She was surprised I hadn’t heard of it. The Secret is making headlines around the world, she claimed. There’s a book about it. There’s a DVD about it. There’s an episode of Oprah about it. Considering the hype, she assumed that I already knew “The Secret.”
My curiosity led me to the Official Web Site of The Secret. My instinct told me that “The Secret” is clearly a scam — a scam that aims to take advantage of gullible people who are unhappy with their lives. In this article, I’ll discuss a series of events that caused me to think otherwise.
The Official Web Site of The Secret discouraged me immediately. Come-ons such as “The Secret reveals the most powerful law in the universe” — “Create a joyful life intentionally and effortlessly” — and “This is The Secret to life” made me want to dismiss The Secret in its entirety. I am a sensible person who is not easily tempted by the promises of la-la land. I was therefore skeptical when I was given the option to “Watch The Secret Full-Screen Online (for $4.95 per view)” or “Own The Secret On DVD (for $34.95).”
Discouraged but still curious, I searched YouTube for “The Secret.” Sure enough, I was able to find the first 20 minutes of The Secret available for free. This short preview clued me in on a few things:
- The Secret is presented in the style of a documentary, but would be better described as a video seminar due to the subject matter.
- It features people of various backgrounds — entrepreneurs, authors, visionaries, and others — who practice and promote The Secret.
- The Secret is defined as The Law of Attraction, which can be summed up in three words: Thoughts become things.
I was immediately reminded of Steve Pavlina, who has written many articles about The Law of Attraction and Intention Manifestation. Although I’m vaguely familiar with the concepts, I haven’t invested much of my personal beliefs in them because I find them difficult to swallow.
This is because these concepts make outrageous claims. If thoughts create things, then it would be possible to create wealth simply by imagining it. With my mind firmly routed in reality, I have difficulty accepting the suggestion that accumulating wealth could be that simple.
I do, however, believe the adage “Don’t knock it until you try it.” With the understanding that practicing The Secret could be a low-risk opportunity with the potential for high-reward, I devised the following experiment:
If thoughts become things, then I could challenge The Secret against itself. Put another way, I wondered if I could produce the full 90 minute video of The Secret using only my thoughts. I felt this would be a good test for two reasons:
- My desire to see more than the first 20 minutes of The Secret was genuine.
- It would be unquestionable as to whether or not my request was honored.
I kept an open mind as I repeatedly asked the universe “I want to see the rest of The Secret for free.” I spent a few minutes focusing on this specific request. Once I opened my eyes, I half expected The Secret DVD to have mysteriously arrived at my feet.
Of course, the other half of my expectation was true: The DVD did not materialize anywhere inside my apartment. I checked outside my apartment door, but it wasn’t there either. I went so far as to check the mailbox, at which point I started to feel foolish.
I started to imagine other ways I might come across The Secret without purposely ordering it. I resigned to the idea that the only other way it could possibly arrive without me taking action was for my girlfriend to bring me a copy. I pictured her saying “I saw this in the supermarket and thought you might like it” as she presented me with an unexpected gift.
I knew the suggestion was ludicrous. I returned to my regular activities, allowing my interest regarding The Secret to fade into my subconscious. I couldn’t have predicted what would occur within the hour.
Like millions of other Internet enthusiasts, I am a StumbleUpon user. For the uninformed, StumbleUpon is a browser extension that allows a computer user to browse various websites in a manner that’s reminiscent of flipping through channels on television.
For example, you can click “Stumble!” to display a random website. If you like what you see, you may spend some time on the newly discovered site. If you don’t, you can click “Stumble!” again to display something different.
Incredibly, during my normal routine of stumbling around the web looking for inspiration, I found the full video of The Secret. Someone had uploaded it to Google Video with Hebrew subtitles, and I stumbled upon it randomly. (Edit: It has since been removed.)
I was floored. It actually happened! I asked to see the rest of The Secret for free, and my request was honored. I watched the rest of The Secret in a mixed state of shock and fascination.
You may believe that it was just a coincidence. On some level, I wanted to believe the same thing — but I couldn’t. I decided I needed to do more experimenting with The Secret.
Ever since I’ve moved to Michigan, I’ve had difficulty making new friends. I’m not proud of this fact, but it’s true — every single new friend I have made here is someone my girlfriend introduced me to. Eager to test to see if The Secret could help me make new friends on my own, I spent a few minutes concentrating on what I wanted.
That very night, we went out to dinner. As we entered the restaurant, a waitress who was just starting her night shift held the door open for us.
I recognized her. “Hey, didn’t we meet at The Bang?” I asked. (The Bang is a monthly dance party in downtown Ann Arbor. We went there once in July. Here is a possibly-not-safe-for-work slideshow of that night. Cassie and I start showing up on the dance floor around picture #25.)
“Yeah, I think we did,” she said with a smile. “If you guys want to wait a minute while I grab my apron, I could seat you in my section.”
When she prepared to take our order, I asked her to remind us of her name. “Laura,” she said. “Hi Laura. I’m Shaun, and this is my girlfriend Cassie. ‘The Bang’ isn’t the best atmosphere for formal introductions.”
She laughed, nodding in agreement. Throughout the meal, we continued to make friends with Laura. We talked about ‘The Bang,’ the wedding, where we were living, and for how long. We talked about the area, what brought us to her restaurant, and how glad we were to run into her. Before leaving, we let her know that we’d be sure to “ask for Laura” the next time we ate there.
Admittedly, this second experiment with The Secret could be labeled as “just another coincidence.” It could also be argued that I purposely set out to make friends, just to convince myself that The Secret was working.
That’s to be expected. That’s the logical human response. Most importantly, that’s okay. It’s good to question the validity of things. I imagine that to many people, The Secret comes across as a nice idea that doesn’t mesh well with reality. That was my initial reaction as well.
Still, I believe the fundamental message behind The Secret is a positive one: You are in control of your own destiny. Consider this, and decide for yourself whether or not you want to apply The Secret to your own life. If you are open minded, you may take it as a source of inspiration. If not, you may approach it with a good deal of skepticism. The majority will immediately dismiss it — thinking it’s just another attempt to package happiness and sell it to the unhappy masses.
Like anything else, The Secret simply wonâ€™t resonate with everyone.
At first, I was skeptical. Right now, my opinion is still an uncertain “Requires more research.” But I must admit, I’m surprised at how quickly The Secret exceeded my expectations.
A special thanks to Mary for sharing The Secret with me.
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