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September 14th, 2012  

As a Man Thinketh

Yesterday, I came upon a very interesting 60 page book by James Allen, who died in 1912. The book is called As A Man Thinketh. According to Wikipedia, the title "is influenced by a verse in the Bible from the Book of Proverbs chapter 23 verse 7: 'As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.'"

Of course, being written in the early 1900s, it uses “man” throughout the entire book, but I know you all are sophisticated enough to overlook that. Anyway, I have pulled some of the more interesting quotes and written them here for you to enjoy. I may not agree with everything in Mr. Allen’s book, but I think/hope you all find these quotes as worthy of your time and as helpful as I did.

If you stumble upon a copy, I've left the page numbers (for my copy, anyway) in parentheses to the right of the quote. Also, if you're interested in reading the whole book, you can get it online for free at Project Gutenberg (a great place to get other classic texts for free too).

"A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts." (7)
"As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them." (7)
"A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind." (12)
"Here is an employer of labor who adopts crooked measures to avoid paying the regulation wage, and, in the hope of making larger profits, reduces the wages of his work-people. Such a man is altogether unfitted for prosperity, and when he finds himself bankrupt, both as regards reputation and riches, he blames circumstances, not knowing that he is the sole author of his condition." (21)
"Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world (though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating), and therefore, do not cooperate with it." (24)
"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. This being so, man has but to right himself to find that the universe is right, and during the process of putting himself right, he will find that as he alters his thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him." (27)
"A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances." (30)
"Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, despondency, rob the body of its health and grace." (34)
"To live continually in thoughts of ill-will, cynicism, suspicion, and envy, is to be confined in a self-made prisonhole. But to think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in all- such unselfish thoughts are the very portals of heaven; and to dwell day by day in thoughts of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to their possessor." (36)
"Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment." (37)
"They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, and self-pitying, all of which lead, just as surely as deliberately planned sins (though by a different route), to failure, unhappiness, and loss, for weakness cannot persist in a power-evolving universe." (37-38)
"A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it......This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting-point for future power and triumph." (38-39)
"To put away aimlessness and weakness, and to begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment; who make all conditions serve them, and who think strongly, attempt fearlessly, and accomplish masterfully." (40)
"All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts." 42
"The universe does not favor the greedy, the dishonest, the vicious, although on the mere surface it may sometimes appear to do so; it helps the honest, the magnanimous, the virtuous." (46)
"Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power." (60)

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