Category Archives: James Allen eMeditations

The vision of Jay Leno and President Clinton

“The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart – this you will build your life by; this you will become.” As A Man Thinketh

Whether you liked his politics or not, much can be learned from the life of former President Clinton. Grolier’s “New Book of Knowledge” reports that as a teenager “Clinton thought of becoming a doctor or a reporter or even a musician. But after a fateful meeting with President John F. Kennedy, while still in high school, he made up his mind to enter politics.” At that moment a vision was born that he would hold onto – that he would glorify in his mind over and over – for the next 30 years, until he himself was elected President at the age of 46.

Jay Leno, who succeeded the venerable Johnny Carson as host of “The Tonight Show,” first envisioned that he would be the host when he was just 22-years-old and unknown and unproven as a comedian, much less as host of a show of such regard, For twenty years he enthroned in his heart an ideal that most people would have thought was “foolish”, “outlandish” and “impossible.”

The ancient writer tells us in Proverbs that “Without a vision, the people perish.” And Thoreau told us that “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” No doubt because the masses are without a vision for their lives.

What is your vision for your future, your ideal life? Is it written down? Do you review it and think about it often? Have you “enthroned” it in your heart? Is your life organized around goals and objectives that will ensure your vision is reached?

Wallace D. Wattles, wrote “There is no labor from which most people shrink as they do from that of sustained and consecutive thought; it is the hardest work in the world.” And yet it is the “sustained and consecutive thought” about our vision that is the first and primary labor of achievement.

Thoreau also wrote one of my most favorite passages of all time. And it gives us the best reason there is to stop what you’re doing today and identify the vision for your life. “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

Persistence is a state of mind

“The person of good and lawful purpose cannot fail. It only needs that he daily renew the fire and energy of his fixed resolve, to consummate his object.” – The Mastery of Destiny

It is the great equalizer for all of those reaching for success.

It overcomes lack of education, money, talent, intelligence, looks and all other seeming advantages. President Calvin Coolidge said nothing could take its place.

“Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

I cannot think of one victory I’ve ever had that I won without persistence. For a while I just thought that I had to work harder and longer than anyone else in order to achieve because nothing has ever come easy for me. Then I really looked around and noticed that everyone else was just like me. Every mentor I’ve ever had and every successful person I’ve ever known has their own story of how persistence was the key to their success.

Here’s what Bob Proctor teaches on one of the Universal Laws called the Law of Gender: “This law decrees that all seeds (ideas are spiritual seeds) have a gestation or incubation period before they manifest. In other words, when you choose a goal or build the image in your mind, a definite period of time must elapse before that image manifests in physical results.”

Coming from a family of six generations of farmers I certainly understand the gestation of a seed. In fact, one of my most favorite inspirational examples about persistence is the story of an Asian Bamboo species that even after five years of watering, weeding and fertilizing is barely visible. Then in a span of about six weeks it grows two and a half feet a day to 90 feet and higher. It grows so fast that you can literally “hear” it growing. The question to ask is did the bamboo grow 90 feet in six weeks or did it grow 90 feet in five years?

Obviously it grew 90 feet in five years, for all the time when growth wasn’t visible it was developing a massive root system that would later support it’s magnificent growth.

Can you see where the current circumstances in your life are developing your massive root system? Can you see where you must continue to “fertilize” and “water” yourself even though maybe you can’t see any visible changes today?

Napoleon Hill thought that persistence was such a key to success that he devoted an entire chapter to it in the classic Think and Grow Rich. He writes, “Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated….Before success comes in any person’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a person, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to QUIT. That is exactly what the majority of people do. More than five hundred of the most successful people this country has ever known, told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

Forget the mistakes

“Do not dwell upon the sins and mistakes of yesterday so exclusively as to have no energy and mind left for living rightly today, and do not think that the sins of yesterday can prevent you from living purely today.” – Byways of Blessedness

It’s been said that the majority of conversations by men over 40 are about the past — sometimes it’s about the “good old days” and sometimes it’s about the deals gone bad, the “if I only had” stories, the missed opportunities, etc.

Letting our “sins and mistakes of yesterday” dominate our thinking today robs us of our present joy and our future happiness. It causes us to miss the real opportunity of TODAY!

John Maxwell, in his outstanding best seller, Failing Forward, gives some great practical advice: “To move forward today, you must learn to say good-bye to yesterday’s hurts, tragedies and baggage. You can’t build a monument to past problems and fail forward.

“Take time right now to list the negative events from your past that may still be holding you hostage. For each item you list, go through the following exercise:

1. Acknowledge the pain.
2. Grieve the loss.
3. Forgive the person.
4. Forgive yourself.
5. Determine to release the event and move on.”

Your best days are definitely ahead of you if you treat your “mistakes” as necessary lessons to be learned. If you understand that each lesson brings with it a certain amount of wisdom, you can understand how truly enhanced your life is becoming. Many people can’t achieve the success of their dreams because they won’t leave their past behind. They won’t tear down the monuments they’ve built to their old hurts and problems.

One of my all-time favorite affirmation verses comes from the Apostle Paul who said, “…but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal...” One of the best teachings I ever heard on this was from a motivational speaker whose name has escaped me, but whose message didn’t: “In life there are no mistakes, only lessons.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

Acres of Diamonds

“Only by much searching and mining are gold and diamonds obtained, and a person can find every truth connected with his being, if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul.” — As A Man Thinketh

The classic book Acres of Diamonds is the story of a person who sold his home and land to travel far and wide in search of diamonds, only to die penniless. As the story goes, the new owner discovered diamonds on the very property that the old owner had ignored.

A lot of times I think we act the same way when we’re trying to “fix” something in our life. Whether it’s happiness or self-esteem or love that we seek, many times we look outside of ourselves to find the answer. We look to a spouse, a friend, a child or a parent to fill the void. Perhaps we expect the answer to come from our pursuit of our occupation or other interests. Or we expect a new home, a new car or a new boat to satisfy our “hunger.”

But, alas, like the poor farmer in Acres of Diamonds, our search comes up empty handed. And just like the story, diamonds are waiting to be discovered in our own back yard. As James Allen points out, the only way to find the gold and diamonds is to “dig deep into the mine of the soul.”

One of my most favorite authors, Jim Rohn, says, “The greatest source of unhappiness comes from inside.” Conversely, that’s also where the greatest (and only) source of happiness comes from.

Instead of searching far and wide, spend some time every day searching inside. Instead of expecting something outside to fill you up, learn to fill yourself from within. Make a commitment to read more of the material that will help you discover who you are. Make a decision to grow. As Jim Rohn also says, “What you become directly influences what you get.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

Plant corn and you get corn

“Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles.” — As A Man Thinketh

Most everyone understands the biblical concept of sowing and reaping because we can grasp the simplicity of the logic. If we were to plant corn in our backyard garden we wouldn’t expect spinach to come up. But even though we can grasp the logic, we don’t always act as if we understand the power of this principle. And we certainly don’t act as if this principle will affect us.

An example: For many years my morning ritual began with a thorough reading of the newspaper, most days spending an hour or more before dashing off to the office. I did not know then that our minds are most impressionable immediately upon rising in the morning and just before sleep in the evening.

Fresh from the reading (and thoughts) of the day’s murders, indictments, invasions by foreign dictators, and all other manner of “news”, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me that my sowing of these thoughts would reap an “attitude” toward the rush hour drivers who were “conspiring” to slow down my arrival at work. Thus, by the time I did arrive, I had set the tone for my day, and it was not a positive one.

I gave up my morning ritual thirteen years ago and replaced it with a ritual of reading and meditating on some works that will sow “good thoughts” and thus reap “good results.” I wasn’t aware at the time that this was some sound advice offered up by the Apostle Paul, who wrote, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.”

We always reap what we sow and that is especially true with our thoughts. As Emmet Fox writes, “The secret of life then is to control your mental states, for if you will do this the rest will follow. To accept sickness, trouble, and failure as unavoidable, and perhaps inevitable, is folly, because it is this very acceptance by you that keeps these evils in existence. Man is not limited by his environment. He creates his environments by his beliefs and feelings. To suppose otherwise is like thinking that the tail can wag the dog.”

And that’s worth thinking about.