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

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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