Sokona Christelle Kone – Assessments

As A Man Thinketh
Sokona Christelle Koné

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

A person’s way of thinking dictates his/her actions whether those actions are conscious or unconscious. Therefore, regardless of our wishes, the person we become, the life we live, and our overall wellbeing are all dictated by the thoughts we harbor irrespective of our heart’s desire. Just like a seed that is taken care from day one will likely end up producing a pleasing fruit, a mind that is nourished with good thoughts will produce good acts and benefit from positive return.

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.

This book is full of ideas and keep one captivated the entire journey. It is important to not quickly form any judgment until one has read the entirety of the work as certain statement that might seem a bit arbitrarily in the beginning are better elaborated upon at a later point.

Yet, some of the first seven ideas are:

A. You nurture your thoughts.

This flies in contrast with some religion and the belief that one does not always control his/her thoughts. By accepting the author’s premise here, one eliminates excuses in one’s life because one is forced to admit that “I thought it, so I am responsible for what ensues.” The entire notion of someone else tempting one or controlling one’s thought, whether true or not, can be abused; so, I agree with the concept. The statement is simply getting one to accept ownership of his/her thoughts and actions and that is a powerful mindset if achieved. Although I agree with the notion, I have to ensure I put it to practice on a daily basis and I think that is where I will have to find the courage in me to consistenly put forward that effort. Whether something succeeds or not, whether something is right or not, I have the ability to change the course of actions at all times if I just work on my thoughts and my sense of virtue, not just sometimes but at all times. I must let go of the notion that “I am just human and thereby entitled to making mistakes albeit minors ones.” I am in control and there are no excuses.

B. Your mind dictates the type of person you will be.

Therefore, it is important to positively nurture one’s mind so that the outcome can be positive. This also ties in the notion of “you reap what you sow,” so, even when difficult, it is important to always positively nurture one’s thoughts.

C. Success does not happen by chance but can only be attained through hard work.
Thus a successful person is not a lucky one but one who has deserved his/her providence. It is important to not take this premise to the extreme. Although we can once again agree that positive thinking is an instrumental key to success, thinking positively and acting positively do not ensure us a positive and successful life. Yet, the author might be referring here to success as an intangible; a state of contentment that has no material attachment.

D. The thought that man is the maker and shaper of condition, can help to better understand the above statement or see it in a different light whether that is in accordance with the meaning the author had intended.

By analyzing this statement, it is possible to extrapolate that the person living the condition is not necessarily responsible for his/her condition but that “man”, and not some unforeseen force, is to be blamed or thanked for that condition. Yet, since the entire thesis of the book is about the power of thoughts and one’s ability to completely control it, the author probably was referring to the person living the condition. After all, he does advance and support the idea that both slaves and slave owners are to be blamed for the life they live.

E. Although the entire book could be used as an effective guide for self-empowerment, one of the strongest ideas in the book is the notion that man “contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.”

Once again, one can argue the case of the less fortunate. However, if one were to just try and espouse that idea, even for just a moment, one could realize the power that lies in it. What a power, a tool, could it be for someone in a far away place who thinks he/she has no control over his/her life, to truly believe that he/she has, within him/her, all that is needed to turn his/her life around regardless of the hurdles. That belief alone could help move mountains. I wish I had understood that a long time ago but today is a new start and the journey begins for me.

F. Here again, just as in the previous book entitled Jonathan Livingston Seagull, we encounter this necessity to learn when the author states, while referring to man, that it is
“When he begins to reflect upon his condition; he then becomes the wise master, directing his energies with intelligence, and fashioning his thoughts to fruitful
issues. Man can only thus become by discovering withinhimself the laws of thought; which discovery is totally a matter of application, self-analysis, and experience.”

So here also, learning about oneself, engaging in activities that lead one to learn, discover, and thus grow in the process, is as well an important theme.

G. Your health is a reflection of your thoughts.

For example, if you have pure thoughts, you will not be tempted by unhealthy food. So the answer does not lie in adopting a new diet but in working on one’s thoughts. Once you control your thoughts, your actions (including your desires) will follow suit.

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

I am the master of my destiny and the type of people I attract depend on the type I secretly desire. Nothing happens by chance. I do not agree that any of the principles elaborated in the book are absolutes but I do think that espousing them as absolutes in my life will help me live a better life, a more accomplished life. I truly am the master of my destiny in the general sense of the word and it is time for me to act in accordance with that principle. If we learn by “suffering and bliss” then my resolution is to ensure that I stop being a pessimistic being so I do not keep reaping what I unconsciously sow.
I have thought of pursuing a Ph.D. for a while now and after reading this book, I am set on not postponing it anymore. I must keep it at the forefront of my efforts and make it “the centralizing point of” my “thoughts.”

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.

The importance of knowledge is further highlighted when the author states that “’He that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened;’ for only by patience, practice, and ceaseless importunity can a man enter de Door of the Temple of Knowledge.”

I greatly enjoyed reading this book and I am glad I read it in second place as I see it as a great sequel to the story about Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. How many times have we seen people thrown into situations they had not planned for in life? Well, here, the author tells us that how they act and or behave is not a matter of happenstance but that they are simply acting out what has been “fostered in the heart” when “the hour of opportunity revealed” itself because “circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.”

The overarching theme of the book is one of mastery of one’s thoughts; accordingly, there were simply many quotes I found interesting and that I would return to frequently.

One such quote states that “Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power.” So true and so difficult to practice at all times.

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?

James Allen states: “Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry.” Yes, most of us are the authors of our destiny. Acknowledging that fact should not stop one from admitting that not everyone has that privilege. Of course, some might argue that if we are not the authors of our destiny, if we do not completely control our becoming, it is because thus before us did a poor job of allowing us to do so. Perhaps, that would be an argument worth a thesis by itself as there are crooks, thieves, rapists… who have known enviable existence while others, who may have lived irreproachable life, may not have. Of course the author addresses that issue stating basically that a criminal who enjoy a wonderful life is reaping the fruit of the positive thoughts he/she experienced (as one cannot state that he/she never had positive thoughts) while the person who seemed to have lived an irreproachable life, did not live such a life and also might reap the fruit of the negative thoughts he harbored at times. For the sake of this exercise, I find it important to point out that his premise, though true in many instances, cannot be applied to all.

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

There were no formal exercises but the book is thought provoking.

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


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

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

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Sokona Christelle Koné (Cote D’Ivoire)

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

Life can surely be difficult and no one promises us an easy ride.  Yet, how we approach life, our attitude, and determination are under our control.  We can choose to just follow the trend and impose limitations on ourselves or we can embrace our freedom by understanding that we are in control of our life regardless of the obstacles which tend to be there to merely test our will.  We can make a difference because we are free to reach as far as we wish.

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 were many ideas in play in this short, yet fascinating, story.  Throughout the story, some of the most persistent ones were the ideas of courage, love, forgiveness, perseverance, freedom, growth and the desire to learn.

A.  From the beginning, the idea of courage is apparent as it takes courage for one person to go against established norms for the mere sake of doing what the heart desires.  It took courage for Jonathan Livingston Seagull to do what had never been done before, fly not for the sake of food but for the sake of flying!

B.  Although without courage he would not have embarked on his journey, the desire to learn helped him continue on his quest to fly higher and higher.

With the mastering of one skill came the unraveling of a new mystery.  So he had to solve that puzzle.  In fact, that is where the beauty of life lies.  Solving new challenges, and instead of giving up at the sight of the next one, facing it with even more resolve each time knowing that next will be the joy of discovering more about oneself. 
Although courage has been a cornerstone of my life in my quest to learn more each day, I have a tendency of letting other things stray me from my path.  Perhaps that willingness to let certain circumstances dictate my life at times is a lack of courage as well.

C.  With Jonathan Livingston Seagull, there were persistent request for him to stop being a renegade and to stick to the script that had been written for his kind.  Nevertheless, he persevered.

D.  Through the trial and errors, he continued and his dogged sense of perseverance allowed him to grow and discover unimaginable heights.

There are desires at times to explore certain elements of our freedom; yet, a sense of obligation to do what is best for others stops us.  This story teaches us to go for it, to go for our dream, our goals, to live.  It is not a call to irresponsibly live life as one must be courageous enough to face the consequences of his/her actions but it encourages us to not make excuses but to simply live.  Instead of gloating with satisfaction and a sense of “look at me now,” when he had achieved the unthinkable, he understood that life was an endless cycle where one never stopped learning.

E.  Moreover, he was humble enough to realize he had not done anything miraculous but had simply dared to believe in freedom, the freedom to learn and grow because he had the right to do so; a right one has as long as one lives so that to stop being free is to stop living.

F.  The self-discovery journey of this one gull is nothing shy of laudable, yet it is his ability to love others regardless of what they may have done that might leave one at awe.

G.  He did not necessarily go through a stage of anger at the gulls; rather, he was focused on learning and helped a future student learn how to forgive.

Their hatred made him pity them even more because it stopped them from understanding the possibilities that lied ahead if they would remove self-imposed limitations from their life. Anger, in fact, is an impediment to success as it takes too much energy.  With time, one might realize that it is the inability to control one’s emotions and to positively direct them that leads some to live with anger.  If uncontrolled, it can exhaust all our force and energy and it could end up consuming us.  So being angry does one no good; instead, one must keep forgiving ahead while not losing sight of one’s purpose.

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

The book helped me reevaluate my life.  Learning, achieving, and living are all important concepts advanced in the book that, at times, are used interchangeably. After reading the book, I am forced to ask myself whether or not I am truly living.  Am I doing what I truly want to live? Am I simply living my life as dictated by others or am I forging my own path in spite of the challenges.  The answer is maybe; a little; and not really.  In other words, I need to change the course of things.  How I go about making the necessarily changes is going to be a work in progress but I am certain that I can do it because I am in control.

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.

The second sentence of the first paragraph reads, “A mile from shore a fishing boat chummed the water and the word for Breakfast Flock flashed through the air, till a crowd of a thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for bits of food.  It was another busy day beginning.”

After reading the story once, I was going back to it while answering the questions and this sentence flared at me.  There, was this flock of seagulls that was simply going through a motion, repeating the same thing that had been done by their kind for generations.  No one to sit and ponder on the possibility of changing the process, of improving it so it could be better, safer, fairer and less hectic.  They were just going through the motion.  Tradition imposed it and so did flock laws as dictated by the elders.  Not seeking change is perhaps the easiest thing to do albeit not the most satisfying one. Yet, can one claim to have lived after simply walking a path laid down by others without ever seeking to even test one’s own potentials! Is that what life is all about: birth, imitation, death?  Playing by the rules, in some instance is a necessity for an organized society, yet when it comes to the limitation one imposes on the self, one should be honest enough to admit that he/she could make changes if he/she chose so.

The key to life, as clearly elaborated in the story, is one’s mind.  Once a person realizes that “I cannot” is akin to “I do not want to grow” in many instances, then he/she might stop making excuses and might actually live.

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 book should help one take control of his/her life but should not be used to belittle others who are not fortunate enough to be free.  Just as Jonathan Livingston Seagull came back to help others who dared to reach for a better life, we must do the same.  So the book’s focus on striving for a better life should not be used as a call for the “survival of the fittest.”  Instead, it tells us that for those of us who understand that there are no real limitations on our life, we must aim higher each time and love our brethren enough to help them achieve as much.

Once he discovered some of the art and joy of flying, Jonathan Livingston Seagull could have simply stopped there and simply enjoyed life.  Yet, for him, enjoying life included learning and discovering more and more.  For him to enjoy life, he had to keep growing because in fact, learning was living and living was growing.  Consequently, this book should not be used to support a life full of complacency. 

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?

Although there were no traditional exercises in the book, it forces one to sincerely look at one’s own life and evaluate it.  Accordingly, I did that exercise.  I found myself analyzing what I had read and analyzing my life.  Am I truly free?  Am I learning each day so I can keep growing or am I just living according to other people’s principles?  It is clearly a process but one that requires an immediate change.  The need for change is even more pressing because I agree that if one is not living then one must be dying.  Life is a treasure and freedom is the gift it gives us.  We are free of limitations.  Yet, it is a worthless gift unless we make use of it, unless we value it; and to value it, we must explore it and learn as we go.  We must strive to know more and more each day and as we do so, we grow as individuals.

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

The book explores this idea of mental limitation.  It has been said that “seeing is believing,” but here believing is living; believing and acting out without hesitation in a manner driven by that belief is achieving and achieving is succeeding.  There’s no set level that one must reach; no degree, monetary prize, official recognition is conferred upon one.  Yet, the level of achievement is nonetheless gratifying and the ultimate sensation is one of self-realization.

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?                                    9
C.      How easy was it to understand?                                     10
D.     Would you recommend it to others?                               7
E.      What is the overall rating you would give it?                 8.5

Assessment by Sokona Christelle Koné (Cote d’Ivoire)

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

The book explains and supports the principle of psycho-cybernetics, which regards the brain, meaning the nervous system, as a complex automated system that functions according to the directives given by the operator (we, humans, are the operators of our brain).  If the brain is comparable to a computer for the sake of explanation, then we are the user and when we sit at a computer, we act similarly to what we do with ourselves.  Regardless of what we want, desire, or our best intentions, if the instructions to the computer are not correct, the result, if any, might not be suitable.

The author tells us that the key to living, meaning to happiness and a fulfilled life or life as intended by our Creator, is to have a positive self-image, that is, have a self image that reflects what our Creator embedded us with in the beginning.  Not only were we made to succeed but we were also given the ability to select which path to choose to attain our success.  This ability allows us to also be creators and as a consequence, we can correspondingly direct our life toward failure by focusing on the negative aspect of things.  In fact, when we experience something in life, our “imagined experience,” meaning the experience we retain with us from what happened and which might not necessarily reflect the reality, might see it in a negative light, perhaps because we focus on what we perceive to be a failure instead of looking at the failure for what it is-the learning we had to undergo for us to reach our goal.  So the experienced is stored in our memory with a negative connotation attached to it.  Our imagined experience takes the place of what really happened as our nervous system cannot differentiate between the two rather, it acts according to what you think or imagine is true.   If the stored negative connotation was, for example, in relationship with our attempt to interact with other people, when that need and/or opportunity comes about again, our “imagined experience” will make us shy away from it or hate every bit of it before even attempting to interact again.  If you see green and associate blue with it in spite of the reality, then in your imagined experience, green will be blue and your nervous system will treat it as blue until you find a way to remedy the situation.

Just as our reactions are influenced by how we see things and not how things truly are, our mind automatically reacts according to the experiences and the attitude we attach to those experiences.  It does not act according to what we currently want or desire but what we, deep inside, think or believe.  For example, a person might really want the job he/she is being interviewed for at the moment.  However, deep inside, the person believes he/she will not be hired.  The days leading to the interview, the person may have kept telling himself/herself that he/she would get the job and that this was the chance he/she had been begging the Lord for a while.  The day of the interview, the person keeps telling himself/herself that he will do well.  Although he/she might meet all the qualifications, the person ends up not getting the job perhaps partly because, one way or another, the person unconsciously emitted the wrong signals to the interviewers due to the deep seated belief that he/she would not get the job.  So, as we work on changing our views and attitudes, we will move back on the path that leads to a fulfilled life.  Therefore, we must practice success.  If we find that we lack a certain skill for example, we must imagine being successful at that skill; accordingly, our brain will, with time, learn how to dictate the right combination to our body so that we can improve in that skill.  For example, we can rehearse being successful at scoring penalty shots in a football match; presenting in front of a large audience or carrying a debate against a renowned debater.  Regardless of the situation, our imagination is the key and with time, if done correctly, it becomes experience that is stored deep inside of us and that affects all our doing.

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.

A.  Nothing succeeds like success.

Whether the experience is real or synthetic, we need past memories of success to build our self-confidence.  A person who has only known failure cannot succeed.  As a teacher, I meet students who have very low self-esteem.  Usually, I give them task I am certain they can complete (whether they know it or not) then, if needed, assist them in completing it and congratulate them for their accomplishment.  It has worked wonders for some and others of course, as soon as they are faced with a difficult task again, go back to their old self.  These kids, in many instances, have had almost no experience of success and at times, were made to feel as failures by those who were supposed to love and guide them.  Hence, they do not believe in their ability to achieve.

B.  Our mental blueprint or picture of ourselves determines our future success or failure.

If we have a negative view of ourselves, then we are likely to fail.  If we see ourselves as victims, then we are likely to end up being one because even if all efforts were put in place to ensure we were not a victim, we would find a way to victimize our self.

C.  Engaging in positive thinking is of no use if one’s self-image has not changed.

You can write notes all over your fridge and engage in other positive thinking strategies but as long as your real inner image of yourself does not change, then nothing will change.  It does no good to try to solve the problem on the surface if the real issue lies underneath.

D.  Approach any new problem with the mindset that the answer already exists and you are simply finding it and not coming up with it.

The approach will take some of the anxiety out of the process and help you stay the course.

E.  Our failures do not define us but are merely a process through which we go as we learn new things.

We should allow ourselves to forget the errors once we achieve successful experiences instead of focusing on a mistake or error that occurred on our way to success.  Making mistakes is part of learning and sharpening one’s skills.  However, focusing on them refrain us from memorizing and repeating success.  It might also block us from learning as well.

F.  Practice in your head the scenario you wish to take place.  The more we practice the better we become at any given skill; the same applies mentally.  Moreover, by engaging in mental exercise, we force ourselves to associate success with the task and avoid questioning our ability to achieve it.  Thereafter, our effort will help us go forward but it will not be a misguided effort and we will have put “our best feet forward” to say the least.

Without knowing the research behind it, I have done much mental practice; in fact, I tend to do that more than actual physical practice.  I like to retreat myself, close my eyes and train for certain scenarios.  I find myself doing that for situations I also would like to occur.  For example, I might imagine myself before a certain person, one that I currently have no reason to think I might meet, and I imagine our conversation; I anticipate what the person will say so that I can be prepared.

G.  Within each person lies the power to make the necessary changes.

It is merely a question of realizing that ability and putting it to use.  Understanding the negative self-image to be just a figment of our imaginations that needs to be erased and replaced with realistic ones.  Once we achieve that process, we begin to see the changes in our life.

There were many other important ideas advanced in the book.  For example, the author clarifies that we are not in competition with anyone else because we, as humans, are each different.  No two people are the same regardless of where they may be from and the experiences they may have known.  Accordingly, there should be neither inferiority nor superiority complexes as those stem from the need and/or desire to compare oneself to another one.  One person might be better than the other one in a given skill but that, by no means, makes that person superior.  Once we understand that no one is neither superior nor inferior to anyone else, it is easier to start changing our self-image.
The author also points out that we cannot change our past but we can change our mind and thereby stop giving power to our past so it does not perpetuate itself in our future.  When letting go of past mistakes and failures and understanding them as steps that were there to help us learn and grow at the time, we free our mind of roadblocks.  It is also necessary to do the “worrying before you place your bet, not after the wheel starts turning.” Consequently, all the preparation, focus and worrying come into play as preparative measures but once a decision is taken, the mind must be freed of any concerns and let our “success mechanism” take control.  It is important to live in the present.  Just as much as the past can hold us back, the future can also be an impediment to our ability to adequately respond to what is at stake now. Our “success mechanism” will take care of the future.

Moreover, he explicates that directing one’s thoughts toward positive thinking, whether it is about past, present or future events will set a trend and train our brain. Things will start changing for the better both internally and externally; of course, the external effects of the change will be caused by our new internal predisposition on focusing on the good side of things and taking the bad side for what it really is, i.e., the bumps caused by a lack of trainer wheel but bumps that in the long run, help us enjoy the habit of driving a bike.  If whenever one experiences some type of negative feelings, self doubts and fears, the person finds a way to positively use those forces, they (i.e., those undesirable forces) become some type of bell that bring about or trigger the feeling of success those defeating the destructive nature of those agents.

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?

This idea of using mental image to change one’s life rings a bell.  I find myself remembering instances I have used the strategy without really knowing I was using it.  Yet, I see many of the mistakes I made and hopefully I can now correct those mistakes.

I also think that my thought process may have led me to many mistakes.  I have endured many heartaches and I let those events, to a certain extinct, dictate my life.  I have that lingering belief that things are never “good” for a long period of time.  Sooner or later, my life will know difficult moments.  When I live moments of happiness, I enjoy them but then there is a fear somewhere deep inside that they will not last.  Now I wonder if thinking in that manner does not lead me to take actions which lead to unhappy moments.  I have to learn to enjoy myself and enjoy life as it is while I endeavor for a better life instead of worrying about worse things to come.  I cannot control what will come but I can control how I view my current state of affairs.

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.

In the beginning of the book, in fact in the preface, it states, “When you change a man’s face you almost invariably change his future. Change his physical image and nearly always you change the man; his personality, his behavior  and sometimes even his basic talents and abilities.”

The quote immediately caught my attention as the overarching theme in the first two books had been: change your mind and your life will change.  Now, this book was stating, change your appearance and your life will change.  Of course, few lines later, he stated that he had found out that there were something that needed to be reconstructed, and that something else was the difference maker not necessarily the facial reconstruction as he had previously thought before his case studies.  He found that personality, or what he defined as a person’s image of himself, was the key to changing his outlook on life irrespective of plastic surgery.  As a person who lives with a life changing and limiting physical handicap and who does not remember life without the handicap, I can attest to that.  At times, how we view ourselves, has nothing to do with how others view us and our view can even at times, albeit not always, influence other’s view of us. The author argues that if one were to change a person’ self-image positively, one would expand the realms of possibility for that person. Of course that is a very difficult thing to do but nothing beats trying and since I do believe that he is right in that we all want more life, trying can only help.

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


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

In the preface, the author warns us that the book has been written to be experienced and not merely read.  Accordingly, there were many implied exercises calling for an active reader as well as few explicit ones.

I practice all the exercises in the book including the examples that were meant to drive a certain point home but not necessarily given as exercises.  The first explicit exercise, in fact all of them, lasts thirty minutes.  I have decided to try for at least thirty days where I sit and imagine myself acting out successfully; then I will do another one that works on relaxation and a last one using an analogy used in the book where the ringing of the phone is used as an example to help one ignore stimuli.

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.

Although very interesting, few points proved a bit repetitive albeit perhaps for a reason.

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

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

Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement
Assessment by Sokona Christelle Koné (Cote D’Ivoire)

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

Success is not a far away dream or a something that some attain because they are lucky, are born in the right circle or are given.  It is a reality that can be lived by all as long as certain steps are taken and the necessary effort, dedication, and sacrifice is done.  The author walks the reader toward success.  Page by page, he explains and gives concrete examples of the mindset, attitudes, habits and actions that lead toward failure versus those that lead toward success while propelling the reader toward taking actions as he/she reads, that will forever change his/her life. 

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

The book lists seventeen principles – each providing important information necessary to success.  In fact, as pointed few times in the book, it is the active and, at times, forced practice of the various principles together as a cohesive whole, that lead to success.  One, usually, cannot be put into play while the other is ignored.  Otherwise, success might not be attained or, if attained, might not prove long lasting.

The seventeen principles that one must develop and or put into practice are: developing definiteness of purpose; establishing a mastermind alliance; assembling an attractive personality; using applied faith; going the extra mile; creating personal initiative; building a positive mental attitude; controlling one’s enthusiasm; enforcing self-discipline; thinking accurately, controlling one’s attention; inspiring teamwork; Learning from adversity and defeat; cultivating creative vision; maintaining sound health; budgeting one’s time and money; and using cosmic habit force.  Although all seventeen principles are important, let’s further explore the following seven: developing definiteness of purpose; establishing a mastermind alliance; assembling an attractive personality; going the extra mile; building a positive mental attitude; enforcing self-discipline; and maintaining sound health.

A.  Developing definiteness of purpose.

The main idea behind this principle, which is listed first in the book amongst the seventeen principles, is to focus one’s thoughts, time, effort, and energy behind a concrete and well thought-out plan. Does one have a burning purpose (not a mere desire) that keeps him/her up at night?  The key here is to put that purpose down and constantly come back to it as the realization of it develops into what will become one’s main concern.

The first time I read this chapter, I thought about an idea and wrote it down; it was a business activity I would like to accomplish.  Yet, it was during my second lecture of it, which happened rather involuntarily due to “technical difficulties,” that I actually put together a goal I am now striving to reach.  This second time around, I had a light bulb moment and I put down the plan that I am now improving daily and striving to bring to realization.  Developing my definiteness of purpose was not difficult but as I went through the reading, I was able to refine it and put down possible extension for future growth once I will have reached my current goal.  Do you burn to accomplish something and/or reach a certain goal?  That burning desire is the first step toward success.

B.  Establishing a mastermind alliance.

Here the focus is on creating the requisite nucleus that helps propel the above purpose into success.  Accordingly, one must look into the skills, personalities, and qualities necessary before making such a decision.  I have a tendency to count only on myself and to go ahead at task alone.  Although I work well with others, establishing a mastermind alliance, and nurturing that alliance so it experiences a healthy growth, is a task I now take very seriously and understand its importance for personal, social and financial wellbeing.  This nucleus can help one stay the course of actions when discouragement becomes part of the equation.  Moreover, it will help refine each decision I end up taking in the future.

C.  Assembling an attractive personality.

I find this principle to be very important because it mentions an element I believe we usually ignore.  Assembling an attractive personality by developing the twenty five different aspects mentioned on page 25 is important for our own health.  Our personality becomes attractive not just to others with whom we will have important dealings, but to ourselves, thus making us even more attractive since we will exude a certain confidence and a stronger PMA.  The attractive personality will show in our physical appearance, our voice, our manners and our decision making process.  In fact, practicing this element will help us embrace acts that presume success because we will have the confidence.

D.  Going the extra mile.

I usually go the extra mile but I now see the importance of doing it constantly.  Although known for going the extra mile in just about all my previous employments, I know that there are times I could have done more but had let a routine set in and had let colleague’s negative attitudes or my perception of injustice toward others, influence my behavior one way or the other.  Yet, it is clear that going the extra mile is an important aspect of all one does whether for oneself and/or others.  It helps reinforce all the positive elements mentioned above and below.

E.  Building a positive mental attitude.

Although not listed first in the book, this is perhaps one of the most important elements, and understanding its importance and the interconnectedness of all the elements has helped me evaluate myself throughout the day even in my relationship with my family.  I find myself assessing certain scenarios right after they have occurred or as they are developing and asking myself if my reaction is acceptable and whether or not it helps develop my PMA. I am usually very pragmatic but I tend on dwell on the negative aspect of things.  I am learning to let go and to simply move on. I tend to be there for others but I do not expect the same thing in return and I think part of it is because of my tendency to see things clearly yet focus on the negative aspect a bit too much.

F.  Enforcing self-discipline.

Self-discipline, as many of us have been told since childhood, is the key to many things in life.  Yet, here, it is not just a question of applying discipline to stay a certain course of actions and/or refrain from doing certain things.  It involves the important aspect of controlling one’s emotions.  The author stresses the need to understand the various human emotions and using them to one’s advantage so they help in carrying the definiteness of purpose to fruition.

G.  Maintaining sound health.

This is crucial because the entire struggle for success would be meaningless without it.  This is an area I often neglected in my younger years while working.  I remember working regularly while eating neither breakfast nor lunch.  The author stresses us the importance of the whole health whether it is internal, mental, physical, or in regards to our relationship with our family and loved ones.  Moreover, family is extremely important in my life, and, hopefully, this reading will help me continue to ensure I always spend quality time with my friends and family. 

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 had thought of my present plan a while ago, in fact, more than a year ago.  However, I lacked that burning desire, that deep-seated belief in myself.  The above ideas, indeed all seventeen principles, have helped me acquire that desire and I am working on the rest of the principles.  I understand the importance of developing and applying all of them.

I understand the necessity in making decisions and not hesitating.  Indeed, not taking this important step is the reason why I still have not started my own business.  It is true that there were other roadblocks but had I resigned myself to putting my plan to action regardless of the obstacles, things would have been different.  I still think about the positive and negative possibilities of everything as I have always done, but I do not dwell on the negative aspect as I understand those will help me along the way.  It is merely a journey and the various circumstances as they occur will all be part of that journey that will eventually lead to the success I now envision it daily.

Also, as in all the previous readings, there is this focus on one’s thoughts and one’s ability to control and positively (constructively) direct those thoughts.  Here, there’s a recommendation to be success minded.  Accordingly, I must train my thoughts so they help me achieve my goal.  I have many doubts; but I understand that putting the principles into practice daily, and actually starting the physical realization of my plan will all help to cast away the doubts, fears and apprehensions.  I simply need to keep moving forward.  It is all a question of developing a positive mental attitude.

So, by putting into writing my plan as advised in the book, and my boosting my self confidence about my ability to also do what my subconscious, through negative feedings had dubbed as impossible, I see the strength and weaknesses in my plan and I am daily moving a step forward realizing a dream.  Yet, few of the principles are proving difficult such as the need to build my mastermind alliance.  So far, what has been a poor professional networking skill is highlighted as I struggle to complete this part. Yet, the struggle is part of the fun and I am confident that I will succeed at this task as well. 

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.

“The value of the wealth that comes with success is that it carries with it the lessons you have learned in acquiring it.”

Because you will have worked hard and your journey will have become part of you.  So, the trials, errors, and successes, all become part of your valuable luggage called experience.  The lesson here is that one must deserve success.  It does not happen by luck and if it does and one is not willing to do what it takes to acquire it for most people in the first place, then one will lose it as quickly as it arrived. 

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


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

Toward the end, in the review part, the book had exercises but because the reading had already helped me start my own exercise (my own business plan), the exercise was more a review for me.  I did it more as a mental note because at this point, I was going back and forth adding and deleting from the steps that are needed for me to achieve success.

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

I want to remember this daily:  “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, your mind can achieve!”  Both this quote and the reading merely start where the other readings left and provide the road map to success.  The other readings laid down the foundation (so that one understands the quote and its reference to the power of consciousness, and thus unconscious mind, before even reading this book) and this one is giving all the tools necessary (in a detailed manner).  Therefore, the reader is ready to take this information without even judging its validity or feasibility because the previous readings have already initiated the PMA without referring to it as such.  So, as I keep this quote with me, I know that the key is to form the habit mentioned in the book so that the lessons are naturally put into practice at each moment. 

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

How to Win Friends and Influence People  
Assessment by Sokona Christelle Koné (Cote D’Ivoire)
1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The book provides practical rules about the lifestyle one needs to live, specially the attitude and behavior one must adopt, in order to deal amiably with others, whether the relationship is to last just minutes or a lifetime. The author, through many cases and examples provided throughout the book, makes the reader understand how beneficial such a revolutionary change or new way of living will have on the person involved, the people he/she interacts with, and undoubtedly his/her loved ones.  Whether our concerns are focused on our “handling of others;” our efforts “to make people like” us; attempts to make people accept our way of seeing things; our missteps in changing people; or our lifelong struggle in creating a happier home life; this book covers them all.
2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why?  List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you.  Use personal examples from your own life.

  1. Education is the ability to meet life’s situations.  

Whether you have a piece of paper that proves that you have attained a certain level of “education” as prescribed by society, how you deal with every day’s situations is a display of your education.  Simply amassing the information found in various books and then receiving a degree that attests to that achievement without doing anything with the acquired knowledge does not necessarily make one educated.  

Yet, it is our ability to put into action the lessons learned in school and/or in life that differentiates people for, as stated in the book, “only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.” I strongly believe this is true and in fact, I think it is those who are able to observe their environment and take actions with the goal of remediating certain ills, or addressing a need, that are truly educated.  It is actions that help others, such as starting a company that creates quality jobs, thus enabling someone to feed his/her family, that demonstrate our ability and skills the most.  

  1. In dealing with others, don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

This goes contrary to what we are usually taught which is to confront a person with his/her mistakes and let him/her know.  Yet, here it is telling us to not criticize and it makes sense for as stated in the book, no one likes to be wrong and unless the point of the criticism is to merely prove that one is right and the other wrong, it will help resolve nothing most of the time.  The person being criticized is hurt and becomes defensive and might even see himself/herself as a victim.  There is no need to hurt another person’s feelings and emotions especially since we can handle the situation differently without causing the person to resent us.  It is occasions like this, when there might be an opportunity to criticize, if handled with care and foresight, that one can generate the most positive effect.  By criticizing, we drive people to do nothing positive but they just become defensive and even more aggressive at times and if they were predisposed to see their own shortcomings, that becomes almost impossible. As beings of emotions, we respond more to care, forgiveness, patience, and kindness, and if a criticism is needed, it needs to be done patiently, and in an encouraging manner that also, when possible, put to lights (even before the criticism) some of the time when the party being criticized was at its best or times we, ourselves, committed similar or worse mistakes.  

B. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.

People like to be appreciated and to feel important.  We all do and accordingly we all welcome honest and sincere appreciation.  In fact, when one has mastered the art of sincerely giving praise and approbation, one can get people to do just about anything.  The desire to be important is so great in each one of us that when not satisfied, it can lead to divorce, unhappiness, aggressiveness and many other ills that can be avoided.  It is a natural human desire and it is in fact that desire that has led to many improvements in modern lifestyle.  We could develop more fondness of ourselves from others, and get people to do more for us if we were able to tap into people’s need to be important.  
Appreciation and encouragement help arouse people’s enthusiasm.  I remember times when I was the benefactor of praises by my supervisors.  I had this “feel good” sensation that lasted days and that would creep back at times even long after the fact.  As I read this part of the book, I reflected on the managerial style of former supervisors and it was clear to me that many had problems with their employees because they believed in pointing out every single mistakes and rarely gave praises.  I remember occasions when people felt discouraged, unappreciated and some even questioned the competency of the supervisor since he/she could obviously not notice good work.  Yet, all the supervisors had to do was praise when opportunities were present and provide ideas and suggestions in lieu of criticism when needed.

When the goal is to get someone to stop something, show him/her how the thing that must be stopped, deters him/her from getting what he/she really wants.  People care about what they want not what someone else wants and by understanding that principle, which is easier done by wearing the other person’s shoe and seeing things from his/her angle, one can get people to do many things.  Of course, part of the task is to also arouse the other person’s enthusiasm.  It helps for the person in charge to also be enthusiastic but that sense of enthusiasm should not be misplaced as I remember many instances when people’s enthusiasm at work just annoyed me to the point I would tell myself “please don’t tell me I am about to sit here and listen to this person just go on and on…” As I reflect now on it, in many of those instances, the “enthusiastic” person did not have honest and practical enthusiasm.  By practical, I mean they did nothing to tie their enthusiasm to our (i.e., employees’ needs).  And because the enthusiasm was neither honest nor practical, no one “bought it.”  So, it is important to understand the other person’s realities as one enthusiastically approach him/her.  It is essential to understand “he/she does not care that I am enthusiastic but will care about why this enthusiasm relates to gains to him/her…” Armed with the knowledge I have today, if giving a speech for example in the same situation as the “enthusiastic supervisor” I found to be annoying, I would try to have a better understanding of those listening to me and I would word my presentation in a way that would arouse their enthusiasm and lead them to repeated desired action.  

I agree wholeheartedly with the concept that people learn better by doing as mentioned in the book, but it is important, when dealing with adults, to ensure that the “doing” aspect is well thought out as no one wants to be forced to do something unimportant (of course now I understand that the reason people usually see something as being unimportant is not because of some rational assessment of the thing, but because it does nothing truly for them or the benefit to them has not been well presented).  If one can truly relate the benefits of the desired task to the person, then the exchange could be mutually beneficial.  So the key is to tie up what one wants with what the other person wants.  Of course, this does not have to be in relation to a material thing; it could be a sense of appreciation, recognition, added value and the list goes on.  

D. Be genuinely interested in others and they will like you because when you are interested in others, they become interested in you.

For example, when you receive a phone call, smile while talking.  It changes one’s voice and it makes people feel wanted; they feel like you are happy to talk to them and they become more receptive and relaxed.  

When you are interested in others, you also make an effort to remember their name.  It is crucial to find a way to remember people name: it is clear that remembering people’s name let them know that you have consideration for them.  They feel important.  People hold dearly to their name and remembering their name and a little fact about them and/or their family, help switch the focus on them thus making them more receptive because you cared enough to bother!

Another way to show genuine interest in others is to listen to them attentively and genuinely, in other words, get them to talk and listen closely while letting them know through your body language and what you say, that you are interested and want to hear more.  By being a good listener, we give importance to others and they in turn, appreciate our presence and friendship and become more favorable toward us.  Of course, if we are genuinely listening and the person is appreciative and opens up, that undoubtedly means we allow the person to talk about what interests him/her.  Get interested in the other person’s interest and bring that interest to light and he/she might even give you what you wanted without asking.  If nothing else, it will give you a “feel good” moment that would do good to your soul.  Good deeds “to/for” others, comes back to you.  By applying the above principles, you make the other person feel important and that is all many people ask of anyone.  

E. Whenever something happens, appeal to the nobler motives. Go with the assumption (regardless of the fact) that the other person is good, honest, sincere and that he/she acted in accordance with those virtues (he/she probably knows the truth about himself/herself and appealing to those virtues will avoid conflict and might even lead the person to a fairer conclusion).

Furthermore, to win the person to your way of thinking, always begin matters in a friendly way and get the other person to saying “yes, yes” immediately. By doing so, he/she would already be in a mindset favorable to what you may then say.  This is very important because I think I had a tendency to start discussions proving my point.  Yet, if the desired end result is a yes, it is better to start as mentioned above, and to see things in the other person’s point of view.  As related earlier, it is easier to understand the path to follow when one tries to honestly and sincerely relate to the other person and in the words of Lincoln, understand that in the other person’s shoe, we would probably think likewise.  We all make mistakes so when we do, it does wonders when the person above us approaches us in a respectfully manner.  It is difficult to say no to that person.  

F. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand the effect that can have on someone.  When I read this quote, I simply imagined what effect it would have had on some of my former colleagues if the supervisor had used this concept.  It can do wonders but as I try to apply it in my life, I see that it is easily done in theory than in practice.  It is difficult, when one is not used to doing so, to come out and quickly admit that one is wrong.  It is as if we naturally feel this urge to explain ourselves instead of simply conceding and moving on.  In fact, because I find it difficult to do it myself, I see how effective it can be.

G. Let the other person save face.

I have read and heard of stories where self-esteem were destroyed simply because someone felt the need to berate another person.  Whether it is a teacher, a supervisor, a colleague or a parent, letting someone else save face, takes nothing from us but does plenty for the other person.  In fact, it does more to us.  I have done it before and I remember feeling great, as if I were some type of hero and I had just saved a person’s life.  Doing good is never negligible as regardless of the other person’s appreciation, it automatically does something to the doer.  Furthermore, it takes a special type of person to be able to control his/her feelings in certain circumstances and still understand that mistakes are simply humans and that screaming and criticizing will change nothing except create enemies, discouragement, and more hatred.  
3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas will help me become a better friend, employer and will help me serve as an example to others.  How many wars could be avoided if we all applied the principles in this book!  They are so simple but at times difficult because for one reason or another, they are not taught at home nor are they taught in our schools.  I think for us to have a better world, the ideas in this book, more than any other books I have read in the program, should be taught in schools.  There should be a class about the type of principles advocated here (and others after a research that is done to gather more of these type of ideas) that is taught from elementary to high school.  How much wonders that would make!  We would be more tolerant of each other and more understanding of each other’s needs.  I plan on starting a group where I use some of the principles I learned to teach English free of charge to few people who have asked for my help with learning English.  
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.  

“If you want to improve a person in a certain aspect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics.”  

Not only would we be boosting the self-esteem of the person but helping him/her make needed improvement.  When we realize that someone thinks highly of us, we try our best to live up to his/her expectations or to surpass them.  And when the person makes a mistake in the process, we should “use encouragement” and “make the fault seem easy to correct.”

“Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest by suggesting the benefits to them.”

This is important because it does no good to us to order our way around and make others feel less important, less worthy or forced to do things against their will.  Nothing is more productive and beautiful to see when people take ownership of what they are doing.  So, if needed, “let others think the idea is theirs,” and make them want to do what you need them to do.   
5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

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

The book, as stated in it, is a new way of life and thus is a continuous exercise.  I have already seen myself applied few of the principles but, even today, I found myself failing at others.  It is difficult to sit and bite one tongue when we can clearly show that we are right.  I think doing exactly that, biting my tongue with no urge to do otherwise, while being able to focus on what the other person’s is saying as I  am “biting my tongue,” and even more important, trying to put myself in his/her shoe at that very moment, is a challenge I cannot wait to conquer and win.  

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.

During my lecture, a general theme came to surface and that is that living in harmony with others will not only help us be successful, but it will help us live a happy life.  
Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10.  Ten is good and one is poor.

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

Success through a Positive Mental Attitude
Assessment by Sokona Christelle Koné (Cote D’Ivoire)

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

All things in life are possible through PMA, and if we think with PMA and adopt a positive mental attitude in our every activity and live by it, we will grow rich.  Regardless of faith, the difference between people is how they approach any given subject or task.  Thinking negatively or assuming that we will lose will only lead to failure.  Yet, if we go already knowing we will succeed, we will have done half the work.  In fact, we will have done the most difficult part of the work.  Whether it is a difficulty, an opportunity or a setback, there can always be a positive aspect to the subject at hand if one approaches the issue with PMA.  If there is PMA, then one will naturally go the extra mile and in so doing, will rip more benefit and satisfaction.  Even through the most challenging of circumstances, one must still remember that if the mind can conceive and believe it, then the mind can achieve it through PMA and faith.  
2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why?  List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you.  Use personal examples from your own life.

  1. Greatness comes to those who develop a burning desire to achieve high goals.

It is important to keep this in the back of one’s mind.  In fact, it is even better to keep it close to oneself all the time.  Regardless of what one might currently be doing, it (the burning desire) allows us to dream, and then take that dream and nurture it into a burning desire while applying the 17 principles of success so that it occupies our thoughts each day.  As we become more adept with the various principles and keep working on our burning desire, it starts to materialize and before long we will be ripping all the benefits of our labor.  

B. Success is achieved and maintained by those who try and keep on trying with PMA.  

Every time I wake up feeling a little overwhelmed or discouraged, I remind myself that I will succeed as long as I keep trying with PMA. The setbacks are difficult but I tell myself that I should not be discouraged if I do not get the desired result simply because I think I have PMA.  I lacked PMA so often in life that I need to give the practice time to work for me.  

C. Do it Now!

Although I have not been able to completely “do it now” with my burning desire or to do it now all the way, (I have started it and I have done many things but I have the last few steps that are causing me a bit of difficulty), I see myself adopting this philosophy with other little things in my life.  For example, there are things that I would normally neglect, but I tell myself, just do it now so you can change this habit.  

D.  Effort and work can become fun when you establish specific desirable goals.

Although an inspirational book, it reminds us that we have always known some of the recipes to success but simply might not have known how to effectively apply them.  Thus, the basic teachings we have received since childhood still apply; there is no magic sticks out there that will help us acquire all that we desire.  Work and more work, are still necessary ingredients for success.  However, this book teaches us how to ensure that our work is not in vain but is oriented toward success and help us achieve and maintain success.  Effort, work, attitude, honesty are all areas our parents preached on during childhood and those are all areas, if we properly make use of them, that will lead us to live a long, happy and fulfilled life in which we would have made ourselves happy and many other people as well.  

E. With every adversity there is a seed of an equivalent or greater benefit for those who are motivated with PMA to become achievers.  

This is an important yet difficult concept.  It is true that in many instances, one’s attitude can help him/her overcome a difficulty.  Yet, there are moments where it is not easy to find any solution.  Perhaps, the key lies in practicing PMA daily so that the difficulty is never approached with a defeatist attitude; then, maybe will success be attained. 

F. Man’s greatest power lies in the power of prayer.

I practice this even more often now because the previous readings, the current one, and few I saw online about meditation and our innate psychic abilities (the current reading somehow led me to look for and read those ones) have convinced me about the importance of meditation.  

G. Where there is nothing to lose by trying and everything to gain if successful, by all means try. Do it Now!  

I think my pride has kept me from taking some important steps in life and I have to reinforce this attitude in me as it simply makes sense.  Yet, habits are difficult to break but I will succeed.  
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 ideas are already helping me understand life better.  I am learning to let go of past events that hurt.  Every time something comes to mind I react to it differently, understanding that it had to happen for me to be a better person regardless of the agent (person) involved (the story of Joseph in the bible comes to mind).  I also understand that today’s tasks are enough for me and that I need to let tomorrow deal with its realities.  The book tells us that we gain more when we help others.  I have always believed so and to read that has even reinforced my desire to make life better for others.  
4. Quotes:  Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention?  If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“Let every occasion be a great occasion, for you cannot tell when fate may be taking your measure for a larger place.”  

This is telling me not to underestimate any occasion, as then and there could be the opportunity I seek.  I must be alert and ready at all times and always value each opportunity even the most seemingly meaningless one.  I apply the lesson to both occasions and people.  

“Hope is the magic ingredient in motivating yourself and others.”

I always saw “hope” or the lack of it, as a reason why so many countries lagged behind others.  Hope propels us forward when our current life could be leading us to give up.  Hope allows us to aim for something our current life would deem impossible for us to attain.  I have hope and I hold on hope even more dearly now.  

“You’ve got a problem? That’s good!  For it’s the seeds of greater benefits for those who have PMA.”  

I look now for problems because I believe they could offer me a great opportunity as it happened to many people before me.  

“See beyond the routine.  Use the step-stone theory.”

It is up to us to change what seems like a boring routine to a successful routine, one that builds and reinforces our PMA and help us achieve greatness.  Whether it is a job that seems to lead us nowhere or colleagues that make our work even more difficult, we can change our situation through PMA.  I wish I had been taught this few years ago but of course, it is never late and there are no lost opportunities but merely experiences that will help me grow richer and stronger.    

“That which you share with others will multiply and that which you withhold will diminish.”

I have been taught and I can attest that teaching and helping someone else understand and master a subject help us further improve our understanding of that same subject and sometimes lead us to understand other related subjects.  The same way that developing new methods to reach students so they understand the subject being taught, help us develop methods to understand unrelated subjects we may have had problems understanding.  This concept clearly applies to just about everything in life.  When you share a smile, you get more smile and a honest “thank you” leads to more appreciation and kindness.  

“Engage in study, thinking and planning time with PMA.”  
I loved reading this because I truly believe that we are lifelong learners.  Even more important, I understand now, by reading about others, that adopting the habit of “study, think, and plan” will help us stay “young” even in our old days.  Reading the right books also will help us attain, grow and maintain our success, while we help others do the same.  
5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

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

Yes, I completed the exercises and they reminded me that although I am better today compared to yesterday, I need to continue the journey so I can rip the fullest benefit as I still have a way to go.  

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.

“To be happy, make others happy!”  So many people want to be happy, yet, the book tells us that it is as simple as making others happy.  Making others happy always bring happiness to me.  It is true that our every day’s demands sometimes make it difficult for us to do as much as we would like but I see it as a reminder to simply use any little time available to be of service to others.  At the end, we will gain the most from such an effort.  
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