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What I Learned from James Allen

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“As a Man Thinketh,” by James Allen, is one of my favorite books. This 1903 thought classic shows that how and what we think dictates much of what we do. The book has had aprofound impact on my own thinking and habits over the years and I believe that, in these uncertain times, the same principles of success and personal growth and development found in its pages still hold true today. Here’s how you can apply these principles to your life:

Character Is Central to Personal Growth and Development

“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” – James Allen

For the first 50 years of the personal growth and development movement, from James Allen to Dale Carnegie to Napoleon Hill, there was a real emphasis on character. Today, the movement is mostly concerned with technique and psychology, and character is rarely mentioned anymore. The truth is, however, our thoughts and our character go hand in hand; we must work on both if we want to succeed. This is where coaching comes into play. If you want to improve your thoughts and your character, find a good coach to counsel you, advise you and synergize with you. Working with a good coach will improve everything in your life.

Change Your Thoughts to Change Your Circumstances

“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” – James Allen

Many people believe that their circumstances are beyond their control. But ask yourself: Are you a victim of your circumstances, or can you overcome the challenges you face? If you don’t like the situation in any area of your life – health, relationships, business, finances – examine your thoughts. Remember, we are in control of our thought life. We are in charge of what we watch, listen to, connect to, hold on to and let go of. Our thoughts are the seeds that we plant. We either feed those seeds so they will grow and flourish, or we don’t. Feeding the right thoughts will ultimately change our circumstances.

Your Thoughts Affect Your Body and Health

“The body is the servant of the mind.” – James Allen

With all of the negativity and stress in today’s world, is it any wonder there is an epidemic of anxiety? Negative thinking is detrimental to physical and mental health and can take a terrible toll on a person. If you want to protect your body, you must also protect your mind. If you want to renew your body, you must beautify your mind. Look after your physical and your mental health equally to safeguard against disease and unhappiness.

Have a Definite, Major Purpose

“Until thought is linked with purpose, there is no intelligent accomplishment.”- James Allen

We all feel the need for purpose in our lives. If you don’t have a central purpose, your accomplishments will not really satisfy you and can get overwhelmed by anxiety, fear and self-pity. Don’t worry if you don’t yet know what your definite, major purpose in life is. Instead, concentrate on doing what’s in front of you to the very best of your ability. Do the job at hand and do it really well. We must be faithful with the little to be given much.

You Must Sacrifice If You Want to Achieve

“There can be no progress, no achievement, without sacrifice.”- James Allen

If you want to achieve, you have to make sacrifices. If you want your health to improve, for example, you must exercise. Similarly, if you want your business to grow, you have to put in the day-to-day work that will reap the rewards in the long-term, such as calls, notes and Pop-Bys. Remember, you are in control of your thoughts, habits, attitude and effort, no-one else. As James Allen said, “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.”

Keep Dreaming

“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.” James Allen

Even as we work on our everyday to-do lists and short-term goals, we must still make the time to dream so that we can elevate our minds and our spirits. Keep your visions and idealsin front of you. Dream big. As James Allen said, “Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”

Strive for serenity

“The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good.”James Allen

Serenity is often the biggest goal in a person’s life, with the ability to become unattached to certain thoughts ultimately one of the most powerful things of all. It is possible to become unattached to negative thoughts you might have about yourself and your circumstances. You can experience them, but let them float by you, as if on a river current. Only bring on shore those thoughts that are beautiful, powerful and encouraging. Those are the thoughts that can get us to where we want to go. If you are calm and can govern your own emotions this way, other people know that they can learn from you and rely on you in times of crisis as an influential mentor and leader.  

In these uncertain and anxious times, the old principles from “As a Man Thinketh” still hold true. You are in charge of your thoughts and you can transform your life and your circumstances by taking control of them. Listen to the latest episode of It’s a Good Life to hear more and to get a free copy of the book.    

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