“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 weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind” ~James Allen
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen was written over a hundred years ago. What was our first clue? The word “Thinketh” perchance? It is an old book … a small volume … a powerful message.
I opened the cover and read the following on the dust jacket, which is a direct quote from later in the book:
We are made and unmade by ourselves.
They didn’t do mic drops in 1903… but they sure could have!
Yes, this is a self-help classic… and yes, it carries an important message: You create your reality. Which is just my way of saying what’s already been said.
It is very short… my copy is just 45 pages. In my research, it seems to have been planned that way, so that a person could keep it in their pocket, bag or satchel to be pulled out while one waited in line at the General Store or while on a long carriage ride. See, now I’m being silly, and it doesn’t do justice to the message of this little gem.
I shouldn’t be surprised that it predates The Secret … since the latter purports to be sharing something many before us have known. But, when I saw the publication date, it still kind of surprised me.
Originally an essay, the language is archaic (and beautiful). My edition says it’s been “gently adapted to the present frame of reference”… though it still carries that feeling of prose.
I’ve listened to the original – I share the link below from YouTube- and find it easily understandable. I just wanted to give you a head’s up, so you can choose the original or one of the newer adaptations.
As you might imagine, there are loads of online resources available:
Addendum: You may have noticed in the featured photo that my copy of the book has a “Bonus Book” of Allen’s: From Poverty to Power.
A quick glance was enough to tell me it was 150 pages of “more of the same”… which is interesting since it was written first, in 1901. Interesting, eh? I’m not trying to be snarky but I’ll give you an example. I just opened the book, willy-nilly, and this is what I read:
There is an unavoidable tendency to become literally the embodiment of that quality upon which one most constantly thinks. (page 134).
See what I mean?
Here at the bottom of this shorter-than-normal post, I will say that I genuinely enjoyed As a Man Thinketh but that I got bored after the first few pages of From Poverty to Power. Allen wrote nineteen books in all and I may check out a few more. Is it unfair that I suspect they’ll all go back to the main point? Namely, that we are made and unmade by ourselves?
* originally written by me for this blog on August 23, 2018￼￼
No, it’s not, dammit 🤪☺️
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