Chances are you’ve heard it before: someone in your life praising the power of the Law of Attraction. Attributing their success to its ways. Explaining to you (perhaps in great detail) why this “tried-and-true” process is a surefire way to accomplish your own goals.
I’m not on a mission to completely debunk the Law of Attraction or burst the balloons of its most devoted followers. Admittedly, as the CEO of a fast-growing company, you’d be hard pressed to convince me that positive thinking, visualization, affirmation, and meditation don’t have a place in my daily life. However, I do think it’s important to understand what the Law of Attraction is and to question whether or not it’s the real reason behind someone’s success.
What is the Law of Attraction?
The Law of Attraction’s foundation is simple: positive thoughts lead to positive experiences. Negative thoughts lead to negative experiences.
Plenty of celebrities and well-known personalities attest to the law’s validity. Under its surface, though, is something much more complex. Manifestation. That you can think and feel your goals into existence.
Another way to talk about the Law of Attraction is in terms of energy. It suggests that we tune our own energy to that of the universe. In other words, align our own positive frequencies with the universe’s positive frequencies. Tap into the energy, and good things will come.
Bye chance. Bye coincidence. The Law of Attraction replaces both with willpower. Those seemingly improbable events that line up perfectly to help you achieve your goals? Willed into existence via your connection with the universe’s positive energy.
But therein lies a problem. If the Law of Attraction hinges on positive thinking and manifestation, might it also make us more vulnerable to negative outcomes?
The Law of Attraction’s inherent flaw
Imperfection is a trademark of humanity, and if you think of us as imperfect beings, it should be easy to admit that there’s no way we can always think positively. So if we’re not thinking positive thoughts, what are we thinking? I’d wager negative over ambivalent. We feel good sometimes, and we feel bad others. Which complicates the Law of Attraction, right?
If we can’t stop ourselves from negative thoughts at least a little bit of the time, then are we responsible for negative outcomes? Are we manifesting the bad things that happen to us? This is the inherent flaw with the Law of Attraction. Two sides of the same coin. We’re either positive or negative, and the latter opens up a rabbit hole of toxicity, highlighted by guilt and self-doubt.
Unless you’re a practiced optimist, negativity can be debilitating. It weighs down our senses. Clouds our judgement. More importantly, it impedes authentic progress.
Let’s acknowledge the Law of Attraction for what it is: a belief. In the scientific world, however, it’s no more than a pseudoscience. There isn’t a scientific method to its ideology. At the Law of Attraction’s best, it’s a mental tool for goal attainment. At its worst, it’s a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy.
Moving beyond the Law of Attraction
I think there are better ways to achieve our goals than relying solely on the Law of Attraction. Interestingly enough, we can still harness some of its elements and use them to our advantage. As I mentioned before, there’s little that could convince me to not work positive thinking, visualization, affirmation, and meditation individually into my life. At the very least, these are helpful practices for achieving better mental health.
What’s more, I do believe that positive people have an easier time accomplishing their goals, but not necessarily because they will them into existence. To be clear, these people make things happen. That’s what I think is more attractive than anything else: an actionable desire to be great.
Make no mistake, we will have failures. As an entrepreneur, I’ve failed plenty. But being able to pick myself back up has made me who I am today and helped me continue to find success. Instead of reframing my mind to meet untenable demands, I choose to rethink the how and why of my actions and remind myself that:
Positivity is a choice, but we won’t always choose it
I try to act and think positively as much as I can. I encourage the same from my employees and family. Do we always succeed? Absolutely not. Moreover, sometimes it’s okay to have a negative thought. It’s okay to feel bad. It’s okay to be human.
The Law of Attraction throws blame on its believers when their beliefs don’t prosper. It ignores the basic challenges that come from being a human being. Sure, let’s champion positivity, but let’s also remember that even the most positive person in the world has a bad day.
Success warrants action
Vision boards are great. Goal setting is encouraged. Dreaming big and bold is awesome. But so is turning those dreams into reality. So is setting new goals because you’ve accomplished old ones. So is returning to a vision board from a decade ago and smiling because, well, you’re living that vision now.
In order to succeed, we must take action. Positive thinking will help, but actionable steps toward your goals will help even more. It’s all about direction, purpose, and celebration (see: affirmation) for accomplishing what you set out to accomplish.
Self-evaluation fast tracks growth
With the Law of Attraction, if something good happens, you’ve “thought” correctly. If something bad happens, you’ve “thought” incorrectly. Shame on you. It’s an unhealthy blame game.
In reality, you can fast track your own growth with consistent reflection and self-evaluation of your goals and actions. If you feel like something isn’t working, try to pinpoint the crux of the problem. It might not be a matter of negative thoughts or feelings either. Like it or not, there are external factors to everything. Our challenge is to not let these external factors (whatever they may be) prevent us from reaching our goals.
So, should we be attracted to the Law of Attraction? There’s certainly something to be said about manifesting your “happy place,” where goal attainment is second nature and positivity runs free. But positive thinking and goal matriculation can both be accomplished without adhering to a make-it-or-break-it, guilt-sensitive framework.
Pair goals with action steps, pledge positivity (but be willing to accept the occasional negative thought), and consistently reassess your progress. You’ll find success in no time.