The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction (LoA) first became mainstream popular with the release of “The Secret,” an interview style documentary advocating achievement through focusing on and feeling what you want to create in the future now. While the movie was definitely inspiring and convincing it fell short of providing the whole story.

The roots for the LoA date back to the 1800s when the New Thought movement became popular. New Thought grew out of the great thinker Emerson’s philosophies and was advocated by early practitioners who developed several spiritual practices including: Christian Science, Unity and the Church of Religious Science. Originally the LoA was used to assist people in alleviating physical symptoms of stress disorders. Eventually, people associated the LoA with creating wealth and relationships in addition to health which is where the books “Think and Grow Rich,” “The Science of Getting Rich,” and “The Power of Positive Thinking” came from.

At its most basic premise, the Law of Attraction has promise. However, it has been construed as a “get rich, healthy and in love” quick scheme. It would be utterly fabulous to think your way into the life of your dreams and to only take action when it is enjoyable, but I have found that there is much more to the fanciful stories of instant millionaires and spontaneous remissions. Life, and us humans, are more complex than that.

Here are the pitfalls and benefits of the LoA:

Pitfalls of the Law of Attraction

  • Believing that you should only take action when you are motivated and inspired to. Don’t expect to wake up one morning feeling completely energized to get up while it is still dark, put on your sweats and go for a run. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, you will do it anyway, even when you’re cold and sleepy because you know that you will feel great afterward. Your initial lack of enthusiasm does not mean that the Universe does not want you to exercise.

  • Feeling like you have to be positive 100% of the time. Life has challenges and it is completely natural to feel upset, frustrated or sad from time to time. Pressuring yourself to only “think positive thoughts” will do little more than stress you out and make you fearful of any wayward negativity.

  • Thinking that you can completely control your destiny. Life is life. Sometimes there is smooth sailing and sometimes the water is rough. Burdening yourself to control things that are out of your control is wasted energy. Everyone comes upon obstacles and needs to rebound from time to time, even the gurus in “The Secret.”

  • Not expecting obstacles. It would be very un-LoA like to think about potential obstacles, but research has shown that people who not only contemplate goal achievement but also obstacles that they need to overcome are the ones that are more successful at reaching their goals.
  • Read about the Law of Attraction Paradox

    Benefits of the Law of Attraction

  • Being aware of the energy you give out. The energy we transmit through our tone, body language and attitude can open doors or turn others off. If you have ever met a truly magnetic person, you’ll know what I mean. Their zest for life draws supporters and friends.

  • Acting as-if. I love Dr. Wayne Dyer’s definition of the Law of Attraction. He says: “You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.” For instance, if you want to become an author, a good first step is to figure out how authors live, what their day is like, what are their habits, etc… then live that now before you have the published book. I bet most authors write every day, keep notes of their inspired thoughts, and take time for self reflection. Modeling that behavior will put you on the path to becoming an author. Same goes for musician, actor, financial planner, business owner, physically fit person, or anything else you want to become.

  • Seed your day with positivity. The catch is that it has to be authentic. When you engage in activities and practices that help you to feel genuine positive feelings, you are making deposits in your success bank. Research has demonstrated that if you can experience 3 positive emotions for every one negative emotion, you will put yourself into position to expand your horizons and reach your goals.

  • Know “Why?” When you discover why you want something, you can cultivate its benefits now before you even have the thing you desire. For example, if you want a house, ask yourself “why?” You may answer for security, beauty, etc… Once you know that the house is only a byproduct of feeling secure and beautiful, you can get busy observing beautiful things and building financial security long before you walk through the door of your dream home.
  • Read The Essential Affirmation Process for more on using affirmations to become that which you want to attract.

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