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Following are excerpts from two of the most explict books on the power of thought and how the quality of our lives "hinges" on the quality of our thoughts!

The Stangest Secret … Revisited
(from the book: Earl Nightingale's Greatest Discovery)

… Earl states so fittingly, “We are here only to serve others,” …if you don’t want something bad to happen, or if you want good things for yourself in your life, be careful about what you think, for you will become what you think as sure as the dawn follows night… A thought is the most powerful force in the universe… My reading and search for the secret of success continued without letup…. It suddenly dawned upon me that I had been reading the same truth over and over again for many years… we become what we think about. … if we don’t think at all … we don’t become anything at all…. Our minds are the steering mechanisms of our lives…. Our minds are the gyrocompasses of our lives. Once set, that’s where we’re going until they are reset… I had found the secret, although the fact that it was a secret to so many was strange indeed…. I found [the secret] in a book published in 1937 entitled Think and Grow Rich, by a man named Napoleon Hill…. As Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote in Mankind Evolving: “… Tell me what your vision of the future is, and I will tell you what you are.” … When our thinking is chaotic, our lives are chaotic. Visualization is the human being’s vehicle to the future – good, bad, or indifferent…. If you know [visualize] what you want to become, you will become it. Visualization is a force of incalculable power…. We grow into our expectations. It’s too bad that so few manage to muster expectations that are in keeping with their true potential… At work, his [the executive’s] office is also a reflection of him and a reinforcement of his place in the scheme of things… His world is a reinforcing mirror of his thoughts—a mirror of him, his wife, and his family. He is what he thinks about. …. “We live in … thoughts, not breaths…. He most lives who thinks most.” –Philip Bailey … “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” –Proverbs 23:7 … “The secret of success—or failure, for that matter—is that we become what we think about.” …You are, at this moment, the sum total of all your thoughts up to this point in your life. And so am I, And so is that man across the street and that woman going into the supermarket. Watch them, study them, look at their faces. They are the most interesting creatures on the planet, and the most charged with possibilities. But do they know that? Do they know that their daily lives are mirrors of their thinking? Do they know about the subject we’re discussing here? Alas, no. Most of them do not. Most of them are simply maintaining their position in the socioeconomic pyramid that they have unconsciously chosen as their lot in life. They do not know that by thinking in new directions (which has been called the definition of genius) they can bring new directions into their lives. Most of them are marking time, as if they have a noncancelable contract with life. How can we rise above our more egregious mistakes if we just mark time! Let’s do it better than it’s been done before. … As for our mythical executive driving to work, as for people everywhere, an environment reflects the people who live there. Change the people through education, and the environment will change to reflect that degree of enlightenment … It’s getting it started that takes the unusual person, the person who simply refuses, for whatever reason, to march in lockstep with the big gang going nowhere, the person who does something of unusual value. … breaking loose from debilitating traditions. … The most important thing I ever learned in my life is that we become what we think about. What do you think about? What is your goal? Can you write it out in a single sentence? … If you have more than one, or if you have some intermediate goals that lead toward a large goal, list them separately and number them 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on. Then answer this question: You are today the sum total of your thoughts, up to this point in your life. Are you pleased with your present place in the world? If your answer is yes, what’s your next port of call? If your answer is no, what are you going to do about it? What are you going to start thinking about? We control what we think about, and by so doing, each of us tells to an altogether unsuspected extent his or her own fortune. I received a letter along with a little poem some time back from a radio listener. In her letter the woman wrote, “I have always wanted to write poetry.” But I could tell from the note and from the poem that the woman was not really serious about writing poetry and, in fact, didn’t know the first thing about the subject. The person who wants to write poetry and who is truly serious about it reads poetry, owns dozens of books of poetry, has studied writing and poetry, and has worked long hours at that difficult and demanding craft. She was much like the woman who gushed to the concert pianist following a concert, “I’d give anything to play as you do!” Which prompted the pianist to comment, “Except twenty years and seven hours a day.” … “What you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying,” is apt. Don’t tell me what you are going to do. Show me—go do it! … we tend to underestimate our potential … What I’m suggesting is that you make an assessment of where you are and where you would like to be, establish a worthwhile goal, begin to think about it, and, as you do, realize that you become what you think about. Perhaps, like millions of others, you haven’t been doing very much thinking at all. You may have just been part of the crowd, with your miraculous mind in neutral, waiting for your to give it a worthwhile job to do. If you have difficulty deciding what you would most like to do, here’s a little game you can play that might help you decide. Let’s say you are financially independent. You have a very good income and don’t have to concern yourself about it. It’s Monday morning; you wake up feeling well, and you can do anything you want to do. What would you most enjoy doing? … Write it down. … Whatever your mind most naturally turns to, that’s probably the key to an enjoyable and productive future. Examine it, write it down, explore it from every possible angle. There’s opportunity there—worlds of it! … in doing that which we most enjoy, we will probably make our most significant contribution to society. And the contribution we make to society determines our rewards. .. [our rewards] will always be in direct proportion to our service. .. Albert Einstein was once asked, “Doctor, why are we here?” He turned to his questioner in surprise that he had asked so elementary a question and replied, “We are here to serve other people.” Of course! We are here to serve. Everything that we ever receive and from which we derive special pleasure and joy comes to us as a result of our having served. It’s the key to a happy marriage and a happy family. It’s the key to a happy organization of any kind.

As a Man Thinketh (from the book, by James Allen)

Thought and Character:…men and women … are makers of themselves by virtue of the thoughts which they choose and encourage … A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts… Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits … God-like character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking … Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection …man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny… linking cause and effect … utilizing his every experience … as a means of obtaining that knowledge of himself which is Understanding, Wisdom, Power… Effect of Thought on Circumstances: … so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts… the outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state… a progressive and evolving being … as he learns the spiritual lesson which any circumstance contains for him, it passes away and gives place to other circumstances. Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions … circumstances grow out of thought … The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which it loves, and also that which it fears … continued cultivation of virtuous aspirations … man is continually revolting against an effect without, while all the time he is nourishing and preserving its cause in his heart… a conscious vice or an unconscious weakness … Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound… a man who is wretchedly poor … anxious that his surroundings and home comforts should be improved, yet all the time he shirks his work … man is the causer (though nearly always unconsciously) of his circumstances, and that, whilst aiming at a good end, he is continually frustrating its accomplishment by encouraging thoughts and desires which cannot possibly harmonize with that end… all his past experiences, good and bad, were the equitable outworking of his evolving, yet unevolved self. Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results… The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who is pure… a perfectly pure and enlightened being could not suffer… suffering … the result of … mental inharmony… blessedness … result of .. mental harmony… Indigence and indulgence … are both equally unnatural and the result of mental disorder… A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile …he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition … ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress … thought … rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance… loving and unselfish thoughts crystallize into habits of self-forgetfulness for others, which solidify into circumstances of sure and abiding prosperity and true riches… a man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances… The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts… Effect of Thought on Health and the Body: … The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind … At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty. Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought… When a man makes his thoughts pure he no longer desires impure food. Clean thoughts make clean habits… If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind… There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow… Thought and Purpose: … Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment… Aimlessness is a vice, and such drifting must not continue for him who would steer clear of catastrophe and destruction. They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, and self-pityings … Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting-point for future power and triumph… to begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment; who make all conditions serve them … Having conceived of his purpose, a man should mentally mark out a straight pathway to its achievement … The Thought-Factor in Achievement: … There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice … Victories attained by right thought can only be maintained by watchfulness… All achievements … are the result of definitely directed thought … Visions and Ideals: The dreamers are the saviours of the world… Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind … for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment … Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil… You cannot travel within and stand still without… unrest urges him to action … to the development of his latent powers and resources… the workshop can no longer hold him… with the growth of opportunities which fit the scope of his expanding powers, he passes out of it forever… you will always gravitate toward that which you, secretly, most love … You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration … The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent … Seeing a man grow rich … Observing another become intellectual … exclaim, “How highly favored he is!” … They do not see the trials and failures and struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable, and realize the vision of their heart… Serenity: … A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought-evolving being … and as he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene. The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others; and they, in turn, reverence his spiritual strength …

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