This review has a fanacritical attitude. Fanacritical: partly fanatical, partly critical. And this movie asks for it…both!
The Secret is a movie about the Law of Attaction. The “plot” of the movie is that there is a secret that has been kept from the vast majority of humanity since ancient times. This secret is so powerful that if you know about it, your life will fill with riches, power and so on…and this movie will reveal the secret?!
The movie is not a movie as you know it from the cinemas. The movie is like a book with chapters, and a lot of teachers talking about the subject at hand from the perspective of the Law of Attraction. The movie is very inspirational and there is a lot of wisdom to be found if you look in the right places. And in the end the secret is not all that secretive after all. Some likes and dislikes…
Like: Thoughts have power
This is something I believe very much. Thought has power when it comes to programming yourself. This is one of the premises of NLP as well. But there’s more to it than just thinking it; you need to be able to exert control over achieving it, and you have to believe that you can attain it.
Dislike: The thought is “broadcasted” into the cosmos
This is a large part of the movie, and it is animated in several ways as well. Looks great, but how it works? Not a single viable explanation is given, some pseudo scientific attempts can be found, but solid evidence is not presented.
Like: Visualize your goals
Visualizing is a powerful tool, and has been used in many different fields. In sports it’s used to guide athletes in performing to their best and NASA uses it to train astronauts. Visual is only one of the senses that you can use, you can make it more powerful when you add sounds and feelings. Compare it with a flight simulator for pilots, it’s not just the picture, it’s the sounds and the feelings (motion) as well. Pilots train in simulators and it’s as real as flying a plane, but without the plane or the flying.
I like the concept of vision boards of John Assaraf as well, as a tool to aid visualization (it cannot replace it!!).
Dislike: Hidden (absurd) assumptions
There is a part in the movie where the law of attraction is translated to the extreme. It’s where suddenly everything in your life is attracted to you because of you. Joe Vitale is the one that goes the furthest by saying that everything in your life is attracted to you by you. So how does a 2 year old that perished in a tsunami relate to this? Or an 8 year old kid in Sierra Leone that’s abducted and brainwashed to be a child soldier? Sure that’s the other end of the spectrum, but how does the law of attraction apply to this? I don’t buy it.
Like: Semantics are important
Several of the teachers stress the fact that the way you formulate your thoughts is important. Most of the advice is about formulating your wants and goals in a positive way, formulate what you DO want, not what you DON’T want. Also formulate the subject in such a way that it formulates exactly what you want. So don’t think: “I don’t want to be in debt.” or “I want to get out of debt”. Change it to “I want to be prosperous” or similar formulations.
Dislike: The cosmos takes care of everything
This is what I dislike the most. I know of a lot of people that especially like this part of the movie. And then translate it in such a way that the only “work” they need to do is think hard en believe it will happen…and then do nothing! Oh please! The cosmos or the universe is not going to do the work for you.
The power of the thoughts is in focusing your attention and enabling your mind to recognize stuff that’s going to help you. Everything you need is out there, you just don’t recognize it. Have you ever bought a new (used) car, and then noticed that there are a frigging lot of those cars on the road? They were there before, you just didn’t recognize it.
You still have to put in the work, it’s just that your work is going to be more productive, because you are enabling yourself to move forward faster. Don’t be deceived by the “thinking is enough, and the cosmos will answer” translation.
Like: Gratitude rocks!
This is something I really learned from the movie. Focusing on gratitude has several benefits:
- it makes you feel grateful for what you already have
- it helps you formulate positive thoughts
- it brings your attention to the now, as opposed to the future of your goals
The concept of Gratitude rocks (I like the dual meaning of that expression) is something I started using right after I finished watching. I grabbed a rock (a pretty Lapis Lazuli rock) and put it in my pocket. Every time I touch it I think of something I’m grateful about. I put it in the pocket with my keys, so now I’m grateful say 20 times a day, as opposed to a handful of times before.
On the DVD there’s a Director’s comments version (Rhonda Byrne and two guys), which I have watched (time to burn in a hotel room). The most is utter babble, but there’s a part where one of the guys asks Rhonda who people should express their gratitude to. To my very surprise (and relief) she answers something like: “Well you express it to yourself. You are the one doing this for yourself after all.”
So what’s the conclusion?
I’m really ambiguous about this movie. I like and dislike it at the same time. I defend it to skeptics, and criticize it to fanatics. There’s a lot to be found there, but please don’t believe everything. Attaining goals still requires you to work hard to get there. You won’t win the lottery, simply because you think you will. Don’t rely on the cosmos alone to achieve your goals. The cosmos will present opportunities, it is still entirely up to you to recognize them and take them up. Take this “joke” as an inspiration for that:
There was a man whose farm was located on the banks of a flood-swollen river. As the water rose, a neighbor drove up in a Jeep, urging him to leave before the farm was flooded. “Oh, no,” said the man confidently, “God will save me.”
The water rose higher, and the man was forced to move into the second story of the farmhouse. A police boat soon came, and the officers called for the man to hurry and get into their boat. “Oh, no, that won’t be necessary,” the man insisted. “God will save me.”
Finally the house was completely engulfed in water, and a Coast Guard helicopter swooped in to rescue the man, now perched on the roof. Again he refused. Just then, a huge wave of water swept over the house, and the man drowned.
When he got to heaven, he stormed at the Lord, asking WHY God had let him die when his faith had been so strong. “What do you mean?” asked the heavenly Father. “I sent a Jeep, a boat, and a helicopter … and you wouldn’t budge!”