Why You Can’t Really “Attract” Success and Happiness — and How to Get Them Both

Michael J. Losier sees a relationship between the subatomic world, in which electrons in atoms always orbit the nuclei in prescribed ways, and human experience, in which positive and negative experiences seem to follow prescribed patterns. “Have you noticed,” he asks, “that sometimes what you need just falls into place or comes to you from an out-of-the-blue phone call? Have you heard about people who find themselves in bad relationships — over and over — and who are always complaining that they keep attracting the same kind of relationship?”

For Losier, such events are not coincidences but the inevitable consequences of how we think. “Think about the expression ‘He gives off good vibes.’ Each one of us gives off good or bad vibes. In fact, we are constantly vibrating. If you are excited, content, appreciative, or feeling gratitude or pride, you are offering a positive vibration. If you are angry, sad, disappointed, or feeling poor, unlucky, or defeated, you are sending out a negative vibration.” I’m with him so far.
But he makes a logical error when he assumes that because we feel (and even vibrate) a certain way when we are succeeding (vs. failing), the one causes the other. I believe this fallacy is called “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” (“after this, therefore because of this”). But whatever the Latin phrase, the mistake is in assuming that if one thing usually or even always follows something else, it is, of necessity, caused by that something else.
Based on that incorrect assumption, Losier asserts that you can change your circumstances in life by changing your attitudinal vibrations. In fact, he argues, you can use your mind to get “everything you want in life.” That’s one assertion. He makes another — the corresponding one about negative thinking. He says that you can ruin your life with negative thoughts. He even goes so far as to propose a blatantly ludicrous proposition: If you habitually think “I never win the lottery,” you never will — but if you change those thoughts to their positive counterparts (in this case, “I’m very lucky and always find money”), you will win the lottery!
Let’s touch down on planet Earth for a moment. The odds of winning the lottery are about 14 million to one. You can think ” “I will win the lottery!” over and over again 14 million times, but it won’t increase your actual chances of winning by one iota. (Please don’t try — it might be dangerous to your mental health.) Pragmatic people — and self-made people are nothing if not pragmatic — don’t count on luck. They count on action. And they are right.
It happens that I have made a ton of money on the lottery — but I didn’t do it by investing good dollars on crazy schemes. My method for making money from the lottery was practical and mundane. I published a magazine that gave lottery players lottery news and advice. For several years, that magazine was very popular. At one point, I believe, it had a circulation of 400,000 subscribers.
Needless to say, the people who owned and ran that magazine got rich off the lottery. But they didn’t do it by changing reality with their thoughts. They did it by facing reality and getting to work. I am all in favor of having a positive mentality and of trying at all times to feel as good about things as you can. The benefit of a positive outlook (and I’ve said this many times) is that you feel good. But feeling good and achieving your goal are two different things.
Believing that you will win the lottery may provide you with a warm glow … and if you can sustain that glow by spending a few dollars every day on lottery tickets, I’m not going to tell you to save your money. But if you tell me that you believe you can improve your odds of winning by thinking positively — then I have to tell you, honestly, that I think you’re nuts. Success in life is the result of specific physical actions. You make a phone call. You write a sales letter. You build a restaurant.
If the physical actions make sense … if they are the right actions … you will succeed. If they do not make sense, you will fail. If your actions are correct but your thinking is negative, you will still succeed. If your actions are wrong but your thinking is “right,” you will still fail. I am taking the time to say this — once again — because I believe this kind of thinking about thinking is a myth that could keep you from attaining your goals.
In other words, if you want to be successful, forget about positive thinking, vibrations, and laws of attraction. If you want to succeed, develop a pattern of behavior that leads to success. If, on the other hand, your goal is only to have emotional gratification, adopting a positive attitude will certainly get you there. Of course, if you want to be BOTH successful and happy, you’ll have to both act and think positively.