The Secret & The Law Of Attraction ...15 Years Later

“Ask for what you want, and be prepared to get it”

Maya Angelou

In 2006 there was a whole raft of self-help books that burst on to the book scene, the content of which crept over in to spirituality and new age philosophy. Everyone, including Noel Edmonds, was extolling the virtues of Cosmic Ordering and ‘The Secret’. 

To be honest, it was right up my street!

What I Love About ‘The Secret’

One of the things I loved about this was that it helped so many people to open up and think in a new way. Previously focussed on ‘action-action-action’, some business people seemed to see a new way to approach goals. For a spiritual person in a business world, at the time, surrounded by a lot of men who wanted to enforce their way of doing things, this was a breath of fresh air to me. 

Reviewing this literature 15 years on, and having had some interesting discussions and experiences along the way I think there are some elements that need to be reconsidered.

How To Manifest Your Dream Life

When I look up ‘law of attraction’ online, a myriad of articles, books, and social media posts fill the screen. Having a look around there are a huge number of elements that are now encouraged in order to attract what you desire in to your life. Back in 2006 The Secret said it was simple:

Ask, Believe, Receive 

However, if you read the book (watch the film, listen to the audio) these three simple things were much more nuanced and included other elements that are now listed in these more modern guides including:

  • Gratitude: express gratitude for what you already have, and for what you wish to receive
  • Visualise: See or imagine what you wish as clearly as possible
  • Act As If: Be the person you would be if you had the thing you want. This is more about attitude and behaviours than spending money you don’t have, or pretending you’re someone you’re not.
  • Let Go Of Attachment To Outcome: Believe it is on it’s way – don’t think about the ‘how’
  • Feel Good Now: Don’t wait for some THING to change how you feel or who you are. You can feel good about yourself now.
  • Be Clear About What You Want: Set you intentions and know exactly what you want
  • Follow Your Intuition: You never know where it will lead, and it could lead you straight to what you want. 
  • Get ‘High Vibe’: in the (paraphrased) words of the secret ‘You Are A Transmitter To The Universe’ your thoughts and feelings send a signal and you attract back the same frequency that you send out. Boost your energy and you will attract good things. Stay low frequency, you will attract less good things.

What Was Missing From ‘The Secret’

What was clearly missing (although could be found if you dig down into the stories and are actually looking for it) in the Secret, was any talk of taking action. If you don’t want to do anything, desire a quick fix, and not to have to take responsibility for yourself, it’s possible you could completely miss anything remotely connected to taking action.

Taking action is now firmly on the list of ‘how to manifest’ for most people writing and talking about The Law Of Attraction. It is not only essential for many things you will want to achieve, receive, or manifest (because the universe isn’t going to finish your accounts for you!), but it tells the universe you are serious about your goals. It gives out the vibe that you are going to achieve it. What I’ve experienced is that more magic happens when you take some action towards your dreams and desires. 

I think at the time, in a very action-focused world, it was like someone was waving a magic wand and saying, ‘you don’t actually need to do anything, just think about it and it will happen’. And, honestly, I have had some magical moments along those lines, however, in most cases, I believe action is SUPER important. 

I had an ambition to write a book. I could see it clearly. And I could have done all the things on the list: acted like I was already an author, increased my vibe, visualised it etc. But I did still have to write it. 

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Samuel Goldwyn

The Darker Side Of The Secret

There are also a couple of aspects that reflect a darker side of the law of attraction. They are the concept of victim blaming and spiritual/energetic snobbery. 

You Get Back What You Give Out

Telling someone that they have attracted a person or situation in to their life that has been traumatic, negative, or harmful, or all three is not only unfair, it is dismissive of their experience and feelings and totally victim-blaming. It gives perpetrator’s a big fat pass to absolution of responsibility and plays into society’s victim-blaming culture. We need to be extremely cautious of this element of the law of attraction. 

It is one thing to discuss spiritual, or any type of philosophy in a classroom (over dinner, with a friend, or in a book) in a detached and intellectual manner. It is quite another to apply it to real-world situations and especially to suggest that it is the answer to the ‘why did this happen to me’ question when someone is going through a difficult situation 

And then there’s the spiritual snobbery that can come along with it.  ‘Your vibe attracts your tribe’. Yes, to a degree, I agree with that. But if someone is treating me badly, or I’m not ‘attracting my soul mate’, don’t make that my fault. Some people use this is a method of elevating their status and demeaning you as someone ‘less spiritual’. It’s an energetic pat on the head with a metaphorical ‘there there, dear!’ I was told once that I needed to be better and focus on the vibe I was transmitting in order to find a ‘nice man’. Yes, we can always be working on ourselves, improving ourselves etc. But that doesn’t mean we’re not ok now. And there are plenty of people in the world who have never even considered their ‘vibe’ who are quite happy and have great relationships. 

Maybe my energy did change after I’d been told this.

I certainly went from being a bit down about the situation, to being super-pissed about what he’d said. Maybe that shifted my energy to a different vibration? I did get pretty angry and told the universe exactly what I thought of this theory! And then a few weeks later started dating a very nice man who is perfect for me. You could say I needed to be told that to shift my energy. But I don’t think anyone has the right to make people feel bad about who and how they are. It seems they are doing that to make themselves feel better, to elevate their status with this awesome, insightful, wisdom they possess. Interestingly he didn’t mention this theory to the men in the group saying they had a similar problem attracting the right woman!

I believe The Secret and other books of that genre that came out in the 2000’s are fascinating. I believe that they opened up a whole world to people, perhaps even to those who had never considered ’the universe’ or ‘energy’ before. And I think they can help us to learn a lot about ourselves and our beliefs while we’re privileged enough to be living in a relatively affluent and safe society. 

I would simply add ‘Take Action’ to their teachings. 

I would also add,

‘Don’t use the law of attraction to be an arse, put people down, look down on others, or victim-blame.’

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Helen Leathers

Transformational Women's Coach, Trainer, Speaker & Author

Combining a spiritual outlook, a pragmatic approach, and a sense of humour I want to help you remember who YOU are and reveal YOUR path so you can step on to it empowered, energised, inspired and guided.

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  1. Jenny

    That’s a brilliant and timely blog post Helen. I literally just found The Secret on my mum’s shelf and ready it.. and found it annoying and a bit patronising.. and l had a sense it wouldn’t work quite as described! Your interpretation is perfect and completely fits with my lived experience. But you are right in saying it has its place and arrived at the right time to open people up to new ways of thinking. Anyway your post has restored my faith in cosmic ordering as l don’t suppose you knew I’d just read it!!

    • Helen

      Wonderful! No, I had no idea you had just read it! 🙂
      I’m glad you found it useful


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