As A Man Thinketh
Assessment by Michael Koko (Nigeria)
1. What is the main idea the author is trying to convey in the book?
Here the author tries to paint a vivid picture of the little things, so little but yet which makes a man, so little that we sometimes without careful observation don’t know are there, so little but yet so powerful, they make and also destroy us at the same time, we are illusive of its power and they are the hub upon which the wheel of our of a man’s being revolves, thoughts.
So basically what we are is a product of our own thoughts shown through the laws of cause and effect.
2. What were the seven ideas which were personally 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 personal life.
Whatever good or bad did is a direct product of our thoughts. Most things we do are results of premeditated thoughts or ideas we have being harboring over time within us.
As the heart keeps pumping blood through our veins to keep the cells and our entire body alive, so does the thought process keep us alive intellectually. The thought process never stops until we are dead, you can be sick but your thinking never stops, once a being is still alive, it is always in thought, basically thoughts may on how to make once current situation, to start and keep a business idea going and maybe how to acquire a set of new skills, how to get married and start making babies, it just goes on and on until one day we drop dead. Thoughts have always being a part of us since creation as humans beings so that is why they say we are thought evolved beings defined by our thinking ability.
The circumstances we find ourselves in often is a direct result of our thoughts, think low of yourself and you remain lowly placed in the environment you find yourself in.
Circumstances are just the means through which we receive the results of our thoughts, be good or bad, bitter or sweet or pleasant and unpleasant. The circumstances we find ourselves in do not make us, they only bring out real us, the potential do great that is within us is revealed to us through these circumstances. Great potential to do good or evil is in every one of us, waiting to be tapped at the appropriate time or moment, the moment one pulls this trigger, a result directly proportional to the action occurs.
Here in Nigeria the availability of electric power energy is an issue we have lived with for years and I have a great love for electricity but the lights are always out where ever I go. A particular area will have it uninterrupted for a long time but the moment I arrived at such a place, their connection develops one fault or another and for reasons I can’t quite understand, the area is thrown into darkness.
Before friend kept telling me that I was wrong for me carry around such psychic believes that it will only stop happening once I start believing that it is not my presence in a particular place that makes the lights go out, so I have read same thing in this book that until you change your thinking for the better, things around will also change for good.
ii. The mind as a vessel of thoughts
Our minds are like the ground we cultivate our plants on. A fertile ground will produce well nourished and healthy plants and on the other hand an infertile one will because it is lacking in the mineral requirements that ensure or that support pant growth healthily produces malnourished plants. A ground that is not fertile will be made so fertile by the application of fertilizers in the right proportion and at the appropriate time. A fertile ground can also become infertile by cultivation of same area for years with same kind of plants and only but wears down the mineral content of such soils because it has not being replenished. One can choose to replenish or not the soil upon which they cultivate their plants so the harvest will be measured by the amount of effort put into the work, it is either the harvest is bountiful or poor; nothing will come outside of his efforts. The human mind works with whatever is being fed into it. So feed your mind with good and healthy thoughts and good seeds will fall therein and definitely their kind shall be produced but you will also have to make great efforts too at weeding the bad ones away so you keep tending the garden of mind, weeding out the useless and impure thoughts and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and then fruits of right, useful and pure thoughts and by doing so a man sooner or later will discover that he is the master gardener of soul and thus, the director of his life. I have being feeding my mind with negative thoughts like am not worthy of any lady’s love and that’s why at age 28 I still don’t a girl friend of my own and though it feels bad, I live with it and until I change that attitude, I may remain single forever.
iii. Effects of thoughts on health and body
The idea of the effects of thoughts on our health and body is an important one. An ailment like hypertension is a product of ill thoughts we have within us. Our bodies only do the bidding of our thoughts just as a servant his master’s. Pure and beautiful thoughts rooted deep inside of us blossoms into a happy, serene and bright or cheerful disposition outwardly. My best friend was desperately in need of a job after his service year but when finally got one, the story changed, He kept telling me how he was suffering and so I told him he can only suffer when he keeps such thoughts and it worked when he tried it out.
iv. Relation between thought and purpose
When we wake up every day in our lives, a number of activities are always there for to carry out in order to improve ourselves. These could be house chores etc; our ability to direct our thoughts towards actualization indicates there is a relationship between such thoughts and their equivalent act. I have learned that the will to do things springs from the knowledge that I can do but at the same time doubt and fear are the great enemies of this knowledge and anyone who encourages such fears thwarts himself at every step of attaining great knowledge. Conquer fear and doubt and you have conquered failure.
v. importance of thought in achievement
Thoughts are very vital in the processes that lead to achievements. Until one is free, until he has conquered his weakness and fear, until he gains the strong self will to put away all selfish thoughts, he remains weak and abject and also miserable. So he therefore needs to lift himself out of slavish thought and put his mind on developing his plans by strengthening his resolution through self-reliance. The higher a man lifts his thoughts, the greater will his success be. Achievements are results of definitely directed thoughts and hence their importance.
In my quest to gain more I signed up with the international institute for global leadership and even though I am just a provisional student for now, I believe with more constructive efforts directed in the right path, I will certain pass on to the next stage.
vi. Visions and ideals
He who cherishes a beautiful vision and a lofty idea in his mind will someday realize it. These visions and ideas in our hearts that we feel within our minds, the loveliness that covers our purest thoughts are but seeds that grow into all our delightful conditions and environments and it is out of such seeds that we build our worlds and they can only come to be if steadfastly remain true to them.
Our vision is the promise of what we shall one day become and our ideals the prophecies of what we shall at last unveil.
Our dreams can only lay unrealized for years or more but if we persist in their pursuit, we shall one day see them come true. During my university days, I was desperately in need of a laptop but I could not afford it so I started saving and even though it took me years to save but because I never relented, I now own a laptop computer of my own.
serenity or calmness of the mind is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. To be calm is to know what to do and when to do it and is in direct relationship with our thoughts. It is also a measure of the harmony of a man’s inner being with his outer condition, environment or circumstance. This is one of my favorite because am a living testimony to this idea because I am always loved a revered by most people I come in contact with because of my calm disposure.
3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and helping you create a better world. If so, how?
In practice, these ideas can help me realize my set goals or actualize my dreams thereby becoming a successful person. They teach me to always be in touch with myself both with the internal and in harmony with my external environment. A good relationship between the internal being of a man with his external environment helps him deal better with people and situations around him. A tranquil environment will definitely mean a better world for all.
4. Quotes: are there any statements which the authors made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote and comment as to why they were important to you.
“all that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts”. Whether we fail or succeed in any of endeavors, it is only our thoughts that can propel us to any height of beautiful and sweet achievement or to the depths of bitter failure and feats of self-pitying.
“He who cherishes a beautiful vision of a lofty ideal in his heart will one day realize it”.
Dreams and ideals are the very fountain and pillar of great achievement. Dream big and solid, nurture the dream and your success or achievement will be standing on a solid foundation and will stand any storm and test of time.
5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about or are there any ideas which you disagree with and if so, why?
The author is of the idea that it is not what a man wishes and prays for that he gets, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are answered if they harmonize with his thoughts and actions. I am confused about it.
6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?
Yes the book contained exercises for the reader to complete and I have completed all of the and they were also interesting and helpful.
7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.
Our thoughts, without control are like wide untamed beasts or storms. So only he whose thoughts are controlled and purified can make the winds and storms of the soul obey him. When thoughts are controlled, they are directed to a meaningful purpose. Self control they say is strength and right thought a mastery and calmness power.
Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10, ten is good and one is poor.
A. How interesting was it to read? 10
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 10
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 10
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Assessment by Michael Koko (Nigeria)
1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?
Finding and following a meaning.
Our lives can only be better if we found that which gives us joy, satisfaction and fulfillment, and we follow it with all our strength, give it our all, our best, despite what society may make of it.
We as humans can do virtually anything; all is available within us, all the opportunities you can think about in the world, they lay within us, always waiting to be tapped, of course rightly.
There is more to life than mere survival, and at any stage in life, we should have set goals and objectives which we must follow through because only then can we find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill.
2. What where the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it is important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.
i. Set goals/objectives.
The reason the idea of having set goals or objectives in our lives helps a lot because without them all we do is live haphazardly, our lives are not organized and we can hardly achieve anything reasonable by living an unorganized lifestyle.
Here was Jonathan seagull, who has finally found out that flying, has become his way of life and made everything within his powers to attain heights in the field of flight and achieved perfection and self satisfaction, the end result of his objective.
Personally, when I started reading this work, it felt as though it was directed at me because then I was learning how to type and speed was of the essence so when I read through this book and constantly putting myself in the shoes or position Jonathan seagull found himself in, within no time, I was typing at an incredible speed much to the surprise of my friends.
ii. Insatiable quest for knowledge.
Driven by his blazing desire to know more about flying than any ordinary gull has ever dreamt, he soon found himself cast out of the gull society and left on his own out on the far cliffs, but his hunger for more knowledge remained as strong as ever, he remained resolute, it spurred him, he wanted the more to know what he could do and could not do up there in the open skies. Therefore he learnt a lot within the weeks that followed.
I have always had this great desire to learn almost anything that help me better my life both spiritually circular therefore it has made me read a lot of literature and am proud to say here today that it has been more than rewarding.
iii. Make sacrifices
Rejected, shamed publically, cast out of gull society and banished to a solitary life on the far cliffs. Jonathan seagull set his sights on flying to perfection, he was hungry for hours, there was no leisure time for him, he never played around aimlessly, never fought for food like the other gulls did but was always out there all by himself, exploring, learning painfully the glory of flight, the rewards it held for him, the possibilities, he no longer needed the fishing boats stale bread for survival.
No great achievement in our lives comes at a small price, we sacrifice a lot to achieve a lot, sacrifice little or nothing and you will achieve little or nothing, sacrifice much and much shall you achieve. When I was younger, I dreaded working on the farm a lot because of the physical pains that follows such activity but when it was time for sales of farm products, it felt as though I went through no pain at all.
iv. Phases of life.
Life is lived in phases and at every phase, there are lessons to be learnt that prepares one for the next phase of life. Learn well here and you will excel in the next. There was a time Jonathan seagull could only experiment, he spent days alone just to make low level glides but he also got to another phase of flying career or life where he did everything perfectly, picking out the difference between flight styles like the slow roll, the outside spin and the vertical slow roll etc. there was a time in my own life when I was just a primary school kid, I learned and moved on to the secondary aspect of education and then onto the tertiary level, graduated and here I am today, an unemployed graduate but with great aspirations and expectations that one of these days I may eventually get a good job and then get on with a master degree program.
Jonathan Livingston seagull saw himself above the ordinary seagull’s lifestyle of just fighting and living for food, he had a great life beyond mere survival, he stood out amongst them all against the wishes of his own parents and the entire gull community as whole. For they have failed to see that which he saw, he was a great dreamer, so he went from the ordinary to become an extra-ordinary gull.
Back in my village, there are lots of young, energetic and vibrant boys of my age bracket who have chosen the drab path to life by taking wives and are now making babies without control thereby making life very unbearable for them, simply because they are content with the ordinary way of life, to eat, survive and have children.
Even though he was rejected and cast out, he never at any time forget where he was from, and though he quickly found himself completely in a world so different from his own, after learning the much he could, and achieving perfection, he decided he had a lot to share with people like himself back home who were willing to learn, to lift themselves out of their ignorance and be free.
No matter what heights we have attained in life, or what great achievement, we should never forget our roots.
“don’t be harsh on them, in casting you out, the other gulls have only hurt themselves and one day they will see what you see. Forgive them, and help them to understand “.
He had come to discover that the gulls have cast him out only because they lacked understanding and fore knowledge so he was going to forgive them, he shared their pain of ignorance.
3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you create a better world. If so, how?
Practically, these ideas can help me or any other person out there who cares to read these books to live a more balanced and refined life, these ideas are like a sieve, they got rid of the coarse aspect of me. Am now a more patient, enduring and open minded person than I was and more comfortable and relaxed around people.
If there is a great relationship between the ways you treat people around and the way you want to be treated by people around you, your world and in fact the world around you will definitely be a better place for all.
You treat people better only when you understand and are in full control of yourself.
4. Quotes: are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.
i. “there is a reason to life, we can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly” (or excel).
Majority of the human race actually believe in life as a struggle for just survival therefore they live their lives ignorant of the great potentials that lay untapped beneath them.
My life, up until I read this book has been no different. It helped me put a new gear to life.
ii. “Home I have none. Flock I have none. I am outcast. And we fly now at the peak of the great mountain wind. Beyond a hundred feet, I can lift this body no higher.
While struggling to accomplish set goals in life, we hardly have friends that will stand by us, they feel we are a lost cause but if we have a strong will and strength, we always find ourselves stronger at the end such daunting experiences.
5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so why?
The talks about heaven, an idea I can’t quite get a hold of. Is he just using metaphorically to qualify or liken the beauty of great achievement to that of real heaven?
6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all the exercises and did you find them helpful?
The book contain exercises for the reader to complete and am just about rounding up the exercises and yes I found them very helpful and interesting.
7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.
“Thoughts”. We are thought evolved beings and thus we are what products of our thoughts, what we think is what we become; just as the author puts it and I quote, “break the chains of your thoughts, and you break the chains of your body too.”
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? 8