The Woman behind The Secret
A Conversation with Rhonda Byrne, producer of The Secret
By John David Mann
A few years ago, Rhonda Byrne was a reasonably successful television producer
in Australia. Her life had begun to feel like it was careening out of control,
when she was unexpectedly introduced to a slim 1910 volume entitled The
Science of Getting Rich. Those whove seen The Secret know what
happened next. Her story and the film that grew out of it have become one of
the most popular self-improvement-related DVDs of all time, with spin-offs including
a book and soundtrack CD. Rhondas life has become the epicenter of a global
media/personal development phenomenon.
Getting an interview with Rhonda wasnt easy. After weeks of trying to
make it happen, her L.A.-based publicist finally wedged me into a half-hour
slot pilfered from a sacrosanct day of much-coveted down time with friends and
family in Australia. When I reached her on the phone, I told her how much I
appreciated her letting me steal a half-hour of her life.
Thats okay, she laughed. You must have done some powerful
attracting. I dont do many interviews. Its not that I dont
love doing them, there are just so many requests that I have to say no. I need
to keep my time freed up for creating more. I dont know how you set this
up, but well done!
I replied to her that we have a very interesting and unique readershipand
that must be what made it happen. That, and the Law of Attraction. I think she
liked hearing that. J.D.M.
Rhonda, was doing The Secret the fulfillment of all the reasons you
got into televisionor a completely radical departure?
Most people would look at the work I was doing and see The Secret as
a completely new direction, but I know differently. Everything that I did before
was preparing me for producing The Secret and taking it out to the world. This
didnt just suddenly come along out of nowhere. The Secret was always
there, waiting quietly in the wings for me to find it at exactly the right time.
If somebody had interviewed you back in 2002 or 2003 or when you were doing
Loves Me, Loves Me Not or Sensing Murder, and asked,
Rhonda, why are you in television? what would you have said then?
I didnt realize this at the time, but when I look back at all the original
concepts I created for television, whether it was the Worlds Greatest
Commercials that made me laugh or Marry Me, or Loves
Me, Loves Me Not, everything we did was created to make audiences feel
Sensing Murder was different; it wasnt an original concept
of mine. During 2004 my team and I produced six films in the Sensing Murder
series, and it was absolutely grueling. Dealing with the subject of murder and
talking with the families of the victims, it was all so painful and difficult.
At the same time, everything in my life was completely falling apart. It all
kept building in a massive crescendo that culminated in that moment we portray
at the beginning of The Secret.
Within the first minute of the DVD, and also in the first paragraph of the book
version, you say, Out of this greatest despair, came this greatest discovery.
Denis Waitley once told me that he wrote The Psychology of Winning at
a moment in his life when he was absolutely losing in every aspect of his life.
And its such a shame, because no one needs to get to that place. We seem
to think that we have to suffer and struggle to receive something. We dont.
Simply by our existence, by virtue of our being here on this earth, we deserve
But we have the weight of centuries of humanity dumped upon us. Its not
just our teachers and our parents, its the whole history of humankind
that has piled all these feelings of unworthiness on us. So we think we have
to hit rock-bottom before we can see the magnificence of life.
The beauty of The Secret is that it is an invitation to those people
who are asking for life to be better. Its an invitation to see how magnificent
life is without having to hit rock-bottom.
Why do you think you had to get to that desperate place?
Oh, I know why I went there, and Im sure this is a very common experience:
I was letting my mind control me. Whenever anything went wrong in my life, my
mind would kick into gear to fix it. Problems would come, and I would think
I had to solve them. I was spending my whole life fixing things.
I had to be hit hard, from every direction and in everything that mattered to
me, to get to the point where my mind could not work out how to fix itand
then, in the moment of my mind giving up, I allowed the truth to come into my
Because you can never receive the truth of life through your mind. You can only
receive it through your heart. The love in your heart is greater than any force
in the universe. This is a universe of pure love, and each of us has an incredible
ability to love. But most of us arent experiencing even a tiny drop of
what were capable of experiencing in love.
Gratitude is a form and an expression of love. You cant feel gratitude
with your mind; you can only feel it with your heart. Thats why gratitude
is so powerful. And as you feel gratitude, you can feel everything completely
There is this magical moment in the DVD where you get the note from your daughter
saying, Here, Mommy, this will help. This is actually quite close
to what really happened, isnt it?
Yes it is. Everything in the film is exactly how it happened. My life had collapsed
and my father had just died. In fact, it wasnt his death that was tearing
at me so much as the utter grief and pain of my mother.
It all culminated on this one particular day in 2004. My accountant called to
tell me, Youve run a terrible loss and youre going to be broke
in a monthand I still had one and a half films to finish. Id
been working around the clock for days, sleeping in the edit suite. All the
relationships in my life were falling apart.
At the end of this awful day, I got a phone call from my mother. She was in
tears and said she just didnt want to go on. I was too far away to be
able to see her or help her. I felt completely powerless. My little mind just
couldnt fix it.
When my daughter Hayley found me, I was sitting and sobbing. In the film we
have me taking the book out of a suitcase with a note on it, but she actually
handed it to me. When she saw me sobbing she asked what was wrong, and I started
listing off this long litanyits this, and its this, and its
She looked at me with utter nonchalance and said, Oh, itll be okay.
Through my sobbing I said, You dont understand! Im not okay!
She walked out to another room, came back with a book and handed it to me, and
she said, Read this, Mama, thisll help. The last page is missing,
but youll get the hang of it. And she walked away.
And the book was Wallace Wattles The Science of Getting Rich?
Thats right. I sat there still in tears, couldnt even move. But
something had me open the book, and as I began to read the words, I felt a flame
light inside me. It was like a glimpse of the truthjust a glimpseand
I knew that I needed to know more.
I went back to Hayley and asked her where she got this bookand she told
me that she was just returning the favor Id shown her.
Six months earlier, she had been in total despair herself. She had broken up
with her boyfriend and came sobbing to my apartment. As I sat there comforting
her, something had moved me to go get her a book to read. I found a book on
my bookshelf and brought it back to her.
What was that book?
It was You Can Heal Yourself, by Louise Hay. I handed it to Hayley and
said, Darling, if you dont feel like reading this, its fine.
If you do, great. I think it might help.
And I hadnt even read this book myself! It was on my bookshelf because
someone else had given it to me. Handing it to Hayley just seemed like the right
thing to do. That book became her bible, and it started her on a journey of
reading all sorts of books. Which is how she came to have a copy of Wallace
Wattles with her six months later, at just the moment when I needed it.
When you came to the U.S. to shoot The Secret, is it true that you had
only one interview lined up?
Actually, we had one that was a faint possibility. That was it. It was a complete
leap of faith.
I had called the team together at the beginning of 2005 and told them, Were
going to make the greatest film ever made in the history of the planet to date.
How did they react?
They sat there with blank faces. Im sure they all thought, Okay,
Rhondas had such a hard year that shes finally just lost it.
For the next eight weeks, I shared with them everything Id come to know
at that point. Then we started talking about how we could bring this to the
screen. One day, out of the blue, I told them, Ive got to go to
the States, and they began preparing to follow me. I flew to Los Angeles
and booked myself into a hotel for two nights, trusting that I would know where
to go from there.
The morning after I arrived, I got a slew of phone calls from Chicago. None
of them had anything to do with The Secret, but I knew that Chicago was
where I needed to go next. Once I arrived in Chicago, I started getting calls
from people who had heard about the project. I didnt even know how they
could have possibly heard, but they had.
This is fascinating, because many of the greats of the last hundred years were
based in Chicago. Wallace Wattles wrote The Science of Getting Rich after
his life changed from one night in Chicago.
Earl Nightingale was in Chicago.
Right, and so many others, including W. Clement Stone. Although I didnt
know any of this until long after Id gone there.
Every teacher I talked to asked me how I had discovered The Secret, and
when I told them the story of what had happened, they dropped everything and
flew in to meet with us. They didnt know who we were. They didnt
know our production values or anything about us. They just knew to go. Many
of them were booked a year in advance, but they just came, some of them flying
in from as far away as Europe. It was amazing.
My team flew over to join me, and within seven weeks from the day I first set
foot in the United States we had filmed fifty-five teachers and had 120 hours
Did you do all the shooting in Chicago?
We filmed a few in Chicago and the rest in Aspen and Los Angeles.
How did you find Bob Proctor?
Ah. When I came to the United States I had read his book, You Were Born Rich
by Bob Proctor, on the flight over. I knew I really wanted to have him in The
Secret. But you see, it wasnt up to me. I didnt go out and solicit
these teachers. We just had complete faith, and the people who showed up, showed
And Bob Proctor wasnt coming.
When we got to Aspen, I mentioned to my production manager that it was really
strange that Bob Proctor hadnt come. She called his office in Toronto
and reached his assistant Gina. She said that we were over from Australia, making
Gina said, Oh gosh, Bob is so booked out. It sounds wonderful, but
are you? My production manager said, Were in Aspen.
And Gina said, Oh my God! Oh my God! Im going to have to call you
Because as it turned out, Bob Proctor was at that very moment in Aspen.
I love it!
He hadnt been to Aspen for five years, but he had flown there now for
two days to do an eventand once he got there, he learned that the event
was cancelled. There he was, wondering why the heck he was sitting there in
Aspen, when the call from Gina came through.
Amazing! Rhonda, these principles have been around forever, and there have been
some cinematic efforts, such as Pay It Forward and What the Bleep
Do We Know, to bring some of them forward. But The Secret seems to be the
breakthrough production. Why now?
There are so many reasons. One of them is simply that we are ready for it now.
Another is that it had to be created from a special place, with a singular intention.
It had to be created with no expectation of return, but just to give from the
love in our hearts, to share with the world.
From the initial impulse through to all the teachers who participated, it was
produced and created from the purest place. Thats why The Secret
is doing what its doing. When people watch it and experience that singular
voice, that beautiful orchestra of all the teachers and the wisdom theyre
sharing, there is something there beyond what you can feel with your senses:
that is a pure essence of love.
People watch it and something incredible happens to them. They feel the joy
and love within it and they want to share it with everyone they know. Its
beyond our senses. Its the love in peoples hearts that is taking
The Secret all around the world.
Youve talked about the huge numbers of people who have related the experiences
theyve had after watching The Secret. Can you share one or two
that have most touched you?
There are so many stories coming that I cant read them allId
have to spend all day every day doing nothing else. But I have my team send
me four or five stories every single day, because I want to stay in touch with
everything thats happening to people.
Early on, there was a ten-year-old boy who was clinically depressed and suicidal.
He was being bullied at school and was seeing a psychiatrist every week. His
mother showed him The Secret, and in the moment of watching it, he suddenly
saw everything in a different way.
Over the following three weeks, he stopped being bullied at school and started
to become popular. It just so happened that his psychiatry appointments were
cancelled for three consecutive weeks, for a variety of unrelated reasonsaccidental
double-bookings, things like that. Circumstances arose to cancel his appointmentswhich
allowed him, instead of focusing on his problems, to stay focused on this new
way of being that was unfolding for him.
On the fourth week, when his mother took him to his appointment, the psychiatrist
couldnt believe what she saw, and she took him off the medications.
Another story came in from a mother whose daughter was dying. She showed the
girl The Secret and the child began making a full recovery the next day.
There was a person whod been in a severe accident and couldnt walk,
who walked twenty footsteps the morning after watching The Secret.
Weve heard from people who were in chronic pain for as long as twenty
years and had the pain disappear as they watched The Secret.
There are people whose businesses were about to go under, who in just one weeks
time saw their businesses completely transformed, making more profit in that
one week than they made in the entire previous history of the company.
Weve seen many cases of estranged relationships become reconciled. There
was one man who was divorced and wasnt able to see his children unless
the visit was supervised. He was a beautiful man and only wanted the best for
his children, but his wife had remarried and there were strains in the relationship.
As he watched The Secret, he began to see how hed been pushing
against his circumstances. He was doing just what I had been doing: trying to
fix things with his brain.
As he realized this, he closed his eyes and let himself feel being with his
children. The very next day, he got a call from his ex-wifes new husband
to say that they had had a talk
and they wondered if he would like to have
the children for the weekend.
He let go.
Exactlyand all that estrangement just disappeared.
We heard another story of two sisters who had been estranged for twenty-five
years. The woman who had cut herself off from her sister saw Michael Beckwith
speak on The Secret. She knew that her estranged sister went to Agape,
Michaels spiritual center in California. She picked up the phone, called
her sister and then flew out to see herafter twenty-five years of not
speaking. The two of them went to Agape together to meet Michael, and later
Michael called me to tell me that The Secret had brought them back together.
Rhonda, thank you so much for your time and for sharing all these stories.
Youve given me an opportunity to share some things that Ive not
shared before, and I want to thank you so much for that.
A Gift from Rhonda Byrne
The Bank of the Universe has unlimited abundance, available
to you right now.
Only a few throughout the history of mankind knew of the unlimited abundance
that was theirs for the asking.
You must believe that you can receive it, so take small steps with the amounts
if that feels more believable to you.
Place the check in a prominent position where you will see it every day.
Every time you look at the check, believe and feel that you have the money now!
Click on check above to pull-up large pdf version.
Print, then cut out the check, fill in your name and the amount you wish to
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