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The chapter on, ‘Effect of Thought on Circumstances’ from ‘As a Man Thinketh’ by James Allen is going to be the focus of today’s post.

Circumstances grow out of thought every man knows who has for any length of time practiced self-control and self-purification, for he will have noticed that the alteration in his circumstances has been in exact ratio with his altered mental condition.

In my last post, I discussed how our thoughts create our actions. This Chapter goes a step further. Allen explains how thoughts effect our actions and also mold our circumstances. A change in one’s circumstances is a result of a change in one’s mental condition.

Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles.

Here Allen links thoughts with action, arguing that good thoughts create sound actions. Therefore, it is inevitable to have good results. The same goes for bad thoughts and bad actions. When you put a cake in the oven to bake you never expect to eat a lasagne right? We reap what we sow, our thoughts being the seed and our circumstances the fruit.


Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.

Below is a table of different kinds thoughts Allen mentions. Beside the thoughts are the habits the thoughts create and also the particular circumstances that inevitably crystallize.

     THOUGHTS                    HABITS            CIRCUMSTANCES
Bestial – Cruel Drunkenness/Sensuality Destruction/Disease
Impure Enervating/Confusing Distracting/Adverse circumstances
Fear- Doubt -Indecision Weak/ Unmanly/Irresolute Failure/Indigence/ Slavish dependence
Lazy Thoughts Uncleanliness/ Dishonesty Foulness/Beggary
Hateful- Condemnatory Violence Injury/Persecution
Selfish Self – seeking Distressing
Beautiful Thoughts Grace – Kindliness Sunny Circumstances
Pure Thoughts Temperance – Self Control Repose/Peace
Courage – Self- Reliance – Decision Productive Success / Plenty/ Freedom
Energetic Cleanliness – Industry Pleasantness
Gentle -Forgiving Gentleness Protective / Preservative Circumstances
Loving – Unselfish Self – Forgiveness for others. Sure/Abiding Prosperity / True Riches

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A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.

  1. For the next three days keep a notepad and pen close by. Start to try and be the observer of your thoughts, don’t change them at this stage just be aware of their presence.
  2. Write down the thoughts that are persistent; the ones that run through your head all day. At the end of the three days look back at the chart above. Try and identify what kind of thoughts you are having.
  3.  Look a little deeper and observe what kind of habits they are creating and finally what kinds of circumstances are evolving.
  4. Are your findings similar to those of James Allen?

I would love to hear about what you found!

Dallaa Moussallti




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