‘The Secret’ is simply the ‘law of attraction’. It means that if you want something and if you have faith, the universe will make it happen for you. A lot of the concept means if you focus on the object which is consuming your thoughts, it will eventually happen in your life. So all you have to do is think of all the things that you want in life rather than what you don’t want. By contrast, if you only envision the things you want in your life, then you will get everything you imagined.
Rhonda Byrne (The author of the book) argues that the reason The Secret works is because ‘the Universe’ is made up of energy and it has a frequency. Your thoughts emit a lot of frequency, and like attracts like; therefore, the frequency of your thoughts, good or bad, will resonate with the frequency of other ‘energies’, good or bad.
So let’s say that you are worried that you will be rejected at an interview and will never make it big in life and keep saying it then, the Universe will respond in kind and you will never be able to make it big. If you believe that you are rich, wealthy and successful, the Universe will respond to these vibrations by providing you with what you desired. If you think you are ugly and no one would ever want to be with you, then the universe will make sure that you will be alone. If you believe that you look dead drop gorgeous then the universe will make sure that even your farts smell like cherry popsicle.
Or something of that sort, but you get the gist.
The Secret wants its readers to assume the role of someone, who they aren’t, who they wish to become. In most cases, people would want to believe that they are already rich, dead drop gorgeous, intelligent, healthy etc. Essentially, The Secret tells you to become delusionally positive about yourself. This may actually be beneficial to people who have low self-esteem, at least in the beginning. If there are people who have negative beliefs about themselves and if all those notions could simply go away by affirmations, what’s the harm? By simply changing one’s perspective, if someone can see the glass as half full rather than half empty, it could possibly have a big impact in a lot of areas.
The entire problem with positive thinking is that at some psychological level, it can fuck you up. Let me give an example from the book “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Victor E Frankl.
“I once had a dramatic demonstration of the close link between the loss of faith in the future and this dangerous giving up. F, my senior block warden, a fairly well-known composer and librettist, confided in me one day: “I would like to tell you something, Doctor. I have had a strange dream. A voice told me that I could wish for something, that I should only say what I wanted to know, and all my questions would be answered. What do you think I asked? That I would like to know when the war would be over for me. You know what I mean, Doctor—for me! I wanted to know when we, when our camp, would be liberated and our sufferings come to an end.” “And when did you have this dream?” I asked. “In February, 1945,” he answered. It was then the beginning of March. “What did your dream voice answer?” Furtively he whispered to me, “March thirtieth.” When F told me about his dream, he was still full of hope and convinced that the voice of his dream would be right. But as the promised day drew nearer, the war news which reached our camp made it appear very unlikely that we would be free on the promised date. On March twenty-ninth, F suddenly became ill and ran a high temperature. On March thirtieth, the day his prophecy had told him that the war and suffering would be over for him, he became delirious and lost consciousness. On March thirty-first, he was dead. To all outward appearances, he had died of typhus. Those who know how close the connection is between the state of mind of a man—his courage and hope, or lack of them—and the state of immunity of his body will understand that the sudden loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect. The ultimate cause of my friend’s death was that the expected liberation did not come and he was severely disappointed. This suddenly lowered his body’s resistance against the latent typhus infection. His faith in the future and his will to live had become paralyzed and his body fell victim to illness—and thus the voice of his dream was right after all.”
Bob Proctor, who is an expert on positive thinking has also claimed that positive thinking isn’t always the way forward. One of the reason he stated, positive thinking might supress your actual feelings, causing poor emotional health. Life is filled with a vast range of emotions, not only positive ones.
The whole concept seems to be misguided. It’s true that the book can provide a glimmer of hope to people who find themselves in dark places in their lives and it’s just an aesthetic to one’s pain but not a remedy.