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Creative Career Path

How does your thought garden grow?2010.11.15

    In As a Man Thinketh, the classic book that practically launched the self-help industry, author James Allen said that, “All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.”


    James Allen uses the analogy of the mind as a garden, in which we plant and cultivate thoughts that flower and bear fruit, or which becomes choked with weeds through neglect. This metaphor is perennial and powerful, and easy to observe in our own experience.


    Two of the powerful ways in which thoughts take shape are in speech and in writing. Words have the power to attract and to repel. Profound words, kind words, fighting words.


    Much of what is written about this process focuses on what goes on inside the mind, the way we visualize our goals or mentally project our future. As important as this is, it seems that we miss a lot when we neglect to write down our thoughts. The process of writing down your thoughts engages mind and body, and requires you to be specific. It also provides a mental mirror so that you can really reflect on your thoughts.


    If you follow a system for logging and organizing your thoughts, in effect you create a thought garden. This is where you can cultivate and refine your thoughts. Connectivity puts the world at your fingertips. If you have a personal platform such as a blog or website, you can create attraction by inviting people to visit your garden, join your community, and even purchase your products and services.


    Consider also the ratio of time, energy, and money which you spend in consuming material produced by others, as opposed to that which you invest in producing original material that can be consumed by others. That ratio will have a major impact on your life over time.


    Social Media gives you a full range of free tools for sharing your thoughts in text, audio, and video formats. Google, Facebook, and YouTube are the most popular sites in the world! Although it is easier than ever to share your thoughts online, it is also easier than ever to disappear in the cloud. Attention and time are limited resources.


    Much of what gets posted online is actually recycled material, links to other people’s content, retweets on Twitter, whatever gets caught in Google’s cyber nets. There is so much material out there that the vast majority of it sinks beneath the waves. If you want to swim or surf on this ocean, then you need to create and share original material.


    One of the best ways I have found for generating a stream of original thoughts and making your mark is the Idea Marathon.


    It is a very simple way to break the mental equivalent of writer’s block, and create a steady stream of ideas which you can cultivate, articulate, sketch, and share with others. Mental momentum easily converts into energy to put your thoughts into action. The reverse is also true. Mental stagnation leads to a sedentary existence. Don’t let old rocking chair get you!


    PersonalBrain is another superb tool for cultivating your thought garden in digital form.


    Available in a free trial version on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, PersonalBrain is a way to know more, to map your mind, to find or retrieve information, and to get more done. The Wall Street Journal describes it as, “Software that thinks like you do.” It has received rave reviews from dozens of publications in the business of producing original content, such as PC World, MacWorld, Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post.


    What distinguishes PersonalBrain from other types of thought mapping software is that it stores your thoughts, links, and attachments in a non-linear network. Wherever you click becomes the central thought, just as occurs in your own awareness. Traditional mind mapping software is topic specific, forcing you to organize your thoughts around a fixed central theme. PersonalBrain has a dynamic and animated architecture which is infinitely scalable.


    You can even share your thought garden with people who don’t own the software. By exporting to Webbrain, your garden is open to the public, or can also be posted as a private or limited access Webbrain.


    You can visit Webbrains which I created for the Creative Career Path column at:, and for the Flexible Focus column that is also updated weekly with links and downloadable attachments,


    James Allen wrote the following on the effect of thought on circumstances. “A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth.”


    Begin cultivating your own thought garden, and invite others to walk its paths with you.



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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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