In 2008, the buzz about The Secret grew and grew. I finally saw the movie about two weeks before it was featured on Oprah, when the publicity really hit a crescendo. The movie was mentioned on TV shows, in the newspaper and seemingly everywhere. Honestly, I felt like I was witnessing a short-lived fad, something destined to be shorter and faster than anything I’d seen since macramé cycled through my high school. (Macramé is probably not the best choice, but I couldn’t think of a high school fad for the life of me.)
Was this really just a media-generated fad, or is there substance to the movie that could actually help us live better lives? I saw a variety of reactions, both good and bad, among people I know. I’d like to turn an analytical eye to the movie and suggest some strengths and weakness.
I’ve always considered the power of positive thinking an incredibly important part of achieving one’s dreams, but I learned, and successfully applied, several new techniques from The Secret. Some of the things I learned from this movie were:
1. You get what you focus on the most. So don’t focus on what you don’t want! If you want more money, then don’t focus on debt – put your energy towards abundance. If you want a better love relationship, then don’t focus on being lonely, or on how your last relationship let you down – visualize your ideal partner Of course, everyone will find his or her mind drawn to the negative sometimes. But there are a variety of tricks and techniques that The Secret teaches to help keep you focusing on the positive – and away from obsessing on what you don’t want.
2. Make your dreams as present as possible, and keep your focus on them over time. Use tools such as visualization, written reminders around the house, dream boards or folders, and cards – or whatever else you can think of! – to keep your dreams front and center at all times.
I made remarkable progress on my wants when I started to imagine I had already attained them. My energy went up, I felt great and everything I was trying to do got easier. Suddenly, I was moving forward without fear or anxiety, but with confidence and assurance. The more I did it, the easier it got. I taped my goals near my desk, so that I could periodically remind myself where I was headed, and that worked wonders to keep me going after the initial excitement wore off.
However, The Secret does have some problems. The movie presents its steps as the formula for success. The creators don’t phrase it that way, but they break it into a three-step process that implies that success is as simple as:
2. Prepare to Receive
This is simply not going to work the same for each and every person, and that’s setting up a lot of people for a great deal of disappointment. Additionally, the movie indicates that people who don’t get what they want can be dismissed as simply “not doing it right” or “not trying hard enough.” I don’t think that is reasonable – it creates a “blame the victim” mentality from the start.
That being said, it’s never to early to start thinking about where you are…and where you want to be. What are your dreams? Are they within reach? What can you do, right now, to bring them one step closer?
Be the person you want to be. Make large and unreasonable requests – and be open to big changes…fast..
The key is in your focus, and in using the tools.
It is easy to write down a dream and get excited for a few days. Focus over time is harder to achieve. Put aside daily time to focus on your goal. Pick a device that will keep you focused and use it daily. The more you focus the more you’ll be able to focus. You’ll start moving in the flow, finding opportunities instead of obstacles. And with every step forward, you’ll be one step closer to your dream.
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