Magical thinking can kill you. Now it’s been proven. After James Arthur Ray, self proclaimed ‘self help expert’ and one of the stars of the book and movie The Secret charged 70 participants $9,933 each to attend a sweat lodge event, two died, 19 went to the hospital and the ‘law of attraction‘ will never be the same.
Somehow I’m guessing that James Arthur Ray didn’t have this or possible jail time and losing his millions on his vision board but somehow it’s in his life anyway. Hmm, how could that happen? Do things ever happen in your life that aren’t on your vision board?
James Ray’s Twitter bio says “Create Harmonic Wealth in every area of your life: Financial, Relational, Mental, Physical and Spiritual.” …not this time.
As I wrote awhile back, the biggest secret about The Secret is that the stars of the movie were all proven internet marketing/self help gurus with responsive opt-in lists of well over 100,000 each.
They seeded the marketing campaign for the movie on the internet to well over a million people for a year before it’s DVD release. Remember that it wasn’t a theatrical release, it was a brilliant online marketing campaign.
The Secret movie and book had a low overhead and a high profit margin mixed with a planned back end of products and services by all of the featured ‘experts’ to offer to all the new people looking to experience “The Secret” in their lives too.
I know a couple of the people who devised the scheme, so this isn’t conjecture. It was a smart way for them to joint venture their individual successes in order to boost all of their careers by creating a premium brand for self help.
Today they are all multi-millionaires based on how the success of the book and movie allowed them to send their speaking fees, products and course costs through the ceiling. Self help is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it’s selling false hope at a premium price.
They are all master marketers who fill rooms of people with cheap tickets, and then pitch back of the room offers (their advanced courses and advanced advanced VIP courses with ever-higher dollar price tags) that promise to be THE answer to your problems.
Note the latest internet marketing technology on their Science of Getting Rich website if you don’t believe me. They have gotten rich by selling the idea that they have the key to YOUR wealth and happiness though most of their customers have not gotten either wealth or happiness as a result of becoming their customers.
Preying on people’s hopes and fears related to their money, careers, relationships, health and death for profit is nothing new. It’s the backbone and life blood of politics, religions and mainstream media.
Unfortunately, this time selling self-help snake oil resulted in tragic and preventable deaths. I doubt that participants paying $9,933 to be a ‘spiritual warrior’ thought this would be what they got out of the seminar.
I have a friend who has spent $6,000 a year and used his two weeks of vacation every year for 7 years going to T. Harv Eker, the master of back of the room sales, seminars on how to get rich. My friend is currently unemployed, but Harv’s doing just fine thank you.
Is positive thinking and visualizing a better life a bad thing? Of course not, but selling people on the fact that it will magically give them everything they want from God and ‘The Universe’ is a flat out sham.
Unfortunately, millions of people will still not wake up, even after this tragedy. They’ll continue to part with their money to gamble on the hope that someone will deliver a magic book, CD or event to change their lives.
If you want to change your life, it’s pretty simple. Do something. Drop the stories and excuses and just take action. If you do smart things and have luck you’ll have a better chance of succeeding, but there are no guarantees. As you know and have experienced yourself, both good and bad things happen to both good and bad people.
There is no magic pill, no magic teacher, no magic course and no magic book (including ‘holy’ books written and edited by powerful men with a vested interest in amassing and controlling followers.)
There are helpful tools, but when push comes to shove you have to keep taking action with good intentions and hope for the best. If there was a magic formula everyone would use it and we would not be in a worldwide recession. Focus on what you can control, let go of what you can’t and be thankful you did better in the womb lottery than people born in Rwanda.
If you insist on submissively following a guru then I encourage you to follow the wisdom, um, I mean Duhism, of Bob Tzu, Lao Tzu’s long lost American cousin. His wisdom is encapsulated in three simple, yet life changing steps: 1. Shut up and stop whining. 2. Get off your butt and do something, and 3. Repeat (as necessary.)
I am not making light of this tragic event. Far beyond that, I’m hoping that it causes more people stop paying money to these charlatans and start creating their own destinies instead.