What do you think about 'The Secret'?

A while ago my mum text me with the question ‘What do you think about the Secret?’. It was on a Saturday night so I didn’t get around to responding immediately but I did think to myself what the heck is mum on about? The next day I gave her a call to find out what she meant, apparently she had been at a social gathering with friends and someone had recently read The Secret and mum was interested in knowing my thoughts on it. 

I’m sure many of you reading this have heard of The Secret, this book that came out in 2006 and  was based on a film by the same name. It’s popularity sky-rocketed when The Oprah Winfrey show featured it, from there it became an international best-seller and generated millions of dollars in sales. 

The basic premise of the book is the Law of Attraction. To put it simply, the Law of Attraction is the idea that our thoughts and feelings have the ability to manipulate a “universal energy force” to our liking. Our thoughts and feelings attract a corresponding energy to ourselves, so if our thoughts are negative, we attract negative things, if our feelings are positive, we attract positive things. The essential message of “The Secret” is that we all have the power to determine our own destiny by simply thinking it.

I have seen the film The Secret and I remember thinking how it was pushing it’s claims to a level that was beyond far fetched. In the film, a true believer in this idea talked about how whenever they were trying to find a car park they used The Secret to think the perfect park into being true. Lo and behold when they arrived at their destination the perfect park was free. I can 100% guarantee that no matter how much you try to use The Secret there is no way you will get the perfect park every time. The other thing I found interesting about The Secret was that it only promoted personal gain, it was all about what ‘I could get’ not ‘how can I help others’, maybe this is a reflection of our times.  

I feel that one of the big problems with The Secret is that it is promoting a style of thinking that promotes blind hope in a way that doesn’t allow people to deal with the real hurdles they need to overcome. It’s easy to see why this is attractive to people, if I want something all I have to do is think about it - if only it was that simple!. 

While our thinking does have a lot to do with our success, the type of thinking we do is important in moving towards this success. This can be seen in the way that people use visualisation, some think that if they visualise the final outcome they want it will magically appear, for example, I want the perfect home so I’ll visualise it. The use of visualisation in this way has been proven to be completely ineffective in achieving goals.  

The real value in a tool like visualisation is when we use it to identify problems we are likely to face on the path we are moving towards and to then strategically explore the options we can take when we are confronted with these challenges. We can pre-determine these actions, visualisation allows us to put or thinking towards actionable steps that we can implement which will start to move us towards our desires. 

It’s a good exercise to explore your own thinking skills, are you good at strategic thinking? Have you developed ways to create a realistic picture of where you currently sit in any given area and what the next steps forward are? Have you learnt critical thinking skills? Have you developed your ability to look at a problem from many different angles? These are the types of thinking skills we want to put our time into developing, not ones that promote blind hope. 

I do wonder if the promotion of blind hope thinking just ends up hurting the person who buys into it. If you commit to using The Secret but nothing changes, what does that say about you as a person? I imagine this may reinforce negative self-perception in some people. 

The more realistic path may not seem as easy but the chances of you creating it are a lot higher when you use the right type of thinking skills, this is one area where many of us can develop and improve on.


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Bevan Eyles