Reflections

FOOD FOR THOUGHT – A MAN IS LITERALLY WHAT HE THINKS

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In the next few posts, I’m going to focus on a book called, ‘As a Man Thinketh’ by James Allen. James Allen was a British philosophical writer and a pioneer of the self-help movement. ‘As a Man Thinketh’ was published in 1903.

Thought and Character

A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.

Allen believed one’s character is ultimately created by the accumulation of his/her thoughts. This is a fascinating concept when wanting to understand yourself on a deeper level and dare I say, if consistently applied could be life changing! Let’s take a cake as an example. What is a cake made of? Sugar, flour, baking powder, butter, etc. You can’t make a cake without these ingredients, right? Well, Allen argues, thoughts are the ingredients that create one’s character.

So every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called ‘spontaneous’ and ‘unpredicted’ as to those which are deliberately executed.

Every action comes from a ‘hidden thought.’ This makes sense; we don’t tell everybody everything we are thinking, however, our actions, the way we behave is quite a good indicator of what’s going on in our minds. Allen argues all acts deliberate or unintentional are rooted from thoughts. Have you ever done something spontaneous (positive or negative) and questioned, why on earth did I do that? Well, if you go back to the time in your life before that spontaneous act and contemplate, you’ll probably find there was a cluster of thoughts that led you up to that particular action.

Man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.

We give shape to our lives God willing. Allen urges us to stop and contemplate on the past or even the present and find the missing link. One of the laws of living is that of, ‘cause and effect.’ The effect being our current situation and the cause, of course, is our thoughts. Being more aware of what’s going on in our minds aids us to not only understand ourselves but also be in tune with the unfolding of our lives.

Allen’s theory has depth and wisdom. I would argue it could be achieved; one can tame the mind and have productive thoughts, however reaching that level of consciousness is not easy. But, the results once change of thoughts has been implemented and the life changing effects may be worth the process!

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ACTIVITY

  1. For the next three days keep a notepad and pen close by.
  2. Start to try and be the observer of your thoughts, don’t change them at this stage just be aware of their presence.
  3. Write down the thoughts that are persistent; the ones that run through your head all day.
  4. At the end of the three days write down where you are in life, what did you do? What events took place? Who did you see, not see? How did you feel?
  5. Go back to your list of thoughts, can you a find a correlation between your thoughts and your actions?

I would love to hear about what you found!

Dallaa Moussallti

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