Let me preface this post with brutal honesty. I am a realist and a borderline cynic. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why people are as gullible and susceptible as they are. I’m always reading between the lines, checking facts, analyzing statistics, and poking holes in any news headlines, articles, or stories that just seem too good to be true. Because, in my experience, they usually are. It blows my mind that infomercials actual sell anything. (Check out Dateline’s investigation into informercials).
So when the movie, “The Secret” came out in 2006, I was quite furious at the idea that “everything one wants or needs may be accomplished by believing that one will receive that outcome, repeatedly thinking about it, and maintaining positive emotional states to ‘attract’ it.” Last time I checked, the only things I’ve ever “attracted” were mosquito bites and crusties (for being a cynic, of course). I just checked again – yep – it turns out the only things I’ve ever acquired, the only pretty pennies I’ve ever saved, and the only thing worth a darn in my life didn’t come from thinking about it for days on end while “maintaining positive emotional states”. It would have been nice to just think up the woman I ended up landing, but alas, I actually had to chase her. Who would have thought? I suppose I could have tried thinking about how good looking I am and how the entire female race would envy the girl I ended up choosing, but I ended up poking a few holes in that too.
I like to consider myself a take-action kind of guy, and I can truly say, it’s the only way I’ve ever gotten results that I wanted! Needless to say, I was quite pleased last November when one of the major contributors to the film “The Secret” (James Arthur Ray) was convicted of three counts of negligent homicide. It was further evidence to me that merely thinking your way to success was a load of hogwash. Did you think your way into jail, James? I guess you didn’t see that coming. Is the cynic in me showing yet? Don’t worry, all this is coming to a point – and a realistic point at that.
While I don’t believe in most of the hogwash out there about “thinking your way to success”, I do believe there are some basic principles we should all follow for success. I don’t necessarily know that they are laws of attraction, or if attraction has anything to do with it, but nevertheless they’ve gotten me a long way. I hate to admit it, but “The Secret” did have some half truths buried in it. There is definitely power in positive thinking and optimism, but there is another half to the equation. There is only power in positive thinking IF that thinking translates into some form of action. Being a happy, healthy person, never hurt anyone, and IT DOES help you win friends and influence people. But not just through thinking it – through doing it, speaking it, living it, etc. All of which require action. Dreamers, realists and cynics can all take that one to the bank.
The other day (in my realistic, borderline cynical way) I suppose I was throwing some negative words around the office. The boss joked (or maybe he was serious?) that I was killing the two plants that were near my desk (they did look pretty awful). To make up for my negative action, I asked one of our account managers to come give one of the plants a kiss to cheer it back up. Quite surprisingly, she did! The plant died. Cynics win! Just kidding. The truth is, there is another half to this story as well. The other plant’s outcome was much better. The boss took special care to take it under his wing and nurture it for a few days with phrases you should only say to a puppy. That plant might as well have been a puppy, because it reacted like one. It now sits proudly, strategically placed a few feet from my desk, daily mocking my cynicism – and rightfully so.
Turn those thoughts into action, even if it means sounding ridiculous. You never know what kind of plant or puppy you might bring back to life.
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