The past week I asked five women if there is a book or movie that had shifted their view of the world. I wasn’t expecting to find one common answer, but to my surprise four out of five mentioned The Secret. I had heard of the book, but I found out that the self-help book was published after the film of the same name.
So I watched the film for you, stripped away all the unfounded spiritual nonsense and summarized the main concepts. What is this “secret”, and is a “life-changing revelation”?
by Rhonda Byrne
The Secret is a documentary film consisting of a series of interviews, claiming that thinking about certain things will make them appear in one’s life.
The film was released early 2006 and was followed by a book with the same name. It became a huge financial success, partly due to Oprah Winfrey being a huge proponent and Rhonda Byrnes’ appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Although there are no products advertised in the film itself, the whole thing feels like an infomercial with poorly acted skits and completely unnecessary VFX. It has also received a great deal of criticism for its claims, which have no scientific underpinnings whatsoever.
The Secret is… the Law of Attraction
The Law of Attraction is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. Everything that’s coming into your life, you are attracting into your life by the images you’re holding in your mind. It’s the notion that like attracts like. You are attracting the predominant thoughts that you are holding in your awareness, whether those thoughts are conscious or unconscious.
“Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind.”
Our job as humans is to make it absolutely clear in our minds what we want and hold onto those thoughts. You become what you think about most, but you also attract what you think about most. The principle can be summed up in three simple words: thoughts become things.
We can direct the Law of Attraction
The problem is that most people are thinking about what they don’t want and then they’re wondering why it shows up over and over and over again. When we’re very negative in our orientation, we tend to attract negative people and circumstances. If you’re scared of the job interview you have on Monday, and spend the whole weekend thinking of all the ways you can screw up and keep that record running in your head, you’re likely to screw up. But we can make the switch. Stop focusing on what we do not want, what we’re afraid of and what we want to avoid. Instead, start focusing on what you want. When we’re very positive in our outlook, we tend to attract positive people, positive events and positive circumstances.
I’m sure you can come up with examples of the Law of Attraction in your environment. The person who is always talking about illness has it and the person who speaks most about creating wealth seems to generate it.
Don’t let thoughts of the past become the thoughts of tomorrow
Your current situation is the residual outcome of your past thoughts and actions. So we’re constantly living in the thoughts and actions we’ve taken in the past. If you define yourself by your current state of affairs, you doom yourself to have nothing more than the same in the future. Thoughts from the past will create the same life. Your thoughts determine your destiny, so you must think greater than how you feel.
Our feelings are a feedback mechanism to us about whether we’re on track or not, whether we are on course or off course. The better you feel, the more in alignment you are. The worse you feel, the more out of alignment you are. And when you begin to get the hang of this, when you begin to guide your thoughts based upon the way they feel and you begin to notice the correlation between what you’re feeling and thinking and what’s coming back to you, before you know it you will know that you are the creator of your own reality. You are the masterpiece of your own life. You are the Michelangelo of your own life. The David that you are sculpting is you. And you do it with your thoughts. Whatever thought has done in your life, it can be undone through a shift in your awareness.
There are two things you can do to turn you life around:
- Start making a list of things to be grateful for. This will shift your thinking. Before this exercise you might be focusing on all the things you don’t have, your complaints, problems and how you can get rid of your negative thoughts. When you start jotting down everything you are grateful for, you steer your thoughts in a different direction. Appreciating the (little) things you do right, make you want to do them more. Whatever you think about and thank about, you bring about.
- Start visualizing. Close your eyes and imagine whatever it is you desire. Try to be as vivid as you can. Make it feel real. The same triggers will activate in your mind when you imagine doing or having what you are dreaming about. You will start craving this feeling and steer yourself in the right direction. You can make your visualizations more tangible by creating a collage of your ideal life. Or make a painting / digital artwork of your desired state of affairs. Put it in a visible spot in your room or set it as your wallpaper, and it will serve as a daily reminder to strive for your desired future.
Generate the feeling of having it now
So, the law of attraction is just figuring out what will help you generate the feelings of having it now. Start with small experiences where you can already feel and enjoy what the future will be like.
- Go for a test drive with the Ferrari Testarossa you have been dreaming about
- Visit the open house of the mansion you would have bought if you had a million
- Visit the office of the dream job you want to be working and take a seat
- Create a mock-up of the novel you want to write, take it to the nearest book store and place it among the bestsellers
Do whatever you have to do to generate the feelings of having it now, and remember them. Whatever you can do to place yourself in your world of desires, will help you to literally attract it.
Drop the scarcity mindset…
So what if everyone starts living according the Law of Attraction… are we going to run out of stuff?
One of the biggest misconceptions we have, especially in Western societies, is that everything on earth has its limits and is scarce. We are deeply scripted to believe that the world is only one big pie. And if we take one piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else. If you do well, then it must be at the expense of someone else. To win is to beat. With this mindset it is hard to genuinely happy for the success of other people. That scarcity mindset has people living in fear, greed and stinginess. It’s a perspective that humans brought into this world. But in reality, nature is infinite. There is enough good to come around for everyone. There is enough creative ideas, resources and love to share.
…and start living in abundance
The mindset of abundance is radically different. It is a paradigm of win/win. Everything on earth is growing exponentially. All that is important is getting bigger and better as a result of our capability to improve. That means that there is enough for everyone out there. Even when resources are depleting, we come up with practical solutions and new opportunities. We built networks to share and expand our knowledge, as we are not scared to help each other further. The mindset of abundance opens up possibilities, alternatives, creativity and synergy. See yourself living in abundance and you will attract it.
Think and Grow Rich
by Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich is a modern classic in the world of self-help books and personal development. Published roughly 70 years before The Secret came out, Napoleon Hill explains the power of thought for career and personal success. He describes a ‘Philosophy of Achievement’; a series of 13 principles to live by to achieve wealth.
The book asserts that desire, faith, and persistence can take someone to great heights if you are able to suppress negative thoughts and focus on long-term goals. It is the Law of Attraction all over again, but then without the woo-woo sauce The Secret put on top.