Fuck the Law of Attraction… Well, sort of.
I’m a firm believer that you get what you focus on.
I’ve seen plenty of proof in my own life, attracting both situations and things I wanted, as well as ones I didn’t want, largely through the power of thought. But rarely completely by the power of thought.
I also believe that…
The Law of Attraction—popularized by the movie “The Secret”—has caused a great deal of people to dogmatically expect something for nothing.
I’ll use the example of an old friend of mine we’ll call Dane back from my days as a personal trainer. Dane was smart, fit, good looking, charismatic, and well liked.
Back in 2003 Dane had fell on some hard times and was struggling with a “doom and gloom, everything sucks, and why does this shit always happen to me?” mindset. So I turned him onto the book “Excuse Me Your Life Is Waiting” by Lynn Grabhorn. The book had helped me and I felt it might help him as well.
This was a few years before the movie “The Secret” (which came out in 2006)—but the book was basically about the same kinda thing. Think good thoughts about what you want as if it’s already yours, and feel good feel while you think the thoughts.
Dane was hooked. He called me up “Chris, duuuuuuuuuude, I love love love this fucking book, do you have anything else like this you can turn me onto? This is exactly what I’ve been needing man”
I told him to check out the teachings of Abraham Hicks. But I warned him “It’s pretty ‘out there’ stuff man. Supposedly it’s channeled; I have no idea about that. I suspect the woman doing the channeling—Esther Hicks—may just be on a lot of peyote, or possibly dropped one too many hits of acid back in the day… or both. But either way the message is tight if you can get past the strange delivery. I actually think it’s where Lynn learned this stuff from before she wrote ‘Excuse Me Your Life Is Waiting.’ Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”
Dane consumed the Abraham stuff like a man dying of thirst would consume a nice cold bottle of fruit-punch flavored Gatorade.
From there, he jumped head first into every “Law of Attraction” and “Prosperity Mindset” book, seminar, and audio course he could get his hands on. We even went to an Abraham Hicks event together. I wanted to ask Esther about the peyote, but didn’t get a chance to.
By the time “The Secret” came out in ’06 Dane was so into all this stuff he was spending 4 hours a day meditating, visualizing, and projecting himself into the feel-good virtual reality of everything he wanted in life coming true. Only breaking to get up and go pee once in a while.
One of his main goals was to make billions of dollars while only working a few hours a day. He imagined owing giant buildings all over the world filled with thousands of employees working away to make his dreams come true.
Dane was certain he was already half-way to this new awesome reality of getting uber-rich by just thinking about it.
“Fuck making millions, I’m making Billions. And it feels so good knowing it’s all on it’s way to me right now, even as we speak”
I highly doubted that Dane—who was a struggling personal trainer and making just $15 an hour working for a corporate gym—was even gonna make a few hundred thousand a year, since I knew he had a hard time even just getting new clients to train with him. I knew there was nooo wayyy he was gonna make anything even remotely close to billions. Not unless Bill Gates accidentally ran him over with his car.
He had no idea how he was gonna do it or what kind of business he was gonna own, just that he was gonna do it and the Law of Attraction would work out all the details.
He talked so excitedly about it, and seemed so certain of everything, that I didn’t think it would be cool to burst his bubble. And I wanted to be a supportive friend.
I did ask him what he was gonna do to make his dream of big business and even bigger wealth become a reality. He told me “Man all I’m gonna do is think about it and feel good knowing that it’s on its way, let the Law of Attraction do its work, and it’s gonna happen. It has to happen. It is law.”
I mentioned that he may wanna get to work towards the direction of his goals, since as far as I’m aware most self-made billionaires bust their asses to get where they are. But I left it at that.
“No worries man, the Law of Attraction is gonna take care of everything. As long as I’m in the vibrational frequency of it, I couldn’t even stop it from coming true if I wanted to. Work has nothing to do with it. People don’t realize that. They think you have to work for everything. But you only have to work for something if you believe you have to work for it. I choose not to take on that silly belief. ” He then reminded me once again, that it is law.
He did mention that he needed to fine tune his vibration a little. He said he needed to raise it a little so could be in a better “feeling place” about the gap between where he he was and getting everything he wanted. But he made no mention of work, and any time I hinted at it, he’d immediately kibosh the possibility that work has anything do with success.
I couldn’t help but think that if he would just fill that gap taking action helping people, he’d have the best shot of closing it a little.
Then one day I get a call from Dane. He didn’t sound like his regular cheery and optimistic self. He actually sounded pretty bummed out.
“Chris, man, I’ve been doing this Law of Attraction shit for years. I fucking live and a breathe it, man! I don’t know anyone who does it with as much commitment as I do. I spend all my waking hours trying to think good thoughts and feel good feelings, and my life sucks. Not only has nothing come true, and my life not gotten any better, it’s gotten worse. I’m alone, broke, and feel I’ve completely wasted the last 4 years of my life. In fact, I’m thinking of taking myself out man, just ending it. Everything I’ve dedicated myself to is nothing but a bunch of bullshit. I feel like such a sucker.”
I didn’t know what to say. I told him he should probably consult a professional.
Fortunately, Dane didn’t end up taking his life. Last I heard, he moved away to another state to live with his father.
But then a few months ago I saw him in line at the grocery store up the street from where I live. I didn’t go up to him; in fact I avoided making eye contact, hoping he wouldn’t recognize my big 6’6″ ass. I was hungry and just wanted to get home and eat something. I wasn’t in the mood to catch up.
While Dane’s story is a pretty extreme example, he certainty isn’t alone.
When the DVD “The Secret” made its way to Oprah, the world was awash with people thinking about the life they wanted, feeling all warm and fuzzy about it, and expecting their dream life to come knocking at their door, along with their dead grandpa holding the exact bike they wanted when they were 8 years old.
Suddenly words like “manifest” and “attract” replaced words like “work” and “hustle.” “Raising your vibrational frequency” was in, and blood, sweat, and tears were out.
And I gotta admit, it sounded pretty attractive. Instead of working your ass off to make your dreams come true, you could now just think and feel positively about it, and it was yours. Instead of chasing after it, it would actually come to you.
Fair disclosure here—I was a big fan of the teachings and actually used to hand out DVDs of “The Secret” to my personal training clients. And many of them benefited greatly from it.
Ever since 2000 when I kicked my opioid addiction, I had amassed quite the library of books on self-help, psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. And the stuff helped me a lot.
I read a great deal of it. But even the ones I didn’t read seemed to help me by just sitting there on my shelf—they probably didn’t do shit, but since I believed they were helping me by the mere fact that I possessed them (and belief being a powerful thing) it probably did some kinda good.
Plus, what had once been shelves full of bongs, Slayer CDs, and Encyclopedias of Serial Killers, was now a bunch a positive books, and that alone made me feel good.
I even interviewed 3 people from “The Secret” and got to know John Assaraf through joining one of his coaching programs… cool guy.
I reaped some pretty cool benefits from it all. For one, I felt better.
And secondly, all the stuff in the cute little pictures I put on my vision board—big house next to a trail in the woods, expensive car, Harley Davidson, ripped body and so on—all came true. All of it.
I didn’t really enjoy having it as much as I thought I would though, and in an act of self-destructive defiance against my new life, I threw it all away as quickly as I had attained it.
And while visualizing cool shit and vibing with it in a positive way definitely helped me to create the life I wanted—before I tossed it away that is. I noticed that, like Dane, a lot of people who were into all the Law of Attraction stuff weren’t getting any results with it… with the exception of occasional coincidental phone call or chance meeting or something—nothing major league.
They weren’t getting the perfect parking spots everywhere they went, their ideal mate wasn’t appearing out of thin air, their dream business wasn’t falling in their lap, and Grandpa wasn’t showing up on their doorstep with a brand new tricked-out Schwinn Predator.
Most didn’t give it the 3 or 4 years Dane had. As soon as they realized their lives weren’t changing, it was only a matter of weeks or months before they were no longer sitting around thinking and feeling good about things and expecting miracles to come true.
Here’s what I think the problem is, as well as…
A lot of people who got into the Law of Attraction stuff simply expected something for nothing. Well nothing besides thinking and feeling.
And while having a clear vision of what you want and feeling optimistic about at a gut level is a big key to achieving great things, it’s not enough. It may get you a good parking spot once in a while… but in most cases, it’s not enough to create a dream life filled with purpose and meaning… and it probably won’t get ya a big house with a couple of sports cars in the driveway.
Thinking and feeling positive is all fine and dandy; in fact I’m all for it and do it as often as possible. Visualization is part of my daily ritual.
But it doesn’t do much without…
1. Taking action… ideally a lot of it, and ideally bold action.
2. Helping others or adding value to the world in some way.
And it’s really the one-two combo of these where the real power is:
Taking action helping people. Or taking action adding value to the world.
Now if your dream is just getting six-pack abs or something, then taking just action without helping people is obviously plenty. But if it’s a “dream life” kinda thing, in my experience helping people is a pretty damn big part of the equation. Plus, it just makes you so much fucking happier.
And yeah, a clear vision of what you want and a positive attitude are huge. I by no means wanna discount the power of it. Focusing on what you want helps your mind seek out and find the things, situations, people and actions that can help you get there.
But it’s not enough.
Just sitting around on the couch playing mental movies while trying to raise your “vibrational frequency” might be enough to manifest a remote and a few reality TV shows to watch, but I doubt it’ll take you to some place greater than the couch.
I tried to tell that to Dane, without coming across like some kind of know-it-all—because I realize that just like the next guy, I really don’t know shit. And I didn’t want to butt into his business too much; that’s just not my style. Live and let fucking live, ya know. But I did at least try to open his mind up to what I felt was pretty obvious.
Yet he insisted that all he needed to do was continue to raise his frequency and he’d be set.
For Dane’s sake, I hope today he’s busy getting to work on his goals, and helping a ton of people along the way. I think next time I see him in the store I’ll go up and say “hi.”
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
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