The Secret and the Current Financial Crisis
As a coach, it was not easy to take a contrary view to The Secret at the height of its popularity. Certainly, I could have ridden the wave of excitement over the "Law of Attraction," marketed myself as a "Law of Attraction Coach," and maybe made more money while the hype was at its peak.
I knew, however, that The Secret was part of an unhealthy American obsession with materialism over substance, of obsessive goal-setting over spiritual peace. I saw that Americans were getting over their heads in debt and getting wrapped up in the idea that they could have it all, if they just thought positively enough.
A dear friend of mine, who was the first person to introduce me to The Secret, became a subprime mortgage broker when the The Secret hit. He made a lot of money selling mortgages to people who probably couldn't afford them. Now our economy is on the verge of collapse due to these types of mortgages.
My friend did not go into the business of selling bad loans because he was an uncaring person. Rather, he truly believed that he was attracting wealth using the laws of positive thinking. In the world of The Secret, you don't stop to think that perhaps you're participating in a glorified Ponzi Scheme that hurts the people at the bottom - because that would be considered "negative thinking." So it's not uncommon for overly excited "Law of Attraction" folks to get involved in shady businesses, multi-level marketing companies, and other get-rich-quick schemes in the quest to "attract" a large amount of wealth with the least amount of effort.
Now, the entire U.S. economy is hanging on a precipice due to the overabundance of easy credit and the lure of easy money. It is in part due to memes such as The Secret that we got into this mess as a country. We wanted to believe that we could make money fast by buying a house and "flipping" it. We wanted to think we could get high returns in a risky stock market. We wanted to believe that housing always went up, that there was an unlimited expansion ahead of us.
The excitement over The Secret has died down already (as I predicted) - I quite regularly have people emailing me telling me they had tried the "Law of Attraction" ideas presented and found they did not get the promised results. Disillusioned, people are now looking for a more realistic, grounded perspective.
Please don't take my comments to think I am solely a pessimist. But part of my problem with The Secret is that it has always been so dismissive of the abundance that every American has compared to the rest of the world. If you are living in a home with electricity and a computer, you are in the top 1% of the world's population (99% of people on the planet do not own their own computers).
If we as Americans continue to focus on more, more, more at the expense of common sense and sound financial practices, we may lose the high standard of living we are taking for granted.
It may be too late - our current financial crisis may implode the fragile economy and Americans may need to learn the hard way how to live within their means.
But if that does happen, let's remember that it's not the amount of stuff we have that makes us happy, it is our relationship with ourselves, our loved ones, and spirit. That's what's truly important.
The Real Secret to happiness is not money. It is LOVE.