The Secret: A Tool For Achieving What You Want From Life or a Charlatan’s Bag of Magic Beans?

To achieve what you want, you have to imagine that you’ve already done it!





Episode 28 - The secret: A Tool For Achieving What You Want From Life or a Charlatan's Bag of Magic Beans?

by Roger Reid


Remember the secret?

It was a best-selling book, an independent movie, and the basis for a whole new generation of so called metaphysical gurus who promised that your most desired dreams and wishes were not only possible, but realistically attainable – if you used your mind to connect with the universe, believed in your ability to manifest whatever you wanted, and accepted the premise that, in time, your desired outcome would appear.

The concept was delivered with references to new theories and discoveries in the field of physics, and those who subscribed to the idea of manifesting – to have the power to change or create within the material universe – claimed the capability was within all of us. The idea carried hints of the mysterious and cryptic, as if these new-age practitioners had discovered the key to unlocking an age-old ability that had previously been available to only the most privileged – those who had used the process to attain wealth, influence, and privilege. 

So here’s the question: Is it really possible to change your life, to create the things you want merely by changing the way you think?

Hey, welcome back. This is roger Reid with another episode of success point 360

“So, according to the guy on TV, if I believe I’m going to earn enough money to buy a car, the money will just show up… automatically. But if I don’t believe it, if I don’t think it’s possible, I’ll never be able to buy a car. Is that true?”

A friend’s son, Tony, asked me that question.

At first, I thought he was joking, making fun of the idea of manifesting your future. He’d just watched a motivational video on the internet, and from what I could tell, he wasn’t totally convinced he could change his life simply by changing his thoughts.

Before I could answer, Tony asked a second question.

“So if I just sit here on this couch and believe with all my heart that someone will deposit a mountain of cash on my doorstep, will it really happen?”

As I said, I thought he was being facetious, making fun of the video guru. But he wasn’t. He was dead serious. At least as serious as a fifteen year old can be.

I knew what had prompted the questions: Tony was working weekends and after school to save enough money to buy a car — a 1988 Mustang his cousin had promised to sell him. And in 8 months, when he turned sixteen, he hoped to have enough cash to buy the 22-year-old car.

The vehicle had over two hundred thousand miles on the odometer and needed a little bodywork. But Tony didn’t care. He wanted the independence it would give him… to drive to school, to use on dates, and for the bragging rights that would come from having his own set of wheels.

Tony was waiting for an answer. I knew he wasn’t asking for a dissertation on theoretical metaphysics. He wanted practical advice on how to apply the law of attraction.

And while I could have easily glossed over the subject by telling him it was simply another self-help theory that worked for some and not others, I didn’t want him to think I was dismissing his interest, that I was placating him with a watered-down version of a subject usually reserved for someone older.

I gave it my best shot. And here’s what I told him

The idea of manifesting a future is not magic, but it can be a very powerful process. First of all, let’s get rid of the word, manifesting. It conjures up the idea of the supernatural, of using some better felt than told shortcut that will miraculously deliver whatever you want, without any real effort on your part.

I’m pretty certain that the authors who sold books and videos based on the secret were hoping to capitalize on the power of a marketing message – one that inferred a new and easy way to acquire the things in life that most of us want. They knew there were a lot of people who would respond to the promise of a short-cut, a magical method of creating the life they really wanted.

So let’s get that out of the way right up front –there’s nothing mystical or magical about the secret.

It’s really about using your mind to keep your actions focused on the goal you want to achieve.

Think of it as mentally lining up all your abilities and talents so they work together to keep you on track, motivating you to take steps toward what you want to accomplish. And that’s what makes the difference — taking small steps every day to ensure you achieve your goal within a reasonable time span.

We were just getting started, but I could already tell I was losing Tony. So I asked him a question: Who do you think has a better chance of winning the hundred-yard dash — the guy who is full of confidence because he runs every day and sees himself crossing the finish line ahead of everyone else? Or the guy who doesn’t believe he has a chance in hell, is constantly distracted by a hundred other things, and because of that, he seldom shows up for practice?

Tony answered without hesitating. “The guy who shows up, and believes he’s going to win. “But the guy on TV said all I have to do is believe it’s possible, and my brain will start working on a solution.”

“That part is true,” I told him. “I’m sure the guy was talking about the frequency illusionWhen you begin thinking about something specific, something you want, you begin seeing examples of it more frequently. It’s the result of your brain recognizing whatever you’ve set your sights on.

For example, since you’ve decided to buy that Mustang, you’ve probably been seeing Mustangs all over the road, right?

He nodded, and then confirmed that he had no idea there were so many of them on the road.

I told him those Mustangs had always been there, he just hadn’t noticed them before, because he hadn’t made the decision to own one. He was seeing them now, because he was being reminded of the priority he set on getting his own Mustang, so his attention remained focused on the goal.

Then Tony came back with a question: “I’ve been thinking about that car really hard,” he said. In fact, it’s all I think about. But the money isn’t coming any faster. What am I doing wrong?”

And that’s when I realized that tony was trying to connect the idea of belief as the exclusive causation, the only force behind the external act of creation — just as many have attempted to do after reading The Secret. And just like those who hoped to manipulate the universe in real-time by simply using their mind, he just didn’t understand the concept.

So, I tried a different approach.

We all have tremendous capability. And when we identify and focus on exactly what we want to achieve, we can direct all that capability into the specific actions necessary to accomplish our goal. It’s similar to using a magnifying glass to start a fire. We use the lens to concentrate the sun’s energy on a single spot, making the light far more powerful.

“So we’re really not creating stuff with our minds?” Tony asked.

We’re using our minds to prioritize our actions, to keep our attention focused on what’s important, on what we want to achieve.

Tony took a deep breath. “That sounds simple enough,” he said.

I saw a glimmer of hope. Maybe he was beginning to understand. Now it was time to tell him about the second part of the process.

Focus is the First Step, Visualization is the Second. The process is simple. But getting your mind to focus on what you want is only the first step. The second is to imagine having already accomplished your goal, that the car you want is already parked out front in the driveway.

And that’s when tony interrupted me: “You want me to pretend that I’ve already bought the car? What good will that do?”

We’d come to the hard part. All I could do is continue and hope he stayed with me.

Here’s the reason why imagining you already own it will motivate you to take the actions necessary to buy it.  It creates a discrepancy. Think of it as purposely creating an imbalance, a conflict in your thinking process.

I could tell by his expression that all the progress we’d made was about to go down the drain. I figured I had about three seconds to follow through with a reasonable explanation.

Think of it like this,” I said. “As you imagine what it will be like to drive the car, you’re telling your subconscious that you already own it. And your subconscious will believe you. Rather than ask for proof, it automatically assumes your thoughts about the car are true— even when they’re nothing more than constructed fantasies.

Then he asked me the question that stops so many from using the principle of visualization to focus their thoughts and turn them into action.

“Isn’t that the same as lying to myself?”

I shook my head. No, because you instinctively know it’s not true. It’s about visualizing yourself behind the wheel as you pick up a friend on the way to school, or driving to a concert on the weekend. It’s creating thoughts that are consistent with someone who already owns a car. And because your conscious brain knows you don’t, both sides of your brain — the conscious and the subconscious — will begin working together to provide ideas, solutions, and opportunities that will resolve the discrepancy. In other words, you’ll begin to take actions that eventually result in you owning the car.

As I waited for Tony to say something, I decided to back-track a step or two.

Remember the example about the two guys running the hundred-yard dash? It’s the same situation as buying that car. Let’s say there’s someone else interested in the mustang, but instead of seeing themselves enjoying the car and the new freedom it will bring them, they tell themselves it’s a pipe-dream.

When they think about the idea of saving enough money to buy it, it seems impossible. And because they’re sure your cousin will become impatient and sell the car to someone else, they wonder why they should even bother. Based on those thinking patterns, how likely is it that this guy is going to put forth the extra effort to save enough money to buy the car?

“I get that,” Tony said. “And I think I’m okay with telling myself the car is on the way, but I’m just not sure I can convince myself that I already own it.”

You don’t need to, I said. Just imagine what it would be like to drive it, to park it in the driveway. That’s all your subconscious needs to start the process.

“To create the conflict?” he asked

Yes, exactly. When you can imagine yourself writing the check to your cousin, sliding under the wheel, putting the keys into the ignition and driving away, the process of saving your money will become automatic. And you’ll begin seeing additional opportunities to make even more money, which will accelerate the process of buying it.

I could tell his attention was drifting, so I decided that was enough for now.

If he shows more interest, I’ll loan him my copy of “Psycho-Cybernetics,” by Maxwell Maltz, who suggested that seeing yourself at the finish line and creating a mental picture of winning the race is an important part of the process of getting there. And that it was impossible to accomplish anything of significance without first forming the mental picture of possibility, to see it clearly, and to believe it can happen.

Later on, after Tony has been driving his newly acquired car for a few weeks, I’ll ask him if he remembers our conversation, and if he thinks creating an “attitude of possibility” had anything to do with putting him behind the wheel.

Hopefully, he’ll have learned to appreciate the important part a focused mindset has in making us more aware of opportunities that can move us closer to our goals.

Hey that’s it for this episode. If you have questions or comments, I like to hear from you. You can use the voicemail tab on my website at, or you can send me an email at

Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.

© 2020, Roger A. Reid, All Rights Reserved

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