What is the Law of Attraction?
The Law of Attraction. It is within the reach of all of us and yet, how do so few of us know what it is?
We all want to reach our wildest dreams in life, be our best selves and leave a mark on the world. By applying the Law of Attraction right now, we can make tangible progress and our dreams a reality. Endorsed by science and icons of success worldwide, this concept is open to all, so what’s stopping the rest of us?
Some of the most successful people on the planet have credited their careers with the Law of Attraction. Some, like Oprah Winfrey, have referred to it as “The Secret”, which casts a shroud of mystery and even spirituality over an idea which in fact, is perfectly logical. Perhaps even familiar, certainly universal and just parading under a different name.
Do you believe that life happens to you or that you have the ability to manipulate and shape your life? In psychology, this is called the internal vs. external locus of control.
If you believe that you are a product of your experiences, this is an external locus mindset, as you attribute your successes and failures to factors out of your control. The opposite, an internal locus mindset, refers to the belief that you are the center of your decisions, actions and experiences, which is exactly how the Law of Attraction works.
The theory behind the Law of Attraction is not new or revelatory. It is thought that Buddha was the first to teach that we become what we think which is essentially the heart of the LoA. In other words, what we give out to the world will come back to us – what is more commonly referred to in pop culture as “karma”.
The Law of Attraction can also be seen in the Bible; “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs 23:7. Thus the basic idea of the LoA is by no means original or secret, but has been around almost as long as we have.
The clearer that you can understand your behavior, where it came from and how it is helpful or unhelpful will allow you to make adjustments and set yourself on a new path. We can all say one thing and do another, so it takes aligning these subconscious actions with conscious beliefs in order to see the things you want to happen.
A tried and tested technique backed by science, but how does it work and how is it relevant to our lives today?
Emotional Intelligence and the Law of Attraction
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is newly being discussed in workplaces across the world as a fundamental aspect of healthy working relationships and lives. It is a useful tool not just in relationships but in managing your own needs, motivators, reactions and strategies. Starting here will be a helpful first step in breaking down your barriers later on in the quest for reaching your full potential and fulfilling the Law of Attraction.
EQ refers to the ability of identifying and managing one’s own emotions. Emotion is energy + motion.
Emotional intelligence and the Law of Attraction both require having clarity around what your situation is and how it came to be. Having a handle on both will build a solid foundation to grow with insight and focus professionally and personally. This will be infinitely useful throughout your life.
Sometimes running on faith with no visible outcome, just gut instinct, can be scary, risky and off-putting. If you can learn to combine EQ about yourself with the Law of Attraction (believing you can achieve), according to relationship expert and speaker D. Ivan Young, you will be able to reach a sense of passion, purpose and presence. The three things that undeniably, we all want. So, what stands in our way?
Turning Obstacles into Opportunities: The Growth Mindset
In order to fulfil the Law of Attraction, we need to identify our biggest challenges and gain clarity through a little reverse engineering. We know that the subconscious governs our actions more often than not so in order to make progress, we must tap into this center. To question it and adjust it. In order to do that, we need to understand what makes it tick in the first place, what do we think and believe at our core, where did we learn to do what we do, and what makes us who we are?
- I can’t do that
Deep down many of us will think that we simply can’t do it. Whatever ‘it’ is, we may look at people that can and excuse them for their success, ‘they have the genetics for it’, ‘they were born with that talent’. They are in a different category to us. In her TEDx talk about what stops us from achieving our goals, Amanda Crowell says that while we tell ourselves that talent or genetics might be at the core of success, what we choose not to see is that effort over time is at the heart of success. It’s not as convenient, but it does mean opportunity.
- People like me don’t do that
As we grow up and figure out our identity, we try on a lot of different hats. We might go through an emo phase, a rocker phase, a goth phase; we might find one that is particularly uncomfortable and easy to move past or we might find one that sticks. Ultimately, we try and test until our gut kicks in and says, ‘yep, this is me.’ Sometimes the path to finding this is fraught with loss, we might have shed some friends we cared about or make difficult decisions with a larger goal in mind; we might have experienced some pain. Finding our identity is not an easy path and after all that sanding, buffing and polishing, anything that comes along and challenges our shiny new identity may not be a welcome challenge.
Our identity is one governing factor in our subconscious. We have created perceptions about what ‘people like us’ do and what they don’t do, which is also reinforced by our peers constantly. This may place goals within or outside of our reach without us even realizing it. A good way out of this is to find others like you in this sense: they broke free of these perceptions and found themselves able to achieve things they never thought possible.
- I’m not sure I want to do it that much
Another roadblock you might be setting yourself is that you are not valuing the goal enough and therefore, don’t really want to do it. Maybe you see an advantage, but the advantage is not motivator enough for those times that temptation to avoid it comes lurking. You need to figure out what your intrinsic value is, why did you set a goal for yourself in the first place, does it give you something meaningful now or in the future? How can you incentivize yourself better to achieve it? If you can shift the value you have assigned to the action into something greater, more rewarding then you can tempt your subconscious into playing ball and not falling back into bad habits.
It is difficult admitting to ourselves any of the above but it is crucial to developing a growth mindset. Amanda Crowell calls the three obstacles above “defensive failures”. She suggests that, rather than failing defensively, fail insightfully. Ask questions, push yourself and you may just not fail at all. Having a growth mindset allows us to acknowledge the discomfort in questioning our identity or beliefs and see it rather as an opportunity to learn.
How to Manifest & Change Behavior
There are many different ways to change behavior that can be fun and unique to your personality type. You could try vision boards, meditation, affirmations, making gratitude lists and simply talking it out with friends. As long as you are following the same steps, breaking down your thoughts, motivators, goals and intentions, you should find the clarity you need to make real progress. Here are some helpful tips to get you through the process, whichever way you choose to go about it:
- What do you think about?
Everything that you can see has come from the unseen. Inventions have come from nothing but blind faith which were built on by others over time. Monitor your thoughts. As mentioned above, our subconscious sits in the driver’s seat of our behavior, so in bringing this to the surface, you can figure out whether your actions are marrying with your beliefs and conscious thinking goals. If not, why not? And how can you change it?
- What do you want?
Once you know what you’re thinking about, break down where the desire is. If you’re finding a disconnect in your conscious beliefs and your subconscious actions, ask yourself, what is it that you truly want? Without the inherent desire to achieve a goal, you will struggle to motivate yourself to marry up actions. Getting to the root of this is key to experiencing the Law of Attraction.
- Visualise: how does it make you feel?
Hopefully now you are starting to get a picture of where you want to go. Is there any part of you that feels unable to meet your goal? Take a look back at those core belief obstacles discussed previously; do you feel you can’t do it, aren’t meant to or aren’t sure how much you want to? What kind of energy do you feel is associated with this goal and why do you think that is?
Now take a moment to visualize. Put yourself in the moment where you have achieved your goal. Fill your senses; what to you see, smell, hear, taste, feel? Immerse yourself fully in that moment and lose yourself to it, simulate the emotions you would feel if you had achieved your desired outcome. According to Ashanti Johnson in her talk for TEDx, visualizing can give you three useful things; clarity on what you want, clarity on the energy you associate with it and finally the ability to change that energy in a way that will resonate with your subconscious actions later. Perhaps those core questions that stood in your way look a little less significant now?
- Challenge your reservations
Studies have shown that warnings or fear tactics are not effective motivators. Instead, scientists and psychologists have found, as discussed by Tali Sharot and unsurprisingly, that we gravitate towards positivity and reward. Rather than internalizing what might happen if you don’t achieve your goals, try focusing on what might happen if you do and consider rewarding yourself in the process. For the little efforts you make which you sustain over time, think about the incentives you could use to stay on track. As Sharot says, “fear induces inaction and the thrill of gain induces action”. This will help quieten any devilish temptations to get sidetracked and keep your subconscious motivated to do and not think.
- Take conscious action
Take note of your actions from here on. Anything that feels natural but may go against your new goals, stop yourself, take a mental note and change the behavior. The more you adjust, the less these will happen and the less effort it will take to correct. Equally, give in to your intuition and trust your gut – that blind faith may be the difference between you reaching that goal and not. Don’t look for validation socially, unless you find others with similar motivators because you may find this pushes you back into your identity parameters. If everyone else thinks you’re crazy, you might just be onto a winner!
The Law of Attraction gives you the power to change your life for the better. Whatever your idea of success, you have the ability to reach it already and you might just be your biggest obstacle. The great news is that you can change all of this and you can change it today!
The key to success using the Law of Attraction lies in honest self-reflection and intent that leads to action, not in a vacant belief that thinking a new way will result in success alone. If you can internalize a new belief so much that it will manifest in your actions, you will find yourself accepting new challenges, bursting through those glass ceilings and meeting those new roadblocks head on. By simply reframing your picture you can tell a new story, one where you are narrator and not merely participant.
The secret is, there is no secret.
Oprah Winfrey & Larry King:
Dr Wayne Dyer and Oprah Winfrey on the art of manifestation:
Ashanti Johnson on visualization for TEDx:
Amanda Crowell on 3 reasons you don’t do what you want:
Tali Sharot on changing behavior:
D. Ivan Young on EQ and using the Laws of Attraction: