I just finished reading an outstanding little book by James Allen titled "As a Man Thinketh". James Allen lived in England and died in 1912 at the age of 48. He had been writing for 9 years. One interesting habit of his was to rise before dawn and walk into the hills near his home to meditate and commune with God. This particular book was his second. It is written in a very concise style without any fluff or filler. I found it to be powerful. Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite;
"The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune, and chance. Seeing a man grow rich, they say, "How lucky he is!" Observing another become intellectual, they exclaim, "How highly favored he is!" And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, they remark, "How chance aids him at every turn!" 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. They do not know the darkness and the heartaches; they only see the light and joy, and call it "luck"; do not see the long and arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant goal, and call it "good fortune"; do not understand the process but only perceive the result, and call it "chance."
In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. "Gifts," powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized.
The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart--this you will build your life by, this you will become."
I have ordered several copies of this book to give as gifts and to loan if you are interested.