As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
One Line Summary
Thoughts create your reality
Why is your life the way it is?
Is it because of your genetics?
Is it because of the economy?
Is it because of your parents?
These are all common answers people might give to that question.
In As A Man Thinketh, James Allen offers a radical alternative to the conventional wisdom most of us hold. That is the aphorism of thoughts create your reality.
It’s a simple thesis. But the ramifications are gigantic, as all great ideas are.
Allen explores this single minded thesis throughout this short book. By the end, you’ll be thoroughly convinced that you are a creator.
Why it’s Awesome
Pause for a moment.
Now reflect on the fact that everything you’ve ever done originated as a thought. When you had the idea to start that business or lose weight, that was a thought. When you had the idea to read a good book, that was a thought. When you decided to go to the grocery store, that was a thought.
Thoughts, thoughts and more thoughts.
Of course, it’s a stretch from what I just said to claim that thoughts create your reality or as a man thinks, he becomes. People will argue that certain things happened in their life they did not think about, such as the weather or random hits of bad luck.
But Allen firmly believes in his thesis.
Consider that people who have “bad luck” or in a bad mood always seem to find a way to have bad luck and be in a bad mood. Consider that people who have good luck and are in a positive mood seem to generate more of that as well.
It’s bizarre to think about because if our lives are truly governed by higher principles, what does that say about the reality of our circumstances?
It also challenges our beliefs about our own capabilities and the responsibility we’ve had for our life. If you’ve had a rough upbringing, it’s difficult to accept that on some level you created that.
If that’s you, what I would urge you is to have some compassion for yourself. The reality is you did the best you could given the information available to you.
This is the law that has been talked about by teachers across time and space. You can find it in the writings of Jesus, the Buddha, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Wayne Dyer and so many others. Thoughts create your reality.
Allen advocates taking the time to tend to your mind like a gardener. If things are going poorly for you, all that means is you’ve got some mental weeds to pluck.
What are the weeds? Self-doubt. Self-criticism. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of change. Anything that takes away from you understanding that you are perfect the way you are and hold all that you need.
Sound cheesy? You won’t think it’s cheesy when you’re actually plucking those weeds. That’s when you’ll realize that this is a warrior’s path. You’re fighting your greatest mental demons, and it’s going to take everything you’ve got.
Just remember that glory awaits.
The glory is who you become when you’ve mastered your own psyche and become captain of your own life.
Free to create whatever you choose.
So how do you weed the garden?
Allen is relatively silent on this. The strategy his advocates is simple: don’t allow the negativity in. Choke it out.
Become highly aware of when your thoughts are heading in a direction you don’t want, recognize the weed as a weed and then cut it. You can literally say that to yourself every time you find yourself going down the wrong path. “Thank you, but cut it”.
You see, the reality is that your thoughts are largely just patterns. Loops playing over and over again, like an old CD. And so you’ve got to break that pattern.
How? Interrupt the pattern and start a new one.
Tony Robbins calls this a “pattern interrupt” and does it all the time in his live seminars. He will bring a person on stage, and when he senses the person going into a negative pattern, he breaks it.
And oh yeah, Tony is a big fan of this book.
Overtime, you can consciously groom the exact thoughts that you wish to think.
Some people will argue that this is delusional. They’ll say that their negative thoughts are “true” and therefore to think otherwise would be to deny reality.
What these people don’t understand is that the reality is that there are no objectively true thoughts. There are just thoughts that are beneficial and thoughts that are harmful.
The wisest people of all ages have chosen beneficial thoughts.
Which do you choose?
Why Does It Suck
There are better, more in depth books out there on the Law of Attraction and the New Thought movement. Consider this a basic introduction if you’ve never heard these ideas before.
For people deeper into this work, I’d read this really just as a way to reinforce some of those beneficial beliefs. Don’t expect that you’re going to “hear” some new information you’d never heard before.
The Wrap Up
Classic book detailing out the basics of the Law of Attraction and New Thought movement. If you like these ideas, I’d consider moving onto authors like Wallace Wattles, Neville Goddard, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Esther-Hicks. You can’t go wrong with reading this!