Have you read the book The Secret?
You know, the 2006 bestselling book that sold over 20 Million copies, grossed over $300 Million dollars and promised the secrets to life, love, health, wealth and happiness and to getting everything you’ve ever wanted? What’s the deal with it? Is it real or is it BS? Is it new age nonsense or is there something to it?
I remember reading the Secret when it first came out and TBH I wasn’t that impressed by it. Although the Secret is a love/hate kinda book I didn’t feel strongly about it one way or another. It just didn’t grab me. However, for some strange reason I’ve had the urge to pick it up and re-read it in the past few weeks to see if there was anything to it and to see if there was something I was missing.
My goal for this article is to try to give an objective review of the Secret and to share some of the key teachings. I’ll state up front that I’m neither a critic nor a hater of the Secret, nor am I a fan or a supporter. I’m simply going to call it like I see it.
In preparation for this article I’ve spent the past week re-reading the Secret book and re-watching the Secret movie. I’ve also watched lots of celebrity interviews from fans of the Secret such as Conor McGregor, Jack Canfield, Jim Carrey, Steve Harvey and Will Smith.
I’m confident that I’ve got a good grasp of the main teachings.
What does the secret teach?
The Secret has 12 main teachings:
- The Law of Attraction
- Everything starts with your thinking
- What you focus on you attract
- ‘Don’t’, ‘not’, ‘no’, doesn’t count
- Pay attention to your feelings
- Ask, believe, receive
- Don’t worry about ‘how’
- Visualize and create your day in advance
- Be grateful
- Don’t resist
- Don’t compete
- Do what you love and follow your bliss
Let me quickly break them down for you…
The law of attraction
The Secret is the ‘law of attraction’.
What is the ‘law of attraction’?
According to the Secret: “The law of attraction is the greatest and most infallible law upon which the entire system of creation depends.”
“It is the law that determines the complete order in the Universe, every moment of your life, and every single thing you experience in your life.”
“The greatest teachers who have ever lived have told us that the law of attraction is the most powerful law in the Universe.”
Sounds impressive doesn’t it.
Apparently ‘the law of attraction’ AKA “The Secret” is an unbreakable law of nature like gravity that attracts things into your life based upon what you think about and focus on. Not only that, but it has secretly been used for centuries by the greatest people in history such as Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, Hugo, Beethoven, Lincoln, Emerson, Edison and Einstein.
Unfortunately in the past it’s been hidden and kept from the masses… until now!
Everything starts with your thinking
The Secret teaches that everything starts with your thinking:
- Your emotions
- Your actions
- Your habits
- Your words
- Your career
- Your beliefs
- Your values
- Where you live
- What you eat
- What you wear
- Who you spend time with
- And everything else
Not only that, but everything we see around us in the world today first began as a thought: Airplanes, Cars, Computers, the Internet, iPhones, Social Media, TV etc.
Therefore, since your thinking is the starting point of everything you say and do, if you want to change anything in your life (career, diet, finances etc.) you need to start by changing your thinking since that’s where it all begins.
Your current circumstances are the result of your past thoughts.
Your future circumstances will be determined by your present thoughts.
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
Watch your words, they become actions;
Watch your actions, they become habits;
Watch your habits, they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
What you focus on you attract
The law of attraction/Secret teaches that whatever you focus on you will attract.
So if you focus on what you DO want (I.e health and wealth) – you will attract it.
But if you focus on what you DON’T want (debt and poverty) – you will attract that too.
“Here’s the problem. Most people are thinking about what they don’t want, and they’re wondering why it shows up over and over again.”
Unfortunately, most people spend the majority of their time focusing on what they don’t want (bills, debt, conflict, problems etc.) and as a result they attract and get more of it.
“Often elections are tipped in favor of the person that the people are really against, because he’s getting all the energy and all the focus.” – This line was written 10 years before the election of Donald Trump.
In summary: The Secret says that if you want to attract something into your life, you need to make it your dominant thought, think about it all the time, and direct all of your focus and energy towards it. Always think about what you DO want. Not about what you DON’T want.
“Don’t”, “not”, “no”, doesn’t count
Apparently the law of attraction doesn’t understand words like:
Or any other words of negation.
So to the Universe:
“I don’t want to be late” = “I want to be late”
“I don’t want to be poor” = “I want to be poor”
“I don’t want to get rejected” = “I want to get rejected”
Therefore you should ONLY think/feel/talk about what you DO want in the affirmative.
So instead of thinking/feeling/saying “I don’t want to be poor”
You want to think/feel/say “I will be rich!”
Or even better – “I AM rich!”
Pay attention to your feelings
The Secret teaches us to pay close attention to our feelings because our feelings reveal our thoughts.
How do you feel right now? It all depends on what you’re thinking.
Good thoughts = good feelings.
Happy thoughts = happy feelings.
Sad thoughts = sad feelings.
Whenever you’re feeling angry, frustrated, depressed, sad or unhappy, the Secret says to shift your focus from the problem to the solution, and from what you don’t want to what you DO want.
The sooner you start to think positive thoughts and begin to focus on what you DO want, the sooner you will start to feel better and attract it.
How to Use The Secret: Ask, believe, receive
There are 3 keys to success with the Secret:
Step one is to ask the universe for what you want. Get clear on what you want and be specific.
Step two is to believe. You must believe that what you want is already yours and that you have already received it. See what you want as absolute fact. Expect it. It’s just a matter of time. You must have complete and utter faith and trust without doubting, worrying or second guessing.
“See the things that you want as already yours. Know that they will come to you at need. Then let them come. Don’t fret and worry about them. Don’t think about your lack of them. Think of them as yours, as belonging to you, as already in your possession.”
“You must act, speak and think as though you are receiving it now.”
This is exactly what Jesus teaches in the Bible too:
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22
“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
It’s also what Jim Carrey (who I love) believes too:
“I’m a total believer. I believe we’re all creators. I believe we create with every thought and with every word. I believe in manifestation. I believe in putting a rocket of desire out into the Universe and you get it WHEN you believe it. You get it WHEN you believe you have it. That’s the key. People still sit around going “When’s it going to come?” “When’s it going to come?” “When’s it going to come?” And that’s the wrong way. You have to go: “It’s HERE” “It’s HERE” “It’s HERE.” – Jim Carrey
Your job is to do whatever it takes to believe it. If you want to believe you can get a certain car, go to a dealership and actually get your hands behind the wheel and take it for a test drive. If you want to make it in Hollywood, visit Hollywood and Burbank. Go on tours. Visit film sets. Work as an extra on TV and movies.
Step three, the final step in the process, is to receive. You make yourself available to receive when you start feeling the way you would feel when you have received what you want.
“Receiving involves feeling the way you will feel once your desire has manifested. Feeling good now puts you on the frequency of what you want.”
Don’t worry about how
“If you do just a little research, it is going to become evident to you that anyone that ever accomplished anything did not know how they were going to do it. They only knew they were going to do it.” – Bob Proctor
How will all of this happen?
According to the Secret you DON’T need to know how it’s going to happen.
Your job is NOT to figure out the how.
Your job is to simply identify what you want, believe and visualize you will get it and let the universe take care of it…
“If you see it in your mind you’re going to hold it in your hand.” – Bob Proctor
The Secret says to visualize your goals daily as if you’ve already achieved them and they’ve already happened.
That’s good advice too because visualization works. That’s why Olympic athletes, Hollywood actors and world champions do it and why you should do it too.
The more you visualize and see yourself succeeding the more you will believe it and the sooner you will achieve it.
“I’ve seen myself as the champ from day one before I even started training. I always saw myself as the champ. I visualize myself already there, I visualize everything, I visualize the walk out, I visualize everything going on, I’ve seen everything in my head, and now it’s going to happen.” – Conor McGregor, UFC World Champion
“The power of gratitude stands above everything else. If you only do one thing with the knowledge of the Secret use gratitude until it becomes your way of life.”
A BIG part of the Secret is being gratitude for what you already have and giving thanks for what you want in advance.
This is good advice because it lifts your vibration and makes you feel good, and it shifts your focus away from what you don’t have and towards what you DO have.
“Each morning before you get out of bed, make it a habit to feel the feelings of gratitude in advance for the great day ahead, as though it is done.”
“In our society, we’ve become content with fighting against things. Fighting against cancer, fighting against poverty, fighting against war, fighting against drugs, fighting against terrorism, fighting against violence. We tend to fight everything we don’t want, which actually creates more of a fight.”
The Secret is against all forms of fighting and resistance and I agree.
Personally, I’ve always had a natural inclination to fight and resist anything I didn’t like, but I’ve come to learn with age and experience that fighting/resisting ‘what is’ doesn’t change or help anything and it only makes things worse.
When you fight/resist something, you don’t prevent it or stop it, you only entangle yourself in it and waste a lot of time and energy.
Believe me no one and nothing is going to change because of your resistance to it. All that’s going to happen is you’re going to get angry, tired and frustrated and no one and nothing will change.
Albert Einstein is commonly quoted as saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.
I would say that an even better definition of insanity is resisting reality and ‘what is.’
“What you resist persists.” – Carl Jung
Competition is bad
“When you compete you can never win, even if you think you have won. We are all one, and so when you compete, you compete against you. Get competition out of your mind.”
The Secret is against all forms of competition because it says that when you compete with someone, you’re thinking thoughts of lack as if there was a limited supply.
However Carlos Slim, the world’s 7th richest person (Net worth: $75 Billion) disagrees: “Competition always makes you better, even if the competitor wins.” — Carlos Slim
Other key teachings in the Secret:
- You must love yourself if you want others to love you. It is impossible to feel good if you don’t love yourself.
- When it comes to your health, your belief in healing and recovery is just as crucial as the medicine. If you have a disease or some kind of health problem, don’t think and talk about it all the time because you will only make it worse.
- Stress is caused by negative thinking (which leads to negative emotions). You can get out of stress by changing your thoughts and thinking positively (which will lead to positive emotions). You can also get out of stress by watching funny movies and putting on music that makes you feel good.
- Don’t waste time thinking about the difficulties and problems from your past or you’ll just attract more of them. Let your past go no matter what happened.
- Your purpose in life is to do what you love and follow your bliss.
Where I disagree with the Secret
Whilst I think the Secret has some good advice, overall I think it’s wrong about a lot of things, including it’s main premise.
The fact is, if you want something in life, you can’t just sit back and do nothing and expect that believing and visualizing is enough to make it happen.
If just visualizing and wanting something was enough to get what you want than every homeless person would be rich, everyone in Hollywood would be famous, and every horny teenage boy would spend their nights banging porn stars.
But that’s not the case is it.
I read a great quote on Pinterest the other day that said:
“You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for.”
I couldn’t agree more. If you don’t work for it, you don’t get it.
Let’s look at this logically for a second…
Ask yourself: What do YOU think is the best way to achieve your goals?
a) Doing nothing
b) Doing something
What do YOU think is most likely to give you the result you want?
a) Doing a little
b) Doing a lot
What do you think would be the best way to get a job?
a) Simply visualizing the job you want, believing you will get it and then “letting go and letting God”
b) Or applying and interviewing for lots of jobs, learning from your mistakes and continuously improving your approach as you go along?
It’s obvious. If you want something you have to work for it.
Here’s something else I disagree with in the Secret:
“Nothing can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts.”
Really? Is that true in your experience?
Do you think babies aborted in the womb have ‘attracted it’ through their persistent thinking?
Do you think children kidnapped have ‘attracted it’ through their persistent thinking?
Do you think women raped have ‘attracted it’ through their persistent thinking?
Do you think the millions of people affected by natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunami’s have attracted it with their persistent thinking?
What about the office workers who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11? Do you think they attracted the American Airlines and United Airlines planes flying into the Twin Towers that morning with their persistent thinking?
Of course not.
Obviously I’ve used extreme examples above to prove my point.
Let me state the obvious: In reality a lot of what we experience in life has NOTHING to do with our thoughts and a lot to do with what someone else was thinking. For example: I didn’t attract the iPhone into my reality with my persistent thinking, but Steve Jobs did. The same goes for a billion other things.
Let’s go back to my previous examples:
Abducted children didn’t attract it through their thinking – but the kidnappers did.
Babies aborted in the womb didn’t attract it through their thinking – but the Mothers did.
Women raped in their homes don’t attract it through their thinking – but the rapists did.
The people who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 didn’t attract it through their thinking – but the 9/11 hijackers did.
Isn’t it obvious?
On top of that, how many thousands of experiences have you had in life that had nothing to do with what you were thinking?
And how many things have you either looked forward to or worried about in the past that never happened?
Here’s something else I disagree with in the Secret:
“The law of attraction doesn’t compute “don’t”, “not” or “no” or any other words of negation. As you speak words of negation, this is what the law of attraction is receiving: “I don’t want a bad haircut” = “I want bad haircuts.” “I don’t want to be delayed” = “I want delays.” “I don’t want the restaurant to give away our table” = “I want restaurants to give away our tables.”
Bullshit. Of course the Universe understands words like “Don’t”, “Not” and “No.” Is the Universe dumb? When you say “Don’t”, “No” or “Stop” people understand exactly what you mean. That’s like saying if you went to a restaurant and the waiter offered you the soup of the day and you said “no thank you”, the waiter would ignore you and bring it to you anyway. But is that true in your own experience?
On the subject of weight loss the Secret says:
“You will never change your body if you are critical of it and find fault with it, and in fact you will attract more weight to you.”
Wrong again. That’s exactly how bodybuilders and millions of other people DO lose weight: By being discontent and unhappy with the amount of fat and weight they’re carrying, and working hard to lose it by changing their diet and exercising.
“You can think your way to the perfect state of health, the perfect body, the perfect weight, and eternal youth.”
I don’t think so. A healthy body requires a healthy diet and exercise. Thinking is not enough. Actions and habits might start with your thinking but thinking isn’t the be all and end all. There is also no such thing as the perfect body or eternal youth. You will die. Accept it.
“Food is not responsible for putting on weight. It is your thought that food is responsible for putting on weight that actually has food put on weight. Think perfect thoughts and the result must be perfect weight. Food cannot cause you to put on weight unless you think it can.”
Do you really believe that? If you eat too much, especially if you’re eating unhealthy foods (fast food/junk foods) you will put on weight regardless of what you think.
“Disease cannot live in a body that’s in a healthy emotional state.”
“Illness cannot exist in a body that has harmonious thoughts.”
Really? What about Wayne Dyer? He got leukemia in 2009 and died of a heart attack in 2015 and was about as loving and positive as you could get. All he did was think positively and give love and acceptance to everyone he met.
How about Jerry Hicks, the late husband of Esther Hicks, probably the world’s most famous “Law of Attraction” teacher? He also died of cancer. Did he not have harmonious thoughts and a healthy emotional state?
The Secret makes all kinds of other crazy wild claims too:
“I never studied science or physics at school, and yet when I read complex books on quantum physics I understood them perfectly because I wanted to understand them.” – Rhonda Byrne
Really? I doubt it.
Let’s do a quick recap of the main teachings in the Secret:
- Everything starts with your thinking
- What you focus on you attract, so focus on what you want, not on what you don’t
- “Don’t”, “Not”, “No” and other words of negation aren’t understood by the universe so always state what you want in the affirmative
- Pay attention to your feelings because they reveal your thoughts
- If you’re feeling bad, do something to change your state like putting on some good music or watching a funny movie
- The 3 keys to success with the secret: Ask, Believe, Receive
- Don’t worry about ‘how’ you will attract what you want
- Visualize and create your day in advance
- Be grateful
- Don’t resist anything
- Competition is bad
- You must love yourself if you want others to love you. Also it is impossible to feel good if you don’t love yourself.
- When it comes to health, your belief in healing and recovery is just as crucial as the medicine
- Stress is caused by negative thinking. You can get out of stress by changing your thoughts and thinking positively.
- Do what you love and follow your bliss
After re-reading the Secret I think it’s right about a lot of things:
- If you want to change your life change your thinking
- Your inner world creates your outer world
- Think about and focus on what you want, and not on what you don’t
- Visualize your goals and create a powerful sense of belief that you will achieve them
- The stronger your faith and belief that you can get something, the more likely you are to achieve it
But overall I think the Secret is misleading and over simplified and it fails to mention the main ingredient of success which is to work hard and smart and to continuously improve and evolve everything you do as you go along.
I agree with Oprah’s thoughts on the Secret who said in an interview with Larry King:
“I think the mistake that was made with the Secret, is that they tried to let that be the answer to ALL questions. It’s not the answer, the law of attraction is just ONE law, but there are many laws working in the world. But it is very true that you really can change your own reality based on the way you think. But there are other factors going on, so it’s not everything.” – Oprah Winfrey
The Secret of the Secret
The secret of the Secret’s success (in addition to being well marketed) was that it played to people’s fantasies and told them what they wanted to hear.
“There isn’t a single thing that you cannot do with this knowledge. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, The Secret can give you whatever you want: happiness, health, and wealth. You can have, do, or be anything you want.”
Everyone wants to believe they can get rich quick.
Everyone wants to believe they can get something for nothing.
Everyone wants to believe there is a ‘secret’ to success that doesn’t involve hard work.
But believing whatever you want to believe won’t help you and the secret of the Secret’s success isn’t the secret to your success.
It wasn’t the law of attraction or the Secret that made people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos rich. It was owning their own companies, having a near monopoly, having millions of people invest in them and working their asses off. (Bill Gates says he didn’t have ONE day off in his twenties)
Unfortunately the Secret proved to me that most people will believe anything and the easiest way to fool someone is to tell them what they want to hear.
To all of the believers of the law of attraction and the Secret I want to know:
Where are your results? What have you attracted? What have you manifested?
If the Secret works why not use it to attract $100 million dollars? Or a billion dollars? Why not a cure for AIDS or cancer? Why not a cure for ALL diseases?
It can be difficult to reason with believers of the law of attraction/Secret on this point however, because:
a) People believe whatever they want to believe (whatever it is that makes them feel good)
b) When someone fails to ‘manifest’ their goals, believers of the Secret can simply fall back on the same lie that fake faith healers have used forever whenever they’ve failed to heal someone: “You didn’t have enough faith.”
If you want to achieve your goals I advise:
- Implementing these habits into your life
- Writing down your goals
- Working hard and smart
- Doing whatever it takes
- Becoming a critical thinker
- Consciously evolving everything you do
- Facing your fears and going outside your comfort zone
- Reducing your lag-time between what you know and what you do
- Learning from your mistakes and the mistakes of others
- Persisting and never giving up
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