The fLaw of Attraction | Part 1 (In General)
The Flaws Presented Herein:
The Secret Was No Secret After All
It Is Not Practical
It Injects False Hope
It Is A Concocted Systematized Scam
It Blames You
Pessimists Can't Be Successful. Really?
It Is Full of Contextualization Errancies
It Is Not A Universal Law
This hub may hurt the feelings of the many advocates and believers of the Law of Attraction.
The fLaw of Attraction Series:
- The fLaw of Attraction | Part 1 (In General)
- The fLaw of Attraction | Part 2 (A Christian’s Perspective) – still under draft
"The Secret" Introduction
If there is a book that best brought the Law of Attraction into prominence to the mainstream public in the early 21st century, it would none other than be Rhoda Byrne’s “The Secret.”
It was first released as a DVD, and the whole presentation was then later compiled into a book.
“The Secret” has always been displayed in all of bookstore’s best-selling books rack compilation. The book really stands out in the midst of all the other displayed books along with it. It can easily be recognized because of its attractive packaging and its catchy title.
Larry King and Oprah aired it on their shows. I heard it in every morning radio talk shows. The people around talked about it. Even my friends eventually have got their hands into it. Wow! I thought I was the only one left behind missing something very valuable.
I asked myself “What is this Secret that this book talks about? What’s the Secret?”
I visited one of the bookstores nearby and took a peek on the book’s table of contents hoping that I could somehow unravel the book’s mystery and see if it’s worth my money.
Honestly, I have never seen a book that boasts on having the answer to all our problems. It claims that through this book, you’ll learn the secret to everything, to money, to relationships, to health, to everything you’ll ever possibly need. I was wowed by its exaggerated claims. Could it really be?
I tried not browsing it a little longer, otherwise I’d be noticed. So I ended up still not knowing what the secret was. It was very troubling, I tell you.
I tried asking my friends what’s it about but they wouldn’t say. They told me that if they would tell me what the secret was, they’ll spoil the experience that I could have had if I’d read it my own. They wanted me to buy and read it myself instead. It was really frustrating.
I also had thought of just browsing it in the net, but my friends’ words of “spoiling the experience” kept reiterating in my mind and that somehow hindered me. I considered their idea that maybe they were right.
And so, after some time thinking and hesitating, I finally decided to grab my own copy. It’s a very interesting book indeed.
You probably have already read some of the book’s readers’ testimonies, acclamations, and criticisms. Well, I hope that wouldn’t discourage you of taking the time going through this article. I hope you still have the interest on knowing what else I could say.
What you’re about to read are my own genuine take on the things the book claims to offer.
I hope this hub can give you substantial information to ponder on.
The book begins in telling you that this ancient knowledge of “The Secret” was kept unknown to the mass public for thousands of years. It was kept a secret by a group of people, by the ancient leaders, and by a limited number of great men who have harnessed the power of this secret.
The video presentation had a very nice slide of clips showing that The Secret was buried, coveted, banned, and suppressed.
This knowledge, however, was taught throughout all of humanity’s ancient cultures and traditions though not explicitly explained and that still somehow conceals the true knowledge of it. The book claims that through the book, you’ll discover what they actually meant.
I began tracing The Secret back through history. I couldn’t believe all the people who knew this. They were the greatest people in history: Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, Hugo, Beethoven, Lincoln, Emerson, Edison, Einstein. Incredulous, I asked, “Why doesn’t everyone know this?” - The Secret, Foreword ix
Wise people have always known this. You can go right back to the ancient Babylonian. They’ve always known this. It’s a small select group of people. - Bob Proctor, The Secret, page 5
Now, that introduction would leave anyone excited in knowing what the secret was.
In page 4, this is what you’ll read.
The Secret is the Law of Attraction.
Everything that’s coming into your life you are attracting into your life. And it’s attracted to you by virtue of the images you’re holding in your mind. It’s what you’re thinking. Whatever is going on in your mind you are attracting to you. - The Secret, page 4
The Secret is the Law of Attraction.
Now, is that a secret? That isn’t a secret. People knew this stuff. It’s what the New Thought Movement advocates about. It’s what the New Age religion loves preaching about. In fact, people may have not noticed, but the phrase “like attracts like” is a common phrase we casually hear, often not being aware that it was actually coined by the Law of Attraction.
William Walker Atkinson used the phrase “Law of Attraction” in the title of his book Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World.
Wallace D. Wattles expounded it in his book The Science of Getting Rich which is of course known to have inspired Rhonda Byrne to produce her DVD and book The Secret.
Napoleon Hill talks about the secret in his all time best-selling book Think and Grow Rich. Hill stated that he’d rather not say what the secret was for it would be far more beneficial if discovered by own.
By the way, I enjoyed reading his book. I agree in his statement to rather not name what the secret was, because once you do, you will have to face thousands of critiques discerning the secret you claimed to know. It’s better leaving it in mystery. His famous expression was “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Napoleon Hill acquired the knowledge of this secret from Andrew Carnegie, and then Hill passed it to Earl Nightingale. Earl Nightingale then passed the torch of wisdom to now we know as Bob Proctor, one of the leading Law of Attraction teachers who is featured in The Secret.
This is absolutely not new. Everyone knows this.
The Secret, however, not only claims that you will learn the long concealed secret ancient knowledge; it also claims to offer the secret formula or the secret ingredient to anyone’s success in which we will try looking at in the subsequent sections.
Ask once, believe you have received, and all you have to do to receive is feel good. When you are feeling good, you are on the frequency of receiving. You are on the frequency of all good things coming to you, and you will receive what you have asked for. - The Secret, page 53
So, all I have to do is believe I have received what I’ve asked for and I’ll get it. This is all you are required to do, believe you have received and feel good. The ending phrase “and you will receive what you have asked for” concludes it.
Look at one more statement that affirms this,
When you feel as though you have it now, and the feeling is so real that it is like you have it already, you are believing that you have received, and you will receive. - The Secret, page 54
Now, to believe something you are not is really hard, would you agree? To genuinely believe you have received something when in fact you haven’t yet is a folly. That’s pretending. That’s pure acting. You’re only fooling yourself.
You can fool yourself into believing, alright. But you can’t seriously make that a basis for concluding a deal was closed, a transaction had successfully been made, or a mission or task had successfully been done.
You are not alone in the deal, remember. What about what the other party thinks? Don’t you consider what the other party’s eventual decision could be? The other party has got his/her own things to consider that you may have no idea about, don’t you think?
Say there are two applicants for the position of a company’s vice president. One qualified, and the other, a non-qualified. The qualified guy who’s also a practical guy wasn’t aware of the Law of Attraction. The non-qualified guy who could by the way be just anybody from a janitor to an ice cream peddler had the chance of being made aware of the Law of Attraction. They were both interviewed and both seemed to have a good conversation with the interviewer.
The non-qualified guy somehow had used his optimism to pull off a nice conversation. That could happen. But, I don’t believe the non-qualified guy will get the job just because the interviewer and he had a good conversation, or that they felt good and convenient with each other, and that the guy somehow have influenced the good feeling inside the room by his positive thoughts, or frequency, or vibration.
No. The talent acquisition team, although seeks good personality are still bound to hire people with skills necessary for the current job vacancy.
Sure, to have a positive attitude is beneficial, but that alone isn’t enough for your success.
Yes, you can control your own thoughts and can somehow influence the thoughts of the other, but you can never gain total control of his’. If you can control yours, certainly, he can control his’.
This is just not practical.
Two persons with the same exact want cannot have that same want be availed for both of them even if they both are using and applying the principles of the Law of Attraction.
Let’s try to look again in the above example about the two applicants.
Now, because of the motivation the non-qualified guy has got from the new acquired knowledge, he relentlessly, without hesitation has tried applying for the job hoping that the Law of Attraction could be of some help to him only to be told later on that he wasn’t experienced enough and wasn’t fit for the current job vacancy.
The false hope they inject to their readers here is their motivational tool. This is dangerous. This would only lead people to frustration.
Can I really beat Kobe Bryant on a 1-on-1 basketball match? The Law of Attraction says I could. All I have to do is believe to the extent that that belief makes me feel good that leaves me no doubt that I could really beat Kobe Bryant. That’s all I need, the utter unbelievable overwhelming confidence.
This is false hope. All they actually want is to make you feel good, to make you feel so good that would eventually lead you to promote their product through word of mouth without you even noticing. That’s what they actually want.
Consider the statement below.
If you won a lottery or received a large inheritance, even before you physically had the money, you know it is yours. - The Secret, page 50
You see? This is utter false hope. If this is true, then why haven’t we heard testimonies from the winners? We should be expecting many of them. And if this is true, why didn’t the Law of Attraction teachers immediately played in the lottery? Surely, they could have won. They wouldn’t anymore need to sell The Secret just to earn money, then.
If this is not false hope, I don’t know what is.
Honestly, I hate to call this a scam because of the nice people behind it. However, to entice people into believing and promise them prosperity only to get money out from them is, I believe, a scam.
Another thing people wonder about is, “How long will it take to manifest the car, the relationship, the money?” I don’t have any rulebook that says it’s going to take thirty minutes or three days or thirty days. It’s more a matter of you being in alignment with the universe itself. - Dr. Joe Vitale, The Secret, page 62
Notice this. They already have prepared answers to the possible questions anyone can make. These answers they have prepared actually contradict to what they teach.
If we’ll go back to our previous example of the two applicants, what they’re actually telling the non-qualified guy who failed the interview is to just keep himself aligning with the universe. They again just motivated the guy before he can even ask the question or complain that the thing didn’t work well last time.
Thank God that there’s a time delay, that all of your thoughts don’t come true instantly. We’d be in trouble if they did. The element of time delay serves you. It allows you to reassess, to think about what you want, and to make a new choice. - Lisa Nichols, The Secret, page 22
The time delay is a dirty tactic that they throw at you if in case the Law of Attraction didn’t work.
Law of Attraction didn’t work? No problem. We’ve got the answer for that. Try again tomorrow.
The Law of Attraction failed at the first attempt so what they’ll tell you is to “keep on attempting.” They just don’t want to lose you. That’s all.
They’re just getting you in a loop with you not noticing that they’re doing it to you.
They will, at one time, say you can win the lottery tomorrow for sure. Just believe and feel good about it. But, if later on you failed, they’ll tell you there’s a time delay. Just try again tomorrow.
And as for the Kobe Bryant example; maybe, I could really beat Kobe. I just need time to practice. There’s a time delay, you know. I gauge that around 4 years of practice should be enough. All I need is to be positive and really feel that I could beat Kobe.
You see? That’s the extent of the claim they’ll make just to motivate you, just for you to believe in this stuff. Even the thought of me beating Kobe on a 1-on-1 basketball match would be a possibility just to give you a boost of motivation. And if you won’t believe, the universe or the genie would say “your wish is my command.” And that is really where they get you. That is how this cunning dangerous scam works.
They, the producers, and the marketers of this stuff are at the top of the food chain. They’re at the top of this pyramid scheme selling a false asset to their clients that makes their clients hope that they’re going to get something out of this asset. Their clients, on the other hand, will recruit more believers of this thing and they will make money out of the new recruits and the poor new believers will also try to recruit more believers into the scheme because that’s the only way they’re going to get money anyway, and this will make the people at the top more money.
That is why you see many of them everywhere. But who does really prosper? Was it their listeners, fans, or believers? None of them will prosper unless one decides to also promote the product and sell.
All they do is make these people feel good and gives them false hope and promises. This is nothing more than a Ponzi Scheme.
Making everyone feel good is actually their asset that makes them money.
I want to let you in on a secret to The Secret. The shortcut to anything in your life is to BE and FEEL happy now! - The Secret, page 100
Be happy now. Feel good now. That’s the only thing you have to do. If that’s the only thing you get from reading this book, then you have received the greatest part of The Secret. - The Secret, page 179
Your life right now is a reflection of your past thoughts. That includes all the great things, and all the things you consider not so great. - The Secret, page 9
The only reason why people do not have what they want is because they are thinking more about what they don’t want than what they do want. - The Secret, page 12
Everything that surrounds you right now in your life, including the things you’re complaining about, you’ve attracted. - The Secret, page 27
All of your misfortunes are the products of your past negative thoughts. That’s right. Apparently, you did not think enough good thoughts. If you lost a limb in a fire accident, it’s your fault. If you lost in a lottery, it’s your fault. If you lost a considerable amount of money in gambling, it’s your fault. If you got robbed in the street, it’s your fault.
It’s your fault… It’s your fault… It’s your fault…
You actually have attracted those unfortunate instances to you regardless of anything.
The robber’s intention of robbing isn’t even considered of the blame but on whoever the victim was. You were robbed because of your thoughts, and not because of the robber’s intention of robbing.
You’re not thinking positive enough. The robber could be is.
Did you not really win the lottery because of your negative thoughts? Really?
I wonder how many pessimistic people had already won the lottery. Why didn’t they include the story of those? I wonder how many people had won the lottery when they least expected it.
Honestly, all the people I’ve seen that have won in games like this were the ones who jump for joy because of the unexpected win.
Now you might understand why a person who says, “I always get parking spaces,” gets them. Or why a person who says, “I am really lucky, I win things all the time,” wins one thing after another, all the time. These people expect it. Begin to expect great things, and as you do, you will create your life in advance. - The Secret, page 65
Now you know why you didn’t get the parking space. It’s because you’re thoughts are filled with negative ones. In effect, the universe rearranged itself to obey the frequency you are sending to it. Funny, this is.
Let me give you a real life example. This is a testimony from a friend:
One day, when there was a moderate sandstorm outside, his wife wants to walk their baby just like what she does everyday. My friend objected that their baby might catch sickness due to the hostile weather. His wife accused him of being so negative and rebuked him to stop thinking that way. The weather is somehow tolerable and the baby is strong enough to take it, his wife argued.
The next day, their baby had a fever.
You know what? The husband is adamantly blamed for thinking their baby would get sick, and his wife really believed it was her husband’s negative thoughts that caused it deliberately eliminating the other idea that it could be the hostile weather that could have caused it. His wife, apparently, had read The Secret. What a poor concerned father.
I cannot believe people had taken this thing seriously. This is ridiculous!
If you worry about having negative thoughts, you will attract more worrying about your negative thoughts, and multiply them at the same time. Decide right now that you are going to think only good thoughts. - The Secret, page 22
Contrary to what the Law of Attraction teaches which is to eliminate all the negative thoughts to become successful, we engineers were trained to think of all the possible negative thoughts, all the possible dangers, disasters or catastrophes and use it to become successful. That’s right. That’s what we do.
In fact, it is one of our great endeavors to look and discover more of them and consider them in our calculations. We’ve been trained to worry. Not to worry at all has no place in our professional habits. Eliminating negative thoughts is just not acceptable. I’d bet this is also true with other professions.
The principles of Mathematics and Physics which we engineers always use demand absolute strict formulas and constants that does not allow compromise, otherwise results would fail. There is no room for just feeling good. We always have to be careful. Our job is truly meticulous.
And, just knowing the result already passed the allowable design still isn’t enough. We’re still not happy with it even though it passed. We would still give it a safety factor to allow for other unknown possible dangers that could happen. What a pessimistic approach that is.
We would think all the negative things and as much as possible not letting any possibility out. Have we not been that way, we won’t see any buildings erected, machines fully functioning, basic services such as water and electricity made available. We could have not landed our astronauts on the moon.
So, is it advisable to eliminate negative thoughts? I don’t think so. If we do so, we will all end up pathetic just always hoping for the good.
Pessimists are as successful, and they have a more realistic approach.
Just don’t get this confused with the hopeless, loser, lazy pessimist.
While the book’s aim is to inspire and motivate you, it has done so to the extent that it has deliberately abused quoting people whether or not that person knew or believes the Law of Attraction. They’ve selected certain quotes according to their liking to favor the Law of Attraction. Some of these quotes, however, and not surprisingly, have received criticisms accused of being used out of context.
Say for example, Alexander Graham Bell. You’ll find in the book him saying,
What this power is I cannot say. All I know is that it exists. - Alexander Graham Bell, The Secret, page 84
This clearly favors the Law of Attraction but does not confirm whether the power Graham Bell talks about is the Law of Attraction. Take note. He cannot even say it. Yet, Byrne claims that Graham Bell was talking about the Law of Attraction.
Let’s look at one of Graham Bell’s famous quotes that didn’t make it in the book.
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. - Alexander Graham Bell
What is the key to success? The key to success according to Graham Bell is Preparation, not the Law of Attraction. Not by positive thoughts, not by changing your frequency in line with that of your desires. Preparation, as we know, could have involved many things even thinking negative thoughts. No wonder this quote didn’t make it.
Julia Rickert, in an article of Chicago Reader, questioned the validity of the book’s ending quotation citing Ralph Waldo Emerson to be its reference. She criticized it and dared Byrnes to verify if the quote was from Emerson.
This was the quote:
The secret is the answer to all that has been, all that is, and all that will ever be. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Secret, page 183
In this quotation, Emerson (considering the quote is verified his’) tells us something about the secret. Whether that secret is the Law of Attraction or not is not verified. He could have meant something else in there. He could have meant something like your inner self since only you can know it, hence, a secret.
The Secret cleverly has chosen this quote to end the book making it sound like that the secret Emerson talks about is the Law of Attraction, and thus imply that it’s where they’ve got the title of the book from.
Julia Rickert also criticized the book for citing Winston Churchill’s quotation,
You create your own universe as you go along. - Winston Churchill, The Secret, page 36
Rickert have asserted that what Churchill meant in the full context of the material where the quotation was originally cited was that he found the statement to be nonsensical, and perfectly useless.
There is a quotation by W. Clement Stone found in the book that says, and I love this,
Whatever the mind . . . can conceive it can achieve. - W. Clement Stone, The Secret, page 95
Now, the Law of Attraction teachers will immediately tell you that by interpreting the quote, anything and everything is possible and achievable. Not even the sky is the limit. There are no boundaries. Anything and everything is possible and achievable.
Now that is a deliberate abuse of perverting and misinterpreting Stone’s words. I totally agree with Stone but not with the Law of Attraction teachers. Stone had set a limit there.
Not everything is achievable, otherwise he could have said it like,
Whatever the mind . . . can and can’t conceive it can achieve.
If he said it this way, then anything and everything is achievable.
Stone is just suggesting to be true to one's self. There are things made available to you, and through that you could have conceived what you can achieve.
See. I cannot conceive that I could knock out Mike Tyson in 1 round. I cannot see that happening. Or even become the US President. No. It’s inconceivable. It really is to me.
Don’t fool yourself.
Why did Barack Obama become president? Is it because he knows The Secret? No. It’s because he simply could. I couldn’t. It’s that simple. Obama became president because of the things made available to him that isn’t made available to me. He had a basis to believe. I don’t.
Stone was right. I can achieve the things I can conceive happening. I can see myself being promoted, having a happy family, make lots of money, and so on and so forth. These are possible and are conceivable to me. But to be an NBA Most Valuable Player isn’t one of them.
Please, stick to what you can conceive. Those are the things you can achieve. Don’t force yourself to believe that you can achieve the inconceivable. You won’t find it in Stone’s words. The Law of Attraction teachers just delude you into believing you can achieve anything by fooling yourself and act as if you really could.
Find your true self. Don’t pretend. That is counterproductive.
There are many quotes found in this book that were used out of context, especially those of the historical figures.
Just go and try figuring out some of them. We’d be glad if you could share more of them.
The Law of Attraction is a law of nature. It is impersonal and it does not see good things or bad things. It is receiving your thoughts and reflecting back to you those thoughts as your life experience. The Law of Attraction simply gives you whatever it is you are thinking about. - The Secret, page 13
Whether you believe the Law of Gravity or not, you will fall down back to the earth. That’s the Law of Gravity. The Law of Attraction is not like the law of gravity. It cannot scientifically be proven. All these Law of Attraction teachers have given are just philosophical arguments and anecdotal testimonies.
The law responds to your thoughts, no matter what they may be.- The Secret, page 7
This statement says that if you thought you cannot, you really couldn’t. And if you think you could, you really do.
This is false.
Would you agree that an athlete, a boxer for example, can actually win a competition even if he believes he would lose? We also have learned through our previous example that anyone can win a lottery even if he least expects it. We also know that there are many people who have died even if it isn’t one of their expectations on that particular day. There are also people who got healed even if they thought they’re going to die.
There are just overwhelming evidences to prove that there is no such thing as Law of Attraction.
It’s just a brand, a product being sold.
The Law of Attraction is just an invention produced through pure philosophy, and not scientifically.
This Law of Attraction is just a clever manipulation of mumbo-jumbo words to make it sound like it’s one of the universal inevitable laws of nature.
No. It isn’t a universal law at all.
Byrne constantly attributes this secret knowledge to be responsible of the success of every successful historical figures we know of today. Henry Ford, for example, has used this secret to successfully produce the Model T Automobile.
Therefore, according to Byrne, Henry Ford used the principle Ask, Believe you have received, and Receive to become successful of his endeavors. He felt good on the part of believing as if really receiving the success that is yet to come, and that is why he succeeded.
I disagree. I believe Henry Ford knew something valuable, or possessed something valuable, or have discovered something valuable, and that made him believe. And with this something which could either be knowledge, material, or talent, backed up with undying burning desire made him successful.
I would like to emphasize the part which is the believing part since it’s the most difficult part of the principle.
When you believe something, you have to have a basis. You believe you can do it because you possess something that makes you believe you could. That’s what I believe in. You cannot fool yourself to believe to succeed if you don’t possess this necessary something that will actually make you believe.
You have to have a basis.
I think this can be best explained in a competition. I’ll use Michael Jordan in my following example.
Michael Jordan believed in every game they had that he could bring the whole team to victory. Why did he believe that? What made him believe? I believe he believed that because he can feel it in him. Put me in Michael’s shoes, and I can tell you, if I am that good, it would be difficult for me to not believe.
He has the talent, and that talent that is not available to many made him felt special and made him believe they can succeed through him.
He brought his team to championship because he is capable. He knows he is capable and that’s why he believed. Not that he believes, and that belief made him capable. No. It does not work that way.
When you apply for a job, you cannot fool yourself into believing that you qualify for the job if you know you’re not. You know yourself. Please don’t fool yourself. If you want to qualify for the job, pursue the qualifications the company is seeking for and you will eventually qualify. That’s the basis.
The qualifications you hold which is your basis will make you and help you believe. You have to possess it first before you can actually say that you are that person.
Without it, how can you say you are? You have no basis.
A Friend Argued This:
Have you seen the movie “Catch Me If You Can?” Frank demonstrated to us what the Law of Attraction looks like in action. He became a doctor, a pilot, a lawyer even though he’s not. Just by mere convincing of self and feeling to be that person made him no less than that person. People really believed he was that person.
Well, you know what? He got caught. He couldn’t keep it up. He got cornered.
I believe Frank believed in himself that he could fool people. Yes, I believe that. Why? What made him believe? He believed he could fool people because he possesses something. He has the talent of acting. He knows that in himself. He was successful at that. If he didn’t have that, he couldn’t have been confident enough to do his acts.
But he lacks something in all of his pretensions which he cannot hide and cannot fool himself into believing. That is the technical issue. The technical knowledge involved in the profession he pretended to be. He does not have the technical knowledge, the basis that is supposed to make him able to believe that he could 100% be that person. That is what he lacks.
His talent helped him somehow, but pretending or make-believe alone cannot and will not bring him to success.
You cannot fool the world to be someone you’re not. It will eventually manifest.
A Friend Testified This:
I’ve been dying to see my father. After reading The Secret, I’ve focused on imagining seeing my father. I don’t know if I would be the one visiting him or him visiting me. All I need to imagine is that we’re going to see each other. After a week of visualizing, my door bell suddenly rang. And as I approach the door, I can see a man’s silhouette through the opaque glass. I opened it and guess who? It was my father.
What can you say about that?
We later on found out that his father booked the flight 6 months ago due to a promotion deal he found on that airline’s website.
I no longer pressed the issue to my friend that it was not actually his visualization who made the thing happen. The flight was booked even before he even knew of The Secret. It was his father’s decision, not his’.
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