The strangest secret

“As a man thinks, so is he; as he continues to think, so he remains.” – As A Man Thinketh

This is the cornerstone of James Allen’s philosophy and the great masters down through time have all agreed. Earl Nightingale called it “the strangest secret” and Napoleon Hill wrote in Think and Grow Rich that “riches begin with a state of mind.”

Looking deeper at James Allen’s quote, we realize that what we create through our thoughts is a belief system, and that belief system is ultimately what determines whether we live a successful life.

If our belief system says we’re fat because we were constantly told that as a child, or because over time we’ve developed that belief system, no amount of dieting or exercise will work to sustain permanent weight loss. Even though great discipline and sacrifice may shed some pounds, they’ll eventually be regained.

The same goes for any shortcoming. Just pick one. Procrastination, tardiness, lack of follow through, fear of failure; they’re all “qualities” that started in our thoughts, became entrenched in our belief system, and now are obstacles to building a better life.

Obviously the key to changing our belief system is changing our thoughts. Orison Swett Marden wrote in How to Get What You Want, “Stop thinking trouble if you want to attract its opposite; stop thinking poverty if you wish to attract plenty. Refuse to have anything to do with the things you fear, the things you do not want.”

Instead we must think rightly about those things we want to attract. My friend, Mark Shearon, once posed a very enlightening question to a telephone audience, “Are you thinking about what you’re thinking about?” Read that sentence again and read it carefully. It’s not a play on words.

Marden goes on to write this passage about how much our thoughts influence the outcome of our life: “How often do we hear it said of some man, “Everything he undertakes succeeds,” or “Everything he touches turns to gold?” Why? Because the man is constantly picturing to himself the success of his undertakings and he is backing up his vision by his efforts. By clinging to his vision, by vigorous resolution and persistent, determined endeavor he is continually making himself a powerful magnet to draw his own to him. Consciously or unconsciously, he is using the divine intelligence or force by the use of which every human being may mold himself and his environment according to the pattern in his mind.”

And that’s worth thinking about.