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The Law of Traction: Act, Believe, Receive

The Coach’s Thought of the Week:

A dream is a just a wish to someday change the present. Add commitment, and the dream becomes a vision that challenges the status-quo. However, to accelerate this vision towards a new reality, you must overpower the inertia of the comfort zone through bold, massive action.”

-Coach Davender

An article in the March 18 Toronto Star about “The Secret” phenomenon is subtitled “Ask, believe, receive… or not“. However, in the first version that I saw early that morning, the subtitle was “ACT, Believe, Receive… or not“. (capitals mine – I still have the PDF of that version…)

How apropos… Although I truly respect “The Secret” for getting people talking about how thoughts influence results, my main beef with all of this is that people seem to get the wrong impression about The Law of Attraction, which is summed up in the DVD through the three words “Ask, believe, receive“. This mantra makes me think of the universe as some kind of cosmic ATM, where just by wishing, what you want just pops out of the slot…

Every Sunday, I go for a long run, and this morning the Star article’s original subtitle was whirling around in my head, as I realized how spot on it was. Instead of the “Law of Attraction”, I decided to call this the “Law of Traction“. Here’s what popped into my head during this long run…

The “Law of Traction” describes how to power your Vision from the potential of Passion to the results of Profit. Passion is the energy of the possible, and Profit a positive change, intagible or tangible, which benefits all stakeholders.

The Law of Traction focuses on taking proactive action, on coactively creating results, on making things happen. Traction is about motion, motion that generates the energy to overcome the inertia of the status-quo and create a new reality.

The Law of Traction has three steps:

  • ACT – Take Massive Action Without Permission.
  • BELIEVE – Adopt an attitude of “Glorious Obsession”.
  • RECEIVE – Accept whatever happens, good or bad, negative or positive, with gratitude and humility, and learn from it to act anew.

ACT – Getting what you want takes action. Why does it seem that so many are waiting for “permission to change”, waiting for the right time, the right circumstances, for something else to finish, to begin, for someone to say “go”…

A dream is a just a wish to someday change the present. Add commitment, and the dream becomes a vision that challenges the status-quo. However, to accelerate this vision towards a new reality, you must overpower the inertia of the comfort zone through bold, massive action.

To me, this is the missing link in “The Law of Attraction” – the need to be in action. “The Secret” says “Thoughts are things“… To me, the truth is “Things are thoughts plus action“. Nothing can happen if you are not in action.

You have to be in movement to see the opportunities around you. Just like you can see through a stand of trees or a fence while speeding down the highway, but if you stop, all you see are trees or the fence. (for safety’s sake, only try this as a passenger, please!).

At first, all of the action you invest in your vision will seem like it’s doing nothing. I call this the “Fred Flintstone” effect – remember how he gets his car going (the feet windmilling on and on, boobityboobityboop, then all of a sudden “whoosh” the car shoots forward). That’s why action has to be Massive, to overcome the inertia of the comfort zone.

To create, you’ve got to act without waiting for permission. As a solopreneur, you are your own boss, so who are you waiting for to give you permission to get started?

So to put the Law of Traction into motion, you’ve got to first Take Massive Action Without Permission.

BELIEVE – Even the producer of “The Secret”, Rhonda Byrne, didn’t just sit by and daydream about success. She took massive action, betting her production company on the movie, and seizing every opportunity to spread the message of her film. You don’t “just get” on Oprah… twice. You have to contact the right people, following up, “selling” your idea, following the “three foot rule” (talk about your vision to everyone who comes within three feet of you). What do you think she thinks or talks about all day? I bet it’s about how to move her vision to the next level…

Believing is becoming “gloriously obsessed” about what you want to create, “obsession” in the sense of focusing all your thoughts and energies in one direction, and “glorious” meaning a direction that celebrates Who You Really Are, in the direction of your Mission, Vision and Permission.

You’ve got to eat, sleep, think, dream, talk, question, harangue, needle, infuse, ignite and excite everyone around you with your vision. You’ve got to be the beacon, the projector for your vision, so much so that it’s got to get other people vibrating to your beat, too.

After all, if you’re not the one who’s most enthusiastic about your vision, who else can be your champion?

RECEIVE – Think about this one carefully… Do you really want what you say you want? To me this is another key failing of “The Law of Attraction” as described in “The Secret”. If I receive everything I ask for, not only would life be quite boring, but would I not be shortchanging myself because I would be only exploring a fraction of my potential?

There is an unsaid truism in project management, that if the project comes in on budget, on schedule and on specification, that means that the project is probably not what was needed nor wanted in the first place. Truly great projects that change the world (think Panama Canal, or the James Bay Hydroelectric Projects in Quebec or whatever megaproject that comes to mind), they all flirt with the edge of the impossible, challenging the way things are now, to create a new reality with unforeseen consequences, sometimes good, sometimes not so good, but always placing us in a new situation that allows us to explore a new part of our humanity. Does this mean global climate change is good? Well, I see it as a grand opportunity to flex our collective creativity!

Most visions start with an insatisfaction with the present, and therefore are only projections onto the future of what we want (or don’t want). The paradox of vision or goal setting is that although I need a strong vision or goal to get started, I must be willing to let go of it mid-stream to reach for a new goal or vision that’s beyond what I originally wanted.

I remember in January 1994, when I was an officer in the Canadian Air Force, I had just fin
ished meeting with my career manager, mapping out my next five years in the service and planning for a move to a staff job in Ottawa. So I had at that time a clear vision of what I wanted. Six months later, I had turned in my uniform and moved to a new life in Calgary. How could I have planned that the 1994 federal budget would mandate a 30% downsizing of the armed forces? Or, in May 2004, I visited my mother in Quebec City during a conference there, the first time in four years that I had come back home from Calgary. How could I have planned that seven months later I would be leaving Calgary (where I had thought I would be spending the rest of my life), and starting a new chapter of my life in Quebec City?

I can think of all kinds of other unforeseen turns and twists that led me to meet new people, live new experiences, discover new parts of my being.

So this is why I say it is important to learn to receive the bad with the good, always with humility and gratitude. Because there is something for me to experience in every moment. And it is through the unforeseeable that I can leap out of my comfort zone and expand my reality.

If life always turns out the way I plan, then life would be really boring. The juice of life is always in the unexpected. To live fully is to learn how to dance with uncertainty.

To sum up, instead of the “Law of Attraction” that to me is too passive, I prefer to live through the Law of Traction: to ACT, to BELIEVE and to RECEIVE. Traction begets motion, and it takes motion to generate the energy that overcomes the inertia of the present and power me towards a new future.

Another way of looking at The Law of Traction is through the words of that immortal philosopher Mick Jagger:

“You can’t always get what you want,
And if you try sometimes, well you just might find…
You get what you need!”


Note: See also my past posts on “The Secret” here and here

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