If you’re into self development you are probably very much aware of affirmations. They seem to pop out everywhere as solutions to all our problems.
There are different kinds of affirmations:
Some believe that if you say something enough times it gets picked up by your subconscious and becomes part of your reality. For example, if you say “I’m brave, I’m brave” enough times you will become braver.
Some go a step further and say you can design your future with the help of affirmations. Bob Proctor (whose work I’m currently studying) suggests that if you write on a piece of paper a goal, keep the paper with you at all times and read it as often as you can it will come true. For example: if you write “I’m going to work as a doctor in that hospital 10 years from now” you will become one; and he points at himself and some of the people he’s worked with as living examples. Some of their goals were really specific.
So, are affirmations the secret to success? No, there are many other more important things you must do in order to achieve success. Are they nonsense? Nope, they can be a very useful tool to get you to wherever you want to go. How do they work? Allow me to explain:
Let us take the writing your goal on a piece of paper example.
Let’s say your goal is to become a millionaire in 10 years time. You have no idea how to get there. Opportunities may come your way but you don’t notice them because you’re so busy managing your day to day problems; your goal seems so farfetched, you don’t see how you could reach it. But then you meet me (or Bob Proctor).
I tell you to take a piece of paper and write: “I am going to be a millionaire by new years eve 2023”. Then you take that piece of paper and shove it in your pocket; and every day you read it with every occasion you have. You read it 10, 15, 20 times a day.
At first you’ll find it funny (at best). But, after 20-30 days of doing this it will slowly get ingrained into your subconscious. You will begin to believe in the fact that you’ll become a millionaire by thirty – If you tell yourself something again and again for a sufficient amount of time you will start to buy into your own statement regardless of how impossible it may sound at first. You will not become braver, but you will begin to believe that you are brave –.
And, when that happens you will start to look for proof to confirm this new found knowledge. Human beings have a tendency to see and look for things which confirm (and therefore reinforce) their current model of reality. Your current model of reality is keeping you alive so your mind wants to keep it as it is. If your current model of reality sees a million dollars in your future, your mind will open up to any opportunity to make money and urge you to take it. You will begin to notice all the things that pop up in your life which may result in you getting rich.
Peoples thoughts are so scattered they can’t decide on anything. You however will no longer ignore the chances that come your way. You are focused on reaching your goal (just by reading a sentence).
Will this make certain that your dream comes true? Of course not!
But is this the right approach to take if you wish to be a millionaire within your next decade? Is focusing on your goals (and reinforcing it) every single day, taking any opportunity that you may stumble across and actively searching for new ones, the right way to go about achieving your goals? Obviously yes!
Imagine yourself on a straight line towards your goal. Something happens that shakes you off the road; but, then you read the paper in your pocket and remember that you need to get back on it. What the statement does is it gets you focused (and refocused) on your goal; and that’s basically the only way you can achieve it. Will this work every time? Probably not, but this is the way that all those who have ever achieved their dreams did it. And even if you don’t quite achieve your exact goal, you will still go a long way. You might not become a millionaire, but you will most definitely be richer than your average Joe.
Another thing that can help you with your goals is assuming the law of attraction. It is the belief that your thoughts literally create reality.
According to this law, if you know in the bottom of your heart that you are rich then that will become reality (after a slight time delay). Whenever you think of something you put out a vibe into the universe. The universe then answers your vibe and you basically get what you “asked” for. If you constantly complain about being poor you will always be poor (because you’re emitting a poor vibe). If you think that the world is kind and rich and awesome your reality will become as such (kind of like a self fulfilling prophecy).
To a certain extent the law is true. For example if you are kind, others will treat you with kindness in return.
If however you’re an asshole, people will want to punch you in the face. We’ve all met that one random asshole who was a dick to us for no good reason. We’ve all seen ourselves turn into assholes as a result of them being an asshole. And even when we manage to muster up the strength to not be a dick in return, the guy still thinks that we’re the ones being the assholes. You reap what you sow. Assholes end up feeling surrounded by assholes, evil by evil, good by good. People treat you as in response to how you treat them.
It is also true that if you believe in abundance you will start to see it everywhere you go. If you believe the world is filled with money, you are likely to be much more aware of it (and much wealthier as a result). If you believe that someone is a great artist you will only see masterpieces in his work (even in his rubbish). The law of attraction states that our thoughts create reality and they do. They create our reality, reality as we see it.
Fact of the matter is our realities are subjective. I may look at a painting and see a landscape, you may see a portrait and another may see an apple tree. Someone with a more artistic sense may see a person in front of an apple tree in the middle of a plain.
So, whether or not we emit vibes out into the universe, (our) reality is always what we think it is.
And, if we were to find out that reality is, in fact different from our initial understanding of it, our idea of reality will change at exactly the same time.
So how can we tell whether us realizing that reality is different than what we previously thought changed our idea of reality or whether our new idea of what reality is created the new reality?
Well that’s the problem with this law. Of course we can! 600 years ago people thought the world was flat, but, after a while they discovered it to be round. According to this law the world was flat 600 years ago and became round when people started believing it to be round.
Another problem with this law (if we take it as universal and therefore as a law) is that it implies that hurricanes happen because people put out negative vibes into the universe and if I were to truly believe that midget unicorns will start raining from the sky tomorrow, it will become reality. For these reasons I never could really get myself to buy into the law of attraction as an absolute law (for too long) but:
The reason why I write about it is that every time I did buy into it weird stuff happened.
When I was little I used to play backgammon with my brother. At one point it struck my puny little mind that if I arranged the dices in my hand in a certain way I could throw a double. Of course this was just my imagination. The way I put the dices in my hand was completely random. However, somehow my belief became reality. I would throw double after double, to my brothers’ despair. I remember I once threw 6 doubles in a row. Even weirder is the fact that I always knew in the moment I threw the dices that it will be a double. It was a weird feeling in my gut that was always true.
When I first read about the law of attraction I decided I would buy into it (just for fun). I had an exam in a few days, at math. This was not an exam I could hope to pass. I knew nothing, there was no time to study, nor did I feel like doing so. So what I did was simply tell myself that somehow, someway I will pass. I talked to a friend that night and told her I would pass because I know it will happen and (because “I know!”) it will happen.
The next day I looked at the exam sheet with complete confidence in my success. Somehow I was actually able to solve one of the exercises on the page (to my surprise). However before I even finished the exercise I was shocked by my surroundings. Everybody, literally the whole freaking room was copying like crazy. Sheets and math books were flying through the room and the teacher was just standing there doing nothing. We all knew this teacher to be one of the harsh ones, yet he did nothing. I solved 1 subject, copied the other 2. I remember trying my best not to be seen by the teacher. But, as I was running out of time I realized the dude didn’t even care. So I just blatantly copied with him looking straight at me. Not a single fudge was given that day. I walked into the exam room with one math book, I left with 2 (some guy forgot his on one of the benches). No need to mention I passed, just like everybody in the room.
I gave up predicting the future after a while because it seemed so farfetched. But recently I did it again.
I had a multiple choice exam for which I barely knew anything. In the middle of the exam I remembered the law of attraction and convinced myself that I will pass. At that exam 80% of the classroom failed. I, who knew nothing of the subject, got a 5 (the minimum passing grade).
Of course this could all have been just coincidence. Whenever I used the law of attraction I would always tell myself that I will succeed, until I reached a point where I believed it. I would have the kind of blind faith you see in the expressions of very religious people. And then the magic happened.
Using the law of attraction multiple times in a row does have a habit of failing. The explanation would be that you may be able to convince yourself once in a while, but doing it too often is a bit much. Or perhaps your luck has simply ran out, who knows?
But what I do know is that believing in the law of attraction gives you an incredible sense of self-confidence and faith that you will succeed no matter what (which makes you fight to the bitter end). And that’s something we need more of. Also, since your brain is convinced of your success it gives you access to all your resources. I remember being completely alert when in the exam room, nothing missed my eyes; I was looking for any opportunity I could find.
There is much, much more to be said about affirmations and the law of attraction so I’ll probably make a part 2 on this subject one day. For now, however meditate on the above and give them a try. If anything, the feelings of focus, confidence and control you will get are most definitely worth the trouble.