“Circumstance does not make the man” (or woman)

If you haven’t read the book “As a man thinketh” by James Allen lately I highly recommend that you do.

It’s really short, and really powerful.

It’s a unique book on my desk in that nearly every page is at least half covered in yellow highlighting, then underlining in various colors, then thoughts in the margins everywhere.

I keep it on my desk for regular access…and here’s the thought stood out most today:


“Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.

The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors which make for the ultimate good of the individual.

Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.


It’s helpful for me to remember when I face frustrations, setbacks, or disappointments, that they are very much here for my benefit, evolution, and growth.

It’s really no use to spend time harboring the weak, self-condemning thoughts of “if you were better, smarter, etc, you wouldn’t be experiencing this frustration”.

Everything is conspiring for your benefit.

Remaining open to that way of seeing allows you to move quicker to forgiveness and self-love and it opens your eyes to reveal you to you…

…so you can make a change.

And so you can grow, and become the next version of yourself.

You are constantly evolving, and you are where you are for a specific reason.

Be kind to yourself.

Look for the beauty in your current circumstances and say thank you.

This shifts your energy, brings you peace, and opens you for growth instead of frustrated feelings of ‘stuckness’****.

Make today amazing!




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  1. Linda Shay Reply

    I found a 1932 edition of Allen’s book in an old bookstore and have read it dozens of times. Such excellent advice and timeless. I also found a website with a lot of his writings. http://james-allen.in1woord.nl/

    I appreciate you reminding us to be kind to ourselves…I am my own worst enemy most of the time.
    Thank you for your work Aaron and for sharing it with us.

    • You’re welcome Linda!

      Thanks for sharing that resource of James Allen’s writings. I love his works

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