Several years ago as I was starting out on my quest for personal improvement, a friend introduced me to a movie called The Secret. This was the first time I had ever heard of the Law of Attraction. I was enthralled and intrigued. And shortly thereafter I set about making a mental checklist of all the new, shiny things I wanted to attract into my life. I drank the Kool-Aid. Every last delicious drop.
A few weeks later I was having a lunchtime discussion with some coworkers and one of them said, quite curtly, “That crap doesn’t work.”
Being the newly-enlightened soul that I was, I chalked up their statement to ignorance—or just being a sour grump who was failing to get what they wanted out of life.
Later I came to see that maybe they were right all along. The Law of Attraction does not work—at least not in the way most people think it is supposed to. Here are three reasons why:
Reason 1: Ignoring the Law of the Harvest
The Law of the Harvest simply states that you reap what you sow. Plant the seed, eat the fruit. It’s all about action. You gotta get your hands dirty. Prepare the soil. Dig the hole. Plant the seed. Water it. Give it sunlight. Keep the weeds at bay. Protect it from bugs and birds and animals. Give it time. Wait. Be patient. Let it grow.
The problem with LOA enthusiasts is that they tend to gloss over the action portion of the equation. Too much focus is placed on the thinking and feeling portions of the Law. No doubt these are vitally important components, but without action the Law simply does not work.
Reason 2: Using it as a tool for acquisition
Most people who discover TLOA use it as a tool of acquisition. Like I did, they start making lists of all the cool things they’d like to bring into their lives. This is not all bad. Having goals and aspirations is a good thing. It gives us hope and confidence.
The Law of Attraction is better used as a tool for recognition. We all know the brain is great at filtering for what we want to see. When my wife was pregnant with our son, I started seeing pregnant women everywhere who had previously gone unnoticed. Similar to the Pygmallion Effect, our circumstances tend to rise and fall to the expectations we place on them. If we expect good things, good opportunities find a way of presenting themselves.
Dr. Wayne Dyer is fond of saying, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” We can train our minds to recognize opportunities which we can capitalize on by our actions.
Reason 3: It stifles creativity and creation
Attraction by its definition implies that there is something outside of us that we need to bring toward us. That something is missing. It discounts the high capacity for creation that exist within us all.
When a Hollywood blockbuster is described as “action-packed” we envision chases, fight scenes, explosions. Lots of continuous movement, scene to scene to scene.
Creation equals life. Nature is constantly creating and reinventing itself. Growing, adapting, moving. To achieve or get what we desire, our lives should also move. They should be action-packed. Packed full of action.
Even better, they should be “action-pact.” We can make a conscious deal—a pact—with the Universe to act upon any opportunity or inspiration that crosses our path. I have a friend who is a landscape painter. He has found tremendous success following this formula. He says, “I commit to doing the work, and I ask God to keep blessing me with fresh ideas.” Sounds action-pact to me.
In conclusion, does the Law of Attraction work? No and yes—but only when used properly. Keep planting seeds. Keep your eyes and ears open. Follow through.
That is how you attract what you want in life.