It’s been 10 years now since the book, The Secret, and its promotion of the law of attraction captured popular imagination. The law of attraction is said to be a natural law of the universe that posits that “like attracts like.” The Secret tells us that if we act, believe and receive, we’ll get back what we desire.
We’d all like to attract good things, wouldn’t we? Good health, a great job, money (like the Powerball).
That’s probably the most desired outcome of people who read the book.
Over the years I’ve read so many blog posts and articles by people who are excited about applying the book so they get more money and financial security. Sometimes they even ask for a particular thing–maybe a new house or a specific car.
More than 19 million copies of the book have been sold. If even 10 percent of the people who bought the book got the money they’d asked for, that would be 1.9 million people enjoying newfound wealth.
That’s probably not the case.
Is The Secret a sham?
So is The Secret a sham, only attracting wealth to its author? Or to Oprah, who is a believer?
I completely believe that like attracts like. But I’m not so sure it’s any big secret. It’s been said a hundred different ways and one of them is “you reap what you sow.” Nothing new here.
Here’s an example: People who surround themselves with loving energy are likely to only see loving energy around them. They won’t be attracted to or interested in those who put out negative vibes.
And it works that way with money, too. If you are focused on financial security, it’s likely you’ll get there. But not by any secret. By your own hard work. And yes, visualizing success–that kind of focus– is a big part of it.
Any successful entrepreneur knows that if you apply your complete focus to something, you stand a better chance of its success. Let’s take Amazon. Last year some interesting leaks exposed the extreme focus Amazon requires of its employees and how families and health have suffered. Now, I’m not suggesting you follow Amazon’s lead as far as employee treatment goes. But that expose was evidence of the laser sharp focus of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder. That focus got him there. Does the end justify the means? That’s another blog post.
As far as Oprah is concerned, I’m pretty sure she had the same laser focus on success and a few lucky breaks. She was in the right place at the right time, for sure–can you imagine the Oprah phenomenon being possible in the 1950s? I can’t. But she also worked hard for her success.
New packaging for old concepts
The Secret is a self-help book that repackages much of what we’d like to believe, from the Bible and also from other self-help concepts, such as mind over matter.
What these popular sound bites really say is “put your head down and do the work” because it’s true that if you work hard, your chance of success if increased.
But: It doesn’t necessarily work that way with things like health and natural disasters. Some things are bigger than our attitude and belief. The Secret won’t cure cancer, as some say it could. You can’t get there if all you do is visualize. Nor could it have saved the 2006 tsunami victims, as the author, Rhonda Byrnes, supposedly said. That’s dangerous thinking. But there are many other parts of life in which focus helps us succeed.
Far be it from me to rain on anyone’s parade. To the extent that The Secret helps people focus on improving their situations in any way, I support it.
But the idea that we’ll all get rich or healthy if we apply positive thinking is unrealistic. It’s part of the story, but not the entire story. Getting what we want takes more than that.
It takes work.
What are your thoughts on The Secret?