Last night while watching TV, my wife and I had an interesting debate on the whole “The Secret” phenomena. And we came to the very same conclusions.
I believe in the law of attraction. I also like the premise behind the book, which is largely influenced by Wally Wattles' 1910 book, The Science of Getting Rich.
But with all the “new-wage” gurus out there giving it a bad rap, the law of attraction is getting an undeserved reputation. Some people even call it the “flaw of attraction.” However, the real flaw isn't with the secret in itself, as some suggested.
It's with how some people have bastardized it for their own selfish greed.
Here's the problem…
Your chances of getting what you want is higher when you're focused on it. Absolutely. And it's not just some metaphysical, woo-woo thing. Quantum physics aside, which is something else I also believe in, let's take a more practical look at the law.
You become what you think about. It's true. But the twist is, you already are what you thought about all your life. So how can some book magically switch your state when your mindset is still on that which made you who you are in the first place?
A mindset that took years to acquire?
Simply, if you think you're a loser, then chances are you're a loser. If you truly believe you deserve wealth, then you'll get wealth if you're not already wealthy. But it isn't as automatic as so many of the new-wage gurus want you to believe.
And there lies the rub. And it ain't some genie lamp, either.
When you focus on something hard enough and long enough, you will eventually change your belief system. And once your belief system has changed, then your consciousness will open itself to notice all the possibilities and opportunities related to it.
Doors that previously seemed closed will open for you. Were they really closed before? No. You were simply oblivious to them. Now, they just jump out at you. As if by miracle.
But it's no miracle.
Has this ever happened to you? You buy a brand-new car, and you think to yourself that not a lot of people have that same car, much less in that same paint color.
So you buy it, and wouldn't you know it? As you drive it home, you start to notice that exact same car all over the place. Everybody seems to own one, now. In the same color, too! As if it was some conspiracy to follow you around and copy you.
That's the real secret behind the law of attraction.
Here's the problem with the way this law has been abused of late. People who are vulnerable, gullible, and desperate are seeking a magic pill. A quick-fix solution.
So their mindset is now focused on getting help. They are thinking about getting rid of their financial pains. Once they see a course, program, training, or seminar that purports to teach them on how to cure their money ills, they jump on it like bees to honey.
(Or better said, like flies to excrement.)
Greedy new-wage gurus know this all too well. So they package their rehashed, embellished version of the secret, overprice it, and sell it to the unsuspecting masses.
And guess what? Most of the people who will buy it are those very people who don't need it. These naive hopefuls will spend the remaining cash in their bank accounts just for some magic pill — and the gurus walk away with their money.
Sure, sell a book or course on how to use the secret. It's your take on the law. Like an opinion piece of commentary. In it, you perhaps even share some of your observations on how well it's worked in your own life and those of others around you. No problem.
But when people buy it, they are — better said, they should be — buying it for the educational or entertainment value, just like someone's book of theories on TV's Lost.
But don't promise that this book is the panacea they were looking for, especially when they're in a vulnerable state. That's misleading, unethical, nonsensical bullshit.
The best line I've heard on the secret came from another movie called “What the Bleep?” I liked the movie because it explained the secret in less philosophical but more scientific terms — such as neuroscience, quantum physics, quantum mechanics, etc.
(Although, some of the people on the show were a little too “out there” for my taste.)
The line came from an interview with a University professor, who said that you can't overcome years upon years of negativity with just a thin veneer of positive thinking shoved on top of it. You still have this huge underbelly of negativity that's still there.
It's the same as weight loss. You can't lose overnight what often took years to gain. In the same way, you can't change your thinking overnight, because it took years to build and condition, be it through experience, education, expectations, etc. Even genetics.
Focus on the positive, yes. But you must take action. And that's the point. People expect the secret to be a magic pill. And they take no action believing the secret will magically save them. They look at the law of attraction as a cure rather than as a tool.
Those types of people are scary, if you ask me. Because the moment something good happens to them, which might have happened anyway either by pure happenstance or as the result of their hard work, they will have a tendency to blame it on the secret.
When the secret had nothing to do with it.
There's nothing much you can do about these folk, unfortunately. But there's a second, more sinister category of people who are “attracted” to the law of attraction.
To take action, you need to want to do it. You need motivation. Or desperation, in some cases. Sure, the secret can help you find the motivation you need to take action. It can inspire you. But it's not and should never be a substitute for action.
Motivation can take time, too. Sometimes, years or even decades.
But the problem is that it's not sold as a motivational tool. It's sold as a solution.
And the people who sell the secret as such are the worse of the bunch, in my opinion. Those greedy vultures are masters in the art of repackaging material in a way that caters to a specific market in need of the package — and not the thing being packaged.
Why do you think credit repair products, particularly credit repair scams, are so rampant, especially during tough economic times? Because there's a market for it!
The secret is just the same. The reason so many people are buying it is because there's a market for what it promises — not for its educational or motivational value.
First, you shouldn't be in a position where you would need credit repair if you had the right mindset to begin with and took action on it earlier. It's about planning, taking responsibility, and most of all, taking action. Before it's too late.
Of course, accidents happen. Stuff happens over which you have no control. So I'm not talking about people who have no control over their financial dilemmas. I'm talking about those who didn't take control over their finances before their finances went out of it.
In short, the secret would have been best used before you decided on doing the things that had negative consequences. Consequences that would have put you in a situation where you would need any solution, much less a secret one.
The secret is not remedial. It may be palliative, at best.
Sure, it may be used as a remedial tool. It can motivate you into taking action to remedy your situation, just as you took action that put you in the bad spot you're in now.
But it is best used as a preventative tool, particularly when you took actions with negative consequences. Or better said, when you had the wrong mindset that led you to making the wrong decisions and taking the wrong actions in the first place.
Or at the very least, the secret can help change your mindset to avoid the negative things that, if unchanged, may keep you in constant need to seek out quick-fix solutions.
Self-help is exactly what it means. The law of attraction can help you to help yourself. But too many people buy into it thinking it's going to save them. So they fail to take action.
For example, why is it that books on how to make money are more popular than those on how to save it? Because saving money is a sacrifice. It's work! You need to take action.
But trying to sell a preventative to vulnerable people who are desperately hurting — such as people who are suffering from terminal illnesses or facing bankruptcies — is like trying to sell them a course on how to save money when there is none to save.
Using the weightloss example, you can learn how to change the way you think about food to stop gaining weight, instead of buying a book on how to lose it when it's too late.
The law of attraction can help steer you in the right direction, and motivate you to make the right decisions and take the right actions, that will prevent you from going to a place where you would need to lose the weight you shouldn't have gained, anyhow.
(By the way, my apologies to those who are battling weight problems. My intent is not to denigrate people in tough situations but to focus on those who take advantage of them.)
My wife said it best on her breast cancer blog. She said that she wouldn't focus on battling her breast cancer because it would be very difficult to “fight darkness.”
I mean, how do you conquer darkness?
Do you stab it? Do you pull out your gun and try to shoot it? Do you meditate, pray, and positively think that it will simply go away through some miracle? Of course not.
Really, the only way to fight the darkness is to turn on the light.
You must take action. Do you need a self-help book for that? Maybe, if the self-help book shows you where the lightswitch is, or how to build a lightsource, or how to make money to buy a flashlight, or cheers you up as you patiently wait for the sun to come up.
So is there really a “flaw of attraction?” Not with the law itself. The real flaw is in the way it's unscrupulously pushed onto innocent souls who don't know any better.
It's like pushing drugs onto addicts.
Some of these new-wage gurus are no different than drug dealers, in my opinion.
The issue I have is with those who prey on vulnerable people by selling a preventative as a cure — and worse yet, to mislead them into thinking a preventative is the cure — and to give them false hope only to line their own pockets. Drug pushers, indeed.
Self-help is self-help. You actually need to help yourself to make any “self-help” work.
But to help yourself, you need to act. Because if you buy a book on self-help thinking it will save you miraculously, you might as well leave the book on the shelf-help.
Michel Fortin is a senior marketing specialist, renowned copywriter, and digital marketing expert. For the better part of 30 years, he's produced countless successful marketing communications and profitable campaigns that generated in excess of $300 million in sales. He's broken many industry sales records, including being instrumental behind the first ever “million-dollar day” online marketing campaign in 2004. He's worked with thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world in a wide variety of industries on building their businesses, improving their marketing, and increasing their profits. He's a published author and often speaks at industry events. To connect with him, visit his LinkedIn profile where he is most active.