James Allen famously wrote, "They themselves are makers of themselves."
Who was James Allen?
He was a British philosophical author known for his inspirational books and poetry -- a pioneer of the self-help movement.
Born in Leicester, England, into a working-class family, his mother could neither read nor write while his father, William, was a factory worker. In 1902, Allen published his third and most famous book As a Man Thinketh. Following that, Allen produced more than one book per year until his death in 1912.
Over this past Easter weekend, I found myself revisiting many of Allen's writings. He eloquently articulated timeless, brilliant principles that are essential for self-realization no matter what we do.
Here are my top 10 favorite excerpts from Allen's various work that you, too, may find helpful in your journey:
1. VISIONS AND IDEALS
"The dreamers are the saviors of the world. Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, sage, these are the makers of the world. Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built." [From As a Man Thinketh by James Allen]
"Energy is the working power in all achievement. As a virtue, it can be cultivated. While the lazy man is waiting for an opportunity, the active man has gone out, and met and utilized half a dozen opportunities. He does things while the other is rubbing his eyes." [From Eight Pillars of Prosperity by James Allen]
3. MENTAL ATTITUDE
"As a being of thought, your dominant mental attitude will determine your condition in life. You imagine your circumstances as being separate from yourself, but they are intimately related to your thought world. Nothing appears without an adequate cause. Everything that happens is just. Nothing is fated, everything is formed. As you think, you travel; as you love, you attract. You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you." [From Above Life's Turmoil by James Allen]
4. THE BELIEF THAT SAVES
"It has been said that a man's whole life and character is the outcome of his belief, and also that his belief has nothing whatever to do with his life. Both statements are true. Guard well your thoughts, reader, for what you really are in your secret thoughts today, you will, sooner or later, become in actual deed." [From The Life Triumphant by James Allen]
5. THOUGHT AND PURPOSE
"Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force: he who does this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his mental powers. They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, and self-pityings, all of which are indications of weakness, which lead to failure, unhappiness, and loss, for weakness cannot persist in a power evolving universe." [From As a Man Thinketh by James Allen]
"Every enduring achievement in human society rests upon a basis of system; so true is this, that were the system withdrawn, progress would cease. A systematic man can get through so great a quantity of work in such a short time, and with such freedom from such exhaustion, as to appear almost miraculous. He scales the heights of success while his slovenly competitor is wallowing hopelessly in the bogs of confusion." [From Eight Pillars of Prosperity by James Allen]
"The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence. Even the ordinary trader will find his business prosperity increase as he develops a greater self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a man whose demeanor is strongly equable." [From Eight Pillars of Prosperity by James Allen]
"Trust thyself", says Emerson, 'every heart vibrates to that iron string". The few who have had the courage to so stand, have been singled out and elevated as heroes; and he is indeed the true hero who has that strong metal which enables him to stand upon his own intrinsic worth. We should stand upon what we are, not upon what another is. "But I am so small and poor", you say: well, stand upon that smallness, and presently it will become great." [From Eight Pillars of Prosperity by James Allen]
"The most prosperous commercial traveler I have ever known, was overflowing with exuberant kindness and geniality. Men were glad to see him come into their office or shop or mill, and not alone for the good and bracing influence he brought with him, but also because his business was sound and trustworthy. This man was successful through sheer sympathy. All interests are mutual, and stand or fall together, and as sympathy expands the heart, it extends the circle of influence, both spiritual and material, to more greatly abound." [From Eight Pillars of Prosperity by James Allen]
"Great is the thirst for happiness, and equally great is the lack of happiness. The majority of the poor long for riches, believing that their possession would bring them supreme and lasting happiness. Many who are rich, having gratified every desire and whim, suffer from ennui and repletion, and are farther from the possession of happiness even than the very poor.
If we reflect upon this state of things it will ultimately lead us to a knowledge of the all important truth that happiness is not derived from mere outward possessions, nor misery from the lack of them; for if this were so, we should find the poor always miserable, and the rich always happy, whereas the reverse is frequently the case." [From Poverty to Power by James Allen]
Happiness is that inward state of perfect satisfaction which is joy and peace, and from which all desire is eliminated.
You can find one of the James Allen pubic domain library here.
Serial entrepreneur and author Faisal Hoque is the founder of SHADOKA and other companies. Shadoka's portfolio of companies (R&D driven products, services, and thought leadership) accelerates individual and organizational sustainable growth. Author of several books, his newest book is "Everything Connects -- How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability" (McGraw Hill, Spring 2014).