Irrational thinking

self esteem

Today I want to go into more depth on positive thinking – and what it can and cannot do. It might be easier to start with what it cannot do. You can find many out there who believe their is a “law of attraction“. By thinking and believing (or manifesting an intention as I’ve heard it called) you will attract into your life whatever you desire.

This is a totally irrational belief, which defies science and logic. Many will cite anecdotal examples of how this has worked for them – how their thinking (and manifesting) gained them a promotion, or suddenly brought money into their life.

Belief will change how you act and perform. If you start trying to “attract” a promotion, by seeing yourself in that role and repeating affirmations that confirm that, you change your internal beliefs and values. You may then start applying yourself more to your job. This change in you will affect how others react – if you stop indulging in idle gossip every time they pass your desk, it will become clear to those around you that you are applying yourself more fully to your work. In turn, that may lead to promotion.

That is different to the “law of attraction” view, that by thinking of success or promotion, you are somehow transmitting those thoughts and “attracting” success or promotion.
In other words your positive thinking can act externally, as well as internally.

In the same way that people believe in a “law of attraction”, as I reviewed in my last post What do you Believe, irrational thinking, superstition and a total lack of logic comes up repeatedly in many walks of life, especially health care. Often these come back to being able to harness “external” forces – or somehow “externally” influence the “internal”.

For something “external” to change us “internally”, it comes back to our internal beliefs about what is happening:-

“A placebo is an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value. In clinical trials, experimental treatments are often compared with placebos to assess the treatment’s effectiveness. In some studies, the participants in the control group will receive a placebo instead of an active drug or treatment. No sick participant receives a placebo if there is a known beneficial treatment.” Mayo Clinic

There is scientific evidence that people can affect the course of an illness and the efficacy of medications by their thinking and beliefs. The use of placebos in trials has shown that the placebo (for example a “dummy” antidepressant) can have positive benefits, even though it has no active ingredients.

I will look more at internal beliefs in the next post.

Emma August 31, 2007 at 4:39 pm

I don’t agree, I think there is a law of attraction. There are many sites and articles showing how it can work.

Lyman Reed September 1, 2007 at 2:54 pm

I hear you, David. I’m a big believer in the Law of Attraction, not necessarily because I think it’s “correct”, but because it’s a model of the world that has enabled me to take responsibility for my life and improve it.

One of the big misunderstandings about it is that it is some kind of force “Out There.” It isn’t. It’s a force “In Here”; it’s all about how we think and feel. Which is why I think that the examples you give of it not being a law actually tell me that it is: both the placebo effect and the examples of getting a new job are all internal, and that’s what the LoA is all about – getting yourself lined up internally.

Thanks for the food for thought this morning!

James - Visualized.Feel.Abundance September 1, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Hey David,

I both agree and disagree with you.

I agree with your 3rd para where you state that it is the actions (or sometimes lack of action) that influence and attracts the desired results.

I disagree with your 2nd para. All actions begins with a thought. So by extension, the thought did attract the desired results. Whether it worked or not, depends on whether the action materialized.

However, I am not surprised that you define the “Law of Attraction” they way you define it. Too many people have oversimplified it, or should I say over mystified it. And they throw out the most important link in the equation – action.


PS: Gave you some stumble love, keep writing 🙂

David Rogers September 1, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Thanks for your comments. As I will expand on in my post tomorrow, I am a strong believer in the power of thinking to facilitate change. As Lyman says, if you use the “Law of Attractiuon” in this “internalised” way we’re on the same track. This part of my argument was inspired by reading some sites, and particularly forums, where LoA was used in a very “external” way.

James - Visualized.Feel.Abundance September 2, 2007 at 2:31 am

Hey David,

Thats Great! Looks like we are on the same track after all 🙂

I’ll be waiting for the next post. Cya.


Ellie September 4, 2007 at 6:09 am

Hi David…..

I don’t know who’s definition of LOA you are reading……. I think the example you gave absolutely is line with Law of Attraction.

I do not believe that action is left out of LOA nor do I believe it is the most important part of LOA –

Emotion – Feeling — is the most important part of LOA — How you feel — tells you what direction you are going in. You can change those feelings (self esteem) by changing your thoughts – if you line up your thoughts and feelings — then *inspired action* in essence is the result!

How many times has someone taken all the so-called action and did not get what they wanted because their thoughts and feelings were not aligned? How many times have you lined up with your thoughts – so that you are feeling good – and wild horses could not stop you from taking the inspired action!

I’m trying to be brief here – but this topic certainly is not a bried one! 😉

I have written several articles about this at my blog – I hope you visit.

Thanks for sharing………

James - Visualized.Feel.Abundance September 5, 2007 at 6:25 pm

Hey Ellie,

Thoughts and Action goes hand in hand. Both are a must for maximum chances of success. I will give them equal importance where possible.

But if I must chose 1 to be the most important, my take is action over thoughts for 1 simple reason:

Action, even massive, without thoughts will not guarantee success.


Thoughts without action guarantees Failure.

I say this because I have seen too many people sitting around thinking, dreaming, visualizing away but never take any action. Never any success from this group.

I have seen some who don’t know what they are doing but they have faith in what has to be done. And some of them occasionally succeeds. They do without thinking.

Just my 2 cts 🙂


PS: After all I have said, it is still fortunate that we have a choice and the choice for me is that I’ll think and do at the same time. 🙂

Keith May 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Adding to the mix, David’s definition and assessment of LoA falls in line for someone constrained by a belief system. I was raised in a religious doctrine teaching that said everything good is external and comes to you.
In that realm, we have no control over good except in praying it to come to pass. Any good we do through our own actions or thought is not ours to own, but is credited completely to God.
On the other hand, the same doctrine teaches that we are to blame for all mistakes and evil. These are the only results we are credited in, and we must take the blame and shame because God makes no mistakes and does not create evil. There is a devil, “Satan,” who does evil, but he doesn’t do it alone; he motivates and inspires us to do evil and make mistakes, and then we are to blame for the thought or action.
Although I am no longer a participant in that belief system, many of my relatives and friends are immersed in it. They believe everything hinges and happens solely by praying and hoping. One sent money to a televangelist in return for a small vile of “Healing Miracle Water” supposedly “from the River Jordan.” Another sent money to a faith healer to get her letter included in one of the many bundles of letters over which he would pray. The list goes on, from Holy Water to “Healing Revival Meetings.” Yet not one of them exercises, eats healthy, or gets a regular physical exam. The ones praying for more money are the same ones who discourage formal education and, if they seek employment, look only for low paying jobs. If they aspire for more, they are riddled with guilt and self-sabotage.

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