KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT AND COMMITTING YOURSELF TO OBTAINING IT ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO ACHIEVING SUCCESS IN YOUR CAREER AND PERSONAL LIFE.
Paul is one of those people at work you just love to hate—but can’t, really, because he’s so darned nice. Things seem to go so easily for him. He lands contracts, the head of the company pops in with interesting projects, and customers call him with huge orders. It’s as if he’s just kicking back on an inner tube and being carried along on a current of good luck.
Contrast that with Sean, who puts in long, hard hours every day, plus more on weekends. He exerts tremendous effort with every deal he puts together and every project he takes on, yet he rarely achieves exactly what he’s striving so hard to create. Rather than floating down a river, Sean feels like he’s slogging through mud.
What’s the difference? On the outside, things look relatively equal. Both men have master’s degrees from wellrespected universities. They’re both competent and well-liked by co-workers and those they supervise.
Hint: It’s in the river image. When Paul works hard, it doesn’t feel like a struggle—he’s “in the flow.” He’s in tune with his life purpose, his passions, and his vision for himself and the work he does in the world. As a consequence, he’s just naturally able to attract what he wants, with enviable ease.
Ingredients of Attraction
The law of attraction isn’t just some woowoo theory, it’s scientific. Matter attracts like matter. It’s similar to a radio broadcast—when a radio is tuned to a particular station, you will only hear (attract) the frequency of radio waves that match that station’s signal. When it happens, everything seems easy, like it does for Paul.
“Once you change the way you are inside, the outer world changes,” writes Joe Vitale, author of the recent best seller, The Attractor Factor. Vitale is one of dozens of authors who write persuasively on this seemingly mysterious subject. Call it synchronicity, coincidence, chance or what have you, attraction is a phenomenon that, as author Julia Cameron puts it, some of us might prefer to ignore: the possibility of an intelligent and responsive universe, acting and reacting in our interests.
Following are some of the key ingredients for attracting what you want into your life and work.
Get clear about what you want and why you want it. It’s not enough to know what you don’t want. You can’t get what you want until you know what that is.
Napoleon Hill, whose classic Think and Grow Rich has inspired several generations, wrote that a burning desire is essential to personal success. What was true in 1937 during the Great Depression, when Hill wrote the book, is just as true now: “There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose—the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to possess it.”
What do you want? A job with flex time so that you can go to your daughter’s soccer games? The financial freedom to be able to take on a pro-bono case for a nonprofit client? The opportunity to indulge your passion for chocolate (and inflame others with it) by opening a chocolate café downtown?
Many of us have forgotten how to dream. We’ve become more connected to our to-do lists than to what we really want. But becoming crystal clear about what you want and why you want it is where the “magic” of attraction all begins. When you know the “what,” the “how” can begin to fall into place.
Imagine it. Act as if what you want to happen is already happening and see how that changes your thoughts.
“Conscious change is brought about by the two qualities inherent in consciousness: attention and intention,” writes Deepak Chopra in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. “Attention energizes, and intention transforms.
Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life.”
Commit. A quotation often attributed to Goethe but actually written by W. H. Murray in his 1951 book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition speaks eloquently to the power of commitment. “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness,” Murray wrote. “Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
Becoming crystal clear about what you want and why you want it is where the “magic” of att raction all begins.
Commitment, by its very nature, implies choice. And choosing something means not choosing something else, a prospect that some of us find daunting. But keeping all our options open too often results in making no choice at all—the death knell of dreams.
Keep yourself receptive. Exercise, eat healthily, play, and relax. Stress, exhaustion and sluggishness can all interfere with attraction. In the radio station analogy, they become the “static” that interferes with the “frequencies” of that which you want to attract.
Although taking a day off to relax rather than working frantically may seem as difficult as stepping off a precipice, it can be just what is needed. As novelist Toni Morrison told Newsweek in a 1981 interview, “We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations. I’m not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for that.”
When we’re too busy with all of our daily “to-dos,” we effectively tune out and turn off the frequency that broadcasts inspirations and hunches and new ideas. As economist Paul Hawken says, “Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, and even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic wellbeing than any other single factor.”
Listen to your intuitive nudges. Attraction isn’t about sitting back and waiting for it all to come to you. Action is always required to meet goals and make dreams come true.
“Your job,” Vitale writes, “is to ask for what you want and then to act on the inner nudges you get to do things, like make phone calls, write letters, visit a certain person, or whatever.” Don’t worry if your “nudges” don’t make immediate sense. The “why” will reveal itself later.
Change your thoughts. Consider the possibility that you can change things by simply changing the way you see them.
The axiom that Wayne Dyer uses daily to remind himself of this truth goes like this: Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.
In his book The Power of Intention, Dyer recommends a 10-step program for attracting what you want. His steps include the following:
1. See the world as an abundant, providing, friendly place;
2. Affirm that you attract success because that is who you are;
3. Remember that your prosperity and success will benefit others;
4. Monitor your emotions as a guidance system for when you are connected to the energetic “flow” that happens when you are in sync with inspiration; and
5. Be grateful and filled with awe for all that manifests into your life.
Surrender control. Detach from the outcome. This means to let go and trust. Let go of the particular way in which things will happen. Let go of fear, doubt, worry and disappointment.
Let go of the notion of struggle. Like Paul, when you’re working hard at something you love, it doesn’t feel like a struggle.
Counting on Lucky Breaks
Julia Cameron, whose book The Artist’s Way has helped countless people attract and successfully live the creative life they desire, calls the notion of struggle “rubbish.” She contends that we can count on so-called lucky breaks, what Joseph Campbell called “a thousand unseen helping hands.”
“We like to pretend it is hard to follow our heart’s dreams,” Cameron writes. “The truth is, it is difficult to avoid walking through the many doors that will open. Turn aside your dream and it will come back to you again. Get willing to follow it again and a second mysterious door will swing open. Take a small step in the direction of a dream and watch the synchronous doors flying open.”
So, whether your dream is getting a promotion, landing a huge client or buying a new house, claim it. It’s yours if you want it.