The law of attraction: Thoughts upon a kind of personal case study

You’ve probably heard about the ‘law of attraction’, and how we can use visualization as an aid to attain our goals and dreams in life, right?

I think the whole phenomenon of ‘law of attraction’ has gotten a bad rep since “The Secret” became household.

It seems like basically a lot of bored, middle-aged housewives saw it and then just started imagining themselves having stacks of money without doing any actual work towards earning any.

Only, of course, to eventually lose their patience and blame it on the movie and the whole idea of visualization. Like any clueless outsider when initially presented with something which they don’t yet know how to use.

“WEH WEH IT’S STUPID AND IT DON’T WORK WEH WEH WEH!!”

Well… Here’s where it gets interesting.

I’ve been wanting to move to Málaga for about a year. So last spring, I got this neat little picture as a background on my laptop and iPad:

The law of attraction: This picture helped me realize and utilize its power.

It is, of course, a view of the beautiful city that is Málaga.

Now, compare with this picture which I’ve snapped myself recently…:

Having visions for yourself is a funny ol’ thing, isn’t it?

When a commercialized product like “The Secret” hits the stores along with its big, salesy promise, it will, necessarily get picked up by a majority of people who will CONSUME it but not USE it.

Because the sad fact is, that’s what the majority of people do. They read a book, go to a seminar, buy an online course, consume it, and then do nothing.

Even the good people behind those books, seminars and courses recognize this. (But of course, it’s not exactly something that sounds good in their sales pitches.)

And another problem is, of course, that some people kinda “try it” for a few weeks or months and then get discouraged and bitter when nothing happens. So they blame the people who try to teach HOW the law of attraction works.

This is why having a clear vision and taking consistent, relevant action is the key to achieving anything. (Which, in turn, is why coaching is so powerful.)

Now, I’m not saying that I — or anyone else for that matter — can logically explain how having a background picture of Málaga has somehow helped me get here.

It probably has to do with keeping focus. Eyes on the prize and all. And it probably has to do with something in my subconsciousness. (Hell, what doesn’t?)

But really, I don’t care. Because the important thing is that this whole law of attraction thing actually works. Whether we like it or not.

It’s in effect whether you let it, or whether you don’t.

Whatever you want, get specific on it. The clearer you can picture it, the better.

And start taking action towards it NOW.

There’s always something you can do. And whatever you do, the closer you’ll get.

Or, you know, you could just lie around and picture it, and se what good that’ll do you.

Your call.

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On the danger of procrastination

Often, we only learn the true dangers of procrastination when it's too late.Okay. So, when I say there’s a downright danger of procrastination, some people might immediately call hyperbole.

And that is part of the danger itself.

Let’s face it: We all procrastinate to a certain extent. Even that one annoyingly productive over-achiever in your class or on your office.

Hell, even highly successful people procrastinate. However, that doesn’t make it right, and we all know it.

When we procrastinate, there’s often a certain element of justification in that we, however half-assedly, tell ourselves that we have enough time. And therefore, we’ll do something ‘later’. Or even ‘tomorrow’.

Another part of the danger of procrastination, however, is that, as they say, tomorrow never comes.

There is only the here and the now. That’s it.

But wait a minute! I’ve had a new day come every single day of my life!

… And that’s yet ANOTHER part of the problem.

We humans have the ability to think in abstract terms, also when it comes to chronology. Even though all we experience is right here and now, our highly evolved memory and logic along with our knowledge of the human lifespan (and even of history) allows us to not only think but plan ahead.

Not only in terms of hours and days, but months, years, and, for some, maybe even full decades.

We KNOW perfectly well that the Earth is gonna continue to revolve around the sun. And of course we HAVE to plan ahead because we can’t DO all of our tasks and undertakings right here and now.

And here’s where it really becomes a lose/lose-situation for us…

Even though we’re aware of the danger of procrastination, we might do it anyway. Because procrastination pays off instantly.

The danger of procrastination is treacherous, because unlike procrastination itself, its harmful effect is anything but immediate. The danger of procrastination lies in the risk of finding out much too late exactly how fatally procrastination harms our dreams and wishes for the future.

Okay, so how do we avoid this??

Well, if we wanna be able to overcome procrastination, we need to be better at prioritizing.

Or, indeed, DOWN-prioritizing.

See, the good news is, we should forget about multitasking and only work on that ONE proverbial thing at a time. Because multitasking, as it turns out, does more harm than good.

So, we get to do one thing at a time. This means, we need to figure out what’s most important. It also means, we get to do this one thing in designated blocks of time.

… And then, in the gaps between, we can schedule a little time for the things we would have done procrastinating.

How ‘bout that??

See, it’s not necessarily the things you do when procrastinating that are dangerous in themselves. It’s the very HABIT of procrastination that’s dangerous.

And what’s even better is, the more we get used to only working on one thing at a time, the more we hone our focus, — which is not only good for a lot of things, but detrimental towards procrastination.

The danger of procrastination can be mitigated, and even prevented. But, as with everything else that’s rewarding in the long-term, it takes focus, and effort. And you’re not gonna get there by procrastinating.

ACTION POINT:

1. Make a list of all your to-do’s for the next week.
2. Next, make a new list where you sort the items in order of urgency, relevance and payoff. The most urgent, relevant and/or potentially rewarding goes higher than the rest.
3. When done, you should, ideally have a fully prioritized to-do list for the next week. The top item is what you should primarily focus your energy and attention on.
4. Remember: You might not need to get them all done by the end of the week. The point here is simply to get familiar with prioritizing.

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Ever considered keeping a journal? Here’s why you should totally do it.

Keeping a journal, simply put, will only improve your life.It’s no secret that my life has been… Well, challenging, to put it neutrally. But then, a couple of years ago, I started keeping a journal. And I tell ya, it’s played a big part in turning my entire life around.

Now, some people may consider themselves more or less the kinds of people to be keeping a journal. But I believe everyone could benefit from keeping a journal, and here’s why.

See, when I started doing it, I was inspired by The Five Minute-Journal. I might be kinda copying its concept, but hey, it works! And here it goes…

Every morning when I get out of bed, I write down:
– Three things I’m grateful for.
– Three things that’d be awesome to have done by the end of the day.
– A daily affirmation following the simple template of “I am [_______]”.

And every evening before I turn in, I write down:
– Three awesome things that happened throughout the day.
– The one biggest thing I learned during the day.
– One way in which I could’ve made the day even better.

Okay, so what’s the point of all this? Why, thanks for asking!

As for the three things I’m grateful for, I often do more than three. But don’t settle for less! Like I’ve said before, when we’re in touch with our gratitude for what we have, what we have expands.

The three things I’d like to have done by the end of the day, I’ve usually planned out ahead. So for me, the point here is to consolidate my already existing plans and make sure I get ’em done. But you’d might go about it any which way you’d like.

This also goes for the daily affirmation. Some people only use one word, e.g. “I am strong”, “I am happy”, “I am successful”, etc.. But I usually do at least one or two full sentences combined, like for example “I am a goddamn pirate, so don’t step to me or I’ll mess you up, kiddo.”

(I tend to go for something empowering.)

Now, the three awesome things that happened don’t necessarily have to be those I’d planned out ahead. On the contrary, I often try to notice what other good stuff happens and note that. Again, you can do as many as you want, but three is a good minimum.

And the same thing goes for the things you learned, and the ways in which you could have improved upon your day. In fact, it’s almost impossible to have too many of these!

But…

Yeah, I know. I know…

If you’re down in the dumps, it can be hard to find anything to be grateful for. It can be hard to get things done, learn anything, and appreciate whatever goes on in one’s life. And telling yourself that you’re just happy-go-dandy is simply downright awkward.

But do it anyway. Because, when you do this enough times, then what do you think happens?

That’s right.

What we focus on is the reality that we eventually create for ourselves. So, as you start to consciously focus on empowering thoughts, learning experiences, and valuable actions, that’s how your life becomes.

Alex Ikonn and U.J. Ramdas, the makers of the aforementioned Five-Minute Journal, claim that keeping a journal is “the simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier.” And they’re not kidding.

Not only will keeping a journal bring you in touch with your happiness and help you focus on the good times. Furthermore, it’s an effective way to keep track of your progress, stay on track, and reevaluate your goals.

Seriously, go ahead and try it.

ACTION POINT:

1. Based upon the above outline, keep a journal every day for 30 days.

2. If you miss a day, keep at it. But start over with the next day being day 1.

3. Notice as the small changes start happening in your life.

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Are you grateful for what you have?

You can't focus on what you don't have, when you're grateful for what you have.You can’t focus on what you don’t have when you’re grateful for what you have.

I came upon this quote in a blog post by T. Harv Eker — a man who helps entrepreneurs like me dominate the world. So naturally, I listen to what he has to say.

Now, I don’t know for sure if Harv came up with the quote originally. (In fact, I’m pretty sure Tony Robbins also has a saying along those lines.) But it’s really not that important. What’s important is the message.

Being grateful for what you have takes you to a state of appreciation and calmness. And those of you who practice meditation will immediately see a resemblance.

But furthermore, those of you who practice meditation might also recognize a certain principle in how one, positive state of mind doesn’t allow the persistence of another, negative state of mind.

When you’re truly, deeply grateful for what you have, you’re not focusing on any lack or need there might be in your life.

(And yes, both meditation and being grateful for what you have ARE necessarily positive states of mind. In fact, find just one person who practices both regularly because it makes him or her feel worse.)

Okay, so what’s so great about this?”, you might ask. Well, the thing is, what we focus on is how our lives become.

People who are obsessed with never having enough money for this-and-that don’t GET enough money for this-and-that.

I know this firsthand, because I’ve been that guy for way many more years than anyone would need to.

And get this:

Even if we consider ourselves to be driven away from what we don’t have, our subconscious minds don’t get it. Our subconscious minds don’t GET a negative!

Go ahead: Don’t think about a blue elephant right now. A blue elephant is the last thing that should be on your mind. Whatever you think about, just DON’T think about a blue elephant.

… Yeah, we all know the example.

So it’s when we cultivate a mindset of gratitude and abundance that our subconscious mind starts to look for more abundance to be grateful for.

Now, let’s say, for the sake of simplicity, that there’s two kinds of people in the world: Those who cultivate a mindset of gratitude and abundance, and those who cultivate a mindset of scarcity and lack.

Can you guess which group might be more confident, and which one might be less confident??

Attaboy.

Non-fident people, as I call it, tend to let their happiness depend upon getting new things. And I’m sure we’re all familiar with the idea that “things are gonna start to look up for me whenever I’ll get that [degree/job/car/house/relationship/whatever]”.

And then what happens? Well, either we get it or we don’t. And if we don’t, we immediately go into a state of disappointment and blame it all on NOT getting what we want.

… But if we DO get it…

Well, we might be happy. At least for a while.

But have you noticed how that happiness just never lasts? How you seem to think that you need to chase the attainment of one new thing after the other?

That’s because for some reason, you can’t be grateful for what you have. And as long as it’s like that, you’ll never be truly happy or truly confident.

Well okay, but what if I need to focus on my goals to attain them??”

Of course you do. — And you should. Eyes on the prize. But you’ll never get there if you come from a place of lacking and needing; you’ll only create more lack and need.

Paradoxically, we need to detach ourselves from our goals. We need to be happy without them.

This can be a bit of a mind-twister, I know. Especially if your goal is to increase your confidence. How can I be confident if I’m not confident, right?!

The good news is, even if being grateful for what you have doesn’t come natural to you, it’s a learnable skill.

Treat whatever confidence you DO have like you just treated that blue elephant:

Focus on it. Keep focusing. And be grateful for it. In time, it will, necessarily, expand.

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Luck has nothing to do with it

Luck has nothing to do with it. High awareness and consistent action, however, does.That’s right: Luck has nothing to do with it, as some allegedly “fortunate” people say. And in this case, “it” doesn’t just mean confidence.

It means life. Life as you’d like it to be. And the life that we see someone leading, when we immediately consider them “lucky”.

See, whenever someone seems to reap all the rewards in life, we tend to think of them as “fortunate” or “lucky”, yeah?

Well, would you believe me if I told you that ascribing “luck” to anyone or anything is potentially harmful to us?

What exactly is luck anyway? Many people would probably define it as something like, “when things coincidentally fall out to your advantage”. But is it really just that?

And more importantly, would we need more than merely coincidence to receive the gifts of life?

(SPOILER ALERT: Yes. Yes it does.)

When Michael Jackson recorded the “Thriller” album, did it sell millions because of “luck”? Or was it because he had spent his entire childhood and adolescence working his derrière off, meticulously honing his craft and gathering a hugely talented team of producers, songwriters and A&R people behind him?

When Steve Jobs released the first iPhone, did it become hugely successful because of “luck”? Or was it because he dared to take chances, push the envelope, fulfil the needs that his customers had — even ones they didn’t realize they had — and amass an army of professional developers and marketers behind him?

Sure, Michael Jackson was probably as close to being the proverbial natural talent as they come. And Steve Jobs, according to many, was a natural visionary who simply thought outside the box and dreamt big.

But what good would that have done them if they hadn’t put in the work, insisted upon their dreams, and kept at it for years and years?

Luck has nothing to do with it because “it”doesn’t happen without taking action.

Here’s another thing:

Have you ever seen “Forrest Gump”? If not, it’s a fine movie, and you should see it at least once.*

Forrest Gump, our titular protagonist, is clearly slow-witted, but likeable. And he somehow manages to walk through life and attract all kinds of success and fortune as he cluelessly goes along. Only he never realizes it. Because success and fortune simply doesn’t resonate with his humble mind.

Let’s pause here for a moment. Now, think about your own life.

Have you ever learned a new word, and then in the following days and weeks you saw and heard that word everywhere?

Or have you ever been unemployed and looked for jobs, and all of a sudden job applications are everywhere?

I know, right?

The key word here is awareness.

Forrest Gump doesn’t consciously experience fame and fortune, because his awareness is on a different level. When we’re consciously aware of something, we’re gonna find it.

Not because there’s more of it, but simply because we’ve become aware of it. Like a hunter who deliberately ignores anything but the potential sights and sounds of his prey.

Luck has nothing to do with it, because what good would all the coincidence in the world do us if we weren’t aware of it?

But wait a minute! What was that thing you said about how ascribing luck to anyone could be “harmful”??

Yeah, see, that’s because it’s something that non-fident people tend to do. Which is rarely beneficial.

It’s when we’re non-fident that we tend to think in terms of “luck” — and “bad luck”. Specifically, we tend to think that other people get all the luck, and that we’re victims of unfortunate circumstances.

This is a conveniently easy way of thinking, because it takes the responsibility for our lives out of our hands. And for the same reason, it’s also a dangerous way of thinking.

But when we allow ourselves to go for the life we want, consistently taking action and raising our awareness will make sure that we get it.

Some people might be born with certain advantages, yes. But imagine how many people never put that advantage to any use. Either because they never see the possibilities and/or because they’re simply too shy to act on it.

And now, think of all the famous media persons who obviously wouldn’t recognize talent even if it came out of nowhere and took away all their limelight.

Think of all the wealthy corporate leaders who got where they are by being uncompromising, cold as ice, playing the game and doing what’s best for the company no matter what.

Think of all the powerful politicians, all the Frank Underwood’s of the world, who got to where they are by lying, manipulating, and probably worse.

Really, luck has nothing to do with it. But being aware of our opportunities, and taking consistent action towards them has everything to do with it.

 

ACTION ITEM:

This week, take up learning something new. Something you’ve been wanting to get into, only you couldn’t find the time (or whatever excuse you made for yourself).

Set aside 1/2 hour every night, monday through friday, for working on that thing only. Nothing else. This means, turn off your phone. No phone; no social media or other distractions. Just you and your new challenge.

Getting into this sort of habit will eventually prove to us that luck has nothing to do with it. — And that practice, consistency, and focus are the keys to accomplishing pretty much anything.

 


* Yes, I know it’s originally a book. So are a lot of great movies.

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Why is taking the first step so hard?

Taking the first step can seem scary. Take it anyway.If you’re anything like I used to be, you’ve been held back by your current problems for more than a matter of months. You’ve wanted to be taking the first step. But… How??

We do this for several reasons. Some more evident than others.

For example, if lack of confidence is holding you back, there’s probably several by-problems affecting your entire predicament.

You might feel too tired; stressed; hurt; overwhelmed; too frightened. Or your fear might be an inner, hidden one which manifests as apparent laziness and comfortability.

Maybe you don’t know how to plan your time. Maybe you prioritize wrongly. Or maybe you don’t feel comfortable in making the right choices.

The right choices are different from everyday ones like choosing what to wear, what to eat, when to sleep, what to read, etc.. For the most part, those make but small differences in our lives.

Conversely, making the right choice is the last thing anyone does before permanently changing their life for the better.

The right choice has will and focus behind it. A will to go in a certain direction; a focus on the direction itself.

Now, those things in themselves don’t make any choice “right”. (I’m sure a lot of murderers had will and focus too…) But any right choice will necessarily encompass will and focus.

Then, why is making the right choice so hard for people with low confidence?

I’d like to be able to present a simple, yet surprising reason here. But the fact is, people are different, and so are their sources of low confidence, respectively.

Some might not know what they want. Others might, but may then be too scared of failure and humiliation. – Or even of the responsibility and exposure following a successful completion.

Whatever it is, here’s the good news:

While taking the first step might seem hard, the first step matters less than you think.

So what really matters is that no matter how you feel, you go ahead and do it anyway.

Yes, it’s scary. But you can do it.

Consider how great musicians and speakers get nervous before going onstage. Hell, great artists are among the world’s most notoriously depressed people.* But they do it anyway.

I’m not making you feel bad about yourself. I’m saying, whatever you want to do CAN be done.

And if you don’t know what you want, you won’t find out by wallowing in inactivity, but by getting out and gathering new inspiration.

Remember: You can always change directions. If you’re stuck somewhere, you probably won’t evolve. But whatever new place you go, you’ll learn new things to help you further on.

All you gotta do is to be taking that first step to get going.

ACTION ITEM:

1) Write down your three biggest values, your three biggest strengths, and your three biggest interests.
2) Take the biggest one from each category, and write down three possible ways of combining the three into something you’d like to do.
3) Pick one.
4) Write down the three first things you can do to make this happen.
5) For the next three days, do one of these things.
6) Repeat point 4) to 5).

Congratulations: You’re taking the first step.


Sources:

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181877/; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10203964

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