No, I don’t watch Oprah.
I can remember a few years back having people ask me “Did you see Oprah today?” After five minutes of explaining to my patient why I didn’t watch much TV, I was then told about a book called “The Secret.” This book, according to some of my patients who had read it, stated that all one needed to do was to think positively, and really believe you have something, or will have it, and that the universe will respond and that your deepest wants, needs, and desires will manifest themselves in reality, be it a car, cure of a disease, or a bag of doritos.
Now, you might be wondering why I’m bringing this up. I bring it up because not only have a lot of people bought and read this book, but there is some amount of useful truth in the book that I would like to discuss. The principle truth, such as it is that I would like to discuss, is the Law of Attraction.
Some of you may have heard of this, and if you’ve read the above mentioned book, you may have read a little about it. But I thought I would discuss it here because this particular law is something that has been studied for sometime, and actually has some scientific backing to it.
Now, as much as I hate to disappoint folks, this fun little phenomenon does not make for a thought ordered mercedez, but it certainly can have a positive effect on your life.
The Law of Attraction, very simply, is this: Positivity breeds positivity, negativity breeds negativity.
Before you jump to conclusions though, let me elaborate a little…
I encourage you to dig deep in the annals of research on this subject. If you look hard enough, you’ll find fascinating studies with fancy brains scans to accompany them. Yes, brain scans. What does that have to do with anything, you might wonder? Well, the brain is a funny organ. There are conscious processes, such as my purposefully thinking and typing this blog article, and there are unconscious processes, such as my autonomic functions(beating heart, blood pressure). And where this information is certainly widely known, what isn’t so known is other functions, such as neuron formation.
See, the brain likes to make what is going on inside of it(thoughts and such), to match the world around us, and vice versa. For example, ever go driving somewhere in the city that you have never been and feel an odd discomfort? Some of that discomfort can certainly be the anxiety surrounding being in a new area and not wanting to be lost, or get mugged, etc. But there’s this other sensation. It’s a strange uncomfortable feeling mostly up top in your skull. I’m not even certain there’s a word for it. But it’s the sensation your unconscious brain is sending to you to let you know that the surroundings are unfamiliar, and the information is new.
It’s the same feeling you have when you learn a new task at work, or a new building procedure, or even a sport. It’s also the same feeling you have when you move into a new home and your surroundings are new. Eventually your brain makes a new connection or connections, and has a physical representation of the world around you, in your brain. Remember me talking about fancy brain scans? The researchers can measure all this activity via scans and electroencephalograms(brain wave detectors). Wicked cool, huh?
Ok, so back to this positivity breeds positivity, negativity breeds negativity, thing.
See, if you think a lot about negative things, you’re more than likely going to think about more negative things, and do more negative things. Because again, the brain wants stuff to match. If you focus and think about more positive things, you will think about more positive things, and do more positive things. Oh, and the researchers have the scans to prove it.
So what does this mean?
Well, I’ll tell you what this doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that if you focus on positive things, that negative things won’t happen. The reality is that stupid, dumb, negative things will happen in life. Why? Because most of the stuff that will happen in some way involves another person, of whom we have no control over. But…
We can control us. And the more positives we look at and think about and do, the more that it will lead to. So let me give some examples and steps to make this all clear, and that you’ll find useful.
1. Start your day off positive. Write positive affirmations for yourself on sticky notes and leave them on the refrigerator or mirror for you to see every day. There are these fun things called chalk markers that use a liquid chalk that can easily be used on glass surfaces, and is easily cleaned off. Positive affirmations are things like “I am a beautiful person” or “I will succeed today!” I don’t care if you don’t feel it at the moment or don’t believe it at the moment, do it anyway. Remember, your brain wants things to match. If you do this one thing every morning of every day, I promise it will make a difference. For ideas on positive affirmations, go to Operation Beautiful.
2. Write down goals and things you want to do. Did you know that the years of research on positive thinking and goal achieving show that you are twice as likely to achieve your goals if you write them down than those who don’t? And even more likely to achieve those goals if you write them down and review them regularly?
3. Remember that we don’t have control over much, especially other people. If you’ve read any of my other material, this is a theme with me. To ignore this reality is a guaranteed way to add some unwanted, and avoidable stress in your life. Look, you don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept it.
4. Any “No” in life is a first offer. Loads of successful people in life, most in fact, were told no in some fashion. Whether it was Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, former Presidents of countries and companies, inventors and innovators, they were told that they were idiots, their ideas were dumb, and that they wouldn’t succeed. Imagine what this world would look like if they stopped as soon as they heard their first no?
I can tell you this will not result in extra negatives for you. People may push against you because you have a more positive outlook and are doing more positive things, but those aren’t negatives. It only takes a little extra planning and energy to try these things, so give it go, and grab some more positivity today!