James Allen on Creating

Bill Abbate

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You can save an enormous amount of time and difficulty by learning the lessons of those who came before you. These lessons are usually words someone crafted, full of insight and wisdom, that influenced countless people's thinking. They most often do this through their writing and books. Such a person was one of the first motivational writers, an Englishman who lived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The first modern self-help author?

Although he died at the very young age of 47 in 1912, his books continue to sell well today. Initially published in 1903, his seminal work, As a Man Thinketh, continues to be a best seller on Amazon! Quite a feat for a man who died more than a hundred years ago!

Allen's book was one of the first to be written on the power of thought and has affected and inspired countless people and continues to do so today.

The origination of an idea

The idea for As a Man Thinketh, James Allen's book, was influenced by a nearly 3000-year-old verse of scripture from the Book of Proverbs.

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:" Proverbs 27:3a KJV

Most proverbs and quotes survive throughout the ages because they hold fundamental truths. A fundamental truth does not change and is unaffected by time or how much knowledge in the world increases. In other words, fundamental truth is truth and always will be.

Life lessons

Let's take some lessons from Allen's wisdom. One of my favorite Allen quotes is:

"You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you." James Allen (1864-1912)

Never have truer words been spoken. Our lives are the culmination of all we have thought. Our thoughts have led us to take specific actions, creating who we are and what we have today. Every day adds to what we will create tomorrow.

"Above all be of single aim; have a legitimate and useful purpose, and devote yourself unreservedly to it." James Allen (1864-1912)

When you find that one thing around which you can align everything else and focus on it, you have the power to do and create practically anything you wish. What is that one thing in your life?

"The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do." James Allen (1864-1912)

You change your life by shifting from what you "can't" do to what you "can" do. You will always become more capable through what you can do, going toward what you want. A can't moves you away from what you want. When you think you can't do something, you are usually right! When you think you can do something, you are usually right as well!

"A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life." James Allen (1864-1912)


"Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit." James Allen (1864-1912)

Your life is like a garden that can produce a wonderful harvest if you tend it. If you do not tend your garden, it has no choice but to become a weedy, rocky mess. Your life will become far more fruitful the sooner you discover this parallel between gardening and life.

Develop Understanding

Of all of Allen's words, I consider the following to be his most insightful:

"A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts." James Allen (1864-1912)

You are indeed what you think. Your life comes from your thoughts which form your character, from which you act and receive in the world.

"Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation." James Allen (1864-1912)

It is your responsibility to become what you are capable of becoming. No one else can do it for you. You alone hold the key to unlocking your potential and your future.

Create a Better Life

"They who have conquered doubt and fear have conquered failure." James Allen (1864-1912)

Never allow failure to derail you from creating what you want. Do not be afraid of failure. Embrace it as an experience that will help you grow in life. Pick yourself up, be grateful for the lesson, and continue forward whenever you fail. Failing does not make you a failure. Failing is one of the best learning tools in your belt and only makes you better. Every great person in history suffers failure before becoming successful.

"Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts inevitably bring about right results." James Allen (1864-1912)

While you are responsible for your future, do not let it be a burden. Find pleasure in what you do, and you will receive the benefit of a good journey and a fruitful life

Final thoughts

If you have not already done so, examine your thoughts. Begin working with all your might to learn to think in the ways that will create the future you want and need. You are doing this not only for yourself but also for those you care about, especially those you love.

To make the best use of this article, share it with someone with whom you can discuss Allen's work. Through sharing, each of you will greatly benefit from the experience!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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