My takeaway from this book – To put our thoughts into action. Our thoughts are the seeds for our growth. Good thoughts and actions are never the results of bad results. Likewise, bad thoughts and actions are never the results of good results. One’s thoughts also affect one’s physical health. One must have a purpose in life. Our thoughts must be linked with the purpose to accomplish it. One can only rise, conquer and achieve it by lifting up his thoughts.
I can connect – ‘As a Man Thinketh’ with the book – ‘Secret’.
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far” – Swami Vivekanda.
The book ” As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen focusses mainly on thoughts and the impact of thoughts on a person. He believes good thought can never produce bad results and bad thoughts can never produce good results. A person’s action is highly dependent on circumstances but that’s where control and good thoughts can influence a person’s action.
When a person begins to reflect upon his condition and questions himself diligently about his own existence as well as establishment, he actually becomes wise and implements his energies intelligently and converts his thoughts to meaningful actions, issues and results respectively. The author suggests to delete all the impure and useless thoughts in mind and instead convert right, pure and useful thoughts to action.
It is evident in the book that suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction and it is surely an indication that the person is out of harmony with himself. The circumstances which a man experiences are the outcome of his own mental inharmony.
Hateful and negative thoughts can convert to habit of accusation and violence which can lead to injury or unwanted circumstances, whereas good and positive thoughts can lead to activities full of kindness, grace and take one through favorable circumstances.
The book – As a Man Thinketh by James Allen basically talks about 5 important key courses in our lives. They are:
1. Our thoughts are seeds that create our world – Many of us believe that our inner thoughts are secret and powerless. But the author James Allen has the opposite view—he says our thoughts shape us in more powerful ways than we expect. Our ways of thinking are a major force that slowly bends the course of our lives in a certain direction.
2. Our circumstances are shaped by our character – It’s us who should be deciding how to respond to the given situation.
3. Our desires direct the world we create around us – I have heard the line – “You always have a choice” many times through various means, but never really gave a serious thought to it till now.
4. We must earn things, not just wish for them – I would like to put it this line as – We must earn things and not just wish for them – because we deserve it.
5. Our thoughts even affect our physical health – Well this need not be explained much as we all have definately faced it in this recent times.
Overall, I felt that most of the key lessons are being practised – but not consistent. I guess this is a good reminder and time to pick up from where I left.
The book talks about how our thoughts are the prime factors that influences our actions. Good thoughts yield positive action and bad thought leads to futile efforts. Our mind is like a garden. Good thoughts can be cultivated in the garden like healthy seeds. These positive thoughts have a positive impact on our body which can not be attained sans the continuous purity in thoughts. One need not be a saint or opt for toiling efforts to the so-called cleaning of mind and body rather follow the simple procedure of devoting oneself in practicing these pure thoughts. Thoughts have a natural inclination towards the purpose of one’s life. It can act as the driving force, as the light throughout the tunnel for someone to aim their journey, to accomplish their goals in life.
Thoughts give the dreamer a vision, an aspirant the target, the sailor his port. Positive thoughts keep the body and mind in a sound form and ultimately shapes the future of an individual. Ultimate calmness and control over life are not achieved by materialistic gain rather a better control over the mind. He who has control over his thoughts and can channelize the same will have the answer to life’s most difficult questions.
Though the book overall has impactful content, I feel it initially hits the bulls-eye with the message it tries to convey but later loses the focus due to repetition. It also has a typical flavour of the books of moral science found in our traditional curriculum where things are taught black and white rather grey. If I compare it with other self-help books like “road less travelled” or “the 7 habits of highly effective people” that I have read, though the content is quite different, these books show multi-dimension of the problem to the reader and make it more realistic and convincing for the reader to associate with more real-life connection whereas “As a man thinketh” is more idealistic and theoretical. Overall, the book has a message that can be learnt and applied effectively.
Book: As a Man Thinketh
Author: James Allen
Key points from the chapters:
1. Dive deep in your inner soul and watch, control and alter your thoughts. Try understanding the effect of thoughts on yourself and study it. With patience and practice, you can work on your thoughts.
2. We cannot directly choose our circumstances but we can choose our thought indirectly shaping the circumstances.
3. Disease and health are rooted in thoughts you have. Fear and anxiety brings in ill health and disease. It is important to change thoughts to attain peace.
4.A legitimate purpose should be set and the focus should be set on that purpose. Even if the mind wanders it should be brought back to the purpose one has.
5.Achievements are results of definitely directed thoughts.
6. Cherish your visions and your ideals.
7.Calmness is a result of long and patient self-control.
My learning: You are the master of your own thoughts. Whether to control it or let it wander is in our hands.
Need to work on: Controlling thoughts as at times it becomes difficult to control them in certain situations.
There are a lot of people who say thoughts change your life and to some extent, I have experienced it but that is not all. There are many other factors that influence an individual. Attaining peace inside seems difficult at times. Maybe try the above points from the book and see what happens. It’s worth a try.
The first thing this book reminded me was of “The Law Of Attraction” as they say. Whatever you think over and over again – becomes a reality. Many books have been written on this subject and I had read some parts of them. I agree to an extent that to build a habit, we must think about it over and over again, pen it down somewhere, take small small actions so that it becomes a reality. The book also talked about destiny and circumstances. The author James Allen claims these are because of our own thoughts. Here, I disagree a little but he also talks about patience and being still, that reminded me of The First Habit : Be Proactive – You Are The in-charge of Your Life. As I get more experience of life, I shall continue to keep thinking good, I shall continue putting efforts to Be Proactive, to have patience and to be still!
Three things I learnt from the book:
- We can’t choose the circumstances directly but, we can choose our thoughts and indirectly shape our circumstances.
- The analogy is given in the book of our mind like a garden which says, “The right seeds are thoughts that make us vital, energized and strong, while the weeds are disempowering thoughts.”
- I was inspired by the line which says, ” Desire leads to attention, attention leads to action, actions lead to our circumstances. “
Two things I will implement in my life:
- I will shape my thoughts rather than cribbing about the situation and circumstances around me.
- Always have a positive attitude and earn things rather than wishing for them.
One question I still have:
- The last line of the book says, “Peace, Be still!!”. Is it really attainable?
We started the first day of the Life Classes 2021, with the short book, ‘As a Man Thinketh’
which was essentially a culmination of our learning at FS in a rather repetitive fashion.
The book was based upon the simple philosophy of ‘You are what you think’
as suggested by the title too. The author connects the power of a thought with that of ‘action’ and also how one’s thought creates a rippling effect to the family and friends too.
It reiterated the same idea using multiple scenarios. Having done various life classes @FS, it didn’t seem to offer anything new, yet the sharing was good.
This book does talk about a very important and life-changing lesson for life — Our thoughts define our life! Thoughts impact not only our physical and mental well-being but also how we look at people and the world around us.
The author keeps explaining and re-explaining the same thing several times with different analogies. I found it a bit too repetitive and that makes it boring to read. Also after doing 7 habits, Love and Integrity this book gives no new insights to me.