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The Real Secret of Attraction

If you have been in a bookstore or online in the last year, you probably know that this has become the hottest new idea in self improvement. Of course, it isn't a new idea, so really it is just the hottest new way to recycle an old idea. But what is the secret of attraction, and does it work as claimed?

The "Law" of Attraction

The basic idea is that you attract more of what you think about. Think about money constantly, and it will come to you. Think about love, and the woman of your dreams will appear. Yes, unfortunately, it is often presented like that. Years ago it used to be more common to teach this idea as part of general goal-setting techniques, where it was assumed that you would also be taking the relevant actions that lead to achieving your goal. Now the action part is glossed over as somehow not so important.

We all like the idea of discoverable "laws" in the universe. Discovering and applying our knowledge of the laws of nature and mathematics allowed men to fly to the moon. Now if we could just discover the "laws" of success and self improvement. We could create simple formulas that get us anything we want. Unfortunately, these kinds of "laws" tend to be mere probabilities.

"The probability of attraction" isn't a very inspiring concept, is it? "Do this and you'll improve your odds of getting what you want" just doesn't sell the books as well as "Do this and your success is guaranteed by the ultimate laws of reality." Okay, enough of poking fun at the sellers of certainty. Let's look at what is really going on here.

The Secret Is the Reticular Cortex

The secret of attraction is in the reticular cortex as much as anything else. This is a small organ in your brain, a kind of "gatekeeper" that directs incoming stimulus to your conscious or unconscious mind. Your thoughts more or less instruct it as to what to bring to your attention. This is why if you start studying flowers, for example, you might start seeing flowers all over that you never noticed before. You have effectively said to your reticular cortex, "Let in anything about flowers."

Yes, if you keep your thoughts focused on money, then, this part of your brain will make you more aware of things related to money, even possibly opportunities to make some. If you continually imagine meeting the woman of your dreams, you will probably become aware of more opportunities for that. This is one of the ways in which the brain works, and so we can use such "attraction techniques" as a useful tool.

But "probably" is the important, if uninspiring word here. It is important, because if you start to believe that such "secrets" always work, you inevitably have to either give up on the idea when you fail, or blame yourself (you just didn't have enough faith, right?). Neither is a very productive approach to any goal. A better approach is to accept that sometimes things work and sometimes they don't, and that if you keep trying in ways that increase the probabilities of success, you'll almost certainly get better results.

Start focusing on what you want then, because it does increase the probabilities of success, by putting the reticular cortex to work for you. But learn what you need to learn as well, and do what you need to do to achieve your goals. The real secret is to get your mind AND your actions working towards that goal.

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