‘No Matter What: 9 Steps To Living The Life You Want’ by Lisa Nichols: The Secret and Beyond?

Are you a fan of ‘The Secret’? The 2006 book by Rhonda Byrne and various contributors caused a popular sensation (and took up several acres of column inches) when it came out. As best as I can sum it up, the Secret involves attracting positive things into your life by the power of like attracting like, i.e. holding good thoughts in your head and having a positive and expectant vibe. Expressing negative thoughts in this philosophy is a no-no! And alleged proponents such as Lisa Nicholl have had plenty to say on the subject.

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Nichols has been a popular contributor to this way of thinking, but I would also say that her personal work and thoughts are rather more complex and detailed than the popular conception of the science of positive thinking.  Nichols is about a whole lot more than just thinking pretty thoughts and expecting positive occurrences to drop into your lap!

And yes, I know that there can be a crucial link between thoughts and actions, that the one can lead to and determine the other. But still… it’s actions that are the key determinant of our future lives. At least if you ask me, and I think if you ask Lisa Nichols. Works such as this one, practical and motivational speak to me, and I think to others.

Would I recommend this book to someone looking for advice to turn their lives around in a more positive direction? Nichols gives lots of tough, startling examples from her own life to add substance to her advice. I think this constitutes one of the most useful aspects of the book. Her little pop quizzes, regarding how you might apply her ‘steps’ to your own experience, are perhaps less so, at least without any scoring system or advice on what to do once you’ve analysed yourself in this way.

But overall, I find this to be a solid little self-help book with more real-life smarts and realism than many of its competitors. There's a feet-on-the-ground feel to it that is lacking - for me - in many of the books associated with the whole ordering-from-the-universe brigade, and I think that's a good thing. I paid out my own good money for it, and I don’t regret it: and I guess that’s the best accolade of all.

Reading the book, it is clear that she has lived a hard but productive life in many ways, and she gives some solid and useful advice. She doesn’t allow the reader to harbour any illusions that the good life can be achieved without work and sacrifice, something that many critics have problems with regarding ‘fluffier’ writers of the Law of Attraction school of thought. Forgiveness, doing whatever it might possibly take – and that means whatever – and faith, honesty and endurance, all form key planks in the bridge of getting to where you want to be, according to Nichols’ book. And that seems pretty reasonable to me – much more so than airy-fairy assertions that you can have whatever you want just as long as you only express yourself in a precisely prescribed fashion, the format of words kept just so.

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