The Secret is the title of a best-selling book by author, Rhonda Byrne and it is also the title of a full length movie that was released via the internet and based upon the book. According to Wikipedia, the movie was released in March 2006 though the Wikipedia entry does seem a little confused at present.
When I saw Rhonda Byrne interviewed, speaking about her personal experience of writing the book, it seems that she first became aware of the idea when she read The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D Wattles, back in 2004. After the death of her father, when she was at her lowest ebb emotionally, physically and financially, her daughter gave her the book to read and Rhonda commented that it gave her a first “glimpse of the secret.”
After that, she said that she spent hundreds of hours reading books, listening to audios, gradually learning more about the secret and tracing it back in history. She became passionate about sharing the secret, she appeared on the Oprah show and, what do you know, everything changed for her.
What is The Secret?
Quite simply, the secret is about the Law of Attraction. If you have never before heard of this, the law of attraction states that like attracts like. The idea is that it is operating, all of the time, whether you like it or not, to bring your future into reality. If your thoughts are full of negativity, then that’s what turns up in your life; if you think happy thoughts, you get a different life. It just sounds too good to be true – right?
When I ask people if they are optimists or pessimists at my workshops, I usually get a minority who admit to being pessimists. That is because, I believe, pessimists generally prefer the label ‘realist’. They often don’t see themselves as pessimistic, but realistic. It turns out that things don’t generally go too well for them in life, so they are not being pessimistic, but realistic, they say. Now isn’t that an interesting fact?
Similarly, when you question the optimists, you find out that they take the view that they tend to be naturally lucky, that things often do work out well for them and, if they don’t, they can always deal with the situation should it arise. The fact is that they do seem to be luckier and things do seem to work out well for them more often. Now, regardless of how this ‘law’ works, here we have a simple example (optimism/pessimism) that is very easy to corroborate.
There have been many studies on the benefits of optimism. Optimists and pessimists alike, according to proponents, are both making use of the same Law of Attraction to create their own versions of reality. However, optimists live in a much brighter world in which the universe seems favourable to their dreams and desires whilst pessimists continue to argue the toss that life is just not like that.
Where Did The Secret Originate?
There are a number of well known New Thought books, now in the public domain, that all advocate the same basic principle including:
- As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
- The Master Key System by Charles Haanel
- The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D Wattles
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Neither Wallace D Wattles nor James Allen directly refer to the principle as the Law of Attraction, however, both books are indeed based upon the concept. Both Charles Haanel and Napoleon Hill refer directly to the principle by name. The title of Allen’s book comes from the book of Proverbs and if you simply read the verse from which the title is taken, you can quite easily discern what was in the mind of the author.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7
Of course, this brings up the fact that the principle appears in the Bible and not just in the book of Proverbs either. It apparently also appears in Hindu scriptures and I would not be surprised to find it elsewhere within religious texts because it is essentially, a correct principle.
Here is the principle, as I see it anyway, in the Buddist scriptures:
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” – The Dhammapada
It seems that a famous hadith of the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) may support the proposal that the principle is also to be found in Islam:
“actions are by intentions, so each man will have what he intended.”
Religious texts are always open to interpretation of course, so if you see things differently, then that’s ok with me. You could certainly argue the above scriptures either way, but it seems to me that if the principle is correct, then we should expect to find it within religions writings. Thoughts, after all, are one form of prayer.
Application of The Secret
Now, this is the part that many people get wrong. Somehow, from the popular books, it seems that quite a number of people have got the impression that all you need to do is think about what you want and it will come to you without any effort on your part. None of the above writers say that this is the case.
Wattles says, on this very point, that people meet their ‘shipwreck’ when they fail to connect thought with action. James Allen says that people will only see the results and not the effort that went in to producing them, Napoleon Hill is a strong advocate of having a plan and then working it and finally, Charles Haanel says that thought is what we put out to the universe and thought is what is received.
All of the above-mentioned writers are in complete agreement that thought is an important part of the process of achieving success, but none of them advocate thinking alone as a mean of getting what you want in life. Without exception, they all advocate taking persistent, goal-focused action.
All you really need to know about the secret is that it essentially concerns the importance of constructing a vision for your life. When you have done that, you should to focus upon it regularly. If you are a religions person, then you obviously would arrive at your vision prayerfully because your future is bound up with what you believe God wants for your life. If you do this and arrive at a solid and detailed picture of what you believe is your future, then regardless of the mechanisms that are involved, like so many people before you, you will begin to find the way.
You will receive ideas that will illuminate your path and, if you are serious about achieving what you have envisioned, you will commit yourself to taking continuous action that will move you in the direction of your goal. If you do these things, nothing can prevent you from achieving success.