As A Man Thinketh
August 28, 2022
In his 1903 literary classic As A Man Thinketh, James Allen alludes to the power of our thoughts in shaping the reality of our lives. If I had to condense the book’s wisdom into one simple sentence, it would be- we become what we think about.
I am sure everyone agrees that our thoughts control our actions and that our actions (largely) control the results we experience in our life. Whatever our present reality, it is all a consequence of all the dominant thoughts that have taken root in our minds.
Everything starts with the seed of a thought. Like there are good seeds and bad seeds, there are also good thoughts and bad thoughts. Good seeds grow into strong, healthy trees. Bad seeds grow into weak, diseased trees. Similarly, it is with our thoughts. We will see good outcomes if we can plant the seeds of good, productive thoughts. Conversely, if we let seeds of negative, limiting thoughts take root, they will sabotage us.
Let me illustrate the power of our thoughts and how they can impact our reality through an example.
Imagine you have always wanted to start your own business. While the desire has always been there, your thoughts could be something like this.
- I want to start my own venture. But I don’t have enough money saved yet. It’s not the best time yet.
- I’ve no idea how to start a business.
- I have a safe and secure job. Should I be taking the risk? Is it worth it?
- How do I protect myself if the venture fails?
- Starting a business is risky. I am ok taking the risk, but my worry is my family.
Alternatively, your thoughts could be like this.
- I am destined for something more than the job I am doing. I know I can make it big if I start my own business.
- I may not have the experience to start a business, but I am smart and know how to solve problems and create value.
- Sure, starting a business has risks, but I believe in myself. Whatever the obstacles, I know I can overcome them.
I am sure you can intuitively sense which thoughts will likely yield positive outcomes.
The critical point I am trying to convey is this- Just like selecting good seeds and planting them is a conscious activity, selecting good thoughts and planting them in our mind is a conscious activity. It has to be done deliberately and with intent. Sure negative thoughts will also try to capture mind space and take root. But, with focus and effort, it is possible to weed out the negative, limiting thoughts and make the positive thoughts your dominant thoughts.
The idea of “We become what we think about” applies to all facets of our life- Losing weight, developing trusting relationships, leading a disciplined lifestyle, excelling in academics, learning to play a musical instrument, etc.
Whenever you want something different in your life- something you aren’t experiencing right now- you first need to examine your dominant thoughts and determine if they contain the good seeds you need for the desired outcomes. Chances are you’re letting the wrong seeds take root if you’re not making progress. Replace them with new ones if you want to make progress.