Recently, I was asked to contribute to an article for Red magazine, which was a review for E-Squared, a book that’s taking the US by storm with its upbeat can-do message about manifesting just about anything you want in life.
E-Squared is different from other books of its ilk (most famously, The Secret), because of its author’s breezy, woowoo-lite tone and her invitation to try out nine practical experiments to prove her claims. Red’s reviewer, journalist and comedienne Viv Groskop, tells more in her article on page 121 of April 2014’s edition.
One of the questions that Viv asked me was about why there is such a growing interest in these sorts of books. Here are my thoughts, at more length than was possible to shoehorn into a short article:
Change from within
For centuries, humans have been focused on changing the world around them in order to find happiness, whether that’s getting a better job, moving to a different area or earning more money, often to find that they are still not happy when they reach that goal. For aeons, we have been trying to change everything else before we change ourselves. But, to quote John Lubbock, “happiness is a condition of mind, not a result of circumstances.” It does seem as though the thought tide is turning this way, as evidenced through books like this – although many people come to them attracted by the prospect of easy material gain, it requires a beneficial shift of perspective first.
If you want to change your mind before you change your circumstances, read the Straightforward Guide to Feeling Happier here.
The need for something bigger
Organised religion, once a cultural mainstay, has lost its attraction for many people in the 21st century who may feel constricted by it. However, the urge to connect with something bigger and more powerful than ourselves is hardwired into the human condition. Interest in meditation and mindfulness is on the increase, and websites and books like E-Squared with the ‘thoughts become things’ message are hugely popular, as they are at once empowering and give the comfort of there being something bigger to connect with. They offer the possibility of leveraging the power of the universe (or the Field of Potentiality, or whatever you want to call this concept) to achieve our personal aims in a way that could be seen as spiritual but doesn’t require allegiance to any particular religious doctrine.
A regular connection practice, religious or otherwise, has enormous health benefits, as well as helping to improve focus, productivity and happiness. It really doesn’t have to be complicated. Read this blog post for some ideas.
But what’s the REAL secret?
Personally, I think that people are too distracted in today’s world of information bombardment and many (dare I say most?) don’t know what they actually want, as opposed to what they’ve been told to want by commercials or what society dictates they should want. The beauty of books like E-Squared is that they require their readers to know what they want and focus on it. And we’re not necessarily talking swanky pads with infinity pools here (although it’s claimed that sort of thing is possible) – Pam Grout, E-Squared’s author, suggests starting out with a cup of coffee.
In my opinion, that focusing on one thing, even if it’s just the coffee, is the key to a lot of the ‘magic’ behind these books: deciding what you want and then watching out carefully for it. That very act of deciding what it is that you desire and committing to it is the real ‘Secret’. It’s that simple. When clients commit to having coaching, for example, they have invested in something improving in their lives. I remain convinced that, whilst coaching is very powerful and gets great results, it is the decision to call in the first place and to do something about it that is the force behind at least 50% of the change.
In the article, Viv quotes Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” What miracles would you like manifest in your life in the next hour, day, week, month or year? ‘The Secret’ is that just deciding on them could get you more than halfway to getting them.