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The Law of Attraction in a Nutshell

Updated on October 28, 2015
JohnMello profile image

JohnMello is a writer, composer, musician and the author of books for children and adults.

The power of attraction: can you take advantage of it?
The power of attraction: can you take advantage of it? | Source

What is the Law of Attraction?

You've probably heard about the Law of Attraction. You may have dismissed it as some crackpot theory with no basis in fact, or you may have spent time trying to make it work for you. This article will give you some information about where the Law comes from, what it is, and how it works. Then you can decide for yourself if it really is something that could make a difference in your life.

The Law of Attraction is not a new concept. It hails from some clever thinkers at the turn of the twentieth century, men who began to understand the power of the mind and its ability to help us attract a better life for ourselves. The Law of Attraction is basically a technique used for manifesting your desires and making your dreams come true. It’s a method used to help “attract” the things you really want into your life, and it’s based on a very old idea.

The Science of Getting Rich: The Original Classic
The Science of Getting Rich: The Original Classic

The 1906 book that helped to popularize the Law of Attraction, still being printed today.


Origins of the Law of Attraction

The phrase “Law of Attraction” turns up in print as far back as 1906. It was part of the title for a book by William Walker Atkinson called Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World. In 1910 Wallace D. Wattles wrote The Science of Getting Rich, in which he states that focusing on your desires and truly believing in them will lead to achieving them in the material world. That’s a good summary of the Law of Attraction in itself.

Charles F. Haanel’s book The Master Key System was published initially as a correspondence course in 1912. It’s a step-by-step guide to using the Law of Attraction in which the author writes:

“Thinking is the only activity which the spirit possesses, and thought is the only product of thinking.”

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How the Law of Attraction Works

According to Haanel, thinking is the key, the MASTER key, behind getting what you want. When you think intentionally about the thing you want, you’re telling the subconscious mind to get it for you. When you focus entirely on the thing you want, your subconscious works harder to help bring about the desire or goal you’re after. People who achieve all the things they want in life do so because they know what they want, they focus intensely on it, and they never stop thinking about it until they get it. But is that due to the power and potential of the Law of Attraction, or is it simply down to the fact that some people are more driven and determined to succeed than others - no matter what they come up against?

In Part Seven of The Master Key System, Haanel talks about the Universal energy or “invisible power” that exists all around us. He explains that the mind really has two halves; the personal, physical half, part of the visible or external world, and the impersonal, spiritual half, part of the invisible or internal world.

What We Know So Far

The Law of Attraction isn't new.

The phrase comes from the title of a 1906 book by William Walker Atkinson.

To activate the Law of Attraction, you need to focus on exactly what you want.

Focusing in this way spurs the subconscious on to try to help you achieve your goals.

In theory, if you follow 3 simple steps then everything you desire can be yours.

3 Steps to Law of Attraction Success

The personal mind is conscious, existing on the physical level with all the limitations that implies. The impersonal mind refers to the subconscious, functioning on the spiritual level, in tune with the spiritual energy of the cosmos, with access to infinite resources, to what Haanel calls “the wonderful power which has been put within your control.”

These resources are available to all of us: we just need to recognize them, appreciate them for what they are, and use them in the way they were intended. Haanel breaks the process of utilizing this power down into three steps:

  • Step 1: Idealization – picture the ideal version of the thing you want in as much detail as possible, i.e. a better job, more money, to meet your soul mate, etc.
  • Step 2: Visualization – see yourself in the future once you have the thing you want in your life; imagine you already have more money, a great job, or a fabulous partner.
  • Step 3: Materialization – focus intensely on your goal until you get the thing you want, i.e. keep thinking constantly about bringing more money, a better job, your ideal partner into your life until it happens.

Theoretically you can attract anything you want into your life
Theoretically you can attract anything you want into your life | Source

Law of Attraction Explained

What Do You Want?

Napoleon Hill wrote one of the best-selling books of all time, Think and Grow Rich, in which he says that controlling your thoughts will lead to success. Thoughts are energy and you can use this energy for your own purposes and rewards.

In his earlier 1928 book The Law of Success in 16 Lessons, Hill states:

“Know what you want, when you want it, why you want it and HOW you intend to get it.”

And that, in a nutshell, is the Law of Attraction.


It's Not as Easy as it Looks

The difficulty a lot of people have with this concept is in being able to visualize in detail, to be able to picture in their minds clearly those things they need to make their lives better, more fulfilling, and more rewarding. They don't struggle because visualizing is particularly hard to do, but because their lives are full of so many other distractions. That’s why there are so many products available now that employ technology to help make the visualizing process as easy as possible.

The Law of Attraction is described in Wikipedia as:

  • the name given to the belief that "like attracts like" and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results.

If the world around us really is full of energy - Haanel's "invisible power" - and if we have the potential to manipulate that energy for our own means, then it makes sense that we also have the potential to manipulate it in ways that negatively impact our lives. That's why so many authors who write about the Law of Attraction focus on thinking positive thoughts and zooming in on getting more of what you want, rather than what you don't want. Because, if the Law of Attraction really does do what they say it will, it's logical that it should be used to make your life as good as it can possibly be. Otherwise, what's the point?

I hope you found this article useful. If you did, please check out some of my other Hubs listed below. And thanks!


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    • JohnMello profile image

      JohnMello 3 years ago from England

      Thanks heidithorne and dearabbysmom. Great feedback!

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 3 years ago from Indiana

      I do believe in the law of attraction...I think though, that there is an 'action' component to it. After deciding what you want, and visualizing yourself in that situation, I think you have to take steps each day toward that scenario. That's been my experience, anyway. People sometimes try to say the loa does not have a place alongside Christian faith, so I appreciate the video helping point out some good opposing arguments.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      The Law of Attraction DOES work. But what people often forget is that it isn't like a magic wand. It takes time, sometimes lots of time. But I've seen it work in my life, although I have a long way to go. It's so easy to slip into "what I don't want" mode and, inadvertently, attract what you don't want. Great hub on an important topic. Voted up and sharing!