M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
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As a Man Thinketh Review
It’s #5 on my list of the best non-fiction books ever written.
Why? Because it’s punchy, simple, uplifting, life-changing and short.
At 7,409 words (~30 pages), As a Man Thinketh is a book you can finish in just 30 minutes.
Which is great news. Because this sermon on mastering your mind is a motivational masterpiece.
Enjoy them. Apply them. Take charge of your thinking today.
And until next time, be awesome, think wisely and go well.
P.s., Enjoy this As a Man Thinketh summary? Check out my free ultimate guide to character traits for a free list of 800 positive and negative character traits and a practical 5-step guide to reshaping your thoughts and your character.
As a Man Thinketh Summary
One-Scentence-Summary: Your thoughts determine your character, your character determines your actions and your actions determine your outcomes so the ONLY way to transform your life and results for the better is to master your mind and practice application, self-analysis and experience in transforming the way that you think.
Full As a Man Thinketh summary below…
Your Thoughts Determine Your Outcomes
You cannot improve your outcomes without improving your thoughts.
- Your thoughts determine your character;
- Your character determines your actions and habits; and
- Your actions and habits influence your circumstances and health which…
- Lead you to joy or to suffering.
Right, useful, pure, godlike thoughts lead to good character, blessedness, good health and joy.
Wrong, useless, groveling, evil thoughts lead to bad character, wretchedness, bad health and suffering; to indigence or indulgence.
The results may not be instant, but “a particular train of thought persisted in, cannot fail to produce its results on both character and circumstances.”
Note: The same isn’t true in reverse.
Your circumstances can’t be blamed for your thinking.
Instead, the way you react to them can tell you interesting things about your character and the nature and inclinations of your thinking.
You Are the Master of Your Thoughts
You can cultivate your thoughts or you can let them run wild.
And even that is a thought you control.
A wise person takes control of their thoughts through consistent:
- Self-analysis; and
Application in consistently trying to understand themselves.
Self-analysis in watching, controlling, altering and tracing the effects of their thoughts on themselves, other and their circumstances.
Experience in seeking wisdom in even the most trivial of everyday happenings.
This takes consistent time and effort.
But like any skill…
Mastery Improves With Practice
Here are some examples of bad and good thinking (taken from throughout the book):
- Aimless vs. Purposeful;
- Anxious vs. Confident;
- Condemnatory vs. Forgiving;
- Dependent vs. Self-Reliant;
- Dishonest vs. Honest;
- Doubting vs. Self-Assured;
- Fearful vs. Courageous;
- Gluttonous vs. Moderate;
- Greedy vs. Fair;
- Harsh vs. Gentle;
- Hateful vs. Loving;
- Impure vs. Pure;
- Indecisive vs. Resolute;
- Indulgent vs. Self-controlled;
- Lazy vs. Diligent;
- Listless vs. Energetic;
- Selfish vs. Generous;
- Sickly vs. Healthy;
- Sinful vs. Virtuous;
- Vicious vs. Benevolent;
- Weak vs. Strong;
(Enjoyed this list? You might like this article and list of 800 character traits.)
The good news? Strength can (and can only) be developed by effort and practice.
The more you apply self-analysis to your experiences the better you’ll get at tracing thoughts to joy or to suffering; the more laws you’ll discover for yourself.
The better you understand yourself and the more responsibility you take for your outcomes, the calmer and happier you’ll become.
NOTE: As you begin seeing how powerfully your thoughts alter your circumstances you may begin trying to judge others by extrapolating from their circumstances to their character.
But here’s the thing…
Don’t Judge Others By Their Circumstances
The truth is, it simply doesn’t work.
You won’t have a full view of their circumstances (either now or as they change).
You won’t have a full view of their actions.
You won’t understand how those actions are influenced by their various virtues and vices.
And you won’t understand what circumstances bring them happiness or suffering.
Conclusion? Don’t waste your time and energy judging others.
Focus On Changing Yourself
STOP seeing circumstances, experiences or people as obstacles to joy and to happiness.
STOP talking about luck or misfortune or chance.
START seeing circumstances and experiences as opportunities for application and self-analysis.
If you want to change your circumstances, first change your thinking.
If you want to protect your health or beautify your body, first guard and beautify your mind.
If you want to achieve great things, turn your thoughts to a major definite purpose, work out the straightest path to get there and devote yourself single-mindedly to pursuing it.
Note: Be wary of giving way if success is assured as this is a quick path to failure.
But remember, even if you don’t accomplish your goal, the strength of character and self-control you build in the process will raise the foundations on which you build your next attempt.
And if you need help taking action…
Create a Clear Vision and Ideal of Success
Turn your thoughts to beautiful visions and lofty ideals.
Dream aspirational dreams about the person you’ll one day become.
Allow those thoughts to take possession of you; allow the unrest you feel in the gap between your dreams and reality to drive you to action and progress.
Analyze your experiences.
Change your thoughts with unceasing effort and practice until you realize the visions you’ve created and become one with your ideal self.
Discover the serene equanimity that comes only with understanding and mastery of the self.
Remember: “You will fall, remain or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.”
Change your thoughts.
Master your mind.
And you’ll transform your life and results.
Best As a Man Thinketh Quotes
These As a Man Thinketh quotes come from The Art of Living's ever-growing central library of thoughts, anecdotes, notes, and inspirational quotes.
"A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances."- James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
"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."- James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
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