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The Law of Attraction is a Dangerous Delusion

The Law of Attraction is a Dangerous Delusion

    One of the biggest bandwagons that has rolled through the self-help community in recent years is the so-called Law of Attraction (LoA). This claims that you attract into your life whatever you think about.  Before I explain why I believe that this is not a law, not true, and not helpful, let me differentiate the LoA from some associated but different self-help concepts that actually do work.

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    1.  Positive Thinking. There is considerable evidence that having a positive, optimistic, can-do frame of mind will lead to much better outcomes in many circumstances than having a negative, pessimistic or cynical approach.  Studies show that positive thinkers generally do better, live longer, and are healthier and happier than negative thinkers.

    2.  Focus, Goal Setting and Planning. There are many benefits in having a clear focus on what you want to achieve, in setting goals, in measuring progress against those goals and in taking corrective actions when you fall short.  Many successful people base their day on having an action plan that they work through.

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    3.  Visualization. Visualising a successful action can assist you to achieve it.  If you are nervous about making a speech then visualizing yourself giving a confident, dynamic performance will help you to do just that.  Visualising a great golf swing or a good tennis backhand stroke can help supplement your training and practice.

    4.  Self-Belief. Most successful people have enormous self-belief.  They know that they have something special to offer and that they can achieve great things.  They use this self-belief as the basis on which to build the plans, improvements, learnings and actions that lead to success.

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    5.  An Attitude of Gratitude. Most of us have a great deal to be thankful for.  Counting our blessings and giving thanks help us to get our difficulties into perspective and engender a positive frame of mind.

    So having listed those self-help mantras that actually work let us turn to the big idea that does not.  The Law of Attraction as expounded by Bob Proctor, by Rhonda Byrne in her best-selling book, The Secret, and by her many followers claims that all you need to do is to think about the things that you want in your life and the ‘Universe’ will supply them in abundance – whether they are positive or negative.   So if you think about money you will get money; if you focus on your debts you will stay in debt.   If you think about being slim you will become slim whereas if you constantly worry about how fat you are you will stay fat.   Unfortunately for the proponents of this ‘law’ there is no scientific evidence to support it.  There are plenty of anecdotes from people who believe the law worked for them but for each of these stories there are many other possible explanations.   No one has carried out a controlled experiment showing that the so-called law actually works.

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    Furthermore the law runs up against some very practical difficulties.  What if several people all want the same promotion and think about it furiously?  How can they all get the same post?  The law implies that whatever difficulties you have in life are the result of you thinking the wrong thoughts.  So it appears that an abused child, a rape victim or a prisoner in a concentration camp was somehow to blame because they thought negative thoughts.  This is offensive to victims and flies in the face of common sense.

    According to the LoA if I want to win the gold medal in the 100 metres in the next Olympic Games or become President of the USA or get Jennifer Lopez as my girlfriend then all I have to do is think about my goal and it will come to me.  If we want a cure for cancer then we should stop spending money on research and just think about it instead.

    The appeal of the LoA lies in its lazy proposition.  You do not need hard work and discipline to lose weight or get rich – you can do it by thinking.  Unfortunately this just is not true.   The LoA is delusional.  It is dangerous because it misleads people into believing that imagery alone will work without action.   To succeed in life you need things like talent, diligence, persistence, skills, hard-work and maybe a little luck.  You can achieve great things – but in order to do so you have to do a lot more than just think about them.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

    How to Win an Argument – Dos, Don’ts and Sneaky Tactics How to Get Rich: 11 Bold Moves That Guarantee Wealth How to be a Brilliant Conversationalist Think Laterally Write A Killer Resume In Seven Easy Steps

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    Last Updated on November 19, 2019

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

    1. Create a Daily Plan

    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

    2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

    3. Use a Calendar

    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

    I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

    Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

    4. Use an Organizer

    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

    These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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    5. Know Your Deadlines

    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

    6. Learn to Say “No”

    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    7. Target to Be Early

    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

    8. Time Box Your Activities

    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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    9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

    10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

    You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    11. Focus

    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    12. Block out Distractions

    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

    13. Track Your Time Spent

    When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

    You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

    14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

    15. Prioritize

    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    16. Delegate

    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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    17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

    For related work, batch them together.

    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
    2. coaching
    3. workshop development
    4. business development
    5. administrative

    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

    18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

    19. Cut off When You Need To

    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

    20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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