Screw the Law of Attraction


NOTE: This post was originally published last year on my previous site, Natural Write. A recent conversation inspired me to send this one ’round again. Hope you enjoy!



You’ve heard all the hype, maybe you even own a collector’s edition copy of The Secret. (If not, I’m sure you know someone who does.) You might have clipped out pictures of your dream car, your dream vacation and your dream lifestyle and pasted them onto your carefully hung dream board. And I’m going to take a wild guess that dream board’s done nothing but collect dust ever since.

Marketers, authors and bloggers alike love to exploit the Law of Attraction’s “ancient magic power” to convince you that anything’s possible if you would only open yourself up to receiving it…and purchase whatever it is they happen to be selling at the time.

Don’t have enough money to pay for your medical bills? Maybe you just didn’t want it bad enough. You need my secret!

Can’t afford that trip to Tahiti again this year? Maybe if you’d wished for it a little bit harder. Buy my book!

Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. And did I mention it’s bullshit?

You can put up all the dream boards you want, paper your walls with inspirational quotes scribbled onto yellow post-its ’til you’re blue in the face…but unless you take action it’s just a fruitless (albeit elaborate) masturbatory exercise.

My favorite example of the law of attraction action is Jim Carrey’s success. Jim did not have a very affluent upbringing to say the least. If my memory serves me, they were actually homeless for a time when he was young.

Despite his humble beginnings, Jim was determined to grow up into something special. In 1984 the struggling comedian wrote a check for $10 million payable to himself in exactly 10 years time. He claims there was never any doubt in his mind he’d be able to make good on it. Sure enough 10 years later almost to the day Jim received his check for Ace Ventura: Pet Detective…$10 million.

But what Jim did between the time he wrote that check and the time he was able to cash it in is what made all the difference. Simply visualizing $10 million into existence would not have worked no matter how many millennia he spent willing the Universe to make it true.

No, my man took action.

He worked his ever-lovin’-lily-white ass off is what he did. He didn’t accept failure, never took no for an answer and did not give up until he reached his goal.

Jim Carrey exemplifies everything so many of the Law of Attraction proponents seem to miss. Mr. Carrey is a man who not only knows exactly what he wants, he then goes after it with absolute and unwavering resolution.

Fuck sitting there wishing you had more (money, cars, sex, love, whatever). Go get it. Fuck giving up after you’ve had a few disappointments. Life goes on and so can you. Please know that I say these things with all the love in my heart, but if you’re unhappy get off your ass and do something about it.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t believe in magic. I do. Especially when one is traveling their right path, magic certainly does happen. It’s happened to me plenty but only when I was already taking meaningful action towards my goals.

When we’re on our right path, we know it.

When we are certain our goals are properly aligned with the Universe, things tend to fall into place all around us. When we wake up each morning with the same passionate desire to make a difference, the Universe is by our side. Coincidences, déjà vu and unexpected opportunities are a common occurrence.

I’ve also tried the sitting on the couch method of making dreams come true and I can tell you with no uncertainty it does not work for shit. After all, what’s the one word that ended up making Jim Carrey’s dreams come true? …ACTION!

What are your experiences with the Law of Attraction? I believe everyone has some opinion on the matter, please share yours with us here.

26 thoughts on “Screw the Law of Attraction”

  1. Oh sister, you are once again speakin’ my language!
    Can’t tell you how many people I’ve coached who bought into the whole vision-board-your-way-to-your-dreams bullshit! They’ve also bought into the idea that it takes a big breakthrough to have that kind of shift, when really it’s the small steps along the way. The daily actions, taken consistently over time. There is no shortcut. No magic pill.There’s creating a vision (NOT the same as a vision board) and then taking action. Phew, glad that’s off my chest 😉

    1. Sandi, you’re one of the angels in my life who remind me that the small steps are what make the difference. I listened, I learned and I see the results. Hoping many others will follow suit!

      1. Was just on a call where Daniel Pink said, “Pile up small wins.” I nearly peed myself in the excitement I felt 😉

  2. I thought the Secret was so cheesy when it came out. It isn’t a secret and it isn’t really a helpful tool if used the way they presented it. I never understood the appeal of it, but then I don’t really understand most things people do. lol. 

    1. The secret of “The Secret” is that no matter how long the human race survives, “how to get rich quick” will always separate fools from their money and there will always be people criminal enough to take advantage of them.

    2. It was totally cheesy. But the way it was presented convinced millions of people it could work. While there’s an amazing marketing story in that, it kinda breaks my heart because I know people who really beat themselves up for failing at making the LoA work for them. They feel like even bigger failures and move even further away from having the confidence and courage it takes to take *real* action. Very sad, IMO.

      1. Abraham-Hicks` were edited out of the mainstream version of The Secret, but they were the most powerful `missing ingredient` in my opinion 😀

  3. Here’s what I’ve found: magic doesn’t happen until you make a decision and move forward with it. Then, as the old quote goes, heaven and earth move to aid you. Imagining and wishing is not deciding. Deciding and then doing nothing is lying to yourself, because you actually decided the opposite of what you were telling yourself.

    There is no point of arrival. You decide, you do, and then shit falls into place.

    1. Deciding without doing is fantasizing, maybe? Fun in the right context, totally destructive in others. 

  4. I love your voice, your honesty, and how you absolutely nail it! 

    I believe in magic (ok, somewhat, but I do believe in fairies) and I know believing is the first step. If you don’t ACT upon that belief you can hope/wish/dream/vision/fantasize all you want and you will never, ever, get anything you want.

    Even though I agree the Secret was a tad cheesy (that DVD!) , I think it also started to empower many that they can control their own destinies. And that was getting them to understand and believe in themselves. Now, where the Secret left the poor newbies hanging  is that it didn’t empower people to really take any steps, big or small. It basically said “you can do it” and good luck with that…

    I love that Jim Carey story…I sure would like to ask him how many No’s he received, how many times he wanted to give up, and how he kept his dream his focus. No doubt he took action and probably had to deal with his own sh*t along the way. But one thing is clear, he never stopped believing.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply,

      I’m a witch, so the magic of the Universe and Nature is not lost on
      me. However, I tend to think that those who felt empowered by The
      Secret already really knew. It was just a ‘bonus’ affirmation…especially in
      light of all the attention it got.

      Let that not diminish the wisdom we already
      possessed 🙂

      And you totally get why the Carrey story’s so
      important. He endured a decade of “NO” just for that one single
      “yes” that made everything else fall into place.

      One of my favorite quotes is from Sir Winston Churchill: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm” 

      Let’s never stop believing, either. <3

  5. I was VERY resistant to the idea of LOA (Law of Attraction) for all the reasons you describe in the post, and after seeing The Secret was even more so.  Then a friend finally convinced me to dip into the Teachings of Abraham (the work of Esther and Jerry Hicks.)  There I found a totally different take on LOA that feels much more resonant to me and has been much more useful…  

    A few of the key ideas for me (may or may not be of value to you… take what you like)

    We don’t need to worry about the desire part of this – every time we experience something we don’t like, we become clearer about what we DO want – this happens through life automatically – no work required.  No vision boards or anything else…

    The key is that we are ALWAYS attracting and creating our experience in every moment – we get whatever it is we are resonant with.  Not what we’re dreaming of, or wish we were lined up with – but what we are resonant with IN THAT MOMENT and on an ongoing basis.

    So the real work is coming into alignment with Who We Really Are and in the process, coming into alignment with everything we desire.  The indicator of alignment is feeling, if we are in good feeling emotions, then we’re in alignment – the better it feels, the more in alignment we are.  So I’ve really worked hard to make how I feel the most important thing in my life, and everything, from business to relationshops to well everything is taking a noticeable upturn.  And even if it isn’t, I don’t really care because I FEEL SO GOOD.

    The obvious question then, where does action fit in – when we are in alignment, the right actions to take occur to us – feel like the next logical step – and when I’m there everything I do is hugely leveraged, because it’s the right thing…..

    I could go on and on about this – but in short the key for me is focusing on taking action WHEN I FEEL GOOD and when I’m not feeling good, doing whatever I need to do to feel better.

    1. Yes! Yes, this! I have to tell you, last night I noticed The Secret was available on Netflix streaming (the only service I’ll pay those thieving basta…*ahem*…sorry, I digress) so I watched it again. Most of it, anyway, I fell asleep about half way through. Enough of it.

      It’s not that all the information in it is ‘wrong,’ but the way the producers presented these ideas is appalling, IMHO. I mean, there’s actually a scene where a little boy wishes for a bike and wakes up the next morning to his Dad bringing him the exact bike. What does this say to the little girl who’s wishing her Mom’s cancer goes away? Gah.

      What really hit me is that the main problem with The Secret and LoA is that the information is *grossly* incomplete. 

      In order to truly get in tune with what we want, we absolutely need to be crystal clear on who we really are. And who we are, specifically, in contrast to all those nasty and destructive tapes playing in our head.

      THIS is where the tough work lies, and this is the step so many people miss. But without it, well…it’s an uphill climb at best.

      Thanks for sharing this, Andy! Totally aligned with my thoughts last night.

  6. I confess… I haven’t seen or read The Secret. I did check the book out from the library once, but never got around to reading it. I think what people get out of it, though (from what I hear on the internet) is only one third of how it works. I think it’s maybe the Buddhists who put it rightly: Right Intent, Right Thought, Right Action.

      1. I believe the premise of The Law Of Attraction is that:

        Right Intent & Right Thought will *automatically result* Right Action, and so any discussion of ‘action’ is a relatively meaningless distraction.

        This gets dicey when `Right Action`may in fact be homelessness, eviction, etc.

        These things are commonly seen as results of `too much The Secret`  and *Something We Should _Take Action_ To Avoid.*

        Read any Success-Story though, and it seems like the legends all *pursued* them.

        Napoleon Hill, history`s well-known authority on success led by example, living a crazy early life of failure.

  7. A very wise woman once told me that dreaming (law of attraction style) without action is like a rowboat with one oar. Tiring and you just go round in circles. I like Carrey’s example, to me it’s more like reverse engineering.  

  8. Both my life coach and my dad swear by The Law of Attraction. I’m all for positive thinking, but in order to be successful, you need three things:

    1. Work hard
    2. Have talent
    3. Know the right people.

    I need to keep pushing myself and keep honing my talent, but most importantly, I need to meet the right people who can open doors of opportunity for me. Networking is key. It’s critical to have something to bring to the table.

    1. Yes, when you combine those three things WITH the Law of Attraction/Action…I think it’s always going to be a win. Thanks!

  9. I have to be honest here, I’m a big believer in the Law of Attraction, and Rhonda Byrnes The Secret. It has helped change my life, and that of many others that i know about. But i also agree with your article. There isn’t a genie who will deliver you three wishes and you can keep sitting on your arse while he delivers them. You can ‘Ask, Believe and Receive’, but only if you step up to the plate and put in the work, show commitment and determination.

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