While the law of attraction has us believe we can be reaching our goals by simply focusing on what we want, the Principles of Attraction may be a more successful way of achieving our goals through mindfulness and thought-directed action.
Just think hard enough about the life you want, and you’ll have it – it’s as simple as that according to Law of Attraction. For many, this method fails to work. And that’s why the Law of Attraction has some serious challenges. Although the Law of Attraction is an established paradigm, the Principles of Attraction is a new mode gaining popularity. It is a slight change in wording but one that makes all the difference for the concepts underpinning the psychological theory.
What is the Law of Attraction?
The Law of Attraction is a psychological theory that dates back to times of the Ancient Greeks. It dictates that if you focus your mind on visualising or imagining a certain desire it will come into fruition. All of your thoughts, actions, and focus must be channelled towards this image constantly. By doing this, the Law claims that you will attract what you focus on – from like-minded people, to the desirable life or object itself. In basic terms – think hard enough about it and it will happen.
What is the difference between the Principles and the Law?
The Law of Attraction promotes obsessive one-track focus on a particular item or feature of life, and in its endeavour to seek positivity and attract like-minded people, it simultaneously alienates and promotes pessimism. Conversely, the Principles of Attraction focuses on positivity and mindfulness, channelling our energies towards a healthy and sustainable goal.
One of the largest challenges that we encounter when looking at the Laws of Attraction is that they don’t take into account the realities of life which are quite often beyond human control. According to the Laws of Attraction, incidents such as physical accidents, weather disasters, bad timing, illnesses and injuries are all linked back to a lack of positivity and visualisation of our goals. Somewhere along the way we have lost focus and have attracted the ‘bad’ because we weren’t focused enough on the ‘good’.
This element is referred to as ‘visualisation’ under the Law of Attraction. The Principles of Attraction turn away from this somewhat inactive visualisation aspect and expand the term to encourage a more active role for us as visualisers. Psychologist and life coach Dr James Michael Nolan says, “our thoughts can get the ball rolling for the possibility of creation” but we must put the hard yards and energy into achieving our goals – simply picturing them is not enough.
How do I follow the Principles of Attraction?
Professor Neil Farber of Psychology Today advises the following in order to achieve a lifestyle in line with the Principles of Attraction:
- Visualising is a process not an outcome.
- Picturing your desired life does not produce this desired life. Visualising and focusing your energies into this idea is a process for obtaining what you are looking for – it does not immediately produce your desired life.
- Value-based goals are more important than wants and desires.
- Do not focus on the two-storey house with swimming pool, six bedrooms and a large backyard. Ask yourself why you want this. What feelings and emotions are underpinning this end goal? A sense of achievement? A place to call your own? A place your children can grow up with space and freedom? Make these values of family, connectivity, space and freedom your goal. Visualise these rather than what you perceive as their physical embodiment.
- Your actions matter.
- Regardless of how much time you spend focusing on your goals, at the end of the day it’s you who needs to make them happen. You are responsible for your actions and when your collective energies are all focused on these values, your actions should follow suit. Your goals are much more likely to be realised this way.
- Be mindful of the present.
- While looking ahead to the future and what you are hoping to find there, don’t forget to live in the present. It’s the choices that you make in the current moment that have the biggest impact on your future.
- Remember challenges.
- Regardless of how hard we might focus and commit our actions to achieving our goals, there are things in the world that are out of our control. No matter how much positive energy we may be sending out into the universe, accidents, challenges, roadblocks and stop signs are part of life. Don’t be hard on yourself – these things are not from a deficit in positivity on your part, but are features of all human life. Be optimistic, but realistic.
What other things can I do?
Dr Nolan suggests that a good way to maintain positivity and mindfulness whilst following the Principles of Attraction is to keep journals and lists of things that you appreciate in life already. This, combined with surrounding yourself with positive caring people and engaging with them in nurturing ways, is essential to staying happy while pursuing your goals.
Suggested Activities for mindfulness:
- Every morning before beginning the busy day, spend between 10-30 minutes meditating. Find a quiet place in the house, take a seat cross-legged or lay flat on your back and focus on your breathing. Follow your breath in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, out for four seconds, hold again and repeat. Calming your mind will help you reflect on whatever comes into your thoughts and prepare yourself for the day ahead.
- Meditation can also be useful at the end of the day. Incorporating meditation into your nightly routine can assist with reflection on the day that has been and calm your senses ahead of the new day to come.
- Gratitude lists
- Writing a small 5-10 points list about things you are grateful for and the reasons you are grateful for them in your life is an excellent way to stay mindful and focus your goals in a healthy way. These lists can be made at the beginning or at the end of the day, and are particularly useful when we are feeling lost, sad, angry or losing touch with our goals.
- These lists can cover anything from a person you are grateful for, the city you live in, to the small things that have made you smile during the day.
- Keeping these lists in a journal or notebook is also very important. If we’re having a particularly bad day and are finding it hard to channel our thoughts positively, looking back on these lists is a wonderful way to redirect and focus our energies in the right direction again.
- Going for a stroll – particularly with loved ones, family, and friends – is another fantastic way to practice mindfulness and focus on your goals. Reflecting on the things you see on the walk such as the natural surroundings, the sounds, the people you may have encountered is an important way to remind yourself to live in the present moment while still aiming to achieve your goals.
Why doesn’t the Law concept work?
The key difference that Dr Nolan highlights is; “Principles outline how things go, or tend to go. Laws say they cannot go otherwise.” This is why it is useful to consider attraction within the framework of principles; guidelines and features to follow rather than make-or-break laws that will often end in disappointment.
Studies show that following the Law of Attraction method without consideration of the elements underpinning the psychological process results in a success rate of only 0.1%. Very few people can achieve their obsessively-visualised end goal within the rigidity of the Laws of Attraction. The Principles, on the other hand, give us flexibility and room for growth – not to mention the impact on your own sense of self during the process.
What should I take away from the Principle of Attraction?
- Take action for you own life choices.
- Make decisions that will help you achieve your goals.
- Chanel your thoughts, meditations, mantras and efforts into what you want.
- Send positive energies outward and receive positive energies back in return.
It is up to us to personally change our attitudes and follow the Principles – it is not up to the world to deliver us everything we want if we think hard enough on it. As Professor Farber says, “Don’t leave your goal fulfilment to the universe.” Go out, set your goals, aim your positive energies at achieving them, and appreciate the good things you already have.