psst – wanna know “the secret”?

Part 13 of a 6-part series of testing what I think might be stupid self-help books:

Listen up, idiots.  You’ve been going about everything the wrong way, and I – with the help of Rhonda Byrne and her book The Secret – will now help you have everything you’ve ever wanted or dreamed up, no limits, no matter what.  There are three simple steps:

  1. Ask
  2. Believe
  3. Receive

I’ve just saved you about $15.

I’m not sure what I’ve been reading for the past five and a half years, but clearly it was all the wrong books because this one book is the key to just plain everything, without exception.  Health?  Money?  Happiness?  World issues?  Everything is solved through The Secret.  You want a new car?  Bing.  You want a million bucks?  Done.  With four million copies sold of a book that has “swept the world,” Ms. Byrne can’t possibly be wrong.  Shakespeare, Lincoln, Plato, Edison, Henry Ford, and a host of others all knew about “The Secret,” and that’s why they were all so successful.  It was depicted in cave drawings and can be found in the music of Beethoven, so it cannot be denied that this is The Secret to having everything.  How Ms. Byrne proves those claims is apparently another secret.

Of all the laws of the universe, the strongest and most pure is the “law of attraction.”  Hey, stop it.  She’s serious.  Anyway, according to Byrne, if you don’t have what you want, it’s your own fault.  You’re thinking bad thoughts, and that’s all there is too it.  The law of attraction says that we attract what we think about.  If we’re thinking about negatives, we’re going to attract negatives.  If you want good things to happen, then you must think good thoughts and create good feelings within yourself because “like attracts like.”  I think that’s also how you can fly, but I’ll double check with J.M. Barrie.

For example, a quote in the book is a story of a man who was gay and worried all day that his co-workers would harass and make fun of him.  When all of those things happened, that is what happened, and it was his own fault.  Once he learned to think positively, to think that his co-workers would treat him nicely, the bad ones either transferred or quit, and the new ones hired were nice people.  Other cases refer to people who were greatly in debt and could not get out of it.  Their problem was that they were focusing on “not having debt.”  The catch there is the “not,” because The Secret doesn’t recognize negatives.  Examples from the book explain that if you say you “don’t want debt,” you’re going to get debt.  If you “don’t want a bad haircut,” you’re going to get a bad haircut.  If you “don’t want your shoes to hurt,” they’re going to hurt.  That doesn’t seem to coincide with a later case in the book in which a boy went to Disneyworld with his family and experience long lines and waits on their first day in the park.  That night he kept telling himself that he “doesn’t want to wait in long lines tomorrow.”  Not sure about Ms. Byrne, but I see a negative in there.  Regardless of the contradiction, the next day they were miraculously greeted by a Disney representative who gave them VIP passes to move to the front of every line all day.  Hmmm.

Perhaps I’m simplifying it too much.  Let me be more specific, according to the text.  See, everything in the universe is energy.  All energy emits a frequency signal.  All you have to do is think positively and you’ll change your frequency.  Then your frequency will match the good things that you want.  Once that’s done, the universe has “no choice” but to bring you those positive things that you’re not attracting.  Think positively about money, and in about 30 days or less there will be checks in your mailbox.  Literally, it’s that simple, according to the book.  She also says that once you’ve spent enough time believing that you actually have what you want, you really won’t need it because you’ll be happy anyway, so it’s a win-win situation whether you get what you want or not.  You want to know how the universe does it?  Byrne says it’s not your concern, so don’t worry about it.  One of her experts on The Secret, Dr. Ben Johnson, puts it like this:

 We are entering an era of energy.  Medicines, everything in the universe is on an energy frequency.  All you have to do to change the frequency is to create an opposite frequency.  That’s how easy it is to change anything in the world.

 What about when bad things happen on a mass scale, like the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka in 2004?  Byrne says that all those people were thinking negative thoughts, and their collective negativity attracted that tragedy to themselves.  Sure there were some innocent, positive people there, but that just goes to show you another part of The Secret:  staying away from negative people.

If you’re around people who talk about their problems, their problems are going to come to you.  If someone tells you about their illness or disease, you’d better get away, change the subject, or prepare for that same disease.  Guaranteed.  Likewise, if you have a disease, don’t talk about it.  You must pretend you don’t have it because your own foolish negative thoughts are what gave it to you in the first place.  Change your mind, change your situation.  Yeah, it’s that simple.

I’d have to believe that Byrne’s research must have included web searches of articles of famous people who may have uttered or written the words “the secret.”  Too many times she claims apparent testimony in such a way that it seems Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, and others are endorsing The Secret.  The best was from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “The secret is the answer to all that was, all that is, and all that ever will be.”  My search on that quote, however, shows that he was talking about the secret to his faith in God, not exactly the secret to getting checks in your mailbox.

I decided to put The Secret to a test.  I spent a week thinking positive thoughts to bring me a 21-year old Asian willing to be my “personal assistant.”  I set an hourly alarm in my cell phone to make sure I would think about the positives of this mutual arrangement.  After two weeks, The Secret did not deliver – but I realized my mistake.  I didn’t specify gender.

Meet Aiko.

71 thoughts on “psst – wanna know “the secret”?

  1. The Secret sounds like exactly what I’ve been searching for all my life. I will begin thinking positives thoughts immediately. I’ll be sure to let you know when the checks start rolling in. Thanks for the advice!

  2. Nice. You saved me the price of admission and the fury with which I would have greeted this pile of bullshit. Grrr… what a charlatan and why are people so stupid, gullible or hopelessly lost that they literally buy this?! gah!!!

  3. Starting now…i am going to be thinking about law school and a full scholarship…skinny thighs…that much needed vacation…the nanny and help i so desperately need…and oh maybe this is how i will finally get Johnny Depp to marry me…lol. Love your take on this…i am also going to think this book will appear in my mail box soon…will let you know as soon as it arrives. And to think a lot of us have been working hard…well now we know

  4. So….basically, she’s telling the less fortunate, the down trodden, the ill, the ravaged, that ‘the secret’ is only a ‘secret’ because the ones who ‘know’ the ‘secret’ chose to ‘keep’ it a ‘secret’ so they can laud it over us that ‘they’ know the ‘secret’.

    Hmmm, sounds like another end run to rich getting richer and all that. wonder if those who know the ‘secret’ will be pissed that she let the cat out of the bag?

    For myself…i’m thinking positively that she’s positively off her nut. but shhhhhhh…that’s our little ‘secret’!

  5. What a load of bullshit.

    Everyone knows if you want to make something happen, you have to wish for it while driving through a tunnel with your breath held. Works every time.

  6. Think positive, think positive , think positive. DARN! I just thought something negative..ughh defeated the whole purpose.
    Ill start again and come back to this post and let you know if i got what i wanted ;D

  7. I love your ending – it reminded me of something which might happen in “I Dream of Genie”. Apart from the humour of your male assistant, I found that woman’s philosophy a tad disturbing. Over the years, I feel that I have given numerous people comfort when they have been ill, had all sorts of problems and needed someone to listen to them. I think the fact that the author suggests we should avoid all negative people (anyone down on their luck) shows her up to be some sort of robot. So glad you have such a terrific sense of humour.

  8. I’ve just gone from being a typical Rich fan to a HUGE Rich fan. I’ll tell you something, or no I won’t. But have you seen the video? Now, I do believe there’s something to positive thought but this shit made me laugh. My bro’s ex girlfriend (whom we all disliked) got him into this shit and it pissed me off because whenever he’d mention illness, I always get upset and think, “well, who the hell attracted my brittle bones disease?” I was BORN with it. No wonder me and my bro didn’t get along the whole time he dated her. It’s like when one of the multitude during one Jesus gatherings asks Paul if the man was blind because his father had sinned or because he himself had sinned and Paul (I think it was Saul/Paul or maybe it was Jesus) said it was neither. I was also raised in Christian Science and god, I won’t even get into that…

    • oh wow. yeah, there is a video, but i haven’t seen it. i was curious as to why the book mentioned a video, and i thought, “how can you have the video if this is just the book?” but then i realized that maybe i had a later edition of the book. actually, it was a CD because i listen to books instead of reading. i drive a lot. my car just turned 5 years old and is approaching 200,000 miles. there’s my reading time.

  9. p.s. Did you read Beethoven’s testament to his brothers, the one I posted a little while ago? Yeah, that definitely reveals “the Secret”.

  10. I just used terrible grammar. 😦 I thought I’d attracted good grammar into my life, obsessing about it as much as I do.

  11. I believe that our thoughts and beliefs have energy and that we can attract what we want. But I don’t really agree with or believe some parts of this book (from what I’ve read in your post). Especially the one about Einstein and all those people endorsing it. Can I ask you, do you actually believe it? Like, seriously?

  12. I loved this. You cut right through this crap with ease and great wry humor.

    This topic brings to mind The Simpsons and that great episode “Bart’s Inner Child.” I quote: “Hi, I’m Troy Maclure. You might remember me from such self-help videos as ‘Smoke Yourself Thin.’ And ‘Get Confident, Stupid!'”

  13. It doesn’t work when you want extra fries with everything…no matter how much you think they just don’t give them…
    Self help books suck and i dont read them at all
    In fact a thriller teaches more that a self help book so every one should just read thrillers or watch them

    • i read it because i knew it was crap and wanted to talk about it. i plan to read a couple more.

      thriller is more of a self-help book? hey, that’s good. i never thought of that.

  14. one of my girlfriends was into this book in a massive way and when I mentioned that it sounded like a crock of bollocks just to sell books, I got a slap from her so guess my negativity didn’t do me good on this one 🙂

    • you were thinking “i do not want to get slapped,” but the universe doesn’t see negatives. it saw “slap.” thus – you got thwacked.

  15. I have a feeling stuff like the Secret doesn’t work if you don’t have Faith – at least, that’s the excuse. Apparently some guy who does that downhill sledding thing was once asked, how did he manage not to come off the road at high speed, and he said the trick is ‘don’t look where you don’t want to go’. i think there’s a certain amount of truth to that but there’s nothing mystical about it. Anyway the stupidity or cupidity (not sure which) of people like the Secret author amazes and annoys me.

  16. This is like Joel Osteen’s philosophy, but he adds a critical 4th step: Do the Work. This kind of inane, “the Universe-God-All will give me what I want because I’m special and I can wait passively” kind of nonsense is geared to create sheep, who wait in vain for their corrupt shepherd to come deliver unto them. Real leaders tell you – gently – to get off your butts and do the work. It bugs me so much I made “do the work” one of the key themes to my 1st 3 books.

    In general, I find most self-help books to be 3 or 4 good chapters, followed by filler and repetition. Sometimes, you can get the whole book from the Intro.

    • yup. the first chapter said it all. the rest just expanded and gave more examples. i’ve heard of osteen, but i know nothing about him and assumed he was another guy blowing smoke. but the “do the work” part changes my assumption for sure.

  17. Well that is one more “to read” off my list. Always nice to get the short version. I had been thinking “it would be nice to know what the secret really is”
    And look my positive energy brought me the answer without buying the book!

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