by Matthew Arnold Stern
This speech was given at my Toastmasters club on March 8, 2007.
Pssst! Do you want to hear a secret? It's all about a book called The Secret.
How many of you heard about this book? It's making the rounds on Oprah. I saw it the other day at Costco, so you know it must be very popular. The book costs $13 there. I figured that for $13, it must be a very big secret. It certainly looked like something mystical with a Da Vinci Code style cover with a parchment manuscript and ancient stones. So, I decided to give it a look.
What's the big secret? It's the Law of Attraction. What you think about becomes your reality.
I looked at this and thought, they want me to pay $13 for that? Why not add some other secrets like, if you change your oil every 3,000 miles, your car will last longer?
If you understand how the mind works, The Secret isn't such a big secret. It's merely common sense.
We humans have an incredible ability to control our experience. If you're hungry, you get something to eat. If you're chilly, you put on a sweater, or you crank up the thermostat. (The heck with global warming. I want it warm now!) If you're unhappy with your weight, you can start on an exercise and diet program. Our thoughts control our actions.
Our thoughts also control where we pay our attention. Tell me if this has happened to you: You get a song stuck in your head. You think about the song all day, maybe humming it while you walk down the halls at work. Then, when you get in your car at the end of the day, you turn on the radio and there is that song! Magic? Bringing the cosmic intelligence in alignment with your consciousness? No. You have focused your attention to that song. If you weren't thinking about the song, and they still played it on the radio at the same time, you wouldn't have noticed.
Your thoughts direct your attention and your actions, just as turning the steering wheel turns your car to the desired direction.
The problem is that we aren't always aware of what we think about. Our mind is full of negative, limiting thoughts. Thoughts we've built up over the years, and we're not even aware we have them. They control our attention and action just as much as the positive, conscious ones.
Since this is Toastmasters, let's use public speaking as an example. Suppose you believe, "I can't speak in public. I just get too nervous." Perhaps you had a negative experience in public speaking in your past that made you feel that way. So, you don't look for opportunities to speak because you don't think you can. And when you're dragged into giving a speech – with you kicking and screaming all the way – you become nervous because that is what you expect you will do. Even if you did a great job, you will still think about all the things you didn't do according to your expectations. You fulfill another law, the Law of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
The key is to change our thoughts, and we can do this in a lot of different ways. We can use meditation and affirmations. We can read Scripture. Or better yet, we can gain experience doing the things that frighten us. Get more experience in speaking, meeting people, confronting people who cause us problems. By changing our experiences, we can change our thoughts. By changing our thoughts, we can change our experiences even more.
There is nothing secret about The Secret. It isn't something created by the ancient Egyptians and passed down by Mary Magdalene to the Knights Templar. It's how the human mind works, and we can use it to our benefit. The secret is simple: Change your thinking, change your life.