Author Topic: "The Secret" et al, Bullshit or not?  (Read 2359 times)

Dennis Nedry

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"The Secret" et al, Bullshit or not?
« on: December 18, 2007, 03:31:47 PM »
The Secret, Think and Grow Rich,  Power of Positive Thinking.

The basic premise, you manifest what you think about.  Write some goals, control your thoughts, and you can make anything you want manifest in your life.

I happen to think it's true.

**But**

I think you also need some luck.

I believe it's possible to have focused goals, work at them, and remain very positive.  And without some stroke of good fortune, never realize more than average returns.

Every big success story I personally know of, there was some luck involved.  Yes, they worked hard to put themselves in postion.  But it was some serendipidous outside event that made them.  Something they could not have controlled.  And they weren't necessarily being "positive thinkers" when it happened.  

So what I'm saying is this.  I think there is a missing element in books like "the secret"  They fail to say that you can only give it your best shot, and pray that fortune intersects with what you are doing.  It's not all within our own control.


mixxalot

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Ripoff of buddhism
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2007, 03:34:41 PM »
Positive thinking is nice but cannot change karma or fundamental suffering.

Buddhist meditation helps quite a bit as does martial arts training.

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Here's what I think - continued effort breeds opportunity
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2007, 03:51:30 PM »
Or: you can't play unless you're in the game.

That's it. That's the long and the short of it.

If you soak up the positivist and "secret" messages and do constructive things with your life and your business, then you will probably have those lucky moments that you can capitalize on.

Among other things, you'll be prepared to launch into action when those lucky breaks happen. The people I have seen who have given up never seem to have lucky breaks. Why? They don't even see opportunity when it's right in front of them, and they don't think that they should have to work at anything.

But I firmly believe that you must also ACT. Not just think about it.

I think that "the Secret" has an unhealthy, occult-like message. I really do think that it's irresponsible bullshit that ensnares the vulnerable. It has a valid message at its core, but it reaches a conclusion that just isn't right.
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Dan

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The more prepared you are, the luckier you are.
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2007, 03:52:57 PM »

John Masterson

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It's Bullshit, of course
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2007, 04:56:19 PM »
From what I have read about The Secret, it goes beyond "positive thinking" and claims that some sort of supernatural power outside of yourself gives you what you want.

I am afraid it is bullshit.

As if the poor souls slaughtered in Darfur merely had to decide that they didn't want to be murdered and wanted to be perfectly safe.

I agree that positive thinking and optimism does help you make the most of opportunities.

But The Secret goes well beyond that, sounds like.

Jeremy Singer

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When I was a kid, I asked my mother
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2007, 06:53:47 PM »
May she be remembered for blessing.

I asked her "Can wishing make things happen?"

She said "Yes, wishing is the beginning, but then working and doing is required."

Dennis Nedry

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Yes but...
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2007, 07:19:08 PM »
What I'm saying is this.  You also need some good luck, which may or may not happen.

Meaning, even if you go the extra mile, and get in the game, hard work and skill alone may not be enough.  There is the chance in life that you will fail in your aspirations, even if you follow the rules and give it your best shot.  

This is a huge risk.  This is why 90% or more of people stay on the sidelines.  There is a huge fallout for failure.
It's not pretty, it's happened to me before.

What I'm wondering is if strategy and will can guarantee success.  Or is success merely whimsical chance?

From what I've seen on this forum, nobody here has "broken out".  Why?

Dennis Nedry

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Re: It's Bullshit, of course
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2007, 07:21:24 PM »
Well, I'm talking about in the context of living in the United States.  Of course, in Darfur, or Somalia, they don't have the infrastructure.  But in the United States, each one of us does enjoy the infrastructure in which to more easily achieve breakout wealth.  And we have an added advantage of college education.  

Look at all the immigrants who come here with nothing and achieve great success.

Dennis Nedry

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Re: Here's what I think - continued effort breeds opportunit
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2007, 07:23:28 PM »
Yes, this is to the point.  You have to be "in the corridor" in the game to even have a chance.  My point is this:  Is it possible to be in the game, do everything as right as you know how, and never have the luck appear?

Rastus P Shagnasty

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Re: Here's what I think - continued effort breeds opportunit
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2007, 07:27:14 PM »
Quote
Quote:
Is it possible to be in the game, do everything as right as you know how, and never have the luck appear?


Yes, but if you don't play you'll never win.  Always bring your A game, explore every opportunity and if you get lucky...


my .02
Rastus P. Shagnasty

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'The Dip', or sh*tcanning a losing proposition
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2007, 07:35:12 PM »
Quote
Quote:
My point is this: Is it possible to be in the game, do everything as right as you know how, and never have the luck appear?


I try not to think about that, myself. :(    

To answer your question: I think that it's a function of time. You have to persist long enough for some kind of positive luck to visit. Attitude is extremely important. But you should also develop a feeling for identifying a direction that really doesn't make sense, either.

Persist, but cut your losses.

There's a Seth Godin book called "The Dip" that talks about the difficulties and demoralization that one faces right before a major breakthrough.

I have a bit of experience with making this kind of trade-off decision. As you and most everyone here knows, I experimented with a computer service business a few years ago.

I devoted about 8 months to seriously trying to promote this business and identifying myself with that kind of work.

I found recurring themes that I could not get away from: customers that believed that any onsite service was worth up to (but not more than) $75, no matter what you did for them. Small business clients who chiseled me and paid badly and late. Lots of implied insults and sneers from haughty assholes at the chamber of commerce. Incredibly difficult work that was impossible to scope. One incredibly, off-the-charts bad client that I had toward the end of that time period convinced me to stop actively going after the work.

And mainly, I realized that combined with all of the "operational" difficulties, the business itself is a sort of commodity and it's really difficult to differentiate yourself competitively.

So, I experienced 8 months of "dip". That was enough to convince me that it was not a good business to continue.

One thing that I sensed near the end of that period that made me realize that I should not continue was this. I had no better idea how to sell the work and how to detect when a deal would go sour than I had when I started conducting that business. In other words, I was not seeing any professional growth in myself that indicated that I was getting a handle on things.

So that's as good a metric as I can offer for knowing when to pull the plug. IE: do you expect things to ever improve? And how? And if not, then is there anything that you can do to help make them improve? IE, is there any way that you can manufacture yourself better "luck"?

Answers to all these questions were "no".

I have observed afterward in lurking on a mailing list for people that do that kind of work that very few people are successful at it, and my experience was typical tending toward worse than average.

I think that being "in the corridor" should not be constantly unsustainable and demoralizing. Know your limits, including your emotional limits. And there should be SOME element of enjoyment to the business. If there is none, and if you find yourself developing Tourette's syndrome, then it's time to get out.
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Dennis Nedry

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Re: 'The Dip', or sh*tcanning a losing proposition
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2007, 07:48:28 PM »
Thanks, actually, as you can tell by my posts, I've hit a burnout wall.  Just spend 4 *solid* months rebuilding my software product, rebuilding the website, and building a registration infrastructure.  Then all the SEO and all the other crap around it.  This while working a fulltime day job, commute, and new baby at home (along with my other kid).
Oh yea, and doing customer support (and installing a new customer support system) and doing pre and post sales work, and custom development for some bigger fish.  Oh, and handling a major RFP for Santiago, Chile *in Spanish*  

I just cut over live.  Now that the work has stopped I can survey that this amount of effort has left a path of destruction in it's wake.  My family life has suffered, I do a half-assed job in my consulting gig (not the norm for me), and I'm totally burned out.

Now, I'm selling the product fairly well, it's in over 70 countries now, with about 20,000 installations (spread over several thousand customers).   I'm thinking if I can just skim the surface of the global market, it ought to be worth at least enough to comfortably quit consulting.  But the price of admission was high.  And the work is not done.  I'm scared to know how difficult and expensive the next step might be, and if it will pay off.  

What set me off is that there was no sales spike with the new install, just the same level of sales.  But it is Christmas, and I've been handling a lot of pre-sales stuff...

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Why 'nobody' on this forum has broken out
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2007, 07:57:52 PM »
Actually, several have. I know of one personally. They are doing or have done things that I can't or won't attempt.

The reason they aren't here is because they don't need to commiserate with us any more.  We are of little interest or use to them. So they don't hang around to tell us how to do it or to coach anyone.

IMO, the concerns of the people here are not the concerns of entrepreneurs building businesses involving other people.

I'm not being harsh. It's just my interpretation of what has happened to cause this to be such a hard core middle class group.

I believe that materially successful people want to blot out any memory of or relationship with their horrid middle class former selves. I have a college friend that lives in a $600K house and has a high paying sales job and he only calls me when he is shitfaced drunk... he has no use for me otherwise.
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Dennis Nedry

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Re: Why 'nobody' on this forum has broken out
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2007, 08:06:34 PM »
I didn't mean it in a bad way, just an inquisitive way.  I certainly have not 'broken out'.  I report to a cube each day.

I'm trying to discover the origins of why some succeed, why some don't.  Also, why some never even attempt.  I'm beginning to see why some never do, they have more common sense than I do.  And I don't say that with a grin.  The "positive thinking" crowd talks about taking risks, not being afraid, etc.  But I can say from experience, that jumping into business can be like jumping out of an airplane.  If the parachute does not open correctly, there is a mess to clean up.  Some people may have the correct instincts to avoid this situation.  I used to have contempt for this attitude of caution, but I'm gaining some respect for it.

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Re: Why 'nobody' on this forum has broken out
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2007, 08:30:06 PM »
FWIW, you're doing things in the right way.

You have your bedrock income - your consulting. It supplies your current material needs.  Your other enterprises are layered on top of that.

I don't see anything Walter Mitty about that.

My comment had to do with culture and socialization patterns.

I was just pointing out that "really (materially) successful" people (I categorize that as those who are running businesses with other people and who have personal incomes over $250K or so) don't seem to have the need to hang out on discussion forums. Just try to find a "wealthy investors" or "wealthy entrepreneurs" forum. Nope. Won't find it.

I think part of this reluctance to socialize with the commoners is based on hard reality. It would not "do" to be the public voice of a company where other people's paychecks are on the line and post to a discussion board where your comments can be taken out of context.

It also sounds like you're stretching your personal endurance quite a bit. I find that when I am stressed, my mind messes with me and self-doubts arise.

As I see it from outside, you're been on an upward track for years with this enterprise and that you owe it to yourself to continue, based on what I know.
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