In my own experience with the New Age movement and the Law of Attraction, I've found much to uplift and inspire. But I've also learned from my mistakes, and would like to help others avoid these same painful pitfalls that can create setbacks. I'm not about blame, so I'm not going to say it's the teachers or the students, I'm just going to offer some caveats and solutions.
There is no substitute for hard work. There are no shortcuts to lasting prosperity. If you want to be rich, you have to earn more than you spend, over time, and that's all there is to it. But if you can avoid these top ten mistakes people make when using the Law of Attraction, you will get where you're going a little more smoothly. It is my sincere wish that these words will be of service to someone who needs to hear them.
1. DO NOT blame the victim. Perhaps many people spend too much energy blaming others for their own short-comings, and a little self-examination can be good for almost anybody. But we can't blame ourselves for other peoples' hurtful actions and remain psychologically or morally well-grounded. Rapists, murderers, and terrorists, aka “bad guys” may be “attracted” to goodness, freedom and its symbols; goodness, by its virtue, will “attract” evil. Such is the nature of existence. Bottom line, there is no excuse for apathy toward, or participation in, evil actions.
2. DO NOT feed the ego (of the leader) at all costs. Why give your valuable time, attention, and money to groups that are built on such a dynamic? It's good to feel good about yourself, but it's not necessarily even better to feel better-than in relation to others. Keep in mind in any group situation, psychological dynamics can be manipulated to make one person's ego the controlling factor in every interaction. When a leader presents himself as superior, and surrounds himself with yes men and women, he becomes more and more out of touch with reality and more likely to inadvertently cause harm to vulnerable people whose egos are not as strong. Separate the actual knowledge you're receiving from the charisma of an individual who has amassed power and wealth, if you can. Remain critical. Ultimately, you are the only person who can take control of your life.
3. DO NOT stop working (or quit your day job!) in exchange for “attracting.” Almost everyone knows someone who quit his job after watching “The Secret” and two years later is still out of work. We can expect miracles and accept miracles, but when we demand miracles, the powers that be may decide that what we really need is an attitude adjustment.
4. DO NOT embrace what just doesn't make sense. From spirit messages from outer space to cliches and over-generalizations, someone else's “theory” may or may not line up with your own reality. For example, if “energy flows where the attention goes” then why are there so many money-obsessed people who are broke? Those who do not have money and think of little else, in my experience, are easily manipulated by those who have, or fake having, money. What high achievers generally appreciate when they see it, because it is rare, is a person who has absolutely no desire to sponge off of anyone else, whose opinions cannot be bought. There's a difference between being “negative” and anticipating potential obstacles and having a plan to deal with worst-case scenarios in place.
5. DO NOT forget about others. Our worlds are interconnected, and overlapping. In a world where there is poverty and despair, where man-made natural disasters are becoming more and more frequent and severe, a compassionate, balanced perspective is lost at our own peril. The class of people who consume “self-help” books and attend seminars is mostly made of those who are already very good, relatively speaking, at helping themselves. Perhaps we need less self-help, and more helping others, to truly feel happy and secure. Put down your self-help book and go help someone else.
6. DO NOT substitute New Age beliefs for religion. There is no official God of the New Age movement, but “The Universe” and “Source” are most commonly used in ways similar to a traditional use of the word God. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God is male, often angry, and perhaps even abusive toward His followers. He is often portrayed as a distant but powerful, loving but strict Father. Growing up with such a concept of God, like many others, I often felt I could do nothing right. The New Age “Universe” is too often interpreted more like an overly permissive, all-nurturing mother, the kind whose children can do no wrong: She just wants you to do whatever you want, and not worry how it impacts anyone else. Perhaps it's time to rethink these gendered, imbalanced interpretations of the Divine. We can accept the feminine without losing the masculine and vice-versa. Remember your traditions, and don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
7. DO NOT confuse money with success, or be blind to integrity issues in others because they have money (or power or connections). Bernie Madoff, at one point, appeared to have “manifest” the American Dream. It was all based on lies, and it all came crumbling down. Those who lost their fortunes to his chicanery assumed Bernie was good at what he did and doing good things because he made money doing it. He was good at what he did, but he did good things for no one. Learn to look beyond the outside appearance of truth and social status. To avoid pain, seek a deeper awareness of good and evil before you even think about money.
8. DO NOT engage in moral relativism. You won't see discussions of good and evil in much of today's literature about accomplishment. Brian Tracy is a great exception to that general observation, when he states, “Men and women with the most rock-solid self-confidence are those who are absolutely clear about what it is they believe to be right and good and worthwhile, and who live their lives consistent with these values.” I would happily wager that 50% or more of all people who consider themselves “stuck” in some undefinable manner could get “unstuck” by tuning in to their own moral vibration and resolving any cognitive dissonance caused by personal impropriety. (I say this from a place of imperfection, not judgement or condemnation.) Although we can't always make it right with those we've wronged, we can do good deeds and perform charitable actions, or seek advice from a spiritual counsellor on how to achieve a clean conscience. A clean conscience leads to clear thinking, clear thinking leads to right action, and right action is the path to success.
9. DO NOT try, or settle for, becoming a cheap imitation of someone else. “Find those who have done what you want to do and follow their footsteps” is good advice to a point. As Bruce Edwin stated in our last issue, you have to take what you learn from others and somehow "make it your own." There are three ideas to keep in mind when you are studying other peoples' paths to success. The first is the Xerox effect, the second is changing conditions, and the third involves a historical context of sportsmanship and the human condition.
The Xerox effect refers to the fact that detail is lost every time you copy an original. A copy of a copy is blurry; moreso, a copy of that copy. If your strategy is based wholly on copying others, who you really are is never going to come into focus.
Secondly, if you assume you can succeed by following others, you would have to also assume that there have been no significant changes in your field of endeavor. However, the field is changed by the presence of the person who has already succeeded before you. The exact conditions in which they came to manifest that dream will never again exist. If you must be a copy cat, at least analyze the differences between your current market and the original market and determine any competitive advantages that you can exploit in your favor.
Regarding the nature and history of competition, our culture remembers those who are very good at winning (such as the Emperor Napoleon), but we revere those who refuse to play, or change, the game itself (think Martin Luther King). Do you want to be remembered with admiration, or do you dare to act in ways that you will be remembered with love?
10. DO NOT scapegoat your friends. There's more social support today than ever before for treating relationships, other human beings in general, and our natural world as disposable. Perhaps when a person increases her level of professionalism, she looks at her friends and starts to judge them harshly. Perhaps she needs to get new friends, or perhaps post-seminar enthusiasm is clouding her judgement. Don't blame the “vibration” of your old friends for holding you back. It will do no good to confront them and let them know you're changing to become a more positive person, or that they are no longer welcome in your life. Useless confrontations aren't “tough love” and they don't “show you care.” It just makes you annoying to others. Admittedly, I learned this one the hard way, by screwing up. Some of the friends I let go of were flaky, and one was actually a manipulative person who needed to go. But after the high of asserting myself wore off, I realized that I'd also gotten rid of people who reminded me of a time in my life that was painful, and it wasn't really their fault. Stay kind and stay classy and you won't have regrets.
Taken as a whole, these ten warnings are more like caution than “Do Not Enter” signs. I encourage you to explore the basic idea of the Law of Attraction that if you want something, you need to put time and energy into it. I encourage you to visualize your success vividly and seek out information from a variety of sources, including Law of Attraction but also the traditions you grew up with, whatever they may be.
According to ancient Chinese astrology, 2013, the Year of the Snake, has been a time of shedding outdated beliefs. As we prepare for what's next in 2014, let's think of new ways to replace the cult of personality with a circle of shared perception, insight and equality. Here's to your success!
This story is ©2014, The Hollywood Sentinel, Perfectly Clear Coaching, all world rights reserved.