Ok, so it’s worth saying bluntly to any of the nice people out there who might believe in it: The Law of Attraction is complete horseshit. If you need proof, here’s a funny example: In 2015, the author of The Secret had to reduce the price of her home in Santa Barbara some $4.7M—more than 20%—after it had languished on the market without selling. Of course, if she had been following the advice in her book she would have just thought good thoughts about it selling for list price (or better, written herself a check for the amount in advance) and the universe would have taken care of the rest.
We all know that’s not how things work. There’s no science that says your thoughts can will reality into behaving how you like or that thinking negative thoughts will invite negative outcomes—in fact, literally all of science contradicts this. Anyone that tells people differently is conning them.
That is not to say that our thoughts aren’t extremely powerful and that they don’t shape our lives. As Marcus Aurelius wrote:
“Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is colored by such impressions.”
Unlike a con woman like Rhonda Byrnes, Marcus and the Stoics would never say that your thoughts attract the reality you want (or don’t want), but they would say that our thoughts determine the character of the reality we live in. If you see the awfulness in everything, your life will feel awful—even if you are surrounded by wealth and success. If you have a growth mindset, you won’t be easily discouraged when you fail. If you find something to be grateful for in every situation, you will feel blessed and happy where others feel aggrieved or deprived. That’s the idea.
No, it won’t magically give you more. It won’t magically sell your house or make you famous. But it will help you appreciate your life and help you endure adversity that others can’t handle.
The best part is that it’s not a secret either. It’s just common sense.
So let’s practice it.