Light on Disposition

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Light on life’s Difficulties. By James Allen. The James Allen Free Library

Light on Disposition

I CANNOT HELP IT, it is my disposition.” How often one hears this expression as an excuse for wrongdoing. What does it imply? This, that the person who utters it believes that he has no choke in the matter, that he cannot alter his character. He believes that he must go on doing the wrong thing to the end of his days because he was “born so,” or because his father or grandfather was like that; or, if not these, then someone along the family line a hundred, or two or three hundred years ago must have been afflicted, and therefore he is and must remain so. Such a belief should be uprooted, destroyed, and cast away, for it is not only without reason, it is a complete barrier to all progress, to all growth in goodness, to all development of character and noble expansion of life.

Character is not permanent; it is, indeed, one of the most changeable things in nature. If not changed by a conscious act of the will, it is being continually modified and reformed by the pressure of circumstances. Disposition is not fixed, except insofar as one fixes it by continuing to do the same thing, and by persistence in the stubborn belief that he “cannot help it.” As soon as one gets rid of that belief he will find that he can help it. Further, he will find that intelligence and will are instruments which can mold disposition to any extent, and that, too, with considerable rapidity if one is in earnest.

What is disposition but a habit formed by repeating the same thing over and over again? Cease repeating (doing) the thing, and lo! the disposition is changed, the character is altered. To cease from an old habit of thought or action is, I know, difficult at first, but with each added effort the difficulty decreases, and finally disappears, and then the new and good habit is formed and the disposition is changed from bad to good, the character is ennobled, the mind is delivered from torment and is lifted into joy.

There is no need for anyone to remain the slave of a disposition which causes him unhappiness, and which he himself regards as undesirable. He can abandon it. He can break away from the slavery. He can deliver himself and be free.

James Allen
WRITTEN BY

James Allen

James Allen was born, on 28th November 1864, at 21, Brunswick Street, Leicester. His mother, Martha Allen, formerly Whalton, or Whotton, aged 37 years, registered the birth of her eldest son, on December 2nd with an ‘X’, the mark of the mother.

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