Normally I wouldn’t discuss this sort of stuff here, but in the last week or so 3 different people sent me a link to this video (or a similar one). This included my cousin who really should have known better. In fact I initially assumed she sent it as a joke because I did not think anyone related to me by blood could actually fall for something silly as this. But alas, these things seem to be more deceptive than I have thought.
I’ll spare you watching the clip which is incredibly boring and stupid and simply tell you what it is about. It is either a promotional clip for The Secret or the whole movie. I don’t know because I couldn’t watch the whole thing.
The Secret is a strangely popular self help phenomenon which promises you wealth, success and fulfillment of all your dreams if you only follow few simple rules. You know – the usual stuff but with a new packaging. The clip I linked too starts with a intriguing intro that introduces the concept as some sort of DaVinci Code secret passed down through generations among the wealthy and influential people of this world. They are really selling it hard and putting a modern, up-to date spin on the same old shit paddled by the self-help guru’s for years. Watching this video totally reminded me of the self help buy from Donnie Darko.
It’s funny how just about every self help program uses the same damn scheme:
- Create a list of positive traits that are exhibited by successful people – stuff like confidence, diligence, positive thinking, etc..
- Establish a deceptively simple process which reinforces these traits
- Emphasize that the process ALWAYS WORKS by showing how the individual traits can be attributed to successful people
- Make sure you define the gains one gets from the process very vaguely and establish that they are based on personal circumstances and thus are not quantifiable or measurable in a scientific way
- Explain lack of gains/results as failure to apply the process properly
It is quite brilliant actually. The process always works, but it cannot be tested because it is so subjective. So if it is not working for you and your friends you are doing it wrong. In fact, you are probably all influencing each-other by comparing your gains. You should stop comparing and instead go back to the source (eg. buy more books) and double up your efforts to follow the process.
The Secret establishes the process to be visualizing something that you want and thinking positively about it. They call it “the law of attraction” which supposedly tates that if you want something badly enough it will happen. So for example, if you want a promotion, you should ask the universe for the promotion, then imagine yourself as if you were already promoted and act accordingly. You will then somehow inexplicably “attract” your promotion. Simple, and curiously enough it will always work.
The process requires you to buy into it fully – if you have any doubts, or any misgivings about it it will not work. If you think about your promotion in negative terms then you are miss-applying the process. If you try to test the process you fill fail because there is no time frame on it. The only thing you can measure is success. If you get promoted – the process helped you. If you don’t, then you either applied it wrong or did not wait long enough. Perhaps the promotion is on it’s way and you are fucking your chances up with all this negativity. It’s quite brilliant!
Brilliant but not new. The secret about “The Secret” is that this very method has been used to rip people off their hard earned money since the begging of time. Most religious organizations applied it in some capacity throughout the ages – some with more success than others. Every single self help guru is using the exact scheme – only dressed up a bit differently.
This is what I tell all the people which forward me this video: if you want a self-improvement philosophy that actually may work for you read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It is a short book, and an easy read. It will take you two evenings tops, and once you read it you will see that The Secret is a crock of shit. Why? Because it tells you to sit on your ass and imagine things until they come true, and then claims credit for everything good that happens in your life. It is bullshit and you know it. It is self-help masturbation!
Coelho’s s not in the self-help business. His book is a nice story that you can read to yourself and to your kid, which urges you to follow your dreams whatever it takes. If you really want something, if you feel like you have a destiny to fulfill then put everything on the line, and go for it. If you are willing to sacrifice everything to fulfill your dream then you can hardly ever fail – Coelho claims that “the whole universe will conspire to help you”. There are no promises in the book – it is just a story. The universe doesn’t really conspire to help anyone. But if you take risks and follow your dreams you will probably be much happier than someone stuck at a dead end job they hate. You may fail, you may lose a lot but at least you will have the satisfaction of having tried. And you probably won’t hate your life – you will get up, dust yourself off and try again.