As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

“The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts.”

As a Man Thinketh by James AllenWhen James Allen wrote and published ‘As A Man Thinketh’ in 1902, I doubt he ever thought that 112 years later a guy like me would be sitting on my couch, pouring over his ideas on the glowing screen of an Amazon Kindle.

And I would also expect that 100 years from now, a reader will be reading these same paragraphs using only their minds eye or using whatever other futuristic technology human beings are using to absorb books at that time… because this book is timeless.

I came to know about ‘As A Man Thinketh’ from Tony Robbins. Over the years I’ve come to look up to Tony as one of the most creative, gifted and enlightened individuals on planet Earth. His understanding of human behavior is immense, and his perspectives on the power of thought have helped me tremendously.

Little did I know that 100 years ago, James Allen was writing about these exact same things.

“As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them”

The book’s core purpose is to show us how much power our thoughts have over our lives, and how changing them can impact us greatly. Our thoughts create our reality. They can make a bad experience positive and a good experience negative. If we think reality is a certain way, it is. When I finally understood this, I was no longer a victim of circumstances or some, cruel destiny. I had simply been given some difficult experiences (as we all are) and then I’d thought myself into a corner without even realizing it had happened.

Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.

One of the most powerful lessons about life that not many people understand is the power of attraction (I know, I know…) and how it works two ways. We exist in a reality of our own making, created by our own thoughts and decisions. We attract things we love and also things that we fear. How many times has someone feared getting sick so intensly that they made themselves sick? How many people fear being alone so badly that it makes them unbearable to be around?

The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors, that which it loves, and also that which it fears.

It’s very easy for a poor man to keep himself poor by thinking that he is owed riches. For many years I believed that I was owed something from the world, even though I did nothing to earn it. Later I realized that no one was holding me back or giving me less than I was owed. My own thoughts were keeping me where I didn’t want to be.

Here is a man who is wretchedly poor. He is extremely anxious that his surroundings and home comforts should improve, yet all the time he shirks his work, and considers he is justified in trying to deceive his employer on the ground of the insufficiency of his wages. Such a man does not understand the simplest rudiments of those principles which are the basis of true prosperity, and is not only totally unfitted to rise out of his wretchedness, but is actually attracting to himself a still deeper wretchedness by dwelling in, and acting out, indolent, deceptive, and unmanly thoughts.

James Allen

Author, James Allen

There is very little chance that doing good deeds will bring bad results or that our negatives attitudes and actions will bring good ones. If you wake up every day and do good deeds for every person you meet, there is very little chance you’ll be arrested and thrown in jail, just as there is very little chance that committing crimes on a daily basis will result in your recieving a Pulitzer prize.

Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results, bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results.

We can spend our entire lives blaming our past experiences for our current problems. Our parents, childhood friends, school teachers and everyone who ever did us wrong. I spent 20 years being angry at my dad for committing suicide and claimng that it had “ruined my life”. It wasn’t until I understood that initially he was to blame for the problem, but I was to blame for dragging it behind me for years that I was able to improve myself and my circumstances.

A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life.And he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts, ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.

I’ve learned over time that absolute focus is a pathway to success. For example, in my music career I watched several bands, that weren’t the most talented become successful. The ones that made it are the ones that stayed focused, kept touring, kept putting out albums regardless of their circumstances. They kept at it, improved over time and are now household names.

A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances.

I can see now that the darkness that I lived in through my teens and twenties were a result of my own bad attitude. I believed that everyone in the world was against me, so they were. I believed that I was cursed to fail at everything I tried, so I did.

Man is made or unmade by himself. In the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.

Your thoughts are the switch that turns on (or off) every other aspect of your life. You cannot get in shape or lose weight until your thinking changes. You may be able to diet and exercise for a few days, or weeks but in time your thoughts will bring you to a screeching halt and find some excuse why you should give up and quit.

Change of diet will not help a man who will not change his thoughts.When a man makes his thoughts pure, he no longer desires impure food.

As A Man Thinketh

We’re all the same, all part of the same gigantic energy field. Treat every person, animal and insect you meet with the same kindness you’d like to be treated with. It makes your life (and everyone else’s) much easier.

Thoughts of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to their possessor.

If you don’t know where you’re going – you don’t know where you’ll end up. You must set goals. Those that accomplish, plan. Those that win, prepare. Those that succeed in life create a goal of where they want to be and then make a plan how they will get there. It’s hard to change the world by accident.

Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment. With the majority the bark of thought is allowed to “drift” upon the ocean of life. Aimlessness is a vice, and such drifting must not continue for him who would steer clear of catastrophe and destruction

No one can save you, but you. Until a person is ready for help, no one can help them. I learned this lesson via an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Countless friends and family members tried, but it wasn’t until I decided for myself that I was ready to stop that I was able to quit. When I decided for myself, it happened immediately.

A strong man cannot help a weaker unless that weaker is willing to be helped.And even then the weak man must become strong of himself.He must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another.None but himself can alter his condition.

For those of us that do manage to change, become better people and do great things, we must stay focused. Mainting a good life requires daily effort, especially if your natural mood is dark. It is very easy to get sucked back into old ways of thinking, old bad behaviors and give into tempations. If this happens you end up back where you started. But it’s worse, because this time you had something to lose.

A man may rise to high success in the world, even to lofty attitudes in the spiritual realm, and again descend into weakness and wretchedness by allowing arrogant, selfish, and corrupt thoughts to take possession of him. Victories attained by right thought can be maintained only by watchfulness.Many give way when success is assured, and rapidly fall back into failure.

Adults can dream, the same way that children do. Too often we dream big dreams as kids and then are taught by unsuccessful adults who failed at their own lives that we have no chance to achieve our own dreams. Every famous artist, musician, politician or movie star got there by first having a dream and then sticking with it no matter what BS people tried to tell them along the way.

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.
The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream

It doens’t matter where you start, or what the circumstances in which you begin. Rich or poor you have the opportunity to do great things. All you have to do is believe.

Here is a youth hard pressed by poverty and labor. Confined long hours in an unhealthy workshop, unschooled and lacking all the arts of refinement.But he dreams of better things.He thinks of intelligence, or refinement, of grace and beauty.He conceives of, mentally builds up, an ideal condition of life. The wider liberty and a larger scope takes possession of him, unrest urges him to action, and he uses all his spare times and means to the development of his latent powers and resources. Very soon so altered has his mind become that the workshop can no longer hold him. It has become so out of harmony with his mind-set that it falls out of his life as a garment is cast aside.And with the growth of opportunities that fit the scope of his expanding powers, he passes out of it altogether. Years later we see this youth as a grown man.We find him a master of certain forces of the mind that he wields with worldwide influence and almost unequaled power.In his hands he holds the cords of gigantic responsibilities, he speaks and lives are changed, men and women hang upon his words and remold their characters. Sun-like, he becomes the fixed and luminous center around which innumerable destinies revolve.

To my fellow weirdos, lost souls and disobedient thinkers know that there is a place for you in the world. You CAN do the crazy idea that you have in your head. You can live your dream even though you dropped out of high school. You can become whatever you want to become even though you were born poor. It is only and all up to you. The moment you change your thoughts from “I can’t because….” to “I will because…” your life can change.

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever you may be, under whatever conditions you may live, know this: In the ocean of life the isles of blessedness are smiling and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hands firmly upon the helm of thought. In the core of your soul reclines the commanding Master, He does but sleep, wake Him.

As A Man Thinketh’ was recommended to me as one of the greatest books ever written. I am now a firm believer that this is true. If you plan on reading a book in the future for any reason, I recommend you start with this one. This is a life-changing arrangement of thoughts that every human being that has ever been born needs to read and understand.

  • Tom

    Great as always.

    It’s so clear that you come from generosity, Malan.

    Your writing is a real gift to me (and innumerable others, I’m sure.)

    • Malan Darras

      Thanks Tom, and you guys reading and comment are a gift to me, so thanks

  • Michael

    Right on, Malan. I found your site a couple months back while
    searching for intermittent fasting content. I looked around, found some good
    stuff, and signed up for the email updates. I’m really enjoying the
    direction you are taking the site lately. For sure, keep up the good work 🙂

    • Malan Darras

      You got it Michael, I’ll put out some new IF / Leangains content soon. Been learning lots of new stuff over the last year.

  • Philip S.

    Profound – Thank you.

    • Malan Darras

      check out the book if you haven’t Philip. I just gave away a few tidbits. It’s pretty epic

  • Hopehappens2

    First, I am sorry your father committed suicide. Kudos to you for letting go of blame and turning your life into a positive direction. Your article reminds me of the book, Leading Minds, by Howard Gardener. In the book, Gardener discusses how the one thing that sets some of the greatest leaders of all time apart from others is their ability to see problems in their life as simple challenges and opportunities rather than becoming negative. Like Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” Keep writing and thanks for sharing your insight.

    • Malan Darras

      thanks, i’ll have to check out Leading Minds

  • traffiking

    Malan you are a God Send. May God bless you and your family. I am buying this book tomorrow.

    Nowadays it seems like every affiliate is preoccupied with their material trappings but you, you’re an anomaly. You touch the mind and the soul.

    Your words carry a certain weight. The tears dry on their own.

    • Malan Darras

      Thanks traffiking, good to hear and good to see ya

  • Ronny

    HI Malan,

    What do you do to turn bad thoughts into good thoughts.

    Do you have any rituals for it?

    Bad thoughts really ruin everything


  • Mike Smith

    I have read this book a number of times over the years, it is one of the wisest books perhaps second only to the Bible.
    Your slant on it shows you are a thinking man with creative thoughts not see in many.
    One of the many things I have learnt in life is your thinking can make you or destroy you. William Shakespeare once said “Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so” Each of us have a choice of how we think and James Allen was a man ahead of his time who was able to put thinking into words.
    Thank you Malan for sharing these wise words again.

    • Malan Darras

      “Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so” – thanks Mike

  • bigaffdreams

    Malan! Needed this man. Thank you.

    • Malan Darras

      yeah man, i did too 🙂