who was amazed at how much I had managed to do despite my father’s death and the difficult economic environment. I have survived through the toughest years yet, College yet I can still see myself becoming a big name not for the sake of it but for the sake of my vision. My vision is to build a business empire that will grow the youth into African leaders in business as entrepreneurs. I have deloped the the concept of the Developer Achievement Institute. Almost always my detrmination and zeal has paid off, moving me from one milestone to another and without being pompus, it has not yet reflected what I can achieve.

* Heaven is being perfect. Richard Bach creates a definition of heaven that I have hoped I would never have to face. It is a definition that throws my Christianity into disarray, yet gives it another reason to grow. Removing time and space from any definition of heaven is important in two ways. First, it enables me to realise that even in Christianity Jesus teaches his faithful to reach a level of perfection in faith. This is so much that he makes it clear that with faith anything is possible. The teachings of the new testament, on closer examination, carry the same vein, as the apostle Paul in his letters corrects misconceptions of focus in the followers. The biggest pointer yet for me that is in agreement with the writer’s assertions is the emphasis on individuality of the Christian journey. My understanding is that we are all individually accountable for our transgressions and that we all carry with us a level of responsibility when we become Christians to guard our faith, to sustain it, to grow it and to spread it. Second, it enables me to realise that the concept of heaven is correct but challenges my hitherto understanding of its context.

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

* A prophet is always rejected by his kinsman. Tradition is by far the single largest cause of poverty and under development in the world. It is by far the largest problem that world leaders today need to deal with. You would think that a world such as ours, one that has seen and benefited from inventions and the wisdom of great men and women would be receptive to difference of opinion. Jonathan Seagull personifies the struggle that many potential leaders face. His determination is by far an inspiration to people like me who for the better part of life have never experienced normal. I have been rejected either on the basis that I am young and inexperienced, overzealous and impatient or just plain inquisitive. These “boxes of confinement” were for Jonathan, a non event. He used them to launch his next point of departure refusing to bow down to pressure and even facing persecution. Sometimes opposition is not as formal as a court hearing, it is fear and doubt that speak to our lack of conviction. It can, like it was for Seagull, be an opportunity to bite the bullet.

* It all starts with perception. “The gulls who scorn perfection for the sake of travel go nowhere, slowly.” The statement is a vivid pointer to the folly of limited thinking. In our limited thinking we remain in our present circumstances yet with the power of vision we move further than our current limitations of place. We are able to create a place in our vision, that place transforms into our mental circumstances first before it can be our material condition. Using the characters of gulls and the power of fiction, Richard Bach brings the reader closer to a point of understanding of what fulfilment is. He makes it a true place, “…on some planet, obviously, with a green sky and a double star for the sun.” Fulfilment is for me an emotional experience as difficult to explain as the place with a green sky. It is therefore, a result of a perceptual ability to create the emotional readiness needed to sustain an acute ability to experience totality. So our order of understanding is believing in the possibility of attaining totality rather than in having the faith to believe in that possibility. More practically, I understand life as being there and possible and not as having the faith to believe that life is there and possible. I can only be said to have understood totality if I believe in God not as faith in him but as life in him, because I can only be defined with God and not without as another being. I am incomplete without him. In truth this is fitting of the definition of Chritians as being “like Christ” and not “belivers in christ” as we now understand it.

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

* Home I have none. Flock I have none. I am Outcast… Jonathan’s painful words of sorrow are a reflection not only of usual dejection but my weaknesses and desire for belonging. I call it a weakness because in seeking to belong I am prone to lose focus. Through Seagull’s character I see myself losing faith in what I can do and throwing myself into an abyss because of burnout. Many a time I lose my hitherto, well placed conviction that I am able and begin to subscribe to a plethora of reasons, that work at killing sustenance of a dream I once held in high esteem. In doing this I challenge my earlier actions throwing myself into confusion. Closely following is my loss of momentum and I do not realise that life comes in stages. It is for me to identify at what stage in my leraning cycle I am. A kind of formula that spurs me to new hieghts. I realise now that I must use this new learning period as a period where I stop focusing on old goals and problems but refocus to use my energies in a way that helps me score for my own sake, a victory as an assurance that I have always been right.

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


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

Most Helpful

* I felt like I was reading a story about my self. I was able to look at me and see the good that needs to remain and the bad that needs to go.

Least Helpful

* Nothing!

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

The book is about how we can realise our potential if we overcome our limits so that we can find fulfilment in the process by building ourselves through daily application of our minds as we learn to enhance our abilities and that we create a legacy as we do this.

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

A. How interesting was it to read? 10
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 6
D. Would you recommend it to others? 7
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 7

Comments – It was an interesting book which at several points I struggled to understand. It challenged me but may be meaningless to someone who really doesn’t love interpreting.



Success through a Positive Mental Attitude
Francis DM Mwale (Zimbabwe)

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.

Desire: We can only be what we want to be if we desire to be. This is an example shown through SB Fuller. The following was a striking statement, “We are poor – not because of God. We are poor because Father never developed a desire to become rich. No one in our Family has ever developed a desire to be anything else.” A striking statement that fully captures the state of my childhood, a deficiency in desire to be anything else. There were times that I felt that I could not be better off than I was, almost compelled by some higher force to accept my current position in life.

Use Divinity to inspire purpose: God is my creator and He therefore plays the role of inspiring my God-given purpose. My role is to read and understand his instruction (a kind of a manual for life) as stated in the Bible. This is not to say that one does not take responsibility for his own actions. As a growing Christian, it appears that this is a confirmation

Engage in Thinking Time: Develop a habit where you take time to nurture your thoughts. In that way you are most likely to develop your ideas and improve the likelihood of having those ideas becoming reality

Affirmations of a change in attitude: Success is achieved by those who try and maintained by those who keep trying with PMA. Every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit. These are useful personal motivators.

17 Success Principles: Move the locus of control to yourself. If a man is right then his world is right. This is a statement of fact, that until one takes control of their destiny they will leave it to forces who they can neither influence nor direct and in effect leave the direction of their lives at the hands of other people’s interests.

Important Questions: What is my purpose? What do I really want? There are four advantages that can be accrued from deciding your goal with a positive mental attitude. a) One conceives and believes in particular ideas which one then acts to achieve. b) The goal acts as a compass and a motivator, pressing one to act. c) One adds to a and b a further ability to think and plan which sits on a firm enthusiastic desire to achieve a set goal. d) This in turn creates an ability to recognize opportunities that can be used to achieve your goal. In the end, what do I really want is a question that marks the starting point for directing success in one’s life. I dare you is an apt personal challenge to try the methods suggested thus far and fail. I dare you is a personal challenge that one cannot ignore.

Cobwebs: One of the cobwebs of reason is to think that we act from reason alone when in fact in reality every conscious act is a result of doing what we want to do. Negligence is a cobweb. After marriage people neglect to communicate their true feelings of happiness and affection that they feel which they did in their courtship eventually making it the best experience that it was. In so doing they contribute unwittingly to a process of creating a new relationship.

SI Hayakawa: When a wife realizes that her husband requires curing of his faults she will nag him and he gets worse. She assumes that by continuing to nag him he will get better but he gets worse and in no time they both become nervous and their marriage is destroyed.

The power of positive thinking (Norman Vincent Peale): It is important to have grounding in God. Have confidence that God delivers.

Mental cobwebs: Necessity forces dishonesty. It is sacrilegious to use the powers of your mind.

Inertia: causes you to do nothing or if you are moving in the wrong direction, keeps you from resisting stopping.

With PMA you recognize the basic premise that truth is truth and is not false regardless of when you know or understand you do.

How do you see yourself? The great part is the mind and not the body. With this realization one should understand that to determine success they must influence their mind through autosuggestion and self affirmation among other things. Books like think and grow rich are born from the realization of the power of your mind.

How much more must you do to succeed? In many cases very little yet it is a very vital part of success. What is important is to grow this realization so that it forms a part of one’s impetus to succeed.

If you compare your mind to a part of a whole you have to do very little with PMA to find out what else is there to do to determine success. If we explore our minds we can influence the direction of our action and our success.

The something more that we need to jump the line to success may be a simple Hip Hip Hooray. As the Wright brothers did by adding small flaps to the wings, you can become the start to the world’s biggest change. Alexander Graham Bell only added a small screw and turned it _ of a turn and became the inventor of the telephone. That small screw became the small difference that made a big difference. Yet no matter how small this was it became the difference between success and failure. If you set your sights on success and stop, you stop and fail but if you persevere, you succeed.

Develop a knit picking sense for solutions: Practice the art of writing down your thoughts. Set aside a thinking time. Use this time to Think, Plan and Study. Follow 4 easy steps; 1. Ask why? 2. Observe 3. Think 4. Act.

Explore your thoughts from these sources: 1. Knowledge in the subconscious mind and that acquired in through individual experience, observation and education. 2. Knowledge acquired by others 3. Storehouse of infinite knowledge contacted through the subconscious section of the mind.

In Learning acquire the principle rather than quantities of fact: Once the principle has been acquired it becomes a part of your life and is never lost. If you have applied this principle fully with no success look for the something more.

Cosmic Habit Force: The name given to a universal law, whether it is known or unknown to you. While the law of gravity itself is not a power, when properly used, then power is employed according to the universal law.

Everyone has problems because everything is in the process of change: Because God is always a good God and everything is possible with God, trust him, have faith that you will overcome. When you approach a problem follow a six step process of checking your answers. 1. Ask for Divine guidance 2. Engage in thinking time 3. State your problem, analyze and define it 4. Ask yourself some specific questions such as what’s good about it? How can I turn this adversity into a seed of greater benefit? These can be used in the kinds of problems, Personal, Family and Business or Professional problems.

Problems present us with the challenge to change: Charlie Ward (pg 85). Negative attitudes are always contagious and bad habits are too. For me, the important thing is to be aware that my attitude affects my decisions, that my decisions added together make up who I am.

NMA enters our system covertly yet its results are overt: When we do not watch our attitude NMA creeps in and settles. Slowly it takes over the way we think. “Vice is a monster of such awful mien, That to be hated needs to be seen; Yet seen oft, familiar with his face, We first endure, then pity then embrace.”

With our attitude we decide whether sex will be good or evil: We must use the knowledge of our mind to overcome the power of the emotion of sex by overcoming the imaginations, in effect we are transmuting that power into virtue. This ability to control sex will enable us to be a mentally, morally and physically better.

Always remember the 7 virtues: Prudence, Fortitude (possession of strength to face your fears), Temperance (composure), Justice (right action), Faith (hope for things unseen), Hope (desire and expectation of obtaining what is desired) and Charity.

The Power of prayer among others on our behalf is amazing. It pushes us beyond what we thought possible. It works as system for rewarding the good we have done.

Keep your mind on things you want and off the things you do not: Select an environment that will develop you best towards your goals.

You can enjoy a full life in the worst of circumstances: The trick is to keep trying.

Sow your seed: “Sow an action and you reap a habit, sow a habit and you reap a character, sow a character and you reap a destiny”

Success must be continuously practiced or it will take wings and fly away. Do it now. Act out your plan.

What we know must be more than that, what we know: It must become who we are. Faith without works is dead! We must never be timid to our own inspiration.

A mastermind alliance is coordination of knowledge and effort, in spirit of harmony between 2 or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose. Do it now is inspiration in the face of unpleasant duty.

Every thought and action can be traced back to a motive or motives. (pg 121)

Focus your energy on the things that you need and want. Emotions are controlled through the combination of reason and action. When fears are unwarranted or harmful they can and should be neutralized.

We hope for the desirable, believable and attainable. Become a more civilized cultured and refined person by developing 13 virtues to satisfy 10 motives. Focus on what is good one at a time (Benjamin Franklin)

Watch your emotions: when we are motivated our guards are down and we use little energy in focusing on protecting possible hurts and failure.

Share your thoughts for those whom you care for: Write a letter because to do this you must think. The one who replies it must do the same.

What to find in an inspiration book. Inspiration to action: Is driven by knowledge of a successful sales technique (know how), knowledge of the product (activity knowledge).

People do what they like to do, its fun. To motivate 1. Know personality traits 2. what his environment is 3. what is motivating him. People have the power to choose.

You are the product of your heredity, environment, physical body, conscious and subconscious mind and experience and particular position and direction in time & space powers known and unknown.

Where will you be and what will you be doing 10 years from now if you keep doing what you are doing.

The person with PMA will have the courage to face the truth. Be able to warn his creditors far ahead of time. Above all he will sacrifice until his obligation is finally fully paid.

I feel healthy, I feel Happy, I feel terrific! The success of a sale depends on the attitude of the salesman and not on the prospect.

The habits that a salesman develops in the first two weeks after leaving sales school will follow him through his career. Success is achieved by those who try and maintained by those who keep trying with PMA.

One of the secrets of job satisfaction is being able to see beyond the routine.

Be dissatisfied: in the sense of that divine discontent which throughout the history of the world has produced all real progress and reform. Every adversity has the seed of an equivalent benefit.

Develop a magnificent obsession: share yourself without expecting a reward. Even when you have no money, share a prayer, your time. The more you share you more you’ll have. Share that which is good and desirable and withhold that which is bad and undesirable.

The love of money is the root of all evil: Not money is the root of all evil.

Mike Benedum: Theory of money is that: “I’m just a trustee and I will be held accountable for the good that I can accomplish” I must give opportunity as I was given

Page 200 to 201: Keep busy so that time goes unnoticed. Despise nothing but selfishness, meanness and corruption. Fear only cowardice, disloyalty and corruption. To covet only of my neighbor only kindness and gentleness of his spirit. To think many, many times of my friends.

Age is a state of mind: you are as young as your faith. Have more faith in God, my fellow man and my country. Every occasion is a great occasion.

Character is the cornerstone in building success: There is something infinitely better than making a living; it is making a noble life. Defeat should inspire you to succeed.

Eat well, use energy profitably, seek wisdom and act energetic

We do not lose heart because we look not at the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen for the unseen are eternal. There is a higher power to communicate with. This is God.

I’m not afraid to die but I’m willing to live.

The Bible is all inspiration, all motivation

Rockefeller: there are things we take for granted. We must learn to eat well. To watch our health and our spirits. We must come out to play and increase of longevity. page 222-223

There is very little difference in people but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude and the big difference is whether it is positive or negative

When you do not give that which is good and desirable then your portion of returns will diminish

Teach your loved ones to make others happy and have the customer is always right attitude. If a man is right his world will be right.

A PMA is consists of optimism, charity, cheer, generosity and a good common sense among other characteristics. Read Contentment Creed pg 244

Stand with anyone who stands right and part from anyone who stands wrong

Learn: Be respectful and listen to those who have experience. The burden of learning is on the person who wants to learn.

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.

God is always a good God. Day by day through the grace of God you are getting better and better.

Develop your faith. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. Faith rightly understood is active not passive. Active faith steps out on its belief and risks failure because it believes.

The something more can be Divine Guidance and help but its not enough until you believe that you are receiving it.

The more you give that which is good and desirable the more you get.

Square peg in a round hole: Find yourself in activities that do not come naturally. You can round the peg or round the hole. The latter will require hard work. To guarantee success it is desirable that you try zealously to maintain physical, mental, and moral health during the period of such an internal struggle.

What the mind of a man can conceive, the mind of a man can achieve with PMA.

What does it profit a man if he gains the world and loses his soul.

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

To speak well: Talk loudly, rapidly, emphasise, hesitate, keep a smile in your voice and modulate.

You have to be bold enough to ask of life more than you may right now feel your are worth because it is an observable fact that people tend to rise to meet demands that are put upon them
You need to know the rules to apply the rules (chapter 12)

The richest man in Babylon:

Save a dime a day

Every six months, invest your savings

Before you invest, seek expert advice on safe investments

Work a little more so that you have no excuse for saving at least 10% of your earnings

Use OPM, but to do this: Operate on the highest ethical standards of integrity, honour, honesty, loyalty, consent, and the Golden rule and apply these in your business relationships.

Honesty, or the lack of it, writes itself indelibly into every word that one speaks, into every thought and deed, and often reflects itself in one’s face so that the most causal observer can sense the quality of sincerity immediately.

Brand observable in successful people and those who will be successful: Common Sense

A positive mental attitude takes effort, patience and practice to gain and maintain. But a definite purpose leads to clean and clear thinking creative vision, courageous action, true perception and persistence.

Abraham Lincoln: It has been observation that people are as happy as they make up my minds to be

Copy from success! The experienced man had something I wanted. “That’s why I associated with older successful men”

Manage the environmental changes and the deviations of your attitude. You must correct these as they occur in your plotting.

The highest ideal of a man is the will of God!

Character is caught not taught. Direct your thoughts, control your emotions get into action and you ordain your destiny

Stand with everyone who stands right and part from him when he goes wrong – Abraham Lincoln

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

For a long time I have been a person that is introduced to concepts easily like them but never moves to act on them. For example, I feel that this programme is great but could not seem to get procrastination out of the way to put what I am motivated to do in practice. The suggestions in this book are practical and easy to follow. The simple assessment at the back of this book is an amazing tool which I have found useful in tracking my development.

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


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

I found the Benjamin Franklin’s plan very helpful. The habit of self evaluation is one that I have struggled to develop but now find I am motivated to do.

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

The basic idea is expressed in these words: “Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Put simply if one accepts in his mind that he wishes to achieve a certain level of progress, he can, only if he remains true to that decision, the decision to believe. The only requirement is to maintain a mental condition that affirms and reaffirms the physical expectation in circumstances.

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

a. How interesting was it to read? 10
b. How helpful were the contents? 10
c. How easy was it to understand? 7
d. Would you recommend it to others? 10
e. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9

Having just watched “The Secret” I have gone back to read this book. It is as if I a discovering that in fact the first time I read it, I read only a part of the book. I am putting in place actions and have just started working on my own book which is inspired by this book.




The New Dynamics of Winning
Francis DM Mwale (Zimbabwe)

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

The book emphasises a theme centered on answering the question, “How does the mind of a champion work?” It does this by making reference to laws, common behavioral traits of winners and those who do not win, it offers solutions, that is, methods that one can adopt to migrate their thought pattern to that of a winner. Finally through a 21 day programme, there is an emphasis on practical development of the ideals that have been drawn on throughout the book.

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.

There are three powers that determine the traits of a winner (see page 27). These are common sense, knowing your field and self reliance. These can be loosely translated for each respectively as meaning that, 1. It can’t be difficult, 2. I have expert knowledge in this area and
I am reliant on myself. This idea is especially important because as it now shows, before I read the book I had a lot of business ideas and in many cases felt that they would not work. I felt as though they were shallow and would not try to implement them. As soon as I decided to work on my motivational business, one win led to another and confidence began to build up. I realized that all the problems were the fear that I had. I told myself, that the sooner I realized that I could achieve a part of the goal at a time, I could in fact achieve more in the same amount of time than when I waited for the perfect moment in the perfect circumstances.

It comes close to an idea discussed in the book as well; this idea argues that one must realise that the best way to avoid falling doesn’t involve simply staying as far as possible from the ground; that there are no rewards in the things that you do not try. I created inside by big goal, small areas of success which I celebrated to improve my confidence at different points in the plan. In addition, Waitley suggests that we succeed over our own fears then become victors over our own standards before we appear to the world as that successful person (see page 47).

I experienced this in full view of myself. First I realized that I was afraid of failing. As soon as I realized that I would not succeed if I did not start, I was better off starting than not because the cost of not starting was far greater than the cost of not starting. He adds, high expectations are the key to everything. He urges that one must get rid of the unholy trinity – Denial, Rationalization and Repression. These three factors are described in such a way as to be interpreted as 1. That attempt to play down excellent performance suggesting that it was probably nothing and that attempt to place the responsibility somewhere else after a defeat suggesting that it was not your fault; it was this other factor or person(s), 2. That you had no control over what happened and 3. Holding back your disappointment with poor performance even with yourself. In reality the idea discussed above shows how important becoming your own supervisor is. You must be able to give yourself feedback and grow yourself, your goals and your expectations. For me, it was the difference between launching MotiveActor or not. It was whether I would allow my personal financial circumstances stop me from looking elsewhere for the money.

Your priorities as a leader are going to be communicated by how you handle dozens of small issues. For me the principle of action is important. If you have a goal, no matter how small, it can only leave your diary if it has been acted upon. Ensuring that you are decisive about a $10 decision is as important as being decisive about a $10 000 one. The real challenge is maintaining sanity in the heat of insanity. Allowing me to be lead by my conviction and not my environment was a victory. The toughest thing to do is to put your mind on show and not to lose steam over time. I had to learn to manage fatigue. I had to relive the experience until I was sure that I had now engrained it in my fabric. It’s a revelation worth re-discovering over and over and again in time and space and making in the fabric of the future.

I learnt as well that I must create a match between my principles and my actions. One had to give way to another. The result was clear; if I was driven by highly placed principles my actions were highly placed. If I reacted to the actions to grow my principles, I found myself changing the principle for my decisions time and time again and in the process making one step forward and two steps back. I had to realise that I was going to implement my 2008 plan in the first quarter I had to clean my logic for action. Slowly I began to give myself time to plan and time to appraise progress I had made. I realized that I had to start acting; its show not tell; I had to take time to grow the skills that help me act, the very thing I expect from other people. I had to set values that build better motives.

Let your mind relax your body (see page 92). Action on one’s goals comes with stress at times. One must come to the realization that worry is only that, worry, it is not progress, it is not reassurance, it is worry. For me the lesson was I must stop concentrating on those things that I cannot do anything about, that I must take up a new perspective and move on. I live in over 165 000% inflation. It is a reality I cannot ignore but cannot solve single handedly. I must balance the view that I am in control and that I am not. I had to learn to be creative about implementing my ambitious plan of action for 2008. I would have to use the advantages handed to me by my exposure to the world through the internet and the education that I have about financial markets and trade. I have learnt the reality of niches in markets and the practicality of small business over the internet. Today I have registered my business and hosted it entirely outside my country taking it away from the economic problems in Zimbabwe.

Self Transformation and Self Confidence are important factors that help you progress towards your goal. Move away from the “you can’t lose mentality”. Instead learn to communicate these requirements to win as a potential opportunity rather than potential catastrophe. In stead of thinking I was starting my goals in order to fail, I realized that knowing where I had problems would allow me to solve them and decide on solutions. I realized that I had to learn from the experts or at least to watch them and draw lessons from them. I began to follow 5 Executives; I contacted them, introduced myself and grew my contact time with them over time. I learnt from this book that I must be patient not to rush success. I could be ambitious but I should be realistic. I must follow my heart. I changed my mentality from “can’t” to “can”.

I followed another idea that Waitley suggested, I asked, ”Are these goals really my own? Are they realistic in terms of what I have done in the past and what I can do in the future?” I began to visualize myself at the end of a time and nearer to the goal. I stopped negative simulations that is mentally rehearsing problems or making them sound worse than they really are. I became more and more confident and learnt that managing others at work was as important as managing myself in my own life. I learnt that I was only a leader of myself before I became a leader of other people. As president of my local JCI chapter, I lived with frustrations in the first three months of 2008. I learnt to take myself to another level in the middle of a crisis. I learnt that it was me that was changing first before I was succeeding. I could not look at success over external entities without change myself.

Waitley asks that you have favourite success quotes: Citing his own, “Losers let it happen, winners make it happen,” and “Its not who you are who holds you back, it who you think you’re not”. He argues that if you have guts to say you are in control of your own destiny, the world will respect you for it, even if events prove you are wrong. For me, the question is that of self motivation. I ask, “How do I drive myself at a consistent or consistently improving speed towards my goal?” I began a small process to score points and looked at my goals weekly for appraisal and to set score targets. I was celebrating small wins and getting big ones through. It was slow to start but great to have and once it picked up, I felt a sense of fulfillment and got the backlog out of the way. I recast my attitude and my principles as I began to learn how I could be lead by myself. I learned that I was the leader of people and changed my attitude, became less domineering and more accommodating. I allowed each one of us in the team at work or at JCI to become more prominent each time. It was slow but it has begun to become clear. We have now rescued what was increasingly becoming a failed year and have given confidence to the team of leaders in JCI to work much harder.

The goal of a leader is to make people think more of themselves. The only way that managers will get true commitment is if employees respect themselves. In my own work we run a programme for staff and management and we try to show managers that those managers who have worked on winning the hearts of those they lead have added to the self esteem of new employees. Out the respect that people have of themselves, they have realized that success at work has been translated into success everywhere in their lives.

“If you try to sit in two chairs you will fall between them.” A personal victory for me has been to focus on achieving one goal rather than spreading too thin on the ground. You get nothing out of the first arrangement. Somebody once remarked, “If you sit on the fence, we will electrocute it so that you can fall on one side.” These are the decisions everybody who wants to win has to make; you cannot afford to be undecided, to be of two minds; focus is key.

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

When helping people decide what they want to earn their money doing there is one common agenda that I find, everybody wants to be the best. When you ask them whether they are in a field where they almost a natural understanding of, where they are experts or where they rely on themselves more than on the input of others, in many cases it gets people to realise that they have been trying to climb a cliff with no equipment.

“Your priorities as a leader are going to be communicated by how you handle dozens of small issues.” The weight of this statement was easier understood by me when I looked at the things that frustrate staff at my company. They are frustrated by leaders who insist on good time keeping when they run late on everything; they are disappointed by leaders who say they are consistent but will bend the rules a little to get their way. For me, the success of leadership is decided everyday by how I deal with the small issues; be it time keeping, sending a notice for a meeting with an agenda on time; making sure I have prepared for every training session including the little things like making sure there is enough paper for participants. They look menial but determine whet

Learning that individuals have control over the state of relaxation that they have by using their mind has been important for me. Stress is abounding in our lifestyles. What we should do is not to act like stress is a fix we need to keep going. Learning to act without the push or adrenalin brought by the urgency of stress is important because we achieve more when we are in control of our faculties.

The old lesson that change is the only constant in the world come to life in this book. Clearly without self transformation, there can be no real chance of success. Success is determined by success habits that we build. To do this we must change. Self Confidence acts as a push to take up a higher challenge. A higher challenge is always a part of the personal next step that we take towards achieving more in our goals.

A personal challenge as a leader and coach is to make people think more of themselves so that in fulfilling more of themselves they find the motivation to achieve more in the things that we work together on. As president of my local chapter of Junior Chamber International I have worked to show the people we lead that they will benefit in their personal capacity from working JCI programmes. We have made more progress in 5 months that we made in the last 2 years put together.

Simply put, I cannot be a winner who is not focused.

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

“Motivation is the desire for change, it must be internalized before it has any real power.”
Many people believe that they can be motivated by some external stimulus, as if to light up the proverbial fire. This statement clearly puts it that without the individual who wills the change taking responsibility for the change, the change will not take place.

“You can’t win by desire only”
Almost as a warning, this statement realises the superfluous nature that is inspiration unattached to action. Waitley advises that using the stair step method, means you go for the goal, you break it down and slowly, one bite at a time you will achieve what you will.
The Bicycle Lesson

“First, you must believe that a machine that can’t even stand by itself will transport you safely”

“Second, you must let go of all forms of support and balance yourself with the sheer force of momentum generated by your own strength”

“Third, you have to lean into the curves”

“Fourth, you can coast for a while, but you won’t get far if you don’t keep pedaling”

“Last, you’ve got to get up and try again after you’ve fallen off the bicycle”
A self explanatory analogy of success in life; I found the illustration vivid and striking so much so that I felt that the lesson what one must do in life has been belittled by the fact that we seem to effortlessly wake up each morning and live on.

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?

None were found to be out of sync with what I believe.

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

The Book contained a 21 Day Training Programme Through the programme, I was able to work on setting up my own self motivation business which I have set up and can be looked at

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.

All the matters have been covered well.

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

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



PsychoCybernetics 2000
Assessment by Francis Mwale (Zimbabwe)

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

The main emphasis of the book can best be described by the statement, “It is our self image that prescribes our limits.” (page 4) In essence our self image “defines the size and scope of the targets our goal-seeking device has to shoot for – the area of the possible” (page 5) Several statements make the explanation. “Indeed we all act, feel and behave” (page 3) in a way that is consistent with our self mage – regardless of the reality of that image. This is an extraordinary yet commonsense observation of how we become who we become. We can as a result become the best people we can be or the worst people we can be because of how we see ourselves. Taken at a larger scale, “Self esteem is the likeliest candidate for a social vaccine” (page 1). The suggestion is that we could cure social ills and build the futures of nations if only we could spread the idea that we must look at our self image from a positive view point. This book suggests that we can deal with personal goals, corporate productivity problems and the help children become better adults by dealing with the various aspects of their lives.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

Success is as easy as getting started
The biggest difference between success and failure is sometimes the difference between starting and not starting. The decision to start is made within a context. Put simply we all have something that guides our thinking, it guides what decisions we make. This something is known as our automatic guidance system which we use to sense what decisions we should make. It is built on our self image. It can guide us towards failure or towards success dependent on its programming. In my personal story knowing what has programmed my automatic guidance system was an important journey that I took when I read this book. I have so many fantasies of what I’ll do someday. This someday never arrives. For a reason so good to me, someday must be postponed because there is one problem or another. The next statement aptly describes what I watched before reading this book, “If we watch limits instead of destinations, we bump up against those limits.” (page 20) An important point about what we think we should do comes from our definition of success. I find that in many cases the reason I never start is because I have defined success in the terms of my limitations. Its always why the idea won’t work rather than why it would. I came to a somewhat commonsensical realization, that what we call success differs from one person to the other and one must be careful not to judge their level of success on the basis of what other people say is success. Success will almost entirely be achieved by creating a success instinct. While it sounds like a hawkish attention to the detail of your thoughts, it is simply a kind of programming of one’s thinking, thankfully taking away the need to be hawkish but creating the possibility that your mind develops a self managing system that guides the self towards that which it must achieve. The CRAFT technique was very useful; it created the possibility for on the spot responsiveness to anti achievement behaviour.

The Belief System is a Gold Mine
The natural successor to an improved automatic guidance system is the simple idea that a belief system is the proverbial Gold Mine or even more telling, the goose that lays the golden egg. Maxwell Maltz points out that, “The creative mechanism within you is impersonal. It will work automatically and impersonally to achieve the goals of success and happiness or unhappiness and failure, depending on the goals which you yourself set for it. I found it telling that the conscious mind is the vision setter, the leader if you like. The subconscious mind on the other hand is pro-vision. It provides the support system to enact the conscious mind’s decisions. It does not make decisions, it cannot tell what is joke and what is not. It cannot tell the difference between a real experience and an imagined one nor can it tell whether what it has been set on is fact or nonsense. All it does is to agree and it eliminates the other options open to our minds. What is needed is to repeatedly select what you want and in that way reprogram your subconscious mind giving new data for one’s self image. Wow! I had to put this realization to practice. I had to say to myself that if I could do this I would be successful beyond my imagination. When I started reading this book, the idea that I was an entrepreneur was very good to listen to but was never supported by action. I found myself moving from one job to another never at one moment stopping to question whether what I was doing was in any way related to my business in the making. In fact I was very successful at work, I got promoted and I made a little more money. I knew and I realised that the sort of wealth I wished to build could never be done by simply working. I knew that I needed to get out of work. My self image was very comfortable at work until there was an upset to my comfort zone at work. I realised at that time that I had been caught with my pants down. I had no options. The very thing I had wanted to avoid had come, straight in my face and there was nothing I could do with it. I became a lame duck executive in the company. I made no decisions, changed nothing, influenced nothing and was just there taking up office space. The small steps at starting a business became brisk and desperate steps. I had to do something. I am still in that job, its been three months but I am at a place where leaving the job is not an option it is the only way. I am at a stage where I cannot be emotional about the stage that I must reach to leave my job. I have a steady plan, I am confident and I am comfortable in my skin. I can account for some progress. I only had to change my perspective of this whole situation. I only had to see what I had not chosen to see before. I learned not to rush change, but to go step by step, affirming myself at each stage. I have not completed my journey but I know I have started it. I am no longer frustrated by the present, I am eagerly looking at each new day and making progress each day. I began by faking it. It was difficult to tell myself everything was alright when all the while I could see the physical evidence of disaster. I realised I have the capacity to think whatever I choose and virtually all my self defeating attitudes originate in the way I choose to think.

Starting from a point of view that beliefs are powerful, that it is through them that we create communities, order our lives and define our capabilities, the author makes a very inspiring observation, “…your imagination is even more powerful, because it can change your beliefs.” It was by far the most important part of this whole learning experience for me. The next step for a person going through “reflective relearning” (changing your belief system – inherently your self image) is running picturing sessions. Picturing an end result only broadens and deepens the range of targets your automatic creative mechanism can shoot for. It’s still up to you to do the work. All things positive, all things helpful should be accepted. It works in every thing especially in getting over your fears. My greatest fear was to be fully responsible for the money I lived on. To know that I could no longer blame the company for not paying me enough, that I could no longer ask for help from them when I could not manage my finances. That was very scary. I started by following a simple three step fake it till you make it process. I changed, “What if to, “So, what if?” I made mistakes, some very big ones. On one occasion, I put in all the money I had into a business I knew nothing about. In almost all the first 5 business ventures I went into I never paid attention to detail, never did a budget, I trusted people’s promises and never wrote down an agreement. I was green. I had setbacks, I had to deal with negative feedback, difficult sales (by the way I am not trained in selling). I followed the suggestion in book, I looked at mistakes as lessons. But all this relearning had to be done in the right frame of mind. I had to relax. I came into contact with relaxation in a way I had never done before. Dr Lozanov’s statement is intriguing, “…At the moment these people performed astonishing mental feats , their bodies were in a state of rest… They did not strain or coerce the mind to function. It happened effortlessly. It actually seemed to happen because physical and mental effort were not involved.” It lead me to one issue, stress. I live in a country where the most basic of necessities are not easy to come by. If I wanted food, it was to be bought 1000 kilometers away in another country. I was constantly worried, scared, never slept a good night’s sleep, never rested and it was as thought I was built to suffer. I tried to follow the suggestions in the book. Like it says the results were there, immediate. Many lessons were learned: “The time to worry about a decision is before you make it.” “…once the decision has been made, go along for the ride and accept responsibility for the decision. All fretting can do is jam your creative mechanism.” “Form the habit of consciously responding to the present moment.” Worry has a habit of focusing on failure. I had to stop worrying. I could see it. The more I worried the little I changed and the more I worried and the less I was likely to change the result and then I became even more worried. The lesson was simple. When one relaxes, the focus is on the good moments now. The focus is on the lessons that one has gained, on solutions that can be used in future problems. Use past successes to invoke courage to go forward. I made relaxation a part of my every day.

Sow S.E.E.D.S
Understand the SITUATION and respond to it differently. Depersonalise the situation. Through EVALUATION of the situation, determine who owns the problem. If one accepts that they do not always own the problem, that it was just something that had just happened, then one is closer to solving the problem. Shift your EMOTIONS to fit your evaluation. Normally after reasoning out that it is not your fault, your emotions are better placed. Instead of anger, one can move to disappointment. DO something about the situation. In many cases because we are not in control of the event we are not able to resolve the problem. Put in perspective, we must put ourselves back in control (in our own sphere at least). SELF ESTEEM will follow. It many cases we must evaluate our stress sources. Creating that list was important. I realised that there were things I could sort out immediately so that they do not cause me panic and anxiety and there were things that no matter how much stress they caused me they were so far in the future they could not be resolved immediately. It eliminated my “Ego-Investments.” The second area that it helped me do was to specify what the problem was. Like the author says, it helped separate the BIG problems from the small more manageable component problems. Sowing seeds, (the 5 steps in capital letters in this section) helps develop drug free tranquilizers. For example, developing Immunity to Stress through exercise or altering states of conscious. There were very practical solutions too, like developing a stress prevention list which you make sure that you get something done off it each week.

We are like bicycles, kept upright only when we are going towards something
Goal Setting – A man or a woman without a goal is like a ship without a rudder. Each will drift and not drive. Each will end up on the beaches of despair, defeat and despondency (Zig Ziglar) We are designed as goal seeking mechanisms. No matter how small the goal, it must be there. Goals act like a set point for success, a kind of preordained status quo that you keeping coming back to for reference. There is a direct relationship between what you strive for and what you actually achieve. There is no way that if you spent your time striving for small things you will suddenly become the achiever of big things. Goals are your own definition of success printed on your subconscious mind, without which your set point is ZERO. There is a point of difference though. Goals are not wild wishes. Being driven by life getting better after a certain stage is a normal fallacy. It isn’t goal setting its stagnation. It is almost as if life will only get better when one is dead. One must accept that everything that you have done to this day has been a realization of goals. Goal achievement is a conscious purposeful act. “Life gets better when we know we’ve made it better.” If you are waiting for your ship to come in, then why are you hanging around at the airport. The reality is that if you do what you have always done then you’ll get what you’ll always get. We must act. Procrastination lets us avoid the humiliation of failure. To start down this road, you must be driven. You need to feel that something in your life isn’t just working. Recognise that you can be a better you. I recognised this. I had many dreams, many things “to be done” yet I was being defined by one job.

The relationship between actions, mistakes and failure – page 274.
There were four steps which were very relevant to my life. The first, BE AWARE of the changes within and without you. For sometime I had become comfortable. I was happy in my skin and didn’t notice my skin was fading. BE OPPORTUNITY FOCUSED. Many people around me (me included) do not do this enough. They are not ready to move into directions where change requires. At one time I changed my whole career because of an opportunity yet here I was worried sick that changes was here and I’d have to change. STRIVE FOR 1% changes. Many times, I want to see change, 100% change, today, right now. The result was easy to foretell, I was extremely frustrated by the lack of progress. LEARN TO MANAGE CHANGE SO THAT CHANGE DOES NOT MANAGE YOU. Change is not rapid, so discontinuous and very unpredictable. When I started reading this book, my country was running something above 1 Quintillion percent inflation. Prices were changing before items could be placed on a shop shelf. If you did your shopping slowly in the supermarket, then your bill went up while you were in the aisle. Talk about the value of time! Today Zimbabwe has had 5 months of single digit deflation – 9 months later. The economy has dollarized and expenses are real. Many of us have found the going even tougher than hyper-inflation – it just hid your poor spending patterns. In this new mindset a new relationship between actions, mistakes and failure exists. It goes, “I am no 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 succeed and keep on trying.” Uncertainty is our way of avoiding mistakes, we know that without leaving where we are we do not have to face the prospect of making mistakes. It is a losing strategy. Not only does it inhibit risk taking, decision making and action, things so important for goal attainment but it stops us from growing. Stagnation is by far very dangerous. We must move away from uncertainty into action. The other thing we fail to pay attention to is resentment, a scapegoat we use to explain our own failures in the terms of unfair treatment and injustice. It makes happiness impossible, it is an energy leak and funny enough we feel important beyond measure. It is the strongest way to say, “I AM A VICTIM” an admission to others to control one’s life. At the start of problems with my employer, I operated squarely in this place. I had to shift my focus and find worthiness in other things and then slowly I rose to rebuild myself.

Accomplishment depends on the present possibility of the end result (page 317)
Make happiness a habit (page 330) – In order to make these two statements simpler I used the following explanation. If I can see that it is possible to meet my goal, that is, what I am dreaming, then I will accomplish it. I must live in the present as if I have already achieved that goal. Secondly, I must picture my goals so vividly that they become real. Thirdly, I set my creative mechanism by my feelings of success. Fourth, I experience that winning feeling. Without sounding mechanical, there is a way in which all these steps are possible. The relationship between accomplishment of goals and the ease with which that accomplishment comes through relaxation points to another factor, happiness. “The defining character of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do and are their own fault. Whereas optimists, “…think about misfortune [and] …tend to believe defeat is just a temporary set back, that its causes are confined to this one case.” Pointedly, they believe defeat is not their fault. The good news is that pessimists can learn the habits of optimists and improve the quality of their lives. Thus, happiness is a mental habit which can be cultivated and developed.

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 use my personal story to inspire the people around me. Using the ideas in the book helps me to explain the lessons in my life better. I believe in sharing what I know. Through MotiveActor, my lifestyle online business, I will offer lessons based on these ideas. I am developing a short presentation to inspire people in my country with these ideas. I will be presenting on a topic using these ideas and it’s entitled, “Living, Leading and Money: Getting Results from Your Sweat”.

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

“It is our self-image that prescribes our limits” “When we are programmed to agree with everything negative, we screen out all positive input”

It is without doubt the most difficult thing to do, is to fully grasp the meaning of this statement. For me, the instruction came from my successes. Even though I consider my successes thus far phenomenal, they are by no means the destination. Yet almost always I must struggle with myself to move to the next stage. One would think I would not, given my ambitious character. It has taken a personal struggle to make every new step towards success. I now suspect that inwardly I give up too early and am driven by the fear of failure rather than the desire to succeed. I recognise that in large part my self image has been programmed with a significant amount of negatives. These negatives, although I am changing them, have informed my fears.

“For imagination, sets the goal ‘picture’ which our autocratic mechanism works on. We act, or fail to act, not because of will as is so commonly believed, but because of imagination”

How do you imagine your way out of poverty? The reality of poverty and the distance that exists between it and success make it almost impossible for one to believe this statement. Over the past 2 years I have in contact with this thinking. The thinking that your imagination has the power to transform your life, from the work of James Allen to that of the Rhonda Bryne in The Secret and the results are beginning to show. It is a clear to me that the jury has decided, imagination sets the goal, you have to do the work.

“The time to worry about your decision is before you make it. [But]… once the decision has been made, go along for the ride and accept your responsibility for the decision. All fretting can do is jam your creative mechanism.”

Many times decisions are made and regrets follow them all the way into the process of acting them out. What results is mental misery. Making a decision is not something one wants to take for granted, but it is by far the best advice on decision I have ever gotten. Once a decision is made, one simply must make it worth their while to live with that decision. Making frantic efforts to doubt that decision will only add worry. That is a subject quite well dealt with in the book.

“A man or woman without a goal is like a ship without a rudder. Each will drift and not drive. Each will end up on the beaches of despair, defeat and despondency” “It doesn’t matter what your goals are, it only matters that you know what they are.”

This is a self explanatory statement of the focus that goals bring to people’s lives, or is it. I have been setting goals consciously for the last 6 years and the lessons from my goal setting are clear. The first, you will make as much progress because you are setting goals if you focus on them. The second, the level of understanding you have of the factors affecting your goals (both negative and positive) is directly related to the amount of despair, defeat and despondency you experience. The third, without discipline, you have nothing (Paul J. Meyer). It is by far the biggest challenge for people with goals, realizing that writing down the goal is only the start, the rest lies in the effort they put and the perseverance they exercise when the going gets tough. The fourth, realizing that you have all the resources, in your mind, to achieve your goals fuels your success.

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

None were found to be out of sync with what I believe.

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

There were several forms to fill in and several exercises to complete. I followed each one of them religiously and benefited from the change. I will be leaving my employment to start running my business full time at the end of August 2009 because of the lessons from this book. My first contract is based on training session I am building based on this book.

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

All the matters have been covered well.

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



Real Magic – Creating Miracles in Everyday Life
Francis Mwale (Zimbabwe)

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

This is a “How to book”, that is to say, it gives one pointers on how to make everyday life work in the way the person living it wishes to. This it is does by taking the principles we take for granted, gratitude, spirituality and so on, and locates them in everyday life so that life begins to be an eventful journey determined by the person living it and not by fate. In other words, life becomes full of possibilities.

2. What are the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

i. The Spiritual Dozen is a simple yet practical comparison of behaviours which act as indicators of my true personality.

The Spiritual Dozen is important in many respects, two of which I will point out here. The first is to give me a standard by which I can begin to live by. A standard here is not quite a strict regiment, rather it is about growing the spiritual life I have always had towards a particular direction. For me simple things such as not wishing to vanquish those with different opinions from mine is an area of growth. Not fighting to be first and noticing that the people around me are no different from me, they are an extension of me, in other words, they cannot suffer without me sharing in that suffering. As a leader this creates a desire to see everyone, without exception, benefiting from my knowledge. It creates the need for me to work hard to improve the lives of the people in my country for a better reason, as I have been doing since reading the book, the book provided a point from which I could begin to get people my age to think differently about the purpose of entrepreneurship.

ii. How to become a spiritual being & 14 keys for creating a spiritual mindset.

It is good to get a standard, but it is better to know how to transform one’s life to one of spirituality. Ideas which many people might frown on begin to take centre stage in amazing ways. The idea that a five sensory world limits my experience of life is clearly articulated here. As the book encourages me toe experience my spirituality I am filled with a sense of gratitude for being able to open my mind to these ideas. Like many people there are things that I attach myself to which are “unhealthy” spiritually. This section helped me to realize that it was time to forgive others, because of the empowerment it give me, it helped me practically to realize that I had come to a time when I needed to move past anger and bitterness. Even more enriching was for me the idea that I needed to focus myself away from outcome to a life of purpose. Since beginning my reading of this book, I have developed better relationships and I have begun to prioritise my family better than I used to. It has become important to me that I do not make work the higher goal than family. A key area of growth for me is discovering the secret that sits in the centre and knows. I am have not reached that point where this is clear quite yet, but I am experiencing that journey every day. I have also been encouraged to read the Tao Te Ching and have learnt a lot more from that experience. My meditation has improved and is now regular.

iii. Getting your relationships to purpose 142, Applying the miracle mindset in all your relationships 157

Purpose is about giving – You give what you acquire in service to others. This was a great point of realization. “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all these.” This has been important for me because it makes life makes sense. Suddenly, life is something you can wake up and go and experience. Suddenly everything has meaning. Knowing that the power and joy of purposeful relationships begins and ends with my own mindset was encouraging and empowering. Sometimes we try to develop relationships, good ones, on completely unsustainable foundation and especially on external factors. Centering all relationships on my own mindset gives me control again. It makes me realize that it was easier to have relationships as a child because at the time, all I wanted was to know people and all I did was accept people. There was no need to judge them as well as I do now. There was no need to condemn others to the back of my mind where respect and honour do not exist. The more I believed in people, the more I worked to create enduring relationships and the more I doubted my belief in people, the more I did not. This was a call to action, for me to begin to build my belief system, my mindset more honestly and more for a life of purpose.

iv. I am Prosperity

Like many people, I am driven by being a go getter. I am driven by the idea that there is not enough to go round, I am driven by the idea that If I do not go out there and grab these opportunities ahead of others then I have failed. Until I read this book I was depressed if I met somebody who I felt I was better than, and they were doing better than me. It created a life where I went into high gear and began to compete. At the time I read this section I was transitioning from an Executive job to a lower position in another organisation. While I had made the decision fully aware of all the pros and cons, I was unsure at times about what it meant for my social status. This section only served a greater purpose for me. It cleared my mind of any doubts and every question that came about who I am was easy to deal with from here on. I was more confident starting that job than I have been in many others never mind that I was shifting careers and shifting statuses in my employ. It grew my self esteem and helped me to work hard to launch a product that many thought would never be possible to launch. I came to a realization that I have all I need right now to be prosperous. Prosperity was not a crown that I had to earn from the approval of others, I set the bar and I achieved things, all because I had decided to do so. Prosperity is not materiality. I realized that until then, I had believed in lacks and for that reason I was unlikely to create prosperity. As soon as that changed, things began to change for me. My perspective became richer and more and more things began to come right. Suddenly it all made sense, my essence, my life, is invisible and boundless. I could not achieve prosperity. I am prosperity. My self-concept became, I am valuable, deserving and divine. “Prosperity is not the result of following a strict set of gimmicks and strategies, it is a mind-set, a mindset that is centred on your ability to manifest miracles.” (page203) I realised that at that point I had experienced my own awakening, my satori!

v. I am a miracle
Who I am is a decision I make. This is perhaps the most important yet simple lesson of this whole book. Realising that I am the author of my own personality, made me realise that I could simply close that chapter and begin to create a new one. All I have to do is to awaken to it. Perhaps I shouldn’t want to be awake. Thoreau says in this book, that he has never been able to distinguish between his waking life and dream. Don’t we think we are living the life we think are living? The profoundness of the statement cannot be overstated. Realising that I have everything that I need to make this happen made the task a lot easy. Many of the things that I had taken for granted suddenly became inhibitors and self limiters that I had to start to strip myself of. It has been a great journey of self discovery and continues to be. My dreams of owning a larger business were drawn up when I finished this section. I allowed no limitations. I started working on them. I am still working on achieving those goals, but now I see no reason to compete or hurry, only a reason to draw up the picture in my mind and to surrender to an intelligence that knows.

vi. I have become a willing student
Slowly as I wake each morning, I find that I have met somebody who has an interest in a part of my projects, or I have been referred to a source of information I didn’t know. While I haven’t concluded any project, the progress being made is helping my self esteem and I making bolder decisions and reaping results from them. Teachers have appeared. I have come to realise that I am a miracle. Indeed when I look back, I can only say we dance around in a circle and suppose but the secret sits in the centre and knows. I too know. I have always known, I just never tapped into that knowing.

vii. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

As a member of JCI ( I have found it easier to live the values of JCI because of this book. Being a part of this group of 200,000 people around the world, working in our communities, with little financial backing yet working to bring food to orphans and in a lot of other projects, I could go on doing this. The whole sense of I can do something however small, but I will change the world, makes sense now. Understanding the values of JCI in this light, makes the organisation make sense now. Whenever I train or speak I now encourage people to build businesses that are sustainable, and to do something, however small to change their communities. It my own way of experiencing a spiritual revolution of spreading it to others. I am confident that:

“Nothing can stop it, for nothing is more powerful that an idea whose time has come. An idea is a thought – individual or collective – that, once spread to enough souls, manifests in physical changes. If the collective thoughts are of war, hatred , divisiveness and fear, those seeds are manifested in their physical reality!

Now we see a new reality, a reality that comes from a new way of thinking and this is the context of our spiritual revolution. This new way of thinking is the consequently a new way of being for humanity.”

The encouragement that comes from the words in the book has made me realise that it is never too early and perhaps never too late for a good idea. Particularly when the idea is about making this a better world, one where humanity must begin the process of redefining its way. I am excited at the prospect of birthing some of those ideas. I am excited that in my own way I have begun my own spiritual revolution, and I know that however small, it has the power to get the rest of the world acting. I am encouraged by this statement:

“A new idea is first condemned as ridiculous and then dismissed as trivial, until finally, it becomes what everybody knows”

In my own way I am writing my letter to the people of the future.

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

The lessons and ideas from the book have already helped me encourage people to work hard on their goals, when I speak and train on goal setting and setting up a new campus for their lives. In my personal life, I am more confident and more committed to meditation. I have awoken to my spirituality and to the limitless power I have by doing those things I never could do because I was worried about losing or about competition. I have succeed even at the level I am in life because I came to a realization that I have all the ingredients for prosperity with me right now. Because of this, each success has led to another and when I have lost out I have accepted it as the passage of events. I have moved on faster and seen new opportunities because I stopped focusing on what has not worked. I am confident that for that reason I have seen more and more immunity. I have not experienced the blackouts in ideas, caused by fear – fear that things were changing to a place I had no idea how to deal with. Each time I have realised that I have never been presented with a problem that I could not solve, however complicated it might have been, the way was there for me to find.

4. Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“My contention was that being broke is a temporary state of affairs that afflicts almost everyone at one time or another, but being poor is an attitude, a set of beliefs that gets reinforced when we shift to blaming life circumstances for the condition of poverty.”

The suggestion that being poor is an attitude might lead one to watch his attitude constantly and attempt to shift it by the words one speaks and the thoughts one thinks. The “duty” is cumbersome and unlikely to result in a change in attitude. However something more substantial comes from deciding one’s values, which I tend to convert to my beliefs when I explain them to myself and to make a decision that whatever the result, however it can be reasoned, I am responsible for anything that happens to me. So for me poverty is a state of mind informed by what I believe. When I grow to believe other values, and I live my beliefs. At that moment, without converting an external force, I use what is within me to change my state of mind. What is left is to display, again through who I am, prosperity, which is now me, not because it has come to me, but because I have become it!

“To know the secret to prosperity, know that you can never find it, prosperity is the way. Or to paraphrase Eykis, there is no way to prosperity, prosperity is the way.”

Many people live a life – and I must admit that I have too – where you search for secrets to success and the attendant benefits of those secrets. Knowing that it can never be found is important because one ceases to expend his or her energy in search for something that will never be found and begins to convert that energy into observance of who he is. Realising that prosperity is the way, in other words “I have all I need now”, I must just come to a realization of it, is empowering. All I have now, is given new perspective as a resource and that new perspective readies me for my teachers and for the next personal step and so on. I do not want to measure prosperity via materiality but rather sustained joy.

“You become a cancer conqueror not because you go into remission … Instead you become a cancer conqueror because you choose to become a new person”

Overcoming is not the function of a reduction or lessening of who you are, it is a function of who you become. It utilizes the power that you are, yet you are not spent. Perhaps it cannot be understood from a point of limitedness, one must surrender to limitlessness in order to comprehend it. It certainly cannot be likened to something. It can only be pointed to by the idea that you awaken to a new you or rather a new state. You are therefore saying I exist before I become this or that. You cannot be identified with something in order for your identity to be understood, you are who you are. For me this is important in two respects, it awakens me to the idea that I do not fully understand the power I have but that I have it. Secondly, humility should not be mistaken for a lessening of one’s stead of identity in order to find the way to rise above disease (dis-ease) or problems. It is the expansiveness and limitedness of humility that brings us to realise our own power.

Taken from Yoganada in The Essence of Self Realisation – “The fundamental instinct of life, then, may be summed up thus: as a desire for continued, conscious existence in a state of perpetual enjoyment … Thus do all things reveal their continual nature… Complexities arise because soul-joy is forgotten, and because people substitute for it the fleeting pleasures of the senses. All things, however, came from Bliss or God. Eventually all things evolve back to that Bliss state.

I wrote in my notes when reading, “People are prone to the seasonal sense pleasures rather than the sustainable joy that is God.” It is clear that a joy that is Bliss is a joy that is peaceful yet fulfilling, it is not content, no, it is gratifying. It is a joy that gives pleasure in the middle of turmoil. You do not feel it or encounter it, you live it and realise it! You are calm and collected and because of this you are able to realise and to see what cannot be seen by those caught up in “busyness”.

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


A. How interesting was it to read? 10
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 5
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 10