While I have read many inspirational books, there is one amongst them that holds a special place for me, being the most motivating of all the books I have read so far. ‘As a Man Thinketh’ is a classic literary essay written in the early 1900’s by James Allen, a British philosopher, writer and a pioneer of the self-help movement in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The thing that impressed me most about this book is how the writer perfectly illustrates the dilemmas of modern man and guides the reader towards a healthy, prosperous and fulfilling lifestyle by addressing the issues. ‘As a man thinketh’ underlines the fact that a man is both made or unmade by himself! It is the thought or mindset of a person which eventually determines his/her destiny. Our habits and willpower are the essential building blocks towards our persona. And that, combined with our learning and knowledge, when nurtured with empathy, creates the traits of leadership. As an entrepreneur, it is my continuous endeavour to develop and encourage leadership qualities and cultivate bosses to become leaders. This book has helped me guide myself as well as others, in the right direction, through self-evaluation and realisation.
The author has offered a very simple formula to assess one’s personality, and then build on the strength areas, to minimise the chances of failure. Similarly, one also needs to identify the weaknesses within, and address them optimally, for increased confidence, and efficiency. It is also important to seek the advice of mentors who one holds in high esteem. These would prepare a person for an opportunity when it arrives, and one has to follow his/her instincts to make the best of these opportunities.
And the author strongly believes and advocates, that every circumstance is an opportunity. It all depends on how one can use the will power and mindset to make the most of it.
Sacrifice and Hard Work
The book also reinstates the obvious fact of life – that there can be no success, no achievement, without sacrifice!
Hard work will eventually pay off! And if hard work is done smartly, success is inevitable. And in order to do the same, we need to take care of our health. Whether physical or psychological, it is our own prerogative to ensure nurturing and well-being of both our mind as well as body.
Chase your Dreams
Another interpretation of mine from the book is that one should not shy away from his/her dreams. Remember, every great achievement was once just a dream, a vision. We need to develop our internal, moral and emotional GPS to navigate towards achieving that dream. Once we have found our true calling, we need to build our resume that tells the story of our purpose, that of achieving that dream. And we need to extend ourselves to the maximum possible extent, give 100%, in pursuit of that purpose.
For some of us, a new situation is an opportunity to learn, for others it may be a premise for failure! It all depends on the mindset, and hence, a learning mindset is necessary to face situations and overcome them successfully.
The 3 Ps
To me, this book helps establish the prominence of the 3 Ps in our lives:
Pervasiveness – One needs to be resilient and believe in their abilities. Let no one make you believe that you cannot do something.
Permanence – Nothing is permanent in this world, including our mindset. We need to acknowledge this and help our mindset to evolve continuously.
Personalisation – We often tend to hold ourselves responsible for other’s failures and end up being harsh on ourselves in the process. At the same time, blaming others for one’s life’s situations never helps, as it serves as a distraction from the real situation, which begs one to make better decisions in life.
Towards the end of the book, the author reflects on the fact that having control over one’s own thoughts and not letting the negative emotions cloud judgements can help one scale great heights, a belief that I share with him in all its entirety.
So, if we are to summarise the book ‘As a Man Thinketh’ in just a few words, we can say that it explains how thought, attitude, behaviour, and results are interconnected. And if one feels so inclined to change his/her results in life, the efforts should focus towards changing negative thoughts to positive first.