The Secret? There is No Secret

The Secret

photo by Mrs. Maze

It seems everyone is looking for a secret. Everyone wants the mysterious answer to their problems that somehow eludes them day after day. If only they knew the secret to success, the secret to loving relationships, the secret to losing weight, the secret to being more productive.

It’s easy to see this when so many books on personal development, self help, money, wealth, fitness, and relationships claim to have some secret. “The Secret to a Flatter Stomach in 30 days,” “The Secret to Unlimited Wealth,” or “The Secret to Happiness.”

Is there really a secret though? Or do marketers simply thrive off the allure of proclaiming a so-called secret, something they’ve figured out that no one else has yet grasped? The real secret is..

There is no secret.

That’s right, there is no secret. But everyone’s looking for one, right?

The allure of a secret is so powerful because it implies some hidden knowledge that someone has kept from others because it’s so powerful. The people that know these so-called secrets don’t want others to know about it, because in knowing it, they might be able to compete with them on the same level.

The generous authors of numerous books, seminars and workshops want to give you the secret. How selfless of them. =)

But most of the time when their secrets are revealed they turn out to be nothing more than a quick fix gimmick. A new weight loss pill that will allow you to eat whatever you want and still lose weight! Or the secret to starting a business that will make you rich within months!

The other less common probability when a secret is revealed is that it turns out it wasn’t a secret at all, it was simply common sense.

After all, what’s the biggest secret that’s hit self-help stands across the nation? The Law of Attraction. The makers of the film about this “law” were so bold to call this The Secret.

I think there is a lot of benefit to focusing your thoughts and intentions on what you want to manifest in your life. Don’t get me wrong, I think moving from focusing on what you want, rather than what you don’t want is a big step for many people. As well as the idea that your thoughts manifest reality. But is this really a secret? I don’t think so.

The problem with secrets is they get people so excited over some new realization that’s going to change their lives instantly. Now that they’ve solved the mystery, everything is going to suddenly transform right? Not exactly.

Discovering a new realization, something that is more in alignment (hence the reason they call it the law of attraction) with reality is a big step. It has the power to change lives. The hype of a secret, some new idea that’s going to completely transform your existence is the issue. Discovering a new, more accurate paradigm for reality is huge, but actually implementing that new paradigm into your life is something else entirely.

When people are so focused on the excitement of learning some new secret, they don’t realize what they learned was really…

Common Sense

The Law of Attraction is really common sense. A lot of people might argue with this, because it seems that thoughts creating reality isn’t so obvious. That may be true. It’s easy to see your physical existence as a product of your environment. After all, you are you, and everything else is “out there.” Your thoughts are a product of your environment, right?

Common sense would tell us, yes, our thoughts are a product of our environment. But that’s only looking at half of the picture. That’s implying that physical reality is bigger than us, we are merely perceiving it. We don’t just perceive though, we interpret and respond. We respond not only with actions, but with thoughts as well. And of course we all know thoughts create actions.
So how do thoughts create reality? We must also recognize that just as we respond to the physical world, the physical world responds to us. That’s the part they don’t teach you in school.

Common sense can take us a step further to better explain the law of attraction. Everyone knows that thoughts determine actions. But what about our thoughts manifesting things that aren’t a direct result of our action? Explaining that requires a whole new paradigm. Maybe a secret paradigm? Or can we explain it with common sense? Let’s give it a try.

We all know that we have a physical body, and that we interact in an environment. How do you describe a person though? You describe them by their behavior, what they do. But you can’t describe what a person does without describing their environment. You can’t describe the environment without describing the city, the state, country, continent, planet, solar system, galaxy and eventually the universe. In the same way for us to describe the universe, we describe the stars in the universe. We describe the matter of the stars, their relationship to galaxies, solar systems and planets. We describe the planet in its relation to life, to the water, atmosphere, and land. We describe the water and the land based on the life that inhabits it. Can you see where I’m going with this?

When we really take common sense as far as we can take it, we realize that everything is relational. We realize that every part relies on the other parts. The parts make a whole and the whole makes the parts. This is what’s not as easy to see; in the whole you see the parts, but in the parts there is also the whole.

When we see that each part is the whole it’s easy to understand how the law of attraction works. When you create an intention that intention is not just your individual consciousness’ intention, it is also the intention of the entire universe as well.

So what does this all have to do with secrets?

The reason I wanted to illustrate this point is to show you that there really are no secrets. But there is a lot of common sense.

The reason secrets are so touchy is because they imply a lot of hype. They imply a quick fix to solving your problems. And while a secret may show you some new insight that will help you, there is still the hard work of implementing that new realization. Changing our beliefs and changing our habits requires hard work. This is a rude awakening for secret seekers.

If we are able to realize that underlying secrets (that are actually based on truth) are really common sense, we can approach things from a new level. We can accept that common sense took us there and that common sense will tell us it may not be easy implementing these new habits.

There is no magic pill. Real magic happens when people apply these secrets in their lives.

True transformation involves no quick fixes and real growth can be very challenging. It may not be as glamorous and alluring. But it will be genuine.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Kenneth King|Destiny Building May 2, 2008 at 11:11 am

Life is a process of gaining insights and taking actions., learning and growing. As Jonathan says, living this way may not be glamorous, but it is genuine. Ignore the hype and create your own unique path.

Reply

JEMi | Tips for Life, Love, You May 2, 2008 at 11:28 am

If anything, I would say – for me – The Secret has brought an awareness to me that I didn’t have. Sure I would sense my way around things and my natural demeanor would implore me to be positive. But beaten down with the many negatives of life, I need something bigger and perhaps that pointing out was the beginning of what I needed.

Of course I also notice its a really pretty film about positivity and I’ve read the critisms for em

I guess what I personally feel – and this is why my site InMyHeels is built the way it is – is that for many people that awareness of the simple, common sense things about themselves and about life don’t hit them yet for whatever reason. Sure, amongst our blogs and the self help world we see good advice being recycled
and thats where the marketing ploy the word SECRET comes in. The word secret alone illicits excitement. Like – “ooh something that was meant to be hidden from me is about ot drastically improve my life”
I think there is always going to be the new crop of people who are strongly attracted to the idea of a great escape through reading a book, tip, blog, etc. We want better lives. But the thing is no matter what it is, the “secret” is the accumulation of those common sense changes we were ‘suckered’ into reading.

I also think alot of us just don’t trust our own intuition – convinced that someone knows better than us on how to best live our lives.

Ah…

oh and another thing just crossed my mind. The word “secrets” is just sexier than “common sense”

watch.

“Come here Ev, let me tell you the secret to success!”
vs
“Come here Ev, let me tell you some common sense that will help you be successul!”

haha

I really enjoyed this post and its very good points

Great post Jon :)

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Cory May 2, 2008 at 11:38 am

I’m both wanting to agree wholeheartedly, and quibble. I agree there’s no secret, just hard/rewarding work to manifest (happiness)in one’s life. On the other hand, I’m not sure it’s all common sense. My sense is, “My thoughts/thinking side is rational/reality” is pretty common (sensical) whereas the metaphyisical ‘happiness can only be found within’ sense of the true meaning in life entails re-training one’s mind (which is where the hard work lies). And here, I’d add, in stillness/silence (Meditation) the truth is revealed. As a corollary, starting Monday, a 5-part series entitled Creative Intelligence begins, as an attempt to discuss how creativity is both intrinsic within us, and essential to leading a fulfilled life. I’d be interested to have you read it and leave a comment, as I sense you are a real straight shooter, and sincerely on the ‘pathless path.’

Cory

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John Curtis May 2, 2008 at 11:47 am

Amen…

The Secret is the latest and by far the worst example of a HIGHLY profitable trend where self-help gurus with fabricated new age titles and little relevant education, credentials or legitimate expertise brainwash us into believing that they know what is best for us, our marriages and our families.

Often their only contribution to society is introducing some exotic sounding, new age philosophy. However, they often cleverly form an incestuous group of like-minded “experts” who cross-promote each other by swearing their success is due to following the beliefs of another member of their “cult!” All the while, they ply the airwaves jockeying for an ever-larger audience by appearing in the national media to garner third-party endorsements.

The Self-Help Movement has become the Self-Destruct Movement by diminishing or destroying our critical thinking skills to choose and evolve on our own. We have given up the freedom to build healthy lives, marriages and families based on our unique history and life experience. Instead many victims, blinded to the value of their own life experiences, are attracted to the latest secret in self-help, in an attempt to find out what they should think, feel and how they should act… this is the definition of a cult.

The solution is a return to our (common) senses! The best way out of this learned “self-helplessness” is to go cold turkey. Stop following ALL self-help gurus now. Begin, instead, to reclaim your natural, God-given ability to think for yourself. The common sense that was once readily available to all of us is still there free of charge and waiting to be applied to just about any challenge we might face in life… all you have to do is use it.

Please, let’s all work together to stop the flock of “sheepeople” who blindly move from one UNPROVEN concept to the next, looking for the answers to life’s challenges that you already possess and that is the OBVIOUS!

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Desika Nadadur | I Am My Own Master May 2, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Very nice article, Jonathan!

We project our reality! So, all this manifestation business is to do with our inner reality. When we fully know about something in the inner world, it is then projected to the outer into matter.

Nothing is ever kept secret by the universe, really. It is only that we need to uncover it.

-Thanks,
Desika

Reply

Tim Brownson May 2, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Bit by bit people chip away at this and bit by bit the people that stand to benefit patch it back up again. Of course you’re right, it’s a myth of biblical proportions and all we can do is expose people to the bare naked truth.

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Jonathan May 2, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Jemi,

I definitely agree. I think it has a lot to do with the sexiness factor. Common sense isn’t very sexy. It’s a shame really.

Cory,

I think it’s all about finding balance with your rational mind and your intuitive mind. It’s listening to your heart as well as your head. It’s not an easy balance to master, but I think striving for it is very worthwhile.

John,

Thanks for your take on this. I think there is definitely a lot of hype surrounding the secret. Although I think it sent a good message (that your thoughts determine your reality) it also included a little too much hype and focus on material abundance.

Your comments on self-help remind me of George Carlin where he said “self-help really isn’t self-help at all. If you’re getting help from a self-help book, it’s really help. It’s only self-help if you’re helping yourself.” =)

Desika and Tim,

So true. Thanks for your comments.

Jonathan

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Andrea Hess | Empowered Soul May 2, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Great article, Jonathan. I remember watching “The Secret” after a friend had told me how life-changing it was for her. I was pretty darn disappointed – no “secrets” in that movie, for sure. Whether we call it the Law of Attraction or simply notice that “like attracts like” in our own lives, it really is common sense. What should not get lost, however, is the spotlight this information will hopefully shine on our intentions and the level of consciousness we bring to our choices.

Blessings,
Andrea

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Robert A. Henru May 3, 2008 at 9:06 am

The secret? It’s catchy, it’s buzzword, it’s marketing, and it sells, that makes many people will be curious and get the book.

More importantly, it sounds very empowering to the readers. In a way, they are not blamed for not knowing the secret. The mistakes is no longer on their side, is on the people that has kept the information from them. If you’re saying it’s common sense, somehow you make them as if it’s their mistake, they are foolish for not knowing this.

I was reading the negative review on the stumbleupon of this article. In a way, this article might have hurt him as something that is empowering to them being made as if it is not there.

What do you think?

Just my 2-cents,
Robert

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Anmol Mehta | Mastery of Meditation May 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Hey Jonathan,

Am sure you will get a mix of reactions on this baby. Most important aspect of this article, is that it will make people pause, reflect and inquire… which… is the secret to Self-Realization :-D.

Great stuff.

Cheers,
Anmol

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GLICH May 3, 2008 at 10:00 pm

I love the article! I do agree that there are really no secrets. It’s just a matter of taking time to think, analyze, and process the problems you have and come up with a unique and effective solution.

This is really a good article. Kudos to you!

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Tom Volkar / Delightful Work May 5, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Yep there are no secrets – especially in the movie The Secret. Just a time honored info-marketing tradition of telling us the “what” without offering the “how”.

Unfortunately though, common sense isn’t so common or solid blogs like this one would have greater readership than those that cover celebrity shenanigans.

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Slade | Shift Your Spirits May 7, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Jonathan,

I think it’s hard to imagine when you “get” something so obvious that so many others (perhaps the majority) simply do not.

It’s not a “Secret” to you, me, or those who create community surrounding this wisdom that we are aware of — but we are in the minority. I agree with you whole-heartedly that the Law of Attraction is common sense, but then consider how many people don’t seem to have a clue about what common sense is or how to apply it to their daily lives.

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Alexander M Zoltai June 19, 2008 at 3:40 pm

One reason I think so many marketers use the “secret” and why so many people respond to it is a big bit of common sense in its own right:
For millennia, humanity had to do that hard work you mention to make a portion of the world turn into common sense.
For millennia, people have tended to imitate the folks who (for various reasons) stepped out as “leaders”.
So…
There is a huge residue of “imitational ignorance”–huge masses subjected to conditions that keep them copying their leaders ideas rather than stepping out and grasping the accumulated fruit of humanity’s growth and running with it…

~ Alex

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kannan viswagandhi September 6, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Hi,

Nice article.
It is true that there is no real secret or magic pill for success.
If we change our basic belief system and thoughts,then we can achieve anything in life.
Thanks for sharing.

Best Wishes,
Kannan Viswagandhi
\http://www.growing-self.blogspot.com

Reply

Jay Roberts January 12, 2010 at 3:06 am

I Could not agree more!!!! I wrote about this very thing myself as far as it relates to the Home Business world and how so mnay people are being duped into thinking it will all just “happen” for them if they think it!!

Steps, Actions, Processes & Hard Work coupled with a great attitude will bring the goals one seeks. The makers of “the secret” certainly attracted alot of ash eh??

A terrific article and I will cerainly be subscribing to this.

Jay Roberts
MLM Edge

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auramac February 9, 2010 at 11:12 pm

The turnoff for me is the emphasis on material or personal gain and the fact that these “secrets” are being sold and marketed by those wishing to make money and successful by applying an even greater shortcut- writing a book!

Common sense: Sex sells. So do drugs- mind-altering drugs.

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Kurt March 28, 2010 at 3:00 am

This is EXACTLY my problem, I’m so beyond obsessed with finding “The Secret” it’s rediculous. This is literally a lifesaver, thank you.
PS: Why is everyone here like some kind of super intelligent freak? :D

Reply

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