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A Man Thinketh, By James Allen
Thought-Factor In Achievement
that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is
the direct result of his own thoughts. In a justly ordered
universe, where loss of equipoise would mean total destruction,
individual responsibility must be absolute. A man's weakness
and strength, purity and impurity, are his own and not another
man's. They are brought about by himself and not by another;
and they can only be altered by himself, never by another.
His condition is also his own, and not another man's. His
sufferings and his happiness are evolved from within. As
he thinks, so is he; as he continues to think, so he remains.
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.
It has been usual for
men to think and to say, "Many men are slaves because
one is an oppressor; let us hate the oppressor!" But
there is amongst an increasing few a tendency to reverse
this judgement and to say, "One man is an oppressor
because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves."
The truth is that oppressor
and slaves are cooperators in ignorance, and, while seeming
to afflict each other, are in reality, afflicting themselves.
A perfect knowledge perceives the action of law in the weakness
of the oppressed and the misapplied power of the oppressor.
A perfect love, seeing the suffering which both states entail,
condemns neither; a perfect compassion embraces both oppressor
and oppressed. He who has conquered weakness and has pushed
away all selfish thoughts belongs neither to oppressor nor
oppressed. He is free.
A man can only rise,
conquer, and achieve by lifting up his thoughts. He can
only remain weak, abject, and miserably by refusing to lift
up his thoughts.
Before a man can achieve
anything, even in worldly things, he must lift his thoughts
above slavish animal indulgence. He may not, in order to
succeed, give up all animality and selfishness, necessarily,
but a portion of it must, at least, be sacrificed. A man
whose first thought is bestial indulgence could neither
think clearly nor plan methodically. He could not find and
develop his latent resources and would fail in any undertaking.
Not having begun to manfully control his thoughts, he is
not in a position to control affairs and to adopt serious
responsibilities. He is not fit to act independently and
stand alone. But he is limited only by the thoughts that
There can be no progress
nor achievement without sacrifice, and a man's worldly success
will be by the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal
thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans,
and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance.
The higher his he lifts his thoughts, the greater will be
his success, the more blessed and enduring will be his achievements.
The universe does not
favor the greedy, the dishonest, the vicious... although
on the mere surface it sometimes may appear to do so. It
helps the honest, the magnanimous, the virtuous. All the
great teachers of the ages have declared this in varying
ways, and to prove it and to know it a man has but to persist
in making himself increasingly virtuous by lifting his thoughts.
are the result of thought consecrated to the search for
knowledge or for the beautiful and true in nature. Such
achievements may sometimes be connected with vanity and
ambition, but they are not the outcome of those characteristics.
They are the natural outgrowth of long and arduous effort,
and of pure and unselfish thoughts.
are the consummation of holy aspirations. He who lives constantly
in the conception of noble and lofty thoughts, who dwells
upon all that is pure and selfless, will, as surely as the
sun reaches its zenith and the moon its full, become wise
and noble in character and rise into a position of influence
Achievement of any kind
is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought. By the aid
of self-control, resolution, purity, righteousness, and
well-directed thought a man ascends. By the aid of animality,
indolence, impurity, corruption, and confusion of thought
a man descends.
A may 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
All achievements, whether
in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the
result of definitely directed thought, are governed by the
same law, and are of the same method. The only difference
is in the object of attainment.
He who would accomplish
little need sacrifice little; he would would achieve much
must sacrifice much. He who would attain highly must sacrifice