The philosophy above was as old as civilization, but ever fresh and new. James Lane Allen had proven the truth of it in his own life. He had been very poor in his youth, had none of the advantages so many young men count essential. He had started out with nothing to build on except what was within himself. But he had known what he wanted to do and be; he had kept his dream, his ideal, everlastingly before him; he had tried to live the life he imagined—and in the end, his dream became a reality. As a man thinks, so is he.
People were forever complaining about things outside of themselves, blaming their conditions and circumstances on everything but their own thoughts and ideas. Don’t they realize that their lives were the result of their own thinking? Good thoughts bear good fruit; bad thoughts bear bad fruit—and man is his own gardener.
The following are paragraphs that are most frequently quoted from As a man thinketh…
A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
A man will find that as he alters his thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him. Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. All that a man achieves or fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.
A man can only rise, conquer and achieve by lifting up his thoughts. He remains weak and abject and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts.
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.
The thoughtless, the ignorant and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects on things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune and chance. They do not see the trials and failures and struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable and realize the vision of their heart.
The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart—this you will build your life by. This you will become.
James Allen’s book, As a Man thinketh, has inspired and influenced many people since its writing which many people attributed to their success.
Jesus said, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’” And as the Apostle Paul urged, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.—Romans 12:2” and in Philippians 4:8-9, he said, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”