Since The Secret came out back in 2006 or so, The Law of Attraction has gained a lot of devotees, as well as a lot of naysayers. However, I think a lot of people simply don’t understand how it works. What I hope to do in this post is clear some of that clutter, especially as the Law of Attraction applies to new, aspiring, and established authors.
What is the Law of Attraction
First, let’s get on the same page, so to speak, and start with some foundational concepts:
Law of Attraction: The idea that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life.
On the surface, this can sound like a lot of “woo,” but it is actually based on brain science. At the base of your brain, you have something called the reticular activating system, or RAS for short. Its function is to filter out most of what your ears, nose, and eyes bring in all day. That’s a lot of data and if you paid attention to it all you’d go mad. So the RAS filters it out and only brings to attention what it “thinks” you want to know about.
How does it know what you want to know? It uses what you focus on. So, if you’ve just purchased a white car, you might find yourself noticing white cars because your RAS thinks you’re interested in white cars. And, if you think that there are purple butterflies chasing you around town, every time a purple butterfly happens to be nearby, your RAS will point it out to you. It doesn’t matter if what you’re focusing on is pleasant or unpleasant, your RAS will be like a good doggy and bring it to your attention.
So, the way the Law of Attraction really works is this: There are myriad possibilities floating around you all the time. But you will only notice them when you decide to focus on them and enroll your RAS to start pointing them out to you.
Making the Law of Attraction Bring Your Author Dreams to Life
There are four steps in making the Law of Attraction work for you. Below I’ve provided three examples for new, aspiring, and experienced authors.
Aspiring Author: I want to finish my first book
Step 1: Thought — The first step is to not only have the thought of what you want clear in your mind but to phrase it positively and in the present tense. In this case, you might phrase your goal like this:
I am so happy that I have just completed my first book!
Step 2: Add emotion — The second step is to activate that thought with emotion. You should visualize and feel what your goal will be like once achieved. After you’ve typed that last word in your word processor, what will you do? (Besides saving the file, that is!) Will you do a happy dance? Will you call someone and share your joy? Will you go live on social media? Imagine how you’ll celebrate that moment.
Step 3: Be open — Now let that visualization go. And let any thought on how you’ll get to that point go. You don’t have to know how your goal will be achieved, just that it will be achieved. Keep your eyes open for the opportunities that come your way — they may not be what you expected. Perhaps you’ll be invited to a writing retreat. Or suddenly time you thought you were going to spend doing one thing will open up so you can spend it working on your book.
Step 4: Take action — You can’t just sit there contemplating your navel or your book just won’t get written. You have to act on those opportunities to work on your book when they come. God does provide, but only if you act on the opportunities He makes available to you.
New Author: I want to sell my first 200 copies
Step 1: Thought — Phrase your goal positively in the present test.
I’m so excited that I have sold 200 copies of my book!
Step 2: Add emotion — Activate that thought with emotion: You’ve just sold 200 copies of your book. How does that feel in your body? How does it feel in your mind? Is there anything special that you are going to do to celebrate that moment that can cement that emotion for you?
Step 3: Be open — Don’t be married to how those 200 books will be sold. They could sell on Amazon one by one. Or a business could buy all 200 in one purchase. Or some combination could happen. It doesn’t really matter as long as 200 are sold, right? So let go of the how and focus on the what.
Step 4: Take action — When opportunities to sell your book come up, take them. Be proactive. Look for opportunities to sell your book. Be a shameless book promoter. Alas, books rarely sell themselves … and they only fly off the shelves in Harry Potter novels.
Experienced Authors: I want to finally finish that course based on my book I’ve been working on and fill it with excited and happy students.
Step 1: Thought — Phrase your goal positively in the present test.
I feel so blessed that 300 people have enrolled in my course.
Step 2: Add emotion — Activate that thought with emotion: Are you excited? In what way? What does having 300 students mean to you and your business? Can you dig deep to the root emotion that drove you to build that course and enroll those students? That will be the most powerful emotion to make that goal come true.
Step 3: Be open — Be OK with 272 students … or 302. Be open to achieving the purpose of your course in a completely different way than a course, because that can happen, too.
Step 4: Take action — Act as if you already have those 300 students enrolled — within reason, obviously. Take the actions you need to take to set the course up the right way. Do the promotions you need to do to enroll them. Be of service fully expecting 300 people to enroll. Do not be wishy-washy here. That will backfire. Hold firm to your end goal and keep moving toward it until it happens.
A Note About Visualization and Emotional Activation
The reason that the Law of Attraction takes thought and turns it into an experience, is, in part, because of the feeling and visualization that happens in-between.
Thoughts are closely associated with feelings. When you think, you eventually feel. Most thoughts have an emotion attached to them. When you feel things, you begin to think some more. If you are able to convince yourself very deeply that what you desire will happen (in fact, has already happened) — to the point where you can feel it — then there’s a very good chance that it will happen.
There have been studies that prove to visualize an action before you take it can improve that action. For example, a group of basketball players was separated into two groups. One group practiced the game physically, the other, mentally. Which group improved? The group that visualized playing the game perfectly. Do you want to become a successful author? Visualize what that would look and feel like. Take your thought — a successful author — and add feeling to it, and then play that out in your mind.
The Missing Piece
The reason, I think, that the Law of Attraction has failed so many people is the emphasis on the thinking, feeling, and visualizing, and hardly any discussion of taking action. Without taking action, the Law of Attraction can’t work. Act as if as much as you can, taking baby steps to get you where you want to go. Write a faux check and paste it on the wall. Jim Carrey did that and eventually, he earned the sum he wrote on that check. Use your imagination to put you in the feeling of your goal so that your RAS can point out opportunities for you to get there more quickly.
The Law of Attraction Takes Time
Don’t despair if things don’t happen right away. Just be confident that things will happen and keep following the steps outlined above. With the power of the Law of Attraction, you won’t be able to leap tall buildings, but you will have the ability to control the good things that happen to you in your life if you don’t get discouraged.
This post combines, updates, and refocuses three previous posts from this blog, all published in 2007.