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Those of you on my newsletter received an email last week where I talked about a subject related to the movie The Secret.
The responses I received to that email where quite polarized, which should not be surprising since subject matter that can be interpreted as spiritual or religious tends to elicit hard-line opinions. Yet I have to admit I was surprised by some of the emails I received in reply to the newsletter, which was a little naive on my part.
I received messages from my readers from both ends of the spectrum. Everything from I love what you are saying and totally agree, to that movie is a bunch of hogwash — just thinking about what you want won’t get it, all the way to the movie is against my religion and you shouldn’t be promoting it.
I’m happy whenever people engage with my content, and I never take one person’s feedback too strongly unless I’m receiving many responses along the same line. It was certainly interesting to read the different places people were coming from and thank you to everyone who wrote to me – it was an enlightening experience to read your point of view.
I don’t adhere specifically to a branch of religion, nor am I an atheist. If a label must be applied, I’m closest to agnostic, believing in a higher power but not looking to lock that power into a rigid framework like doctrine can do. I like to take on board concepts and ideas from all religions and belief systems, but I never became so restricted by them that I can’t at least listen to other people’s ideas without labeling them blasphemous.
You might call me a perpetual fence sitter, which in itself has problems. The wonderful thing about taking on board and truly feeling a specific religious calling is that you no longer suffer from being “lost”. You now have a framework to follow, a way to live and a community of people who share your beliefs. That is a wonderful thing.
Of course I have a moral compass, as we all do, which gives me some sense of rules and structure that govern my life. I’m going to draw the line on certain actions and label them wrong or right. Some things fall into a grey area, which once again is where having a strong religious belief has “benefits” – you have less greys and more black and whites – although I don’t think that’s always a good thing. Unwavering absolutes can be very dangerous – religious fundamentalism has certainly taught us that.
If you haven’t seen The Secret I’ll summarize it for you quickly now.
The movie, which in my opinion is the superior way to absorb the message (the book by the same name doesn’t do it nearly a well), is a documentary that effectively teaches a principle known as the Law of Attraction.
Before we had the Law of Attraction, as it was presented in The Secret, a book many of you will be familiar with – Napolean Hill’s Think And Grow Rich – introduced the idea that by thinking of what you desire and taking congruent action to seek the outcome, the “universe” will help you get there.
I’m not 100% sure as he never states the name of the book, but I believe Bob Proctor, who features prominently in The Secret, refers to Think and Grow Rich as the starting point for his successful application of the Law of Attraction, which if you really want to break things down to the core, means that all of these books, movies and people are referring to the same universal principle, or “the secret”.
The idea here is that the universe is structured in a way that if you think in a certain way, you actually manipulate your conscious reality to manifest what you are thinking.
If you dive into metaphysics, which movies like What The Bleep Do We Know/Down The Rabbit Hole go into deeper than The Secret does, we find that everything is made up of the same thing, so differentiating between thoughts and what we perceive as reality is a moot point – the universe see it all as the same thing.
We can make this more practical however – and this is where I think some of the detractors of The Secret go wrong. It’s not simply a case of thinking about what you want and then it magically appearing, which is how some people criticize the concept, it’s about thinking about what you want in a positive way, taking action congruent with those thoughts and then – here’s the key – when the window of opportunity opens, you take it.
Whether it is a case of the universe being structured in a way that intention, thought and action are rewarded with what you want – in other words it’s the universe that opens those windows for you – or it simply happens because you keep working towards a goal, is up for debate. No one can really know for sure and ultimately it comes down to belief.
One thing that is important to note, if you choose to believe in this idea and successfully execute it, you create a positive feedback loop. You take the actions that result in what you want because you believe taking those actions will get you there, thanks to a universal law. The law may not exist, but the outcome is positive because you executed – the link between cause and effect can be blurry – but the outcome is what counts and if you get what you want then there’s no compelling reason NOT to believe in the idea, unless you like not getting what you want.
As I wrote in the newsletter, I wasn’t purporting that I am a believer or otherwise in the teachings of The Secret or the Law of Attraction, although I have experienced positive outcomes as a result of my exposure to the movie and the idea. I certainly feel that some of the people in The Secret presented concepts that helped to raise my own consciousness in some way, and that’s what’s important in my opinion.
About six years ago I was feeling pretty bad about many aspects of my life. I had returned from six weeks backpacking in Tasmania with a girlfriend who was an ex-girlfriend by the time I got back.
I wasn’t broke, but I wasn’t making much money either – about $500 a month from the Magic card game website I owned back then. I was reading a lot about the Internet business success of other people, but most of the time that served only to depress me. I wouldn’t begin blogging for several years yet.
I was just about to start working seriously on my proofreading business, which wouldn’t be really successful for a couple of years, but before that decision was made I had to go back to my part time job to make sure I could pay the rent. I was feeling pretty rotten, I didn’t have many friends around me as they were all in full time jobs making new friends and finding life partners.
I felt like I was very far away from most of the things I wanted in my life – love, wealth and real friendships.
It was during this time that I began hanging out with a friend of my ex-girlfriend. She worked in the city and I often visited her when I went into town. Our relationship was platonic, although really it was situation of mutual sadness. We decided to spend lunchtime complaining to each other about how much our lives sucked.
It wasn’t a healthy thing to do of course, yet misery enjoys company, so for a few months we continued to indulge in this unhealthy past time.
I remember clearly having a conversation with this girl about business and what I thought would be my “big goal” in terms of how much money I wanted to make. I said to her that what I wanted was to make $1,000 a day from my business.
I recall how I felt when I said that statement and her reaction. She thought that outcome was near impossible and an incredible amount of money (she was earning a basic wage at the time, about $500 a week). I could only imagine what I would do with $1,000 a day, and while I didn’t consider it impossible, it really felt like a very far away goal, very, very far away.
In some sense it was a very far away, depending on how you value time.
I was just thinking during the last few months that the goal I set myself all those years ago, has become a reality. I haven’t done the exact numbers yet, but I’m pretty sure on average for the year, I make about $1,000 dollars a day now.
Did my statement of intention, the following six years spent working towards reaching my goal and then finally meeting my target, get any assistance from some kind of universal law?
It’s tough for me to answer that. What I can say is that for many years that goal remained very far away, but slowly, with consistent action and making the decision to do certain things and take certain opportunities when they arose, the signs that I could get there became more frequent and I started to believe it more and more.
Today, I’m so confident of my ability to make money, as the cliche goes – it actually feels “easy”. I don’t say that to impress you, merely to demonstrate how your state of mind can change based on your reality changing thanks to experience.
While I have moved towards a place of deep satisfaction when it comes to my financial situation, I feel there is much room for improvement in other areas of my life.
As a result of this, 2009 so far has been a period of focusing energy on improving these other areas of my life. It’s because of making the decision to change and improve myself, that I’ve once again come up against the challenge of relying upon faith in a possible outcome to push me towards experiencing the outcome. I’m moving towards new territory, trying to do things I’ve never done before, forcing me to overcome strong feelings of self doubt along the way.
As many of my fellow Internet marketers know, we can often lead very solitary lives, working from home. This has suited my personality and benefited me financially because I’m blessed with the ability to be very productive while in solitude, but it’s caused an imbalance in the other two aspects of my life that require socialization.
My awareness of this imbalance really came into prominence when I returned from my overseas travels. I looked at my bank balance and despite spending a stupid amount of money while overseas, I came back with more money in my account than what I left with. I realized that focusing most of my attention on making more money would be futile and misguided.
Don’t get me wrong, I will run my business at the same pace I have, serve my customers, educate myself about what’s going on in my industry and continue to enjoy what I do to make money, BUT, there is no need to add to my workload simply for the sake of making more money. More money won’t make much of a difference to my overall happiness and will take energy away from the things I need to do in order to improve upon the aspects of my life I want to change.
In case you can’t read between the lines, that last paragraph is stating that once you’ve reached a certain point financially, making more money does not equal more happiness. All you money-hungry, success-focused entrepreneurs should heed that advice or you might end up pouring your energy into activities that you do simply for the short term rush that comes from making money. It’s not going to make you any happier long term – in fact it might even do the opposite once the thrill of the rush starts to have less effect.
I’m going to sample now from the newsletter I sent last week. Some of you will have read this, but I know most of you have not. This is important stuff, because it shows how you can bring change to your life, but also how you can rely on other people to raise your awareness so you have the courage to make the change.
Pay especially close attention to the section where I talk about the power of finding gurus – real gurus – and why they can help you in more ways than just giving you successful techniques to replicate.
Success in business, in blogging and in life in general, comes down to many facets.
You have raw business techniques and strategies, you have your mental state and your body condition, your present physical reality, your access to resources, your skills, inherent talents, the people around you and many other elements.
As a human being we are complicated creatures, but what I have learned after years spent working to improve aspects of my life, in almost all cases your sense of self, your “inner game” or strength of character, or whatever you want to call it, is the root determinant of your success.
In other words, the power is within YOU.
In order to improve yourself you need to raise your awareness. Raising awareness, in my opinion, is the answer to most of the world’s current conflicts, and from a micro level, the answer to the problems you currently face in your life too.
To raise one’s awareness simply means to become aware (or conscious) of what needs to change and how to change it.
The problem people face – and we all go through this – is feeling frustrated not because we don’t have something, but because we feel helpless due to not knowing HOW to change.
Change is the key to success. In order to realize new states of being, something about you must CHANGE.
In order to realize change you need to see what actions are required to make the change happen. If you don’t have the awareness, you have no idea how to make the change. Problem solving begins with problem awareness.
What makes this particularly difficult is our in-built belief structure, which is largely made up of our passed experiences. If you’ve never experienced the change you want, then in order to begin the process of change, you essentially make a “leap of faith”.
If you’ve never done something before you don’t have the comfort to know that doing certain things will result in certain outcomes. In order to have the courage to make the change, you must believe in the possibility of the outcome, without having ever experienced it.
That’s why it’s so important to make that first dollar online. Once you know that making money on the Internet is possible, even if you only make a dollar, you start to experience the reality of an outcome, rather than just believing in a dream.
If you can make $1, then it seems a lot easier to make $10, then $100, then $1,000, etc. With experience comes confidence, but how do we get confidence without experience?
It’s amazing how easy it is to do something once you have done it before. With the experience, comes familiarity and a realization that yes, it can be done, you know how and you can thus do it again.
However, before you gain the experience yourself, steps taken towards change are based on your observation or study of other people’s experience. Seeing what others have and do, gives you awareness of patterns of behavior you can then repeat, with the expectation to experience the same or similar results.
Unfortunately if you’ve tried to make change happen before and failed to achieve the outcome you want, your assumptions are going to become increasingly negative, and you will start to battle with your own self belief. It takes a strong “inner game” to move passed this and keep striving. Your faith must be unwavering.
This is why it’s so important to learn from people who have gone through the change you want to realize in your life. They offer the best roadmap to follow, to carry with you along with your faith in the belief that it can happen to you too.
That’s why gurus, in the true sense of the word, are gurus.
The term, which comes from Hinduism, refers to a spiritual teacher. “Gu” means darkness, and “ru” means light; thus a guru turns ignorance into enlightenment.
People place faith in the teachings of gurus because gurus can manifest awareness in others. With awareness comes the power to change.
It’s not necessarily an easy process, but we should be thankful we have so many people willing to share what they know so those of us who want to improve ourselves have gurus to turn to.
When a person possesses a strong clarity about key aspects of life, it’s their strength and guidance that can empower others to realize their goals. Clarity is a powerful liberator, almost as powerful as experience itself, and of course true clarity comes from experience.
There are many insights to be gained from this article and I don’t expect everyone to interpret it in the same way. I value your feedback, so if you have anything to say after reading this far, please leave your comment. I can’t promise to respond to everything, but I will read what you have written.
What I hope is that you will read this blog post and use it to help you find the courage to make positive change a reality in your life. In particular, if what I have written helps you to battle through periods when your belief is faltering – which we all go through during periods of change – then I consider that the best outcome possible.
Whether you take stock in concepts like the Law of Attraction, believe in The Secret, are religious, or you think it’s all bunk and live a very scientific and pragmatic life, doesn’t matter. You are human and thus you are wired to experience life with emotions and live with the same internal conditions we all face. Ultimately that is your greatest weakness and your greatest strength.
How your life progresses rests in your awareness and acceptance of reality, and how you then leverage it for positive outcomes in your life.
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