Thought and Character, Napoleon Hill and James Allen on Hidden Seeds of Thought

What do you believe and why do you believe it? What part of what you believe is true? Have you examined your beliefs?

“Every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought”

Is this why some people, after reading books like Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” do become rich? Is it because new seeds of thought have been planted? Has Hill provided information that the person didn’t know or has Hill unleashed their thinking, allowing them to dream beyond the present conditions? It’s not an either-or proposition is it, clearly Hill provides both conditions to the reader.

Why then doesn’t Think and Grow Rich cause everyone who reads it to become rich? Isn’t life just a crap shoot? Some who Read Think and Grow Rich believe it and to others the words just pass by. What is magical is not the book or the words but the effect those words have on the mind that receives them. And how open that mind is to believe that “thoughts become things” and “anything the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Does the reader have so much junk stored in his mind that he cannot get to the beliefs necessary to move forward? Those seeds of thought can be good seeds and bad. Earl Nightingale talked about seeds of the deadly poison plant, nightshade, being planted and those seeds growing to full pushing out the good crop: this is what James Allen is saying in the classic, “As A Man Thinketh.”

The seeds of thought planted in our minds first by our parents, our families, our friends, the media, what kinds of seeds are those? Even church and religious services of all kinds, what seeds are these really bringing. In the Christian traditions there is the preaching of fire, damnation, and judgment – of a God of retribution — and there is the teaching of a God of love who intends the very best for you. All of these ideas taken from the same book. So it is in life, one person sees life as an endless opportunity while another sees life as a struggle for existence. One sees and participates in an abundant feast while another sees only the scraps that fall to the floor.

Why is this? Allen says, quoting scripture: “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” When a person picks up Think and Grow Rich and begins to read through with what eye is he seeing the book? What beliefs does he have to overcome to accept the ideas that if he changes his thinking then the whole world opens to him. What has gone into that mind before these new ideas? What mental baggage has to be overcome? How much does he “know” that just isn’t true? James Allen discusses many of the same concepts in “As A Man Thinketh.”

Before the great runner Roger Bannister everyone knew it was impossible to break the four minute mile. Yet within weeks of Bannister’s record other runners had beaten it. Since then the record has even been broken in high school events. Many point to this as a psychological barrier that runners couldn’t cross. Then after the idea was out, after the belief was in the minds of the runners then their training, their work was able to attain new levels of performance.

“We become what we think about all day long,” as Earl Nightingale put it. We generally think about things that have been put there by family, friends, teachers, media — have we examined those thoughts and the artificial limitations that have been installed in our minds?

People shook with and were paralyzed by fear in their homes after hearing Orson Well’s 1938 broadcast of “War of The Worlds.” Many truly believed that Martians were actually invading the world. What might you believe about your business that isn’t true? Do you believe in a bad economy that your business can’t grow? If so why would you get up and try? The fact is plenty of people are going to get rich in bad times while others will loose out. What do you believe about the challenges of the economy, about the challenges of life?

Are challenges supposed to destroy us or are they a way to make us stronger? “As A Man Thinketh” says:

The act is the blossom of thought and joy and suffering are it’s fruits – thus does a man enjoy the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry.

What will your act be in response to a challenge? Will you hunker down in your house in fear? Or will you go out to discover what the truth about it is? Allen quotes scripture when he says:

He that seeketh findeth and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

That’s a promise of a way, of an answer if you are looking for a way to meet the challenges. But if you shiver in your home, if the covers are pulled up over your head as you wait for – what is it you are waiting for? If you are waiting then you are not looking, you are not seeking, and nothing good can come of it. Your mind will take on the mantra of the world, of the media.

“As A Man Thinketh” is a challenge to all to examine your thoughts, they are probably not even your thoughts. You will be controlled by those thoughts, by that message, you will act in accordance:

the act is the blossom of thought…

If you are not happy with your life, with circumstance, put some new thoughts in.

Do you believe that change is bad or is it opportunity? Is a crisis bad or is it an opportunity? Shakespeare said, “there is nothing either good or bad, but only thinking makes it so.” Do you want to go back to the good old days, or are these the good old days?

Change and crisis are forces in the world that beckon us to look again at what we believe. To look at the habitual thoughts that cycle through our consciousness, drive our actions, and produce our results in the world.