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Dave Durand on living the working life, Catholic-style.
BY Dave Durand
I recently read a bestseller about the “law
of attraction.” The book claims that positive thoughts are sent out to the
universe and rewarded, while negative thoughts return negative effects. What do
you make of this semi-spiritual theory?
The “law of attraction” is a very
popular topic among motivational professionals right now. Over the past year, I
have spoken to executives, sales people and homemakers who have referenced it.
In fact I heard so much about it that I purchased some of the material to
review for myself.
The bottom line is that the “law of
attraction” is a New Age concept that basically replaces God with “the
universe.” The idea has been around for a long time, but it resurfaces under new
packaging every so often. As we speak, there are several books and other
resources on the market popularizing its tenets. The best-known is The
Secret, edited by Rhonda Byrne. It has spawned various multimedia
recent retreads of an old fad are more compelling than any of their
predecessors. They are filled with celebrity endorsements and testimonials from
people with advanced degrees. As I reviewed my copy, I thought of Proverbs
15:21: “Folly is joy to the senseless man, but the man of understanding goes
the straight way.”
is ironic that people who normally shun dogma accept this stuff as
gospel truth. Then again, lots of “law of attraction” materials are packaged
slickly and endorsed by some of the biggest names in pop culture.
The greatest danger lies in the fact
that much of what these materials propose is true — and it is difficult for a
poorly catechized Catholic to spot where universal truths leave off and subtle
lies enter in. For example, the idea that positive thinking can yield positive
results is sound. What coach would lead a team to the championship by claiming
they don’t have a chance or telling the players that they are no good?
It is also true that a man who
thinks impure thoughts on a regular basis is likely to act impurely. So a
“negative” thought can, indeed, become a reality. Likewise, an entrepreneur who
dreams of building a business and acts on his fondest thoughts will surely set
his “dreams” — his hopes and ambitions — in motion. He will realize at least
some of what he aims for. But should “the universe” get the credit (or the
The “law of attraction” suggests
that a person can simply think “wealthy” thoughts and then go to the mailbox
and find checks, vs. thinking “poor” thoughts and finding bills, all compliments of the universe. But the
universe is not capable of giving us anything without God. He created it and
established the laws of nature.
often, our attitudes lead to actions that either merit results or penalties in
the natural realm. Other times we get supernatural results as a result of
Providence. God is interested in each of our lives and, as a loving Father, he
is involved. He answers prayers and intercedes for the benefit of our holiness.
It is also true that evil spirits can help people get “results” on earth.
you feel inclined to “send out a message,” you should disregard the universe.
Instead, pray to the Creator of the universe and the perfect provider for all
your needs. What comes back to you may or not make you healthy and wealthy in
this temporal life, but it will certainly make you more likely to enjoy the
next one. And that’s for all eternity.
Executive coach and
author Dave Durand, author of Time Management for Catholics, is online