Thursday, February 15, 2007

"The Secret"...not so much

So I'm reading the USA Today this morning and I run across an article about the book The Secret being number one on a number of best seller lists. In reading the article a bit deeper it talks about it being publicised on Oprah, Ellen and other TV shows. It is being touted as the new (in my words) "New Age Fad", the thing that makes life easier and much more worth wile living.

I will spoil the ending and tell you "the secret" is what the "authors" call the "Power of Attraction" ( A sidebar here. I will be putting a lot of words in quotation marks because I think these are buzzwords that are only so much mumbo-jumbo and are pretty well meaningless.) Ok, back to the power of attraction. This is not the scientific version most of us learned in school. The "Power of Attraction" here is that if you think hard enough about wanting something it will come to you. And how that is done is that with this emanation of strong desire you will attract the people and events that will get you the thing that you wish for. That is IT! look at something and want it. Think of something and desire it. And poof! it is yours.

Ok I realise this is the simplified version of what they are saying, but I have seen the video, and it is so filled with phony "experts" and paid testimonials, it is almost laughable. The one thing they were saying, in an hour and half video, was set a goal. PERIOD. not just a goal in life or profession, but if you want a car, close your eyes and desire it. A necklace you see in a jewelry store window, wish yourself the necklace and it is yours! If you do this HARD ENOUGH EVERY WAKING MOMENT YOU WILL GET THESE THINGS! Ah, life is so wonderful!!

Oh, they forgot to tell you one thing. All the things you wish for and desire...it is on you to work hard to get them. You didn't think it was a free ride did you? Oh, they didn't tell you that in the video or the book. Just want and it will be yours. Sorry to burst your bubble but life is not like that. Life is about work and education, street smarts and intelligence, setting goals in life and working hard to achieve those goals. They are not dropped in your lap just because you "think hard about them". So it is fine to envision the things that you want, but it is you that will work hard to get those things. It is you that will find and enlist others to help you achieve the goal. It is you that will reach that goal, with hard enough work, and reap the benefits and joy of the goal you set. Just by wishing (desiring, wanting, praying for, obsessing, whatever) you will not get anywhere. If a body is not set in motion, it will not move from where it lay. That is science.

The kind of false hope these so called"self help" authors offers is just so harmful because it does not offer any real life solutions to the problems real people have. It feeds on their dreams and wishes, yet does not encourage them (you) to be self reliant and be your own challenge solver. They say: you "attract" others to you to do the work for you to help achieve your goal. Bleh. How selfish.

I will end this long winded blog with a short anecdote that will tie this in to me personally. When I made the decision to follow art as a profession when I was in high school I set my goals as to what kind of art I wanted to do (illustration) and what form that would take (comics and science fiction). I realised this was kind of specialized and would take a lot of work, but I found this is what I enjoyed and I wanted to make it my life. (As "The Secret" would have it that is all I would need and I would would "attract" all the people and things around me to achieve those goals and poof! I would be a professional illustrator!). I set out to work towards my goals. I went one year to college, and did not find (attract) the teachers that could direct me to where I wanted. I then went to a specialized illustration school, and again did not quite find (attract) the right "mojo" that would give me the professional art career I so much wanted.

However, during all this time I would spend my waking free moments working on my craft. Drawing, sketching, painting, WORKING BY MYSELF to make me better at my craft. And when I dropped out of school to pursue my art by myself the only people to help me were my parents, who were so encouraging to me to follow this path I set for myself, I found myself at my drawing board alone with pencil in hand and a dream of becoming an artist. And I worked...for years... to achieve that goal. And slowly I made professional sales, one after another, until one day I looked at my drawing table and all the work I was doing was for paying clients. I had achieved my goal. By my self. Hard work, patience, drive, persistence, desire and finally art that was of professional quality...all things that worked together to get me where I wanted to go.

It is all well and good to read these kind of books (like "The Secret") to boost your self esteem. But have faith in yourself. Set your own goals and WORK hard to achieve them, whether it is thru higher education or hard work moving upwards in a company or taking your free time and learning a craft that you always wanted to do. It is on YOU to get yourself where you want to go. Set yourself in motion!

(end of dave's raving. I promise more ART next time around! LOL! Thanks for listening!)

3 comments:

Scott said...

Nicely put Dave. :)

Adam said...

Very true.

I just found about this blog today. I will keep an ear open. You have been an inspiration in my life and choices and I see that the path you traveled is very similar to the one I have (working on craft till late at night, parents' help, etc). Just recently I have fulfilled that dream of making a living on my skills as an artist and sad to say I have seen people pay good money for education and then use stupid advice like "the secret" to give them excuse to slack off. Sad to say, these things sell to exactly the people that could be very badly influenced (unsure, immature and so on). And the secondary goal of "the secret" - that of helping people - is thus contradicted by it's own existence. Still, the primary goal of "the secret" - to make money for the guys who invented it - that is well accomplished. Too bad...:)
Good writing.

daydream graphics said...

What you mean you didn't just focus your thoughts on being a professional illustrator, open them a couple years later and find that the career of illustrator had been magnetically pulled to you? Those art directors didn't suddenly dial your number (without you getting it to them) to give you work?

Sorry you took the long road, the rest of us didn't work at all! Sucker!

LOL. Kidding of course. Although perhaps Millais used the Secret...that guy was better than me when he was like in kindergarten.