Estimated Reading Time: 8 Minutes7 Life Lessons From An Epic 120-Year Old Masterpiece

“All that you accomplish or fail to accomplish with your life is the direct result of your thoughts.”

Table of Contents

Life lessons are often ironic. We usually grasp their true significance in retrospect, long after we have encountered adversity and moved forward.


But beyond just events and experiences, life lessons can come from various sources. Books, for instance, can be invaluable in shaping one’s character, values, and beliefs.


In the sea of literary works, one book stood the test of time like a lighthouse in a storm:

James Allen’s timeless masterpiece, “As a Man Thinketh.”


Throughout my life’s unpredictable journey, this book has been a guiding light, illuminating my path with its boundless wisdom.

According to Geoffrey James, contributing editor of, this is one of the 10 most motivational books of all-time because:

“[It] drive readers to change their lives, improve their lot, and build better careers.”


James Allen distilled profound wisdom into concise and powerful statements, creating a roadmap for a life of purpose and meaning. The book offers insightful life lessons that illuminate the path to knowledge and perseverance in the face of adversity.


Here are seven of these invaluable life lessons that can help define you:


Lesson #1: Life Is A Canvas On Which You Paint Your Thoughts



In the realm of self-help and personal growth, few statements have withstood the test of time quite like the words:

“As a man thinketh, so he becomes.”


These straightforward yet potent words have endured for more than a century and still strike a chord with people today. In my opinion, this expression is more than just a saying or a piece of advice.


It’s a basic truth that can affect how you see the world and how you fit within it.


These words have served as a beacon for me as I travel the path of personal development. I’ve learned from my journey through life how much power my thoughts and beliefs have over how my life will pan out.


There is a thought that comes before every action. As a result, it is imperative to be conscious of your beliefs and thoughts. Your thoughts have the power to either carry you to new heights or bring you to the lowest point of despair. 


The reality you experience is a direct reflection of the thoughts you choose to entertain within your mind. You have the power to shape your own reality through the choices you make, and that includes your thoughts. 


Allen believed that we are responsible for creating our own circumstances through our thoughts and actions. He wrote:

“Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”


Take ownership of your thoughts and claim your power to create a life that is authentically yours. Believe in yourself, choose your thoughts wisely, and watch as your reality transforms in amazing ways.


The gist of this life lesson is:

Life is a canvas on which you paint your thoughts. Make each stroke count.


Lesson#2: The Ebb And Flow Of Life Often Bring Unexpected Challenges

Life rarely goes according to plan. It’s more like a succession of waves that seem to come at you from all directions. Life is a whirlwind of events that can easily sweep you up if you’re not careful.




The chaos and unpredictability of it all can leave you feeling disappointed, stressed, or even heartbroken. But do remember this:

You have more power and control than you can imagine.


Like many people, I’ve had countless plans go awry in my life. However, years ago, I had an epiphany that I could not manage every twist and turn that life threw at me. 


This realization is one of the essential life lessons I obtained from this classic book:

“Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.”


This wisdom rings true even today.


When faced with difficulties, it is how we respond that defines us more than what happens. We have the ability to decide whether we will succumb to the storms of adversity or overcome them. 


By doing this, we provide the possibility of personal development and self-discovery. Your life will be as good as the attitude you carry around with you.


The gist of this life lesson is:

Focus on what you can control and let go of what you cannot. 


Lesson #3: Your Ability To Achieve Tranquility Is Paramount To Your Success

Looking back to my younger years, I remember struggling with worry and a nagging sense of self-doubt. It felt as if I could never get rid of this crippling discomfort, no matter how hard I tried.


But as luck would have it, I came across a line from Allen’s book that would fundamentally alter my life. It was a simple yet profound message:

“The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”


Those words resonated with me deeply, as if they were directly referring to the agony I was experiencing. The more I tried to micromanage every element of my life, the more stressed and anxious I became.




I began to practice mindfulness and meditation, which helped me quiet my mind and find a sense of stillness within. As I did so, I noticed a shift in my perspective and outlook on life. I felt more in control, more centered, and prepared to handle whatever came my way.


By cultivating a sense of inner peace and tranquility, I could tap into a wellspring of wisdom and strength. This helped me navigate life’s challenges with greater ease.


Gratitude, mindfulness, and meditation are all effective techniques for developing inner peace. Spend some time appreciating the blessings in your life and concentrating on the here and now.


You can shift your perspective and find a sense of peace that extends beyond your circumstances. Make it a priority to nurture your inner calm, and you’ll reap the benefits in all areas of your life.


Lesson #4: The Power Of Gratitude Is An Important Component Of Living

When times get tough, it’s easy to feel like life is dragging you down. Negative thoughts and feelings can creep in, making it tough to find the silver lining.


But there’s a simple solution: gratitude. Being thankful every day is a surefire way to unlock your true power.




Gratitude is one of the most valuable life lessons I have garnered from “As a Man Thinketh.” As the author espouses in his book:

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”


Dr. Robert Emmons, globally recognized as the foremost scientific expert on gratitude, categorizes it into two distinct stages:

First, it’s all about recognizing the goodness in your life. When you’re grateful, you’re saying “heck yes” to life. You’re acknowledging that there are so many elements that make it worth living.


Second, we recognize that the sources of this goodness lie outside ourselves. We’re grateful to others, to the world, and to a higher power for the blessings we receive.


In his article titled “How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times,” Dr. Emmons posits that:

“In the face of despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope.”


He asserts that even in the midst of despair, gratitude has the potential to alleviate negative feelings and thoughts.


By focusing on the good in your life, you can cultivate a more positive and optimistic mindset. Harvard Health Publishing recommends six practical ways to do this:

  1. Write a thank-you note
  2. Thank someone mentally
  3. Keep a gratitude journal 
  4. Count your blessings
  5. Pray
  6. Meditate


Lesson #5: Seize The Present Moment And Make The Most Of It

As a therapist, I often come across clients who feel trapped by their past experiences. They lament their past mistakes, yearning for a chance to turn back time and rectify them.




Some long for bygone days, convinced that the present is but a pale imitation of what once was. Others struggle to let go of past relationships, despite the fact that those bonds have long since been broken.


To make progress in life, you must focus on the present moment. What you do have control over is how you choose to spend your time in the present. The present moment is all you truly have.


In his book, Allen stated that:

“You cannot travel within and stand still without.”


Time only moves forward, and with each passing moment, it becomes part of your past. You cannot undo or recreate what has already happened.


It’s easy to become preoccupied with concerns about the future or regrets about the past. The past is a teacher, and we can look back on it to gain wisdom and insight.


Stay grounded in the present moment and take pleasure in the simple things that surround you. Take a moment to appreciate the small joys, such as feeling the warmth of the sun or hearing birds chirping.


Use your time wisely. Make the most of it and create a present that will lead to the future you desire. Every decision you make in the present moment contributes to the trajectory of your future.


Lesson #6: Engage In Pursuits That Give Your Life Meaning And Purpose

Do you ever feel adrift, unsure of where life is taking you or which path to follow? This feeling of uncertainty is all too familiar for many of us. But while it can be a trying time, it’s also an opportunity for growth and self-discovery.




In these moments, we often reflect on the deeper meaning of our existence and the purpose we wish to fulfill in life. This introspection can lead to profound insights and valuable life lessons that shape who we are and who we want to become.


What gives our experiences purpose and our goals direction?


According to the definition of purpose, it’s about finding meaning in daily experiences and setting attainable goals. Without purpose, life can seem like a never-ending battle.


However, with a clear purpose, you’ll find the motivation and energy to overcome obstacles and pursue goals with determination and persistence.


Therefore, if you’re feeling lost and unsure of your direction, take some time to reflect and look for your purpose. It may not be an easy path, and you may face hurdles along the way.


However, when you rediscover your purpose, it will invigorate your spirit, providing the drive and inspiration to make every moment count.


As A Man Thinketh underlined the value of having a singular focus:

“Above all, be of single aim; have a legitimate and useful purpose, and devote yourself unreservedly to it.”


Lesson #7: Find Your Strength And You Can Rise Above Your Circumstances



Sometimes life throws you a curveball, find yourself facing circumstances that are far from ideal. It’s easy to become dejected and believe that you are powerless to escape your current situation.


However, you actually have more influence over your life’s events and destiny than you might realize. Reflecting on my early years, life at that time seemed to be nothing but trials and obstacles.


It was during those difficult moments that I found solace in the following words:

“Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an Ideal and strive to reach it.”


To this day, the words I extracted from “As A Man Thinketh” remain etched in my mind. It reminds me that despite life’s adversities, I hold the authority to determine my own destiny.


So, what did the author mean by “perceive an Ideal?” Well, it’s about having a vivid image of your desired life and the person you aspire to be. And in the midst of difficulties and obstacles, you persist in creating goals and making progress towards them.


But it doesn’t end there. Once you have your “ideal” or grand vision of the future, you must now “strive to reach it.”


That entails putting up the effort and commitment necessary to make your dreams come true. It means staying focused on your objectives, no matter how difficult the road ahead may seem.


Whatever the situation, there is always a way out and a road to a better tomorrow. Find your strength and you can rise above your circumstances and be the person you want to become.


Life Lessons For The Ages

To sum it up, James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh is not just a book. It’s a masterpiece that offers valuable life lessons and a roadmap for personal growth and self-mastery.


It is my sincere hope that it will guide you towards a life of purpose and meaning. The words in the book possess the power to instill in you the ability to overcome life’s challenges.


Life is full of surprises and setbacks, and it’s in retrospect that we often realize the significance of these lessons.


Whether it is recognizing the power of your thoughts, seizing the present moment, or finding inner strength in the face of adversity, these lessons serve as signposts on your journey towards personal growth.


By embracing these teachings, you can build better careers and lead fulfilling lives, painting your own unique and beautiful canvas with the brushstrokes of your thoughts and actions.

DISCLOSURE: In my article, I’ve mentioned a few products and services, all in a valiant attempt to turbocharge your life. Some of them are affiliate links. This is basically my not-so-secret way of saying, “Hey, be a superhero and click on these links.” When you joyfully tap and spend, I’ll be showered with some shiny coins, and the best part? It won’t cost you an extra dime, not even a single chocolate chip. Your kind support through these affiliate escapades ensures I can keep publishing these useful (and did I mention free?) articles for you in the future.

Like this article? Then you might want to read this:


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x