The Secret is an unrivalled phenomenon in the world of self-help, self-development, and the achievement of success.
It started with a film, which led to a book that has subsequently sold round about 20 million copies and been translated into more than 40 languages. The book continues to sell around 150,000 copies a year.
As far as I know, in the field of writing about Law Of Attraction, only Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich has exceeded these amazing sales.
Origins Of The Secret
The Secret seems to have been very much influenced by a book published in 1910 called The Science Of Getting Rich, written by Wallace Wattles.
I think it’s great to see how the information and knowledge about Law of Attraction and other universal laws of manifestation have been passed down from generation to generation, adapted along the way to the needs of the time.
Also, The Secret contains many quotes from modern-day teachers about how to get what you want.
But the question is, as always, does it tell us anything new?
In the introduction author Rhonda Byrne says that her intention in creating The Secret was to bring joy to billions – yes, billions – around the world.
So you can see immediately she has a clear objective – her intention is to offer people knowledge and information about how to get what’s wanted, and how to be a success, with the intention of bringing them joy. That’s her gift to the world.
And, as she rightly says, The Secret can give you whatever you want: there isn’t a single thing you cannot do when you have this knowledge.
So does The Secret explain the process of manifestation and the Law of Attraction any better than any other book on the same subject?
Let’s find out.
What’s so secret about The Secret?
So The Secret’s basic proposition is that our familiar Law of Attraction is a natural law which is responsible for forming the order of the universe – in essence you could sum it up by saying “like attracts like”.
With everything you think and feel, you send out energy into the universe which then responds by sending back to you events, people, information and experiences on roughly the same frequency.
So thoughts of poverty will produce a reflection of that in your world. Thoughts of prosperity, obviously, produce a reflection of prosperity. Poor begats poor; rich begats rich.
So positive thinking isn’t just about being happy: it’s actually about attracting back into your life positive events and circumstances.
Now of course the more extreme proponents of manifestation and the Law of Attraction will tell you that thinking in the right way can do anything – even, let’s say, to take a random example, cure cancer.
As it happens, I’m absolutely sure that’s true – in some cases at least: but you absolutely have to keep in mind that the extent of your success in using the techniques described in The Secret is limited by the extent of your belief.
If you were “programming” yourself to get $100 million, would you get it? Rhonda Byrne, after all, states clearly that there is nothing you cannot do using The Secret.
Well…. the answer, obviously, is that of course you can get $100 million if you form some kind of business that is hugely successful. Millions of people have done just that in recent years. But whether or not YOU would be able to do it depends on whether you believe you can do it or not.
If your belief system falters at the prospect of you being able to generate $20,000, let’s say, then you will never in a million years generate $100 million. At least, not until you change your beliefs about your earning capacity.
That principle has been summed up in many different ways over the decades by many different people: the simplest form of it is this: you get what you ask for.
Even in the Bible there’s something similar: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”
One of the great things about The Secret is how it emphasizes the essential elements to getting what you want. In other words, it actually tells you how the Law of Attraction works, if you care to try it.
In essence, first you have to ask the universe for something, then you have to believe that it will come to you, and finally you have to expect that it will come to you. Oh yes – and you have to do something, too. Without action, all is lost.
The Secret also emphasizes that the Law of Attraction works better when gratitude and visualization are used as powerful processors to achieve success, or to get what you want.
And indeed, it’s true: visualization is one of the oldest methods in the world of tuning your mind to the level of vibration necessary to manifest a particular outcome.
Rhonda Byrne has been criticized for using science in an unreliable way to explain how The Secret operates. And I think that’s probably a fair point: there’s no way you can explain mystical or mysterious laws of the universe such as our Law of Attraction in a scientific way, even with reference to the mysteries of quantum physics. (And why even try?)
But much of the ridicule and scorn that has been poured forth onto The Secret comes about because of a cultural belief system that one must work hard to achieve respect, success.
Our culture is based on standards of belief like “you need to work hard to be successful”; “you get what you deserve”; “the rich get rich and the poor get poorer”; “if at first you don’t succeed…..” Well, you know the rest of ’em.
What do they add up to? That life is in some sense a “struggle”. That it has to be hard to be rich. That you shouldn’t expect too much or the world will knock you down for “getting above yourself”. And so on.
The truth the matter is clearly the opposite: life is just as easy is you believe it to be.
For one thing, no matter what events happen in your life, the degree to which they are a problem for you is mostly determined by how you respond to them. For another, life doesn’t have to be hard.
(Why, you may ask, do so many successful people speak of the hardships they endured on the way to success? Of the repeated failures before they “got lucky”? Certainly, learning how to be successful can be helped by acquiring knowledge through experience. Sometimes that comes from so-called failure. But I prefer Richard Branson’s approach….. as described below.
Sidebar: You don’t have to learn by failing – Richard Branson takes time to read and learn
Richard Branson fully understands that lessons are often learned through mistakes and experience. However, he acknowledged that lessons can also be experienced within the pages of a book. And it is these book-experiences that save him an ample amount of time, energy and money, that he would normally spend learning in the real world.
Those of us who are steeped in the world of goal setting, visualization, and the more esoteric mysteries of spiritual connection and universal energies, are more concerned with how we can make the principles of manifestation of the Law of Attraction work, not whether they are actually valid or some kind of fantasy.
Perhaps because people hide much of their fear and doubt from themselves by repression, the scorn that is being heaped on Rhonda Byrne for writing such a successful and potentially valuable book is coming out of what is essentially people’s subconscious “shadow“.
This is the source of much anger and hatred in the world, and it reflects more of the limited vision of people offering it to the world than anything else.
Which would you prefer: to offer optimism, hope, and a vision of the world where positive thinking and gratitude are predominant feelings and emotions? Or to offer negativity, cynicism, and a vision which offers no hope of change except by grinding hard work?