The phenomenon of the film The Secret speaks to a secret that a small segment of the population has known about and prospered from for thousands of years. The secret is really not so secret. It is the Law of Attraction: you create in your life what you focus your attention on. Your life story is the outcome of where you focus your attention.

But just focusing your attention on what you want is not magical. If it were, the world wouldn’t be so crowded with wishful thinkers. Let’s take a look at why the Law of Attraction works (and what The Secret didn’t tell you), and examine four principles that will help you empower its application.

Why It Works

The Law of Attraction is based in neuroscience. Your mind is an energy field that responds to focus: where you focus, your attention creates brain connections.

The mental act of focused attention holds in place brain circuitry activated by the focus. Paying attention over time keeps the brain circuits open and active. Focused attention plays a crucial role in altering the structure of the brain. With repetition, these chemical links actually become stable changes in the brain’s structure. Neuroscientists call this neuroplasticity, from a well-verified law in quantum mechanics called the Quantum Zeno Effect in which focused attention systematically rewires the brain.

If you lay a nail and a paper clip side by side, nothing happens. When you take a magnet and stroke the nail several times from head to point, the nail itself becomes a magnet and it can then pick up the paper clip. Why? The molecules of the nail are aligned in the same direction, creating a magnetic field. When all of you is going in the same direction—and focused—you have power.

This concept explains at a brain level why a solution focus is more effective than a problem focus. Focusing on possibilities creates new neuronal networks and pathways, while focusing on problems deepens—further etches—the already existing circuitry. These brain connections literally become mind-maps and subsequently influence the reality that we see.

Here’s The Secret deconstructed: focusing on a vision will create structural tension in your brain—the tension between where you are now and where you want to be. Dissonance can create motivation. And your brain, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Your brain will conspire to close the gap between your vision and reality.

Following are four principles that will help you maximize the effect of the Law of Attraction in your life.

1. The Power is in the Focus

The paradox is that we do not attract what we want, we attract what we focus on. Your unconscious doesn’t register positive or negative. It just registers the focus. A print or its negative is the same image; your unconscious registers the image.

The power of focus is that whatever you attend to or focus on, you align yourself to bring about—like the magnetized nail. Be specific about what you do want, and not just what you don’t want in disguise. “I want to get out of debt” focuses on debt. “I want a reliable car” focuses on the idea that cars break down and need repairs. Everyone wants more money, so wanting is not the key to having it. Focusing on scarcity attracts scarcity. Focusing on prosperity aligns your energy to pursue prosperity.

Put energy into what you want. Focus on wealth instead of debt; possibilities instead of problems; desires instead of obstacles. To fight something is to engage it—to add energy to it. That creates resistance. When you focus on what you want, what you don’t want falls away, like your lap when you get up to walk.

2. Take Strategic, Planned Action

The Law of Attraction won’t give you what you want; it will give you the energy to sustain the process to create what you want. It won’t send a Brinks truck up your driveway or align the Lotto balls for you. The magnetized nail just lying on the table does not get anything done. However, you can align your internal molecules by focus and purpose to point the energy field of your mind to specific goals. It’s a way to use your power to write the story you want.

The pen is in your hand to write your story. The world will not pay you for what you know. It will pay you for what you do. It rewards action. I know from my work in Executive Mentor Coaching that people need to be taught how to believe—how to believe specifically, strategically, systematically and consistently; then, to have a plan and act on it. Once you begin acting on a plan, you can always self-correct.

This particular secret behind The Secret is also ancient wisdom, captured best by my grandmother who said, “Wishes don’t wash dishes.”

3. Be of Value to Others

Your focus and actions must bring value to others. This is the Law of Attraction applied: you have to give value in order to get value. You get back what you put out. If just focusing your attention and “putting it out to the universe” were enough, there would be no one left wishing for more money.

4. What You Attract Is Equal to What You Provide

The mantra of The Secret is: Ask, Believe, Receive. You will have much more success by converting it to the ABC’s: Ask, Believe, Create. The amount of benefit you receive depends on the amount of benefit you provide.

An example of this final secret behind The Secret is that the amount of money you make depends on the amount of value you provide. And, of course, you have to ask for and collect what you’re worth. While there is no Blue Fairy, you can create immense success with planned, strategic, consistent action that is of value to yourself and others.

DR. DAVID KRUEGER is CEO of MentorPath, an
executive coaching practice tailored to the needs of executives,
entrepreneurs and healing professionals. Dr. Krueger is author
of eleven books on success, money, work and self-development.