the psychology behind “the secret”?

I am often asked about “The Secret” and the Law of Attraction, it seems to have become associated with the NLP field somehow. I have even noticed some NLP Trainers have started running workshops on their version of it!

People ask me on a regular basis if I think it works. My take on it is simple: I don’t know. I am not quick to jump to conclusions or pass judgement, but the thing I have noticed is that people who are really focused on what they want seem to succeed much more than those that aren’t.

Now, are they bending reality to their will, did the universe give them what they are asking for? Maybe. That would be nice wouldn’t it?

Don’t believe in that idea? Don’t write off the Law of Attraction just yet! It may still work for you. There is a more psychological explanation for how it may work.

We have in our brain something called the Reticular Activating System, or RAS for short. It is thought that one of its jobs is to be the doorman of our mind. Let me explain…

We are bombarded with thousands of pieces of information a second, we just cannot take in or process that amount of stimuli, so the RAS is the part of our brain that decides what to allow through. If it’s not on the list, it’s not getting in. What decides what is on the list? Well, it is complex process that no one quite understands just yet, but to put it simply, have you ever brought something new, like a car or a piece of clothing? And suddenly seen it everywhere? Did you manifest them? Maybe, but more than likely, your RAS now deems it important enough to let through to your awareness (it “puts it on the list”), and you start to notice them when once you ignored them.

Does that make sense?

I am not saying it is purely psychological I would like to think (being the daft romantic that I am) that the universe is benevolent and does give us what we focus on (I can almost hear the scoffing of the more rationalist readers out there!).

Whichever explanation you want to believe in, don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. Do this experiment: Tell yourself you are going to find some money unexpectedly today. Keep it in the forefront of your mind and look around for it. I guarantee that you will find some money, even if it is just a penny that someone has dropped on the pavement (obviously if you find someone’s wallet or a big suitcase full of cash, you may want to take it to the police station). Now when you find the some cash ask yourself; did you manifest it, or did you just notice something that usually you wouldn’t? Does it matter?

If you can do that with money, imagine what else you can do it with…


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One Response to “the psychology behind “the secret”?”

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  1. Glenn says:

    Hi Matt.
    I like the RAS explanation — seeing what you’re looking for — because it’s a real-world phenomenon that is relatively easily testable.

    And your tone here, as usual, is very ‘open-minded’. However, I think NLPers should, in general, be more openly critical of the LoA idea, and distance themselves from it. I’ll not go into full-on demolition mode here, but suffice to say that anyone with family who died in the holocaust (or similar mass sufferings) tends to find ideas like the LoA not only ludicrous, but insulting.

    Oops, there I go. Breeeeeatheee….