During a midlife career crisis, many of us experiment with new ideas. Nearly everyone considers applying Law of Attraction principles to our lives.
Attractor Factor was recommended by someone I respect, and of course I’d heard of Joe Vitale,
so I put aside my skepticism and began reading.
If you’ve been walking around feeling negative, this book may help. When you feel positive and in control, you’re more likely to think clearly. That’s psychology of mood.
And if you always turn right instead of left, you can change your life. Natalie Goldberg made that point in her excellent book, Thunder and Lightning . And if you’re not feeling desperate, you have more power and more confidence, which in turn brings clearer thinking.
Parts of Vitale’s advice can be difficult for an ordinary person to follow.
For instance, we’re encouraged to be open to new ideas. As an example, Vitale says, he decided not to pursue a mail order advertisement for a self-improvement product. But he soon decided he was resisting a message, so he ordered the product. (pp. 31-32)
So how do we interpret this story? Do we order everything that’s advertised? We need a discussion on how to use our intuition to discern the value of what we’re offered.
And selling an e-book or e-course on the Internet can be a great way to make money … if you’ve got a topic and a great marketing strategy.
It also helps if you have a big mailing list and copywriting skills. So how do we get these advantages? Vitale acknowledges — rightly, I think — that most of us make excuses when we need to roll up our sleeves and go to work (p. 75), investing time, money and energy in our dream. It takes more than attraction to attract these rewards!
I agree with Vitale: “Intention” can be powerful.” Once we set a firm goal, we often figure out ways to get there, if we genuinely want the goal.
For instance, I’ve met many people who found jobs just as their unemployment payments were about to end. The combination of positive mood and clarity of goal can be very powerful. But you don’t have to explain these effects as “law of attraction.”
Parts of Vitale’s book were quite disturbing. Twenty-two pages — nearly ten percent of the book — fall into a chapter labeled “The Proof,” which is nothing but a list of testimonials for Joe Vitale and the first version of this book.
Second, Vitale acknowledges that his guru, Jonathan, molested a woman who was close to him at the time. On page 181, he writes that the “situation with Jonathan…was a gift of freedom.”
But the woman who was molested (p. 182) never recovered. Although “she tried to forgive him,” writes Vitale, she “only found peace in death.” And in the very next sentence, Vitale writes, “Meanwhile my adventures continue…”
Frankly, I don’t get it. Some psychologists believe the human mind may be wired to explain negative events in terms of some greater good.
But I would expect to see some evidence of the author’s compassion for the woman and perhaps some revised thinking — maybe even some activism to prevent other women from being harmed by gurus they trusted. I would encourage readers to look up Natalie Goldberg’s memoir
The Great Failure
, where she describes honest feelings about being betrayed by her spiritual father and her birth father.
Finally, the notion that we’re responsible for everything that happens to us can be traced to early New Age philosophies, including the “est” of the seventies. We’re dealing with values that are nearly religious. For instance:
- Do you believe soldiers in Iraq attracted death and dismemberment?
- Do you believe the starving poor of Third World countries attracted poverty?
- Do you believe that three-year-old children attract disease into their lives?
Some Law of Attraction theorists say yes; others hedge.
Still, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying Vitale’s exercises in a spirit of playfulness. And if it’s easier to take a message of “Work hard!” when it’s couched in this language, no harm done.
These authors are down to earth and realistic about what you can expect (at least in these books). Best of all, you can follow their advice even if you don’t buy into their world views.