How to get what you want out of life.
“What you have become is what you have thought” — Buddha
Often times self-improvement and personal growth can be quite esoteric. I am a man of science, which makes me rather sceptical to those things. But some things you stumble across when being interested in personal development actually run like a common thread through philosophy, science, psychology and esoterism.
The law of attraction is such a thing.
Here’s how you can apply it for your own life and become a master of it.
What it’s not.
The law of attraction is an amazing concept that can help us incredibly when we want to reach our goals. But it’s not a hands-of-the-steering-wheel kind of concept. It’s much rather a tool in our toolbox that we can use.
A good friend of mine, who is a very esoteric person often times stated that you “only need to think about good things and they will happen”.
That’s not completely wrong, but it’s not quite the full picture. Only thinking about running a marathon will not make me run that marathon. I need to put in the work and train for it. Only thinking about having more money won’t make us rich. We also need to spend less money, keep more to us and financially educate us.
What I’ve also read or heard often is the statement that our thinking influences the universe. Once again, I am a man of science, so I am having a hard time with these phrases. That doesn’t mean though that I flat out refuse them. I just interpret them differently.
Do I believe that my thinking changes the world? No. But do I think that my thinking changes MY world (e.g. universe)? Oh hell yes.
So it’s basically just a different side of the same coin. It’s the same concept that is looked at from different angles.
The good thing is: Whether you are an extremely esoteric person, a genius astrophysicist, or just a normal person like you and me… we are all allowed to interpret concepts that help us improve our lives in whatever way we deem fit. There is no right or wrong about philosophy and personal growth. That’s the great thing about it.
How to use it.
The law of attraction is the concept that our thinking influences our lives.
And it does. Neuroscience has proven many times that your thinking alters the structure of your brain. There are so many studies that have shown a link between aging and the difference in the brains functions depending on people’s thinking that I can’t even begin to link them. (If you are interested in them you can search Pubmed for every medical study there is. Your guide to all things science in medicine.)
If the brain is too abstract to you just imagine a weight lifter, who pushes his weights up once more than his training partner, just because he is more determined to do it.
So we have proven that our thinking alters our bodies. But our lives don’t just consist of our bodies.
In the beginning I quoted Buddha. “What you have become is what you have thought”. If we accept this to be true it means that — in reverse — we become what we think.
And this is precisely where we can interact with the law of attraction.
If we alter our thinking, we alter our lives.
I’ve written before about how my thinking towards what’s important in life had changed. I dedicate most of this to my interest in personal growth and improving my life.
In the past years I have spend a lot of time reading many books on these topics. By doing this I’ve planted new concepts, new ideas, new thoughts in my thinking like seeds that could grow and grow. In the end this led me to change my life and start a career as a writer.
Enough about me… You’re here to read about how it’s done. Let’s get to it.
Step 1: Setting a goal.
We need goals in life, because if we don’t know where we want to go, how should we know how to get there?
So setting goals is important. It can be anything. Do you want to eat healthier or work out more? Do you want to live a happier life? Want to have a happier relationship? It doesn’t matter. Define it.
Step 2: Write it down.
Writing goals down is important as it does a lot of things for us. First of all it creates a feedback loop between the piece of paper or screen and your brain — by the way: hand writing is supposed to be better, because of the link of muscle memory and your brain’s thinking, but let’s not get too fussy about it… I use my computer too…
Your brain thinks “I want to achieve X”, your hand writes/types “I want to achieve X”, your brain sees and reads “I want to achieve X” and is confirmed in it’s thinking.
So what you are doing by writing it down is you are confirming to yourself that very goal.
Secondly by writing it down you confirm your own dedication to yourself, which changes it from a wish to goal in the first place. Writing it down is the first step to show to yourself that you are dedicated to do it. If you’re not even dedicated enough to even write it down… Well… Your brain will think it’s probably not that important then.
Step 3: Constantly remind yourself.
Just writing your goals down once is nice but won’t do very much. You need to constantly remind yourself of that very thought.
A good friend of mine once told me about how he got to study medicine. He used to be a mail man and never had a lot of money. At some point while travelling to South Africa he sat down overlooking the Cape of Good Hope. He figured that he was not happy with how his life was going and decided to change it.
He took out a piece of paper and wrote down 100,000€ on it. That was the amount he wanted to earn in a year. He then put this piece of paper in his wallet (which was empty), for him to see it every single day.
When he got back home he decided to quit his job, study medicine at the University and go make this amount of money.
And that’s what he did. This badass not only had the balls to take over responsibility for his life, he made it through University with two kids and little money in his pocket.
6 years later he moved to Switzerland. Guess what he is earning now.
Step 4: Take over responsibility for your life.
By thinking that you only need to think about good things and they will happen you, you direct the responsibility for your own life away from you.
That’s why I believe that it’s not the full picture. It’s missing one important step.
It’s the taking of responsibility for your own life and accepting yourself to be the captain of the ship that is your life that will lead you to grab that ship’s wheel tightly and direct it where to go.
If my friend hadn’t taken over responsibility for his life and his desire to achieve his goal nothing would have changed.
But he did.
The subconscious magic.
And that’s pretty much all there is for our conscious minds to do.
Setting a goal, writing it down, reminding yourself WHY it’s important and taking over responsibility.
What we’re doing is we are rewiring our brain by focusing our thinking on the things that are important to us. The more we remind ourselves that these things are important to us, the more we actively move towards our success.
Successful people are successful because they are focused on how to be successful.
Unsuccessful people are unsuccessful because they are focused on how mean the world is because they are not successful.
So my dedication to improve the quality of my life led me to read books and articles on the topic. This feedback loop first of all confirmed to my brain that improving my life was important. Secondly it altered my thinking which eventually led me to change my life for the better.
What’s also happening is that we more and more direct our attention away from things that don’t help us advance.
In my prior article I stated that “By erasing the feeling of pride of our achievements in life and instead replacing it with gratefulness for all that was given to us, we can not only be a more humble, more caring and thoughtful person. We also attract other people of the same traits to live a life by our sides and further our development, which eventually leads to a more successful life.”
That’s just another example of the law of attraction.
Feedback loops. Feedback loops everywhere.
Need another example?
I’m pretty sure you have heard about the self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s the law of attraction par excellence. You make a statement, then you believe this statement, then it becomes true.
“I can’t do this” → No you can’t.
“I can do this” → Yes, you can.
Take the weight lifter example again. One is thinking “I can do it” and pushes his body to do it. The other one thinks that it’s too heavy and that he is too exhausted and stops.
The whole life is a giant feedback loop. You get back what you put in.
If you constantly complain about how bad the world is, unwilling to take over responsibility, two things happen:
- Your unwillingness to change the situation will keep you in this bad state, confirming your statement.
- By confirming this statement you are unwilling to change the situation, because you think it doesn’t matter anyways.
On the other side if you accept the situation to be bad, but also accept the fact that you are responsible for it, you can break this negative feedback loop and change to a mindset that will spiral you up instead of down.
So there you have it. Another key tool in our toolbox for a happier life. The law of attraction.
It doesn’t matter which way you look at it.
It doesn’t matter if you are taking the esoteric approach that your thinking changes the universe. It doesn’t matter if you go the scientific way and look at how your thinking changes your brain. It doesn’t matter if you take the philosophical approach and follow the teachings of the old masters.
It truly doesn’t matter, because all of them are correct.
Just chose whichever way of thinking suits you best. Or, like me, accept all of them to be true in their own way.