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What’s the Secret All About?
Date 5/13/2008    Tags Absurd    (0)

So a while back I read this crazy book called "The Secret". It was one of the strangest books I've ever read. By normal design, a book will tell you a story or convey some moderately useful information to you. "The Secret" on the other hand was largely a book full of people commenting on how well "The Secret" worked for them. Many were unknowns, many were famous people like Albert Einstein, John Adams, or Alf (the alien from the 1980's TV show, not to be confused with the horrible Jude Law character Alfie). A common quote from one of these people would go a little be something like this:
Bob Toothbrushwasher
Before I learned the Secret, I had no legs, no money, and an unnatural fear of balloons. Thanks to the Secret, I grew new legs, won Power Ball three consecutive weeks, and had all the balloons in the world banished to Death Island.

Susie Queue
Hold an image of your old, dead pet in your hand. Somewhere someone will find your pet, alive and well. You will receive a phonecall from your long dead but not not dead pet and will win the lottery.

Ryan Wormsoda
It was really simple. I bought the book, thought happy thoughts, and my debt to the mafia was forgiven!
That is the basis of 90% of the book. It would be like going to a Hollywood blockbuster movie only to have the first hour and a half be nothing but comments from critics who enjoyed the movie followed by a lackluster chase scene and the realization that you'll never get your $7 back. And yet somehow this very sort of book was a massive bestseller and no doubt made all the author's dreams come true.

Speaking of dreams coming true, that is the basis of "The Secret". The main concept of the book is that if you want something badly enough, imagine yourself having it and tell yourself you have it and are enjoying it. For instance if I wanted a really good steak, I would tell myself "You will eat a great steak". And if I said that to myself enough times and truly believed it, Emeril Lagasse would magically appear in my kitchen and bam, cook the best damn steak I've ever had.

Now I think some good can come of this line of thinking. If you're always expecting something terrible to happen to you, subconsciously you're going to do and say things that steer you toward that path. And if you expect good things to happen, you'll be more inclined to do things that steer you in that path. But simply trying to will yourself more money, love, or grape soda isn't going to ever work, it will take good old fashioned hard work (or in the case of the grape soda, 75 cents).

The other concept I took away from the book is that if you think bad thoughts, you'll feel bad and think more bad thoughts. Conversely if you think good thoughts, you'll feel good and think more good thoughts. You might expect me to bash this for being circular or "dumb", but it's a pretty valid point and perhaps the one redeeming factor of the book. Chances are if you're have a terrible day, most of your thoughts are about how terrible your day is going. Take a minute and think of something good, some happy memory. I'll vouch for this myself, it makes you feel a little better. Even if you feel a little dirty for following something you read in a book as crazy as "The Secret".

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