Antealehegne Tessema Asfaw – Assessments

As a Man Thinketh
Assessment by Antealehegne Asfaw (Ethiopia)

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

The main idea portrayed in “As a Man Thinketh” is that a person’s thoughts has far reaching in its influence it shapes their character; it molds habits, and influences circumstances, and overall life. The book emphasizes on the power of thoughts in every arena of life it determines one’s actions, habits, and thereby destiny. He argues that we are the masters of our own minds and that by changing our thoughts, we can transform our lives. Every aspect of our life is governed by our thought our predominant thought influences our way of conduct, and this repetitive conduct becomes our behavior, it influences our social interaction and hence shapes our values to the people around us and our interaction with is a key to any successful business, it influences our value to health and we surround ourselves with a healthy surrounding because of our value to health in general any circumstances is influenced and shaped by thought.

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 taught me a lot of things including:

i. How thought and character are related

Our habitual thoughts shape and define who we are. We shape our character through repetitive thought patterns. We are our thoughts, as the book puts it. In order for our character to reflect this, we should monitor and regulate our thoughts. We should only consider things that are honorable, virtuous, and pure. By using thought control in a positive and intentional way, we can achieve the character we want.

ii. The effect of thought on circumstances

Our circumstances are not determined by fate or external forces, but by our own thoughts and actions. Our thought pattern creates the circumstances that surround us. What we think repetitively is what we attract. Therefore, we should think of only the ideal conditions we want to create, and act accordingly.

iii. The impact of thoughts on the body and health

Our thoughts directly affect our physical well-being and appearance. Positive thoughts bring about health and beauty, whereas negative thoughts bring about disease and deterioration. Every thought attracts the result of its nature. As a result, we should purge negativity and impurities from our thoughts and surround ourselves with harmony and wellness.

iv. Thought and purpose

Having a strong, well-defined life purpose gives our thoughts direction and significance. Without direction, our minds wandering and ultimately result in failure and suffering. There won’t be any significant accomplishment until our thoughts are connected to a cause. You won’t get any results if you drift off into thought. Aimlessness breeds failure, so we must have a main goal in life in order to lead and realize our goals. People without a main goal in life are more susceptible to small concerns, anxieties, problems, and self-pitying, all of which are signs of weakness and which inevitably result in failure, unhappiness, and loss just as much as intentional offenses do. Therefore, we should discover our true purpose, and align our thoughts and actions with it.

v. The importance of thought on achievement.

This is another noteworthy idea I took up from the book. Whether in business, the arts, science, or any other sector, thought drives all accomplishments. The primary creative power that molds our reality is thought. A man’s situation is his own. His thoughts are the source of both his internal sorrow and enjoyment. A man can only elevate his thinking in order to rise, conquer, and succeed. He can only continue to be weak, pitiful, and wretched by refusing to elevate his mind. Any condition of a man is his own. The suffering and his happiness are evolved from within emanates from his thinking. A man can only rise, conquer, and achieve by lifting up his thoughts. He can only continue to be weak, pitiful, and wretched by refusing to elevate his mind. Therefore, we should channel our mental energy into achieving our goals and desires rather than squandering it on pointless or hazardous endeavors.

vi. The link between ideas, vision, and mind is the sixth lesson I learned from the book

The seeds of our future are the ideas and aspirations we harbor in our hearts. They motivate us to put in the effort and conquer challenges. They also draw the resources and chances we need to make them a reality. As a result, we ought to hold onto our goals and values and never allow them to wane or pass away.

vii. The other important idea derived from the book is the relationship between thought and serenity

The ability to manage our ideas with contentiousness leads to self-control and ultimately to serenity. The tranquil and pure state of mind that results in calmness and peace is known as serenity. It is the benefit of living a moral life and thinking appropriately. It gives us the bravery and self-assurance to tackle any circumstance. As a result, we should practice thought control, meditation, gratitude, and forgiveness in addition to avoiding stress, wrath, and fear in order to create peace.

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?

It helps me to better understand how thoughts affect my life. Now I know that in order to change my environment and any aspect of it, I must first control my thoughts. To achieve my desired outcomes, I must first choose and monitor my thoughts. If I can manage my dominant thought and bring my goal into harmony, my goal will come to pass because every action stems from our deepest desire, which is shaped by our repetitive thoughts. Since every consequence originates from thought, managing thought is essential to achieving the intended outcomes. It encouraged me to take responsibility for my thoughts, emotions and their inevitable results. For this reason, my focus is on managing the cause; the book provides me with this understanding and inspired me to assess my way of thinking and my deepest values

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.
“A person is literally what he thinks.”

“Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits.”

“Cause and effect is as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things.”

“The human is made or unmade by him or her self.”

“Humans are the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.”

“Discovery is totally a matter of application, self-analysis, and experience.”

“Every man is where he is by the law of his being.”

“The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations.”

“Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions.”

“The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought.”

“Man learns both by suffering and bliss.”

“Man is the maker of himself the shaper and author of environment.”

“Law, not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe; justice, not injustice, is the soul and substance of life; and righteousness, not corruption, is the molding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world.”

“Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction.”

“Thought is the fount of action, life, and manifestation.”

“Clean thoughts make clean habits.”

“There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body.”

“Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment.”

“Weakness cannot persist in a power evolving universe.”

“The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do.”

“He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure.”
“Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force.”

“All that a person achieves and all that person fails to achieve is the direct result of thinking.”

“One man is an oppressor because many are slaves.”

“The oppressor and slave are co-operators in ignorance.”

“Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought.”

“To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to, achieve.”

“Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be.”

“Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”

“Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power.”

I found these quotes fascinating, as they emphasize the importance of mastering our thoughts, taking charge of our lives, and living with a clear purpose. These also show the far reaching influence of thought. These quotes inspired me to improve my thinking, have a strong vision, and be an active creator of my life instead of being a passive victim of situations.

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?

Everything in the book is understandable and I enjoyed the book

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?

It didn’t contain exercises, it mainly focused on elaborating ideas and concepts.

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 do not have any further comments.

Please rate the following questions in a scale of 1 to 10. Ten is good and One is poor.

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

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Assessment by Antealehegne Asfaw (Ethiopia)

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

Richard Bach’s book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” is a novella that articulates the inspiring tale of a seagull whose name is Jonathan. Jonathan craves to fly higher and faster than any other bird in his flock. While most gulls are content with the conventional life of searching for, food they don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight – how to get from shore to food and back again, Jonathan has a deep passion for pushing the limits of flight. The main idea portrayed in “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” is the pursuit of personal excellence and self-discovery. The book follows the journey of Jonathan, a gull who rebels against the limited beliefs and expectations of his flock and strives to surpass the limitations of traditional gull life.

The novella is a metaphorical exploration of personal development, self-discovery, aiming big, searching for meaning for one’s life and the importance of following one’s passion. It encourages readers to embrace their uniqueness, embrace their dreams, and strive for personal excellence. Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a timeless and uplifting story that continues to inspire readers around the world.

The book also highlights the results of unwavering dedication, consistent practice, and the commitment to realize personal aspirations, regardless of the obstacles faced. Despite enduring adversities and setbacks, Jonathan perseveres in the pursuit of personal excellence and self-discovery, ultimately achieving his dreams. Moreover, he finds contentment in sharing love and making a positive impact on the lives of others. The story serves as a reminder to readers to commit to the actualization of their life purpose, regardless of the challenges they may face.

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.

i. The value of courage.

Regardless to the challenges Jonathan have faced in his quest for achieving excellence and realizing his passion, he does not let the obstacles he encounter to stop him he confronts the norms and expectations of his flock, and persist to explore new horizons and he also defies his own fears and doubts, and overcomes them with his courage for his own purpose.

ii. Sacrifice

Nothing is gained without sacrifice. Jonathan gives up his comfort, security, and flock’s approval to pursue his vision. He also leaves his friends behind to follow his dream. In economics, there is a term called “opportunity cost (a sacrifice)” that means to get something; we have to give up something else. For example, to buy a kilo of orange, we have to give up the money we need to pay for it. In my personal life, to take this course, I have to give up the time I could spend with my children and I have to exert the effort needed to accomplish the study. Therefore, sacrifice is a vital lesson we should learn; to give up something if we want to achieve something else in any endeavor.

iii. Mastery is another important lesson I learned from the book.

Jonathan is determined to excel at flying; he challenges himself to reach higher speeds and make sharper turns. He learns from his failures and tries new methods, always enhancing his abilities. I faced a similar challenge when I started my MSC class in computer science. It was difficult to grasp the ideas and concepts at first because I came from a business background and the paradigm was different. But I devoted time, effort and commitment to learn the concepts, understand the ideas and achieve the outcomes. I then shifted the paradigm and engaged with the concepts, ideas and terms and then I caught up with the field and graduated as I planned. To master something, you need to work hard, you should be resolute to attain your desired result and you should also practice frequently practice makes you masterful of the skills.

iv. The fourth important lesson that we can take from the book is pleasure.

Jonathan experiences pleasure in flying. He is delighted in pursuing his passion, and in sharing it with others. His main goal in life is to fly better than his flock and have fun in his flying. Loving our work or working on what we love is essential for succeeding in any of our endeavors. Apart from success loving our job gives us a fulfilling life and boosts our health and impacts many other aspects of our life.

v. Uniqueness is another important lesson that we can get from the book.

Jonathan stands out from the rest of the sea gulls; his flock is satisfied with their ordinary lives of searching for food but Jonathan is different from the other sea gulls, he only cares about flying and enhancing his skills and enjoys his progress. He remains faithful to himself even when his flock rejects him for his passion. Preserving uniqueness even at the cost of being ostracized by others is very essential to achieve success. For success is reached by keeping our purpose.

vi. Forgiveness

Jonathan forgives his flock for banishing him and does not let them hinder his progress. Forgiveness plays a vital role in the success of any individual in their pursuits. It provides us with the necessary strength to achieve our goals, while also preserving the energy that would otherwise be wasted on feelings of hatred and envy. It gives us a pleasant surrounding since we are not confined with hatred, our environment will be pleasant.

vii. Another important lesson I got from the book is Love

Jonathan learns to love himself and others. He accepts his flock as they are with their all limitations, and does not judge them for their ignorance or fear. He also loves his passion for flying. Love plays a pivotal role in leading a meaningful and purposeful life. It encompasses various aspects such as self-love, love towards others, and a devoted passion for one’s work. These three forms of love hold paramount importance in achieving personal fulfillment and true success. According to Corinthians 13:4-8 in the Bible, love is characterized by patience, kindness, humility, and respect. It is not self-centered or resentful, and it rejoices in truth rather than wrongdoing. Love encompasses endurance, belief, hope, and is everlasting. Thus love is crucial to lead a purposeful life and a meaningful success.

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

The concepts and teachings presented in the book have proven to be invaluable in numerous practical scenarios. They have motivated me to challenge societal conventions when necessary and have also broadened my appreciation for individual talents, aspirations and dreams. The book has infused me with enthusiasm and motivation, prompting me to actively pursue my passions and aspirations.

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.

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

“You know nothing till you prove it!”

“The only true law is that which leads to freedom.”

“Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.”

“Victory was short-lived.”

“The most important thing in living was to reach out and touch perfection in that which they most loved to do.”

“Our purpose for living is to find perfection and show it forth.”

“It always works, when you know what you’re doing.”

“The gull sees farthest who flies highest.”

“If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood!”
“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.”

“Whatever stands against that freedom must be set aside, be it ritual or superstition or limitation in any form.”

These are some of the quotes that have caught my interest, focusing on the significance of controlling thoughts, personal development, determination, and the quest for one’s genuine purpose. These affirmations deeply resonate with me and have motivated me to contemplate my own life.

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?

“Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect.”
“Perfection isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.”

“Forget about faith!” Chiang said it time and again. “You didn’t need faith to fly, you needed to understand flying.”

I advocate for the pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement rather than striving for perfection, as perfection is an abstract concept. Therefore, I cannot agree with the notion of attaining perfection. Similarly, I am unable to comprehend or accept the correlation between heaven and perfection as suggested in the book. I would appreciate further clarification on this matter. Lastly, the concept of faith in this context is unclear to me. In my understanding, faith is a fundamental requirement for success, as believing in one’s abilities is essential for accomplishing anything meaningful.

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?

It does not contain exercises for the reader to complete. It aims to inspire and provoke thought.

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 don’t have any further comments.

Please rate the following questions in a scale of 1 to 10. Ten is good and One is poor.

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