I wondered how to keep my financial consultant reading this article beyond the words “The Secret”, a book and movie that explores the Law of Attraction, the idea that we attract what we focus on. Happily, I found that a Unitarian Universalist minister, Rev. Fred Small, had already done it for me.
He thoroughly catalogues criticisms of The Secret, yet keeps repeating that, every time he was about to stop watching, he’d hear something that rang true with him, and carry on.
He realized that elements of “bunk”—misinterpretation of quantum physics, “experts” with unconventional credentials—didn’t preclude some truth. It didn’t preclude the validity of the author’s real point.
[J]ust when I was ready to dismiss The Secret as magical narcissism, it turned its attention to social activism. Lisa Nichols, co-author of Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul, observed, “In our society, we’ve become content with fighting against things. Fighting against cancer, fighting against poverty… We…fight everything we don’t want, which actually creates more of a fight… How much sense does it make for us to give the particular problem all of the energy, as opposed to focusing on trust, love, living in abundance, education, or peace?”…
Nichols brought me up short. I’m an activist. My despair is exquisitely informed, my brain an encyclopedia of how bad everything is. My mental movie house runs continuous showings of… abuse… genocide… deforestation. So I protest and denounce, and the world keeps going to hell pretty much as I expected.
The Secret reminded me that to dwell constantly in the negative is its own kind of hell—a hell of my own choosing. I don’t want to deny or flee the negative, but I need not build my house on its sinkhole. [Emphasis mine] How effective an activist for change can I be when my thinking and speaking are infused with hopelessness? How much time and energy in all areas of my life do I devote to criticizing what is, rather than creating what could be?
Some people think The Secret says all you have to do is think about something, and you’ll get it. It’s not that easy. But the hard part isn’t working for what you want, it’s focusing your thoughts and expectations on what you want, and not on what you don’t want. Do that, and the work comes joyously. The Law of Attraction says we attract whatever we focus on, whether good or bad. If you keep thinking, “I don’t want to be late,” your focus is being late.
Now I know some of you are thinking, B.S. There’s no scientific proof for that. Please do like Rev. Small and read on. There may not be any proof yet, but there was a time when people didn’t know evidence for the fact that the earth revolves around the sun. There was a time when people thought that Newtons laws applied to sub-atomic particles.
Moreover, some evidence is beginning to come to light. For example, in one study, subjects were asked whether they were optimistic or pessimistic. Then, they were instructed to follow a certain route down the sidewalk and into a coffee house. Some cash had been left lying on the sidewalk, and someone who would be a good contact for the subject to network with was stationed in the coffeehouse. The optimists saw and picked up the cash, then, struck up a conversation with the person in the coffeehouse. The pessimist never noticed either one of those opportunities. This one study suggests that, when we are focused on the positive, we notice the positive and act on it. I believe that, eventually, we will discover a number of different explanations for how the law of attraction can work.
Ask yourself, “What have I got to lose by trying the law of attraction?” Answer: nothing.
Stuck in traffic? Mentally repeat, “I’ve got plenty of time.” Or visualize yourself arriving ahead of time, calm and collected. You’ve got nothing to lose and something to gain. If the law works like they say, you’ll be on time. If the law doesn’t attract being on time, would you rather arrive late and flustered or late and calm? So either way, you gain.
Sure, stay informed. But once you hear of a disaster, turn off the horrible pictures on TV, make a donation, then, meditate. Heard of a bad bill in Congress? Call your Sen. and Rep., ask them not to support it, then, tell them what you’d like them to do instead. “Forget the border wall, let’s fix our highways and bridges.”
Rev. Small decided to try The Secret. Every night, he gave thanks for the things he wanted as if they’d already happened:
And I have to tell you, I feel better. My step is a little lighter, my gaze a little higher. I’m dwelling more in peace, joy, and possibility than in violence, pain, and negativity. I have no more time, but less anxiety. As an advocate, I take care to lay out a positive vision of where we’re going, not just a litany of the daunting challenges we face. I don’t know if people around the world are caring any more for the earth and each other, but I’m more likely to notice when they do.
He lost nothing. He gained, and so did his social causes.
In 2016, how much did you think, talk and write about the candidates you supported? How much did you think, talk and write about their opponents? How satisfied were you with the election results? How satisfied were you with your physical, mental and emotional well-being, your energy level, your relationships?
For the mid-term election of 2018, begin now to focus on the candidates you do want to elect and not on their opponents or current officeholders you don’t want. What have you got to lose?
Let me suggest that all you might lose is some of the fear, anger and angst you experienced during the last election season. Next time, I’ll explain—from my Persuasion Coach perspective—why you won’t lose, but rather gain, in terms of what you really want to achieve.
 Rhonda Byrne, Atria Books, 2006
 “Psst: ‘The Secret’ isn’t total bunk,” UU World, Nov. 19, 2007, http://www.uuworld.org/articles/a-unitarian-universalist-view-the-secret