In 1990, before he was famous, struggling young comedian Jim Carrey wrote himself a cheque for $10 million for ‘acting services rendered by Thanksgiving 1995’. He kept it in his wallet where it became wrinkled and worn only to proudly show it off to the press right after landing the role of Lloyd Christmas in the hit 1994 film Dumb and Dumber. This part would make him $10 million. As his friend Oprah Winfrey has said: ‘The way you think creates reality for yourself.’
It’s the Law of Attraction. Carrey is a firm believer, even manifesting a Mustang bike earlier in life because his father couldn’t afford to buy him one. ‘Whenever I wanted something to happen, I manifested it. I stood there in an open field like this, [with] my arms out,’ he said.
Lady Gaga told herself every day that she was famous long before she became a global icon. ‘You repeat it to yourself every day. And it’s not yet, it’s a lie. You’re saying a lie over and over again,’ she explained. ‘Then, one day the lie is true.’
Manifestation Mumbo Jumbo?
But is manifestation mumbo jumbo and if not how is it supposed to work? The law of attraction argues that positive thoughts and actions reap positive rewards and vice versa for negative ones. It is a philosophy made famous in Rhonda Bryne’s book ‘The Secret’ which has sold 35 million copies worldwide and consists of three rules: ask, believe and receive. The thinking goes that if you put the idea of what you want out there, into the universe, and believe in it strongly enough, everything you do will work to make it happen.
It may seem far-fetched to some but being positive is officially good for us. Positive thinking has been linked to living longer, feeling better overall and even a lower risk of heart disease, research has discovered. It’s beneficial mentally, too, helping to reduce depression, anxiety and stress.
And while the concept of manifestation has even appeared in ancient religions, quantum physics offers a probable explanation for the feasibility of the law of attraction. Nobel Prize winner and quantum physics founding father Max Planck once said: ‘As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clearheaded science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about the atoms this much: There is no matter as such!
‘All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind [infinite consciousness] is the matrix of all matter.’
So it sounds like we should take positive thinking and the law of attraction seriously, after all – and it certainly has a lot of famous fans.
Oprah Winfrey used visualisation techniques to win her role in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple imagining herself first as an actress and then playing the part itself. Other people just talk to themselves to manifest what they want.
Dubai-based entrepreneur and Personal Brand Expert, Kelly Lundberg believes in the power of desire statements. She writes down what she wants to happen for a year, describing her goals in detail – such as looking for The One – and then she takes action every day to manifest that desire. ‘I wrote a detailed description of the person I wanted to meet,’ she says. ‘The words created a foundation for this to be a reality and I naturally started to do things that put me in that particular space. Four months later, there he was!’
The Art of Manifesting
Last year, manifesting expert Carolyn Boyes, released The Art of Manifesting, the ultimate guide for those keen to learn how to create their dream career, dream family and dream life. Sceptics would argue that simply isn’t possible, and it’s down to working hard, determination and a little bit of luck.
Carolyn insists you can make your dreams a reality by believing that it will come true and taking action to make your desires reality. ‘First create a vision of what you want,’ she says. ‘What does the finished picture look like? You can adjust it until it is just how you want it to be. Don’t think what you should imagine. Make it right for you. Now, does it feel good to have this finished picture in your life? If not, change it. Thank the universe for bringing this happy outcome to you. Finally take actions in the real world assuming you will manifest successfully.’
It will be hard at first if you’re harsh with yourself, normally, or tend to have negative thoughts. ‘If you are in the habit of imagining negative experiences and bad outcomes it takes training to get your mind to change direction and focus on positive outcomes,’ Carolyn acknowledges.
So how can you break the negative habit? Practicing meditation and mindfulness is a great start. Building towards self-hypnosis and visualisation will train your mind to focus. This doesn’t have to be time consuming or overwhelming.
You can try simple techniques such as closing your eyes, visualising your bedroom, and then changing the colour of the room and moving the furniture around. Or, visualise the faces of your friends and imagine them saying nice things about you. In fact, write down some nice things about yourself.
Never waste energy of speaking negatively about yourself, even when joking, because your body doesn’t understand the difference.
Martial arts legend and movie star Bruce Lee, who used the Law of Attraction to carve out his iconic career in the film industry, famously said: ‘Words are energy and cast spells, that’s why it’s called spelling. Change the way you speak about yourself and you can change your life. What you are not changing, you’re also choosing.’