The Law of Attraction: Yay or Nay?

At the beginning of the year, while my family was emptying out cupboards, I came across a collection of my old school work that my mother had kept. Among these was a worksheet where we had been instructed to write what we wanted for our future. We must have been in grade 4. I was pleasantly surprised to find that in summary, what I wanted in life was first, to be a writer and second, to make a lot of money (haha).

This got me thinking about an essay I had read about the law of attraction. I won’t assume that you stumbled upon this in hopes of learning what the law of attraction actually is, so I’ll keep that part brief. Put simply, the law of attraction is pretty much the belief system that our thoughts and wants are so powerful that they control the course of our lives. According to possibly the most famous book regarding this subject, The Secret, “everything that is coming into your life, you are attracting into your life,” from the bad to the good. We wield the power absolutely!

I knew from a young age that I wanted to write and make a lot of money. Now, I am not old, and life has just started happening to me, but I did graduate primary school, high school, university, and law school, so it has been quite a while since grade 4. Therefore, I can say this — in the past 10 years or so, my ambitions have changed many a time. On paper, at this point, I am supposed to be a lawyer because some 6 years ago something possessed me to believe I would want to deal with that much paperwork for the rest of my life. As for my ambition to make a lot of money, in my second year of university, I went through a very serious phase where I wanted to give up on all worldly things and literally live in a cave (I am being entirely serious). Money or work or relationships had absolutely zero appeal to me. 

The point is — in my very short life, I have been many different people. The year before I graduated, however, I picked up my pen and paper (this is obviously figurative; I used a laptop because this is the 21st century after all) and I began to write again. My passion for writing was rekindled immediately. This was around the time I took an interest in freelancing, and my appreciation for being able to create stories grew tenfolds. 

So, there you have it. The things that I wanted, the things that I thought about, the things I visualized when I was 8 still found me, despite how far I had wandered off the path. I don’t know if you see it, but that to me has the law of attraction written all over it. 

Okay, so this may be a bit of a stretch, but it really was stumbling upon my old work that had me questioning how much of our lives we have controlled just by the things we visualized. It is not just me either. Strong custodians of the belief, Oprah Winfrey and Jim Carrey, strongly believe that it was the visualization of their aspirations that was the key to their success. Even when what they desired did not seem feasible, they were without a doubt certain it would happen for them and sure enough, eventually it did. In an interview with Stephen Colbert, comedian Tiffany Haddish tells a story of how she sat on a hotel bed in L.A one day during a tough period in her life and made a list of everything she wanted for herself as instructed. Thing is, she claims, most of the things on that list came true.  

The principle I understand comes in all forms; for instance, it is the same as believing in “the power of positive thinking” and “whatever you speak out into the universe will become yours” in addition to religious versions such as “ask and it shall be given to you” or according to Buddha, “all that we are is a result of what we have thought.” All with slight differences, but ultimately leading to one conclusion: our thoughts are very powerful. 

So what is the logic behind this and how accurate or real would it be? Here is a theory: the law of attraction is linked to our subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind forms a part of our brain that is responsible for taking care of things that we are programmed to do naturally without thinking about them — such as breathing, homeostasis and keeping a regular heart rate. Even things you have mastered, such as driving or writing, are controlled by the subconscious mind, that way they come so naturally that we often have no need to engage our conscious mind to be able to complete these tasks. 

Our subconscious mind also does something very special; while we do not notice, it aligns our behaviors and patterns to our thoughts, desires, wants, ideas and emotions. To work with the law of attraction is to work with your thoughts. It is to think, understand and visualize what you want for your life so that those thoughts are transmitted to our subconscious. Slowly but surely, even without realizing it, we begin to work towards those goals long after we have stopped realizing. 

Writing it down is such an important part of this process because we tend to better store information we have written down with our hands. When you write, it is easier for your brain to commit the information to memory as you tend to process what you are writing better than what you are just thinking about. 

In a recent study carried out at the Dominican University, California, a group of 114 individuals of mixed gender and ethnicities were brought together and segregated into 5 groups. Some were instructed to write down their goals and others were asked to just make goals. It was concluded that those with written down goals were more successful than those who had only thought about it. As earlier mentioned, we seem better able to commit to memory aspirations and visions that we write down. So it seems the law of attraction works extremely well with written down ‘wants’ because as we commit them to memory, we work towards them subconsciously until they are achieved, and therefore, it seems as if we’re attracting the things that we want just by visualizing them.

At the beginning of the year, a colleague advised me to make a list of everything I wanted that year. She claimed that having done the same the year before, she had completely forgotten about the list, but when she looked at it at the end of the year, everything she had set down, she had achieved. This, I believe, captures the true power of the law. The same result manifests when we apply repetition, constantly telling ourselves and our minds what it is we are going to achieve. In the same way writing works, our subconscious, the perfect servant, begins to work in ways we don’t realize to gear us towards whatever it is we are dwelling upon. 

So, is the law of attraction really a confirmed phenomenon? Maybe. It is a concept that seems to have survived the test of time. The more I read, the more I realize how often it is applied in many different forms; this alone to me seems like enough of a reason to believe it is a powerful idea. 

So why hasn’t everyone tried it and become a millionaire? Well, as easy as it may seem on paper, navigating the mind and the way it works is tricky. The way we think is often governed by factors that we sometimes have no control over — our upbringing and our environment can all have a huge effect on our thought process. Our minds are lawful servants and work with what we feed them, whether intentionally or not, so getting a hold on it and transforming it may just not be as feasible for everyone. 

All in all, however, it is entirely possible to achieve exactly what you seek; it will not be a road of rainbows and lollipops, but truly nothing is impossible if you truly believe — just be sure to do your part. Write down what it is you want, map out a viable path to achieving it no matter how ridiculous it seems, believe in your ability to succeed and prepare yourself. Slowly but surely it will manifest, despite how big or outrageous it may be, perhaps not exactly as you envisioned it, but you hopefully won’t be disappointed either. 

As for me, I am still waiting for the wealth I visualized as a child! For now, I leave you with this:

“What you seek, is seeking you.”Rumi