The Eight Pillars of Prosperity (Energy) – James Allen

Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Our book Evergreen: 50 Inspirational Life Lessons is on sale through April 13th. So now would be a good time to purchase copies for any friends or family members who are graduating college or high school this year. To get 25% off the purchase price, use the coupon code: SHINEON25. To order your copies, please visit

Now on to today’s reading, which was edited and adapted from The Eight Pillars of Prosperity by James Allen, published in 1911.

Energy is the working power in all achievement. Inert coal it converts into fire, and water it transmutes into steam; it vivifies and intensifies the commonest talent until it approaches genius, and when it touches the mind of the dullard, it turns into a living fire that before was sleeping in inertia.

Energy is a moral virtue, its opposing vice being laziness. As a virtue, it can be cultivated, and the lazy person can become energetic by forcibly arousing themselves to exertion. Compared with the energetic individual, the lazy person is not half alive. Even while the latter is talking about the difficulty of doing a thing, the former is doing it. The active person has done a considerable amount of work before the lazy soul has roused themselves from sleep. While the lazy person is waiting for an opportunity, the active individual has gone out, and met and utilized half a dozen opportunities. They do things while others are rubbing their eyes.

Energy is one of the primary forces: without it nothing can be accomplished. It is the basic element in all forms of action. The entire universe is a manifestation of tireless energy. Energy is, indeed, life, and without it there would be no universe, no life. When a person has ceased to act, when the body lies inert and all the functions have ceased to act, then we say that someone is dead; and in so far as a person fails to act, they are that far dead.

Humanity (mentally and physically) is framed for action, and not for swinish ease. Every muscle of the body (being a lever for exertion) is a rebuke to the lazy soul. Every bone and nerve is fashioned for resistance; every function and faculty is there for a legitimate use. All things have their end in action; all things are perfected in use.

This being so, there is no prosperity for lazy people, no happiness, no refuge, and no rest. For them, there is not even the ease which they covet, for they at last become a homeless outcast, a troubled, harried, despised person, so that the proverb wisely puts it that “The lazy one does the hardest work”, in that, avoiding regular labor, they bring upon themselves the hardest lot.

Energy misapplied is better than no energy at all. The active person who applies their abounding energy to bad ends will bring upon themselves such difficulties, pains, and sorrows, that will compel them to learn by experience, and at last re-fashion their base of action. At the right moment, when their mental eyes open to better purposes, they will turn round and cut new and proper channels for the outflow of their power, and will then be just as strong in the good as they formerly were in the bad.

Energy is power, and without it there will be no accomplishment; there will not even be virtue, for virtue does not only consist of not doing evil, but also, primarily, of doing good. There are those who try, yet fail through insufficient energy. Their efforts are too feeble to produce positive results.

Such persons are not vicious, and (because they never do any deliberate harm) are usually spoken of as good people that fail. But to lack the initiative to do harm is not to be good; it is only to be weak and powerless. The truly good person is the one who (having the power to do evil), chooses to direct their energies in ways that are good.