Why the Law of Attraction doesn't work

and what to do about it

The Law of Distraction

If you've ever wondered what you should do to make life better and looked online, you've probably come across The Law of Attraction.

For those who don't know, The Law of Attraction basically says think about things, and they'll happen. Oddly, many people just don't seem to be able to make the LoA work.

The Law of Distraction is for all those people.

So if we do want to make life better, what can we do about it?

The literature of success is full of the need to have well-defined goals. Well-defined goals mean you know where you are going, your subconscious knows where you are going and crucially, you both know when you get there.

The theory is that well-defined goals prime your Reticular Activating System (RAS) which is the part of your brain tasked with filtering the vast array of sensory inputs from your eyes, ears, touch and even your own thoughts and letting through only the important stuff to your conscious awareness.

Like being hyper aware of everyone else's hats when you're about to buy a hat, having well-defined goals adds awareness of anything related to them to the list of things, like threats to your survival and opportunities to enhance your life, that you are consciously thinking about. You are therefore far more likely to take action, and its the action that really brings the results.

This is all great, as long as:

  1. You review your goals often enough for your RAS to pick up on the stimuli
  2. You already know that achieving the goal is a foregone conclusion
  3. Oh yes, and you don't get distracted

That works quite well when it comes to things like a shopping list - you review it, in my case about fifty times, while in the shop. OK, so a dinosaur may get sucked through a wormhole, deposited in Waitrose and in the ensuing rampage, I might not get everything on my list. But as far as my subconscious is concerned, its a forgone conclusion that I'll get home with at least most of what I'd intended to get.

But what about higher, more rarified aspirations? How about Purpose? Validity? Truth? Meaning? How can you approach those knowing that achieving them is a forgone conclusion? While a glance at modern life would have it appear that they are not of any interest, is that really what we think? Is it really what you think?

The Meaning of Life

Monty Python's Meaning of Life, that is, had this to say:

[Large corporate boardroom filled with suited executives]

Exec #1: Item six on the agenda: "The Meaning of Life" Now uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.

Exec #2: Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: People aren't wearing enough hats. Two: Matter is energy. In the universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this "soul" does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.

Exec #3: What was that about hats again?

Exec #2: Oh, Uh... people aren't wearing enough.

Exec #1: Is this true?

Exec #4: Certainly. Hat sales have increased but not pari passu, as our research...

Exec #3: [Interrupting] "Not wearing enough"? enough for what purpose?

Exec #5: Can I just ask, with reference to your second point, when you say souls don't develop because people become distracted...

[looking out window]

Exec #5: Has anyone noticed that building there before?

If one can avoid the temptation to get further distracted checking out Youtube videos (go on, I challenge you) the point is well made. How do we transcend the lure of the banal and keep focus on the things that matter? What actually does matter? And how can we use those ideas to make life better for ourselves and others? The Law of Distraction is the place to explore those questions.

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