The real problem with the Law of Attraction

The real problem with the Law of Attraction is that people explain it as "wish for it and it will happen." It’s like once you start wishing for for what you want, you no longer have to try to get it. Steve Pavlina has a great explanation for why the Law of Attraction doesn’t work that way:

A common manifestation exercise is to try to manifest a blue
feather somewhere in your reality. You hold the intention to see a blue
feather sometime in the next 24 hours. What’s the most direct solution
to that intention? Is it to wait patiently and let the universe bring
it to you somehow? Why not simply do a Google image search? You’ll find
your blue feather within seconds. Problem solved. Next.

If you really want something, and you are trying to use the Law of Attraction to get it, you have to do your best to get it. Think positive, know you’re going to get it and work at it!

If you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a lottery ticket.

Do rich people make you uncomfortable?

Do rich people make you uncomfortable? 

I’ve been surprised lately at how many people say they don’t like rich people.   For example, I have massage therapist friends who won’t work on wealthy people  (How’s that for a business plan!) because they find rich people’s concerns and troubles just too far removed from what they consider reality.  Another example.  I have a group of friends that raise guide dog puppies and they are great people.  I never realized that they were all  pretty wealthy until I invited a friend to a guide dog puppy party and he said he had nothing in common with them.  I tried pointing out all the things they had in common (dogs, kids, houses, location, hobbies) and he just couldn’t get over that they were in a different socio-economic group therefore they must not have anything in common!

I wasn’t raised in a rich family but it was rich in experience.  Every year I become more aware of how diverse my experience was.  I have a friend who also grew up overseas – she’s lived in several different countries and met lots of people and she’s very outgoing.  I thought that meant she’d be comfortable in any social situation.  So I was surprised when I took her to a country western bar and she was extremely uncomfortable – it was a culture she had never experienced before.  She didn’t dance (even though she loves dancing) and she won’t go back. 

Growing up not only did I meet farmers as well as city people, I also met rich people as well as poor people.  (And for the record, despite the stereotype some farmers are very wealthy.)  I have friends who have more family money than I’ll ever have unless I win the lottery and I have friends that barely make it paycheck to paycheck.  My dad even used to invite this homeless woman to a cup of coffee every day.  So I never knew that people in different socio-economic groups make people uncomfortable.   I never considered them different than me – they might have different problems or different priorities because life has dealt them a different deck of cards but they were still people very much like me!  It also helps that I know millionaires that wear jeans and drive old pickup trucks and people driving brand new cars that live paycheck to paycheck.

I think people are uncomfortable with rich people because they believe that money will solve all their problems.  And if money will solve all their problems then rich people must not have any real problems. Neither is true.  Money might enable you to buy clothes and activities for your kids but it won’t teach you how to be a good parent.  Money might buy you the right clothes and entrance to clubs but it won’t buy you good friends.  Money might give you time to spend with your spouse but it won’t make you a good partner.  Money might enable you to go to med school but it won’t make you a doctor.  Money can’t live your life for you and while it may make some things easier it won’t solve all your problems.  If you were rich, you would still have problems and they would not be trivial.

Rich people are just people too.  When you consider what money can do to someone, you might even consider that the rich are people with more problems than average.  They can’t blame lack of money for not accomplishing something in life.

Winning the lottery isn’t all it’s cut out to be

Why do we all play the lottery when it’s been proven that winning the lottery won’t make us any happier?  Lottery winners are no happier six months after they win the lottery than they were before they one.  Many of them are considerably unhappier.

I wrote a few days ago about how money isn’t evil.  The flip side is also true – money won’t solve all your problems.   I think we play the lottery because we don’t want to go to work everyday and we think we want a new car, maybe a new house and fancier vacations.  The real problem is that we don’t know what we want – we don’t know what would make us happy.  While money is certainly an enabler and I believe having money is a good thing, it won’t help you figure out the purpose of your life.  Money won’t help you figure out what makes you happy.  It won’t tell you how to spend your day. 

The key to happiness isn’t winning the lottery, it’s figuring out what makes you happy.  I guarantee that if you know what makes you happy, what you enjoy doing every day, you can find a way to do that and pay the bills.   But no matter how big the jackpot is, it won’t tell you what to do with the rest of your life.

Money is not Evil

Money is not evil.  Having money is not wrong.  Spending money is not wrong. 

Steve Olson has a great post about Why People Believe Money is the Root of all Evil – both Steve Olson and Steve Pavlina take that one step further and explain why if you think money is evil you will never have any.  Steve Olson’s post has a great list of things he grew up hearing that implied having money was bad.  Here’s the ones on his list that I also heard a lot:

  • He’s filthy rich
  • That house is a waste of space, can you imagine the heat bill
  • Whadda ya think money grows on trees
  • He’s got money to burn
  • How much money does a person need?

All of those are negative comments and imply that having money is evil, but money enables you to do things.  It’s very hard to save the world or even yourself if you don’t have any money. 

So, earn the money, make sure it doesn’t ruin you, use it wisely and accomplish your goals.  You can use money to find a cure for autism or to hang out on the beach for the rest of your life or make sure everybody in your town makes it to college.  Without money any of those will be hard to accomplish.  It’s even easier to stay in shape, eat healthy and live a longer life if you have money.   

Passing on having money won’t make you a better person, it will just give you one less tool to accomplish what you’d like to do in life.

Photo by Big-E-Mr-G.

Book review: The Secret

First off, there are three versions of the Secret by Rhonda Byrne:

  • the book, The Secret.
  • the audiobook, The Secret.  This contains many different people’s voices, presumably from the movie version.
  • the movie, The Secret DVD!  Most of the reviews you’ve seen are about the movie.

I listened to the audiobook version.

I think how you are introduced to a book greatly influences how much you like it or at least how open you are to liking it.  I first heard about The Secret from a group of friends who watched the movie together and they couldn’t say enough good about it.  I was supposed to beg, steal or borrow a copy to watch!  So I downloaded the audiobook version.  I enjoyed it but if I hadn’t listened to The Attractor Factor first, I would have dismissed it all as hokey.  The Secret introduces the law of attraction with a lot of hype and very big promises.  They make it seem like it is possible to wish a bike or a winning lottery ticket into existence through sheer will power.  Now while I believe that remaining positive and open will mean that many more opportunities will be available to you than if you are always negative, I don’t think you can wish tomorrow’s winning lottery ticket into your hand.  So while the audiobook was uplifting and positive, it was a bit unrealistic.  So, I wonder, if I’d read this negative review first, or if I hadn’t learned about the law of attraction from The Attractor Factor, I wonder if I would have liked The Secret at all?  Would the negative review have set me up to think negatively about it, would I have concentrated on the hokiness and would I be writing a really negative review now?  If so, it just goes to show you that thinking positive brings positive results (I enjoyed listening to the book) and thinking negative brings negative results (I might not have made it through the book!)  On the influencing positively side, The Secret made the top ten list at and The New York Times.  Does that make you want to read it now?

Book review: Law of Attraction

Usually I read an entire book or I try not to express an opinion because there have been books that I had to start multiple times before I made it through and then I really enjoyed them, like The Reality Dysfunction.  However, I don’t think I can make it through the The Law of Attraction and I think there’s a slim to none chance I’d end up liking it. 

I got The Law of Attraction because it was about the law of attraction that I’ve enjoyed reading about in other books such as the The Attractor Factor by Joe Vitale.  In addition, I did my research and it got a rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon from 26 people.  That’s pretty solid.  However, in spite of enjoying the topic, and in spite of the fact that lots of other people liked the book, I really didn’t like it.  I didn’t even make it through the whole book!

I should have paid attention to the whole title: The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham and asked who Abraham was.  It turns out he’s a spirit that talks through Esther Hicks, one of the authors, when she’s meditating.  So the whole audiobook is Esther meditating, talking in this strident, almost yelling, voice.  She speaks as Abraham and always in the first person plural "we" as Abraham/Esther says he’s speaking for all the spirits.  The first half an hour was full of very vague advice to those of us in the material world.  I fast forwarded through the book and the rest seemed to be more of the same.

I’m sure I could have dealt with the book better if Jerry and Esther Hicks had just written about the Law of Attraction and the other knowledge they wanted to impart without sharing the fact that they got it from a spirit.  To top it off they spoke in the spirit’s voice and to top that off, the spirit’s voice was very annonying.

So the book annoyed me because (1) the voice was grating, (2) I don’t believe in spirits talking though people (at least not taking over their bodies and speaking with their voice) and (3) there seemed to be little practical advice.  If you really want to read The Law of Attraction , definitely read the book instead of listening to the audio version.  However, unless you believe in spirits speaking through people, save your time and energy and read The Attractor Factor instead. 

Law of Attraction

I deleted two posts today.  Why?

I finished listening to The Attractor Factor by Joe Vitale and I’m listening to The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.  While I keep thinking The Secret is kind of hoakey, I buy into it.  What it claims fits not only my life experience but what I’ve noticed in others.  Basically the law of attraction says that you attract what you think about.  So if you think positive thoughts, you’ll attract postive things.  If you think about money all the time, you’ll attract money.  If you think about how you don’t have enough money, you’ll never have enough money.  It sounds hoakey but it works.  Think about it.

I’ll give you two examples.  One, the woman that cleans our house always has some tragedy going on.  Her granddaughter got bit by a dog, one of her kids is going through bankruptsy, her son’s dog got stolen, … I’ve known her for several years now and everytime I talk to her something terrible has just happened to her.  I think her focus on the negative brings her negative experiences, as terrible as that sounds.

On the flip side, in college I always knew I’d have enough money.  Granted, that wasn’t such a big deal as Mom and Dad paid for tuition and board but the money I earned paid for clothes, eating out, entertainment, furniture, gas, etc.  I always knew I had enough and I did. I remember one time getting an unexpected $200 bill and in panic sat down to rebalance my checkbook just in case.  And what do you know?  I’d made a $200 mistake the week before.  I always had enough because I always believed I had enough.  Granted, I caused that to happen – I always had at least one job if not two or three and they all paid well.

While the books make the Law of Attraction sound like some kind of voodoo (The Secret more so than the Attractor Factor), I think they are on to something.  So I’m thinking postive thoughts: I have a great family, a good job, plenty of money, lots of interesting activities to keep me busy, lots of good books to read, …

Bad thoughts never hurt anyone … but you

I was listening to The Secret on the way home and loved this thought:

Your negative thoughts never hurt anyone but yourself.

How many times have you complained about someone, sworn at the driver in front of you or fumed about the rude customer service rep?  All those negative thoughts didn’t hurt the people you were mad at at all – those thoughts just put you in a bad mood and probably started a spiral of negativity for the rest of the day.