'The Secret' is out of the bag

By Anna Ferguson

Huh, whaddya know. It worked.

Well, sort of.

About a month ago, I set out to explore the realm of The Secret. I read the book, watched the DVD and did my research.

According to the self-help franchise that has taken hold of the nation, the secret to life is all in your head. The thoughts you are putting into the universe are paving your path for you. If you think good thoughts, then good things will happen. And, by the same token, if you think bad thoughts, well, watch out.

The people featured in "The Secret" DVD reveal how this technique has changed their own lives. By following The Secret, these people have gained wealth, health and love. One woman even credits The Secret with curing her of cancer.

It sounded too good to be true, but in starting my experiment, I figured, what could it hurt?

Putting my singledom - and a bit of my pride - on the line, I announced to Daily Post readers that I would try out The Secret and see if, after a month, I was still single.

Here it is a month later, and I am ... not single. It's a long story, but about a week after I started visualizing The Secret techniques, I found myself going on a date. And since then, this guy and I have been dating steadily.

After this initial success, I began trying The Secret on everything. I even thought really hard and visualized myself with more money. I haven't gotten rich yet, but I did find a quarter in a parking lot the other day.

That's the thing about The Secret. You have to be super specific. You also have to be very patient, as the universe knows nothing of time, says "The Secret" author Rhonda Byrne in the book. Secret-based thoughts could come true this instant, or it could take 20 years. You just never know.

The Secret, though, isn't really a secret at all. What the theory boils down to is basically the power of positive thinking, mixed with a pinch of persistence, hard work and faith. When your thoughts are stemming from a more positive mind-set, of course more positive things will happen. When negative events do occur, your already upbeat attitude makes it easier to digest.

Vice versa, it's the Woe Is Me syndrome. If you're constantly in a state of impending doom, then your outlook is more gray, your mind-set more gloomy, and ultimately, everything around you is lousy because you think it is.

Going into this experiment, I was admittedly skeptical, and I still am. I don't really believe that you can will away cancer by thinking good thoughts, but I do think your attitude is key in creating your own happiness and success. I don't think that by merely hoping for more money you will stumble onto a big fat check, but I do think that if you are motivated to make more money, you will eventually do so.

The Secret is toeing a dangerous line. On the one side, an optimistic attitude and faith in a higher power - be it God, Buddha, the universe, Oprah, whatever - can stimulate the mind and bring about a confidence that can be a catalyst for a better quality of life. But The Secret can give users a false sense of hope and a scapegoat for personal responsibility.

True, The Secret helps you see opportunities that may lead to success, but it's up to you, not the universe, to make things happen. After a month, I have found myself with a boyfriend, an extra 25 cents and generally, a more positive disposition, but I still won't put all my stock in The Secret. I mean, I also asked the universe to send me a new Coach purse, but I've yet to discover that on my doorstep.

Anna Ferguson is a staff writer for the Daily Post. E-mail her at anna.ferguson@gwinnettdailypost.com.