James Allen (1864-1912), the great British philosopher, is considered the trailblazer of modern motivational and self-help books. This book, As a Man Thinketh (1903) by him, is about how to operate the human mind to achieve the greatest goal. How can we manage, control and direct our thoughts to the right navigation?
The Other Books, Written by the Author
From Poverty to Power
Through the Gate of Good; or, Christ and Conduct
Out from the Heart
Morning and Evening Thoughts
The Mastery of Destiny
From Passion to Peace
Eight Pillars of Prosperity
Light on Life’s Difficulties etc
All the titles of these books are enough to insinuate the writer’s trend of thought and literary style. They are the powerhouse of motivation.
A man’s character is the amalgamation of his thoughts that mould his perspective.
“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.”
“Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself, he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”
When I read the book and flip the pages it seems to me that every line is a dictum, every sentence, every phrase bears a strong powerful message that carries my heart to a world of powerful thought and motivation, spurs my spirit like a blazing flame.
We are different from animals in respect of our intelligence and other cognitive capabilities. And we have the keys to change our lots as well as transform our thoughts through our positive energy, knowledge and wisdom. Again he draws the analogy of digging in mine. To get gold or diamond we have to dig deep. In the same way, we have to dig deep in the mine of our soul.
Man is the ” maker of his character, the moulder of his life, and the builder of his destiny…”
Effect of Thought on Circumstances
Man is like a gardener as the human mind is the garden whose duty is to blossom the best flower in the garden, not the weeds.
As a plant sprouts from seed so also a human being who springs from his best seed thoughts.
So a man must be careful in sowing the right seeds of thought otherwise he will end up in a weed field…nowhere to go…no destiny but despair. For a beautiful garden man must cultivate beautiful flowers.
Our inner thought and outer characteristics are closely related or interrelated. If we nurture the best thoughts in our minds we can be successful in life. We can change our circumstances by the power of our thoughts. We can be the master of our situation. Without being blown away by our circumstances we should rely on the creative energy within us and feel in harmony with the situations. We must keep in mind that we are not the victims but the master of our destiny.
” Every thought seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into the act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.”
Even in the most adverse circumstance, a human mind should keep the righteousness of his determination to navigate his thoughts in a positive direction. Man must be earnest in his application and Character building. Our thoughts get crystallised into our habits. In a way, our thoughts mould our habits.
Most of the time we blame our circumstances and feel anxious but we never try to improve ourselves so that we can win our situation and progress in life.
James Allen provides various examples from various sectors to establish how a man’s reverse situation is the consequence of his misdeed.
No matter how challenging the situation stands before us we can fight it if we have a clear idea of what we are doing and why.
“… nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles.”
And ” suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction.” It is the result of disharmony within us and the outer world.
There is a beautiful image of purity as compared to the gold…as we burn gold it comes out solidified and leave the dross itself. So is a human mind, pure and enlightened. Our happiness health and prosperity depend on the harmonious existence that we maintain with our inner and outer world.
Nature always helps us, guides us, shapes us. We must keep patience…life is a colourful prism house…we should wait for the right turn.
Our inner thought is soundly related to our health. Unhealthy thoughts gave rise to various diseases. A jovial heart always bears good health. Most of our diseases are rooted in our ill and anxious thoughts.
A stressful lifestyle and toxic thoughts open the door for many diseases.
Strong mad positive thoughts build up a sound mind and health. Our impure thought flows like black bile in our veins.
” Thought is the fount of action, life and manifestation; make the fountain pure, and all will be pure.”
So clean your thoughts before cleaning your body.
Negative thoughts like envy, jealousy, hatred, despair, cynicism lead us to destruction and despondency.
” I know a woman of ninety-six who has the bright, innocent face of a girl. I know a man well under middle age whose face is drawn into harmonious contours. The one is the result of a sweet and sunny disposition; the other is the outcome of passion and discontent.”
Every wrinkle etched on our faces mark the lifestyle we lead once. Our disturbed life remains carved in our faces.
Thought and Purpose
Every human being must have a clear destiny to head ahead. A man without a predetermined aim is like a ship without a steer. With self-control and concrete concentration, we choose our life’s goal and dedicate ourselves to gaining it.
” As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.”
Every human being must have a purpose in life. Aimlessness and purposelessness drift a man away from the general trend of success. A strong and positive person must have a positive purpose in life. Our aim in life is like a lighthouse that guides us. Confusion and doubt lead us to nowhere except failure.
” He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every, thought is allied with power, and all difficulties are.”
The Thought-Factor in Achievement
” All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts. “
Any person having strong willpower can overcome every situation. Whatever we feel and thought to guide us to our life. We have to lift our thoughts to achieve
A man who does not indulge in any weakness of thought and remain upright in his attitude to life becomes successful.
The greedy dishonest person has no righteousness in this society.
Intellectual achievement, as well as spiritual achievement, is the result of consecrated thoughts in search of knowledge and holy aspirations. Noble and lofty thoughts pave one to the way of power.
Visions and Ideals
” The dreamers are the saviours of the world.”
This world is made up of the beautiful and intellectual thoughts and ideas of philosophers and great persons. A lofty heart weaves the lofty idealism.
The author draws the name of famous persons like Copernicus, Columbus, Goutam Buddha who had created their world with their visions…vison of a new world or a spiritual destination.
” Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart.”
Out of the beauty and loveliness of our soul evolves the delight of existence.
Every one of us has the power to vision…we just need to strengthen our willpower to fight the uncongenial situation. True effort can lead to true results. And we have to use our gifts of intellectuality as well as spirituality to attain that result.
“Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”
The calmness of mind results from the habit of self-control. Even in stormy weather, we need to remain calm without showing the hazardous confusion of our character. A person with a restrained composed is revered by all.
Whatever circumstances come in our life we have to remain fixed in our thought and perception. This exquisite serenity of our character builds our life. Serenity is as precious as wisdom.
A person with a bad temper destroys everything good. The bitterness of the character burns the green foliage of sublimity. Lack of self-control, poisoned thought, negative outlook spoil our lives and others associated with us.
Tempestuous thought is like the sea Strom that upturns the ships arrayed beautifully. So we have to harness our temperament and control our thoughts firmly, not allowing the steering to rush in the wrong direction.
We are the master of our soul, not the servant.
” Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power.”
A book is a good friend and never lose a good friend. Some people always keep a religious book with them. I think I must keep this book with me. It is like a blessing, a pure unblemished breeze over my drained soul. When I read the book I wish to reread, the lines, the paragraphs…they flow inside my veins like oxygen. This book is a trendshaper in the cannon of motivational books and again it is unique for its atomic capacities to inflame a stooping mind to its highest degree of positivity. Every single line of the book possesses the magnitude the shape our mindset, our attitude and outlook. It is a spiritual potion, the panacea to the postmodern erosion of humanity.
“ Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves.”
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