In my last post I explained how in 2014 I was duped into joining whole cloth the Law of Attraction Movement. It came to me at a time of fear of the future (especially concerning my financial health) when I felt most lost and vulnerable. The person who insisted I watch “The Secret” claims to be an actual demon in human form. This alone should have told me to run, not walk away, especially given my spirituality and past experiences with malicious spirits (aka “demons”). Instead, the person’s glamour and misdirection of my own instincts (which were just starting to call me home to Wales) deceived me into trying to win his love and approval by making myself into the person he wanted. The law of attraction movement was at the heart of that.
The reason why the Law of Attraction Movement is so popular is because so much of it is based on solid psychology, social psychology, and sociology. Most of it is actually good advice. The problem is the 20-30% of it that is NOT solid and leads people into the wrong direction, often for the financial gain of the movement’s “teachers.” It is for that reason that the Law of Attraction Movement (not the core idea itself) is a scam that predates on people’s worries about the future, the instinct to grow and improve oneself, and in the primal instinct to believe in something or someone greater and more powerful than oneself.
So what is the solid stuff worth listening to? What parts of the advice given actually works? Let’s take a look in detail:
- Your assessment of a situation matters. That is to say that how you look at something in your life or a potential future event is absolutely critical to your success or failure. If you see a task as impossible then it will be simply because no one looks for solutions to problems that cannot be solved. By contrast if you see a situation as easily dealt with then you will quickly find the actions that make this the case. Your assessment forms a self-fulfilling prophesy. You fail when you see no way to succeed and you succeed when you believe you can.
Law of Attraction teachers talk about situation assessment in terms of emotions. It’s all about FEELINGS. Your feelings need to be the barometer of everything because feelings work on a deeper level of the mind than your thoughts do.
The problem here: all emotions are based on your thoughts and attitudes, not the other way around as the LoA teachers would have you think. That is to say that if you want to change how you feel about something you need to change your mind about it. Thoughts are the controlling factor here, at least once the ego/conscious self forms at around the age of six years old. For example if you think all Muslims are terrorists then your feelings about Muslims will probably be categorically of a suspicious, fearful, or perhaps even hateful nature. These feelings will then in turn alter how to behave when it comes to meeting someone or hearing about someone who is Muslim.
Law of Attraction teachers tend to skip the attitude part of this when they focus on feelings. In doing so, they take away your best and most effective tool for changing your life. This is also why education is so vital to changing our lives. Education empowers us with knowledge which then shapes our emotions and behaviours.
- Barriers to success are in your mind. When we assess situations we are quick to find the reasons why something cannot be done or is otherwise difficult/impossible to achieve. This in turn blocks us from figuring out how to do something and achieve our goals.
Most Law of Attraction teachers focus on emotions. The barriers to your manifesting the life you want are not in your thoughts but in the emotions you feel. It says that “good” emotions attract good things and bad emotions attract bad things. That in turn makes us judge ourselves quite harshly because no one can be euphoric or feel good all the time about absolutely everything — and if you do, there’s probably something unhealthy at work there!
In truth, the barriers we put between ourselves and our goals tend to be psychological and mental, not emotional. We say, “I cannot ____ because _____.” That because can be anything, but usually a situation or a feeling about a situation. The feeling is not the problem because the feeling changes the moment we change our minds about something. And genuinely there are some emotions we really do need. We need to be angry when someone rapes someone. We need to feel sad when someone we love dies. We need to feel outrage at an injustice. These feelings motivate us to make changes and set new goals.
For example, I feel disappointed and upset at the results of the 2015 Parliamentary Election in the United Kingdom; I adore Ed Miliband and really wanted him to become prime minister. Negative emotion. Except that in those feelings I have a determination to fight harder, to get more involved in politics, and to actually stand for MP once I become legally eligible to do so. Negative feelings about David Cameron staying in office has made me decide to chart a new career path!
And that is the value of negative emotions, the very emotions that Law of Attraction teachers tell you will only bring more negative experiences into your life.
- Focus on what you want to achieve, not how or when you achieve. There is always more than one way to achieve a goal. A former friend of mine put this as the number fourteen. How many ways can you reach the number fourteen in arithmetic? If you see just seven plus seven then you are missing the other fifty plus ways to reach that number. That is what we tend to do though. We think that each goal or challenge can only be accomplished ONE WAY. What is worse: we tend to set specific time perimeters for achieving this.
Here the Law of Attraction teachers are dead on right. Too often we do say “this is the way to get what I want” or “I have to have x goal by y date. Reality is that the universe has its own way and own timing. Everything happens the way it does in the timing it does because that is the best and easiest way for it to happen. The key here is to keep your mind and heart open so you can take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
- You reap what you sow. This is the actual law of attraction. It is the principle that like attracts like that is well documented in social psychology. Contrary to the popular cliche, opposites repel, not attract. At its core it says, correctly, that your attitudes, emotions, and behaviour have consequences which are similar to whatever the original attitude, emotion, and/or behaviour was. If you smile, people will smile back at you. If you yell at someone, that person is likely to yell back at you. If you hurt someone, you will be hurt back. If you show interest in someone else’s accomplishments, they will be or at least much more likely to be interested in yours.
The law of attraction itself is not the problem with the law of attraction movement. The law is solid social psychology explaining the nature of the consequences for our behaviour. The problem with the law of attraction movement is its focus on just the feeling side of this instead of the action side. If I feel good about something, something good is automatically going to come out of it.
Feelings are great. But it’s not feelings in isolation that makes things happen. It’s action. In the law of attraction movement feelings are put above everything else. But if you never act on your feelings, you stay where you are. Things do not change. Those in the movement with things to sell will say the problem is that your feelings were not lined up correctly — and we can fix that when you buy this item or experience. Read that SCAM.
Though Law of Attraction teachers do tell you that action is important, this part of the equation is downplayed and rarely discussed in favour of emotions and how to fix your emotions.
But the real key to success in life is taking ACTION. Not just any action though — it’s easy to get on the hamster wheel and tire yourself out — the hamster wheel is usually what makes us vulnerable to the scam in the first place. Instead it is INSPIRED ACTION that makes everything happen. That is to say ACTION WITH CLEAR DIRECTION. It’s relaxing about the how and when in a situation, quieting your mind, and letting your mind solve the problem. Do not force it. Do not struggle. Your mind is expert at solving puzzles; that’s what the human brain does best. Relax, let the answers come to you, and then act on the answers. That is what inspired action is. That is what brings you true success in life.
And best of all, you don’t need to buy a book, a seminar, a cruise, or anything else. The answers actually lie within your own mind, your own heart, and within your own existing abilities.