Skip to comments.As a Man Thinketh (Something We Political Junkies Should Consider)
Posted on 04/15/2007 5:44:24 AM PDT by Reaganesque
THE THOUGHT-FACTOR IN ACHIEVEMENT
ALL 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 suffering and his happiness are evolved from within. As he thinks, so he is; 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." Now, however, there is amongst an increasing few a tendency to reverse this judgment, and to say, "One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves."
The truth is that oppressor and slave are co-operators 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 put 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, and abject, and miserable 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, by any means; 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 commenced 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, which he chooses.
There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice, and a man's worldly success will be in 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. And the higher he lifts his thoughts, the more manly, upright, and righteous he becomes, the greater will be his success, the more blessed and enduring will be his achievements.
The universe does not favour the greedy, the dishonest, the vicious, although on the mere surface it may sometimes appear to do so; it helps the honest, the magnanimous, the virtuous. All the great Teachers of the ages have declared this in varying forms, and to prove and know it a man has but to persist in making himself more and more virtuous by lifting up his thoughts.
Intellectual achievements are the result of thought consecrated to the search for knowledge, or for the beautiful and true in life and nature. Such achievements may be sometimes 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.
Spiritual achievements 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 unselfish, 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 and blessedness.
Achievement, of whatever 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 man may rise to high success in the world, and even to lofty altitudes 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 only be maintained by watchfulness. Many give way when success is assured, and rapidly fall back into failure.
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 lies in the object of attainment.
He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.
We are the products of our thoughts. Our thoughts dictate what we get in life. If we want something, our thoughts will lead us to our desires and bring them into reality. Equally, if we focus on what we don't want, we will bring that into reality as well. So, why do so many of us here focus on what we don't want?
Human nature, really. It is, in most cases, easier to oppose than it is to support. But in so doing, we contribute to bringing about that which we don't want to happen by concentrating on opposing that which we do not desire.
So, I post this for discussion. What say you, FR?
hurts to think ping
Good thoughts. Thanks.
Amen, brother! and ping!
I know...its early...sorry. But it is good stuff...
As A Man Thinketh
by James Allen
Brought to you by CornerstoneBooks
Cool!! I had never seen that! It is bookmarked for future use. Thank you!!
HORRAY FOR ME! :-)
Thanks Reagan! A lesson we can all learn for sure.
As a man thinketh on FR, so is he!
I agree, in business and many other walks of life people are hampered - and also succeed greatly - by the force of their own thought processes. But even that is subject to much that is directly contrary: Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are both highly destructive individuals (to themselves), never had to achieve in the sense that most in business do -- and yet have been highly successful in enterprise. Who among us wouldn't trade bank accounts with them?
There are no magic bullets -- not even in one's own thinking -- that are keys to success and failure. For most of us, this is good advice - not a key to the palace - just good advice. Because for most of us, most of our success will be based on a positive outlooks and serious, long-term, consistent effort.
This seems to almost be written for the problems we continue to face in Iraq, doesn't it?
It's been a long time since I've read this book--have a dogeared, yellowed copy lying around somewhere--so thanks for this post. Allen is right.
One of the stood out by far as being the best, and it came to me by way of a subscription to Money Magazine. IIRC this was a Forbes publication.
The quote that still resides in memory goes something like this.
A traveling salesman was driving down a long country road when he came upon the most beautiful farm he had ever seen. It was brightly painted with the picturesque barn and white picket fencing. Cattle were grazing in tall grass on the south 40, and every detail was just beautiful.
He had stopped his car and gazed at the farm for a minute to soak it all in, when the farmer came up to greet him.
The salesman politely addressed the farmer who was sweating profusely from his labors in the summer heat by saying "MY, MY!, What a beautiful farm God has given you!"
The farmer paused for a second to collect his thoughts, and returned..."Yes, it's been a lot of hard work, and long hours, but"......."You should have seen it when "He" had it.
In your part, you wrote:
It is, in most cases, easier to oppose than it is to support. But in so doing, we contribute to bringing about that which we don't want to happen by concentrating on opposing that which we do not desire.
I disagree with this statement. I think there's a time for opposition and a time for advocacy. I've had situations at work where someone wanted to do something stupid, and I put together reasoned opposition. Trying to write my own variation from scratch would have been pointless. People would have assumed that I was just trying to steal the credit by having my name and my work product promoted ahead of someone else's. However, when I gave sound, technical reasons why the proposal was wrong, thinking people were able to see the flaws in what was being proposed. We put together teams of good people to develop the criticisms and try to propose alternatives. Because of the intra-company politics, we're still fighting some aspects of some bad proposals, but the opposition that I started and others pushed forward is going to save our plant millions of dollars and possibly save the company millions more.
A few weeks ago, you posted a quote by Theodore Roosevelt about criticism, so this idea seems to have become a theme for you. I understand that some people will find fault with anything and that their criticism adds no value to our society. On the other hand, we need to discuss and criticize many things.
If an idea is wrong, we need to understand why that idea is wrong. We can't just treat a bad idea as if it were a "less good" idea. Sometimes, we have to compromise and accept "less good" ideas. "Less good" ideas don't harm our society, but bad ideas do harm our society. Therefore, we need to understand which ideas are bad and do everything possible to stop them.
Criticism of a bad idea or bad decision isn't always fun. We can't look as good while criticizing a bad idea as we can when supporting a good idea. I'd have gotten more credit throughout my company by taking the bad idea and running with it than I'll ever get for having derailed it. The fact that I would have gotten more credit wouldn't have made that choice the right choice.
The same lesson applies in politics. Right now, I know that the next two or three election cycles aren't likely to move us in the best direction. I can try to advocate for those who I think will be best, but I have little hope that they will win. Below them, I see some candidates who are "less good" in general and truly bad on only a few points. Below these candidates, I see some who are pretty much bad all around. If criticizing those who are bad helps a few people to understand why these candidates are bad, then I've done my part to keep the country from taking the worst course of action. Having tried to move things in the best direction and done something to try to prevent bad choices, I can accept something that is "less good."
I love that story! Thanks!
I would actually agree with you. However, from what you have told me, you are not opposing a bad idea simply for the sake of opposing it. You have offered an alternate proposal/approach and are supporting it. That’s what I think Allen is talking about. It doesn’t matter what others do, it matters what you do and doing is a reflection of thinking. You are supporting your idea as opposed to simply tearing down someone else’s. Destroying is easy, creating is much harder and you are creating.
If the purpose is only to inflame and irritate by way of criticizing the opinion of someone else who you know full well is not likely to change that opinion because of your criticism, then the criticism become petty, juvenile, and without any substantive purpose beyond trolling for a pointless response that will be used to further inflame and embarrass publicly.
Sure, you can justify just about anything, but often, the justification is as phony as the criticism.
I believe this was the point of poster, and the reason he has been exposing this criticism for what it is.
The MSM is having a ball feeding this emotional self destruction within the Republican base, just as we did to the Dems during the House Banking scandals and the Clinton impeachment. It's payback, plain and simple and the Dem's are enjoying every second of it.
Sure, you can try to justify what ever you do or say to a fellow Republican voter, but often the justification is just part and parcel of the political disease called factional Hubris that always results in party damage and chaos.
We have a choice to make, as a political party. We can either hang together and get through this primary with some degree of unity remaining afterward, or we can all "hang" separately as individual losers.
Reminds me of wisdom from some of the books of the Bible like Psalms, Proverbs, and the Epistles of Paul.
Good thoughts for meditating on this Sunday morning.
Ping to our resident intellectual.
Well said. Thanks.
It's a nice simplistic theory I don't agree with. There are so many other factors beyond ouselves and our thoughts, that influence our lives. How we treat one another has a big effect and is most important. And people really can ruin the lives of other people, no matter how positive those people may be.
As to people ruining the lives of other people, your life is ruined only when you accept the notion that it is. You choose how to view your life. Others control you only to the degree that you allow them.
Stuff happens, that's a given in life. Other people make bad decisions that sometimes affect us. The terrorists that blew up the Trade Center made some bad decisions that affected millions of people. After 9/11 we, as a nation and as individuals, had the choice to either curl up in a ball and suck our thumbs whilst hiding under the table in fear or we could rebuild and do something about the situation. President Bush chose to fight back and not let the bad guys determine how we will live. We as individuals, have the same choice. Whatever happens in our lives, no matter how awful it may be, we always have the choice not to let it determine our happiness.
Thanks for posting this. It is a great little book. With the new physics - quantum physics - thoughts are taking on greater importance.
Light travels as a wave, unless it is being observed, then it travels as particles and the outcome of experiments at the quantum level depends on who is watching them(s).
We have something like 50,000 thoughts a day. Most people haven’t a clue what they are thinking(s) but state of mind matters more than folks realize.
You don't think they ruined many lives?
We disagree. People can make the best of it, but that isn't the same. Sorry.
“Ping to our resident intellectual.”
THAT seriously overstates the case! LOL! (Although it beats “Ping to our resident socialist weasel”).
Thanks for posting this gentle reminder that negative thoughts are harmful to us, both mentally and physically. Sometimes, in this modern world, it’s easy to get into the rut of negativity (especially when one gets caught up in the ongoing struggle between conservatives and liberals).
I wonder if some folks are jealous of the fact that France gets 85%(+/-) of their electrical power from clean - cheap nukes?