As A Man Thinketh


As A Man Thinketh - Introduction

“As A Man Thinketh” was written by James Allen a British writer and published in 1903. Allen was known for his inspirational work and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the personal development and self-help movement.

Allen described his pamphlet or essay as follows:

" It shows how, in his own thought-world, each man holds the key to every condition, good or bad, that enters into his life, and that, by working patiently and intelligently upon his thoughts, he may remake his life, and transform his circumstances."

“As A Man Thinketh” has been in circulation since it original publication and has been a source of inspiration to many.

The phrase "as a man thinketh" is derived from the Christian bible book of Proverbs chapter 23 verse 7.

Free PDF download: "As A Man Thinketh"





As A Man Thinketh - Underlying Philosophy

The philosophical basis of the essay is monistic, in practical terms this means that everything is of one and thoughts and matter are inseparable.

"Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass."


Inherent in this philosophical position is what is referred to as the responsibility assumption which is a doctrine - or belief - prevalent in the world of personal development that each individual has substantial or total responsibility for the events and circumstances that occur in their life.

This belief states that there is a far stronger connection between a person's thoughts and the circumstances of their life than is commonly assumed.

This belief has a specialized meaning beyond the usual idea of taking responsibility for something. There are broadly two degrees of responsibility attributed to a person: either:


Partial but substantial responsibility

Which means that there is a connection between your thoughts and the actions that follow from those thoughts and the outcomes that you experience in your life.

A connection between thoughts and actions describes a correlation but not a causation.

“As A Man Thinketh” clearly supports that view.

Personally I am very comfortable with this outlook because personal and observed experience has shown this to be true time and again.


Total responsibility

This is controversial and is taught in "The Secret" and by "Abraham Hicks" and many others. This is what's known as "reverse mental causation", that is to say that your thoughts are responsible for everything  - every circumstance  - in your life.

This belief describes causation between thought and circumstance.

Clearly this is absurd and deeply offensive, but nevertheless these people teach this!

I have addressed this point specifically here and at length with examples and a rebuttal, and evaluated the whole of the law of attraction here in considerable depth.

I repeat here my conclusions:



    The Fallacy Of "Reverse Causation" Between Thought And Circumstances


    The claim made, by many of the teachers of the law of attraction, that there is a direct causal link between your thoughts and all of the circumstances of your life is not true.

    Frankly, it is preposterous and insulting to millions of people who are suffering sickness, poverty, violence and restrictions, through no fault of their own, in circumstances that are imposed on them!

    It is a lie because it is a partial truth masquerading as an absolute truth.

    It's a partial truth because we can prove from observation and scientific studies that "like does attract like" in social interactions in the physical world that we live in.

    But it is a total lie based on pseudo-science to state, as a law, that your thoughts create everything that happens to you in terms of your health, wealth and the circumstances of your life. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim.



As I have said, the belief of "total responsibility" with a 100% causation of events and circumstance and a person's thoughts is in my view preposterous, deluded [as totally belief based and not proven nor supported by any evidence] and to be rejected because of the damage this belief can do.

James Allen is not explicit on this point, but he does appear to veer in this direction...





As A Man Thinketh - Does Not Really Take Account Of The Subconsious Mind

“As A Man Thinketh” is a thoughtful reflection and extended meditation on the power of thought but not, in my view, to be taken too literally.

For example:



    The Effect Of The Subconscious Mind


    Many - if not most - of our thoughts are out of our consious control and are unconscious so as I discussed in some detail in "THE CONFLICTED MIND - The Law Of Attraction:

    It is a very good thing that the law of attraction doesn't work as claimed, because the mind that has not been trained to stop thinking is full of so much "junk thought".

    One of many reasons LOA doesn't work as claimed is because the different levels of your mind are in conflict and working against each other.






"As A Man Thinketh" - Quotations



    “A noble and Godlike character is not a thing of favour or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with Godlike thoughts.”


    “Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury 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.”


    “MAN’S mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”


    “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.”“Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself”


    “Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”


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


    “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.”


    “Clean thoughts make clean habits. The so-called saint who does not wash his body is not a saint. He who has strengthened and purified his thoughts does not need to consider the malevolent microbe.”


    “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.”


    “He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it.”


    “And you, too, youthful reader, will realize the Vision (not the idle wish) of your heart, be it base or beautiful, or a mixture of both, for you will always gravitate toward that which you, secretly, most love.”






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