Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Secret

The Secret is the hot new thing is the world of media on motivation and personal development. It's a great introduction to the concept of The Law of Attraction. For those of you who are not familiar with the book or the concept, let me give it to you in a nutshell. The Law of Attraction means that when you focus on certain outcomes, you tend to attract (or create) those outcomes in your life. This is true of both things you want, and for things you don't want. In other words, if you spend all your time thinking about how unhappy you are, you will continue to have more and more reasons to be unhappy. If on the other hand, you begin focusing on how much you are grateful for, you will tend to attract more of those good things into your life.

The Secret spends a great deal of time unpacking the concept, it's implications, applications and mechanics. It has been very helpful to many people by giving them a focused practical process for taking responsibility for their actions, and taking concrete steps to improve their state. Generally I endorse it, and take much of it's basic premises to heart. As I said in my first post on this blog, I am very intentional about my approach to personal development. That is one reason why that is my business.

Nevertheless, I have some bones to pick with The Secret. For the sake of time, I'll just throw a few of the biggies up here on the wall for you, dear reader, to ponder. I will revisit these in more detail down the road.

First, the so-named Law of Attraction is NOT a secret and has not been hoarded and guarded by rich and accomplished people down through the ages. This is strongly implied if not spelled out in the opening sequences of the DVD. One example in ancient scripture -- "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."

Second, The Secret makes it way more mystical than it needs to be. The fact is that when you spend much of your time thinking about something, whether it is helpful, or whether it is damaging to you, you will tend to take actions, consciously or subconsciously, that will bring about that state. It's more about psychology, emotion, and communication that it is about metaphysics.

Third - although the DVD does make it clear that success is NOT only about money, there is a strong thread that equates wealth with owning large expensive things, traveling to faraway exotic places, and eating at luxurious restaurants. It seems to be assumed that if you are wealthy, this is how it ought to manifest itself. While I do not have a problem with wealth, in fact I intentionally am seeking to become a very wealthy person, I wish they would expand on what wealth really means, and what it is for. Since they don't, I guess I will (eventually).

Fourth - The Secret purports to be the solution to all of life's problems. I would say it's a powerful tool to apply to some of life's problems, but ultimately it leaves out one or two pretty BIG parts of the story.

More to come.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame is very big on this method, and recommends that you write your goals down ten times every morning, or something like that. He attaches a metaphysical explanation reminiscent of Borges "The Garden of Forking Paths" to it, but your more pedestrian explanation is perfectly adequate to explaining reality.

The scriptures say "wherever your treasure is, there will you find your heart." The inverted phrasing is intentional. Where your heart goes is, by definition, where your treasure is. This knowledge helps you identify what you really value, rather than what you should value.

Dubbahdee said...

I like your inversion. Another version of this inversion is one I learned several years ago, although I do not recall exactly where. If you wish to know what is most important to someone, look at their datebook and look at their checkbook. Where they spend their time and money will tell you all you need to know much more accurately than anything they will tell you with words.