In my workshops, the subject of the law of attraction will generally get raised at some stage. We have the movies The Secret and What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole to thank for that I guess. Both of these are now full feature length films that are well worth watching, in my opinion. Originally, The Secret was a book by Rhonda Byrne. It became a best-seller and now it is an entire industry in its own right. You can watch the first twenty minutes of the film here …
What these two movies are about is what has become known as the law of attraction. Simply put, this is the principle that like attracts like. If you put out positive thoughts, you attract positive outcomes; similarly, if you think negative thoughts, then you attract negative consequences. Now, whilst I do believe that there is a lot of truth in those statements, I also think that a lot of personal development material has grossly exaggerated what can be accomplished by the process of thinking.
Both The Secret and the What the Bleep movies attempt to connect the law of attraction with quantum physics and, whilst this remains an interesting idea, we should be aware that there is a great deal of criticism of this proposal (see criticism). Personally, I don’t completely buy the idea that you can think things into existence. I have an alternative explanation that I use to explain how and why the law of attraction works. Let me explain.
When I bought my last car, which was a Chrysler Neon, I had never before seen one. But I remember that the very first time I drove it to a social event, whilst I was sitting in the car waiting for my friends to turn up. Guess what happened? Another Chrysler Neon drove into the car park and parked right next to me. In fact, it was not just another Chrysler Neon, but a silver one – the same colour as mine. After that, I began to see Chrysler Neons everywhere. I bet you have had a similar experience.
What the story shows is that we will always find what we are focussed upon; or, as Jesus put it, ‘seek and you shall find’ – Matt 7:7. For me, this perfectly illustrates how the law of attraction works. We are surrounded by opportunity, but we tend to miss most of it because of what we have ‘programmed’ our minds to notice. Thinking certainly is an important part of the creation process, but it is not the process in its entirety, as some people would have you believe.
Both Wallace D Wattles, in The Science of Getting Rich, and Charles F Haanel, in his excellent book The Master Key System, make this abundantly clear. As I pointed out in another post (see The Certain Way) Wattles says that those who think without following through with action, invariably meet their ‘shipwreck’. Haanel says that by forming a clear mental image of what you want you are giving out thought; and in return, you receive thought. That is the clearest statement about how thought must be connected with action in all New Thought writing.
Of course, you need to take action when thoughts are received. That’s how things come to materialise in the physical world; not simply by the process of thinking alone. Having said that, I don’t wish to minimise the importance of forming a clear mental picture of what you want. The formation of a vision is certainly extremely important and I have no doubt that, once we begin to focus upon our vision, subconscious processes are indeed set to work on our behalf.
Despite my explanation, I still enjoyed both of the above films and I also enjoyed reading Rhonda’s book too. I found them to be inspiring and uplifting. It is certainly true that everything that exists within our physical world first existed in the mind of the creator. As Stephen Covey puts it, ‘there are always two creations: the mental creation always precedes the physical creation’. Whatever you desire in life therefore needs to be created first within in your own mind.
It is important, therefore, to have a vision and from it to derive your mission. From your mission, you can then begin to set meaningful goals which can be split into a series of steps that you can accomplish by taking action. Along the way, you will almost certainly need to solve many problems and you essentially do that by thinking.