We all want to believe there is a magical force out in the universe somewhere that responds to the promise that you can imagine whatever you want and by believing you already have it, it will suddenly appear.
The ideas behind “Law of Attraction” books have been capturing readers’ attention as far back as 1877. The reality, however, is that this kind of “New Thought” spirituality is considered to be pseudoscience—a collection of beliefs mistakenly regarded as having roots in the scientific method or research. Scientific research is based on reviewing the extant literature on a topic, coming up with a question to take previous research to the next step, forming an educated hypothesis (assumption), then testing that hypothesis using a certain methodology, running an analysis then forming a conclusion to be published in a scientific journal. After a thorough search of the scientific literature, I could not find any such studies that provide evidence for the tenets of the Law of Attraction, no matter how appealing that because thoughts are particles of energy, the universe “draws to you” a match for that energy.
I am not opposed to the power of positive thinking. There are many books written about how our thinking influences behavior, and essentially forms who we become. I can’t argue with that premise. Happy thoughts make us smile, sad thoughts make us cry, artistic thinking spurs us on to materialize our creative ideas, goal-oriented thoughts provide the fuel we need to start businesses or progress in our careers.
Productive thoughts are indeed the seeds from which a productive life blooms. But to simply think that you can repeat affirmations all day long and presto, your dream date shows up, a bucket of money materializes, and you will lose 50 pounds by the time you wake up next morning is insulting to your intellectual integrity and threatens your power to reason.
It is easier for us to latch on to an intuitive fantasy than face the reality that we actually need to follow thoughts and ideas with powerful productive action. The truth is; the dream date doesn’t just show up at your front door, the bucket of money doesn’t rain down from the clouds as you’re out for a stroll, and losing weight requires less fantasy and more consistency in eating better and moving more throughout the day. You can “act as if” you already have whatever you desire, but that doesn’t mean it will be forthcoming. On the other hand, you can outsmart the peddlers of pie-in-the-sky promises, by doing what really does work to help you achieve your goals:
- Be clear and realistic about what you want.
- Plan out how to achieve that goal in small steps.
- Think of ways to keep yourself motivated as you conquer each step.
- Revise as necessary.
There you have it. I hope that throughout this fresh new year of 2022, you will stay positive, believe in yourself, and have confidence in your ability to achieve your goals by starting with a thought and following up with a plan of action. You will likely realize that is the more certain way to “manifest” the life you wish to create.
Happy New Year to all of my readers and followers. I hope you will take a moment to visit my weekly column for L’idea Magazine—I know you will resonate with many of the articles you will find there!
Boudry, M, Blancke, S, Pugliucci, M. (2015). What makes weird beliefs thrive? The epidemiology of pseudoscience. Philosophical Psychology vol 28(8).