A Pessimist’s Guide to Manifesting

Manifesting perspective: Do you see the thorns or the flower? What are you attracting?
Pessimist's Guide to Manifesting: Five Reasons Why the Law of Attraction Doesn't Work.

Five reasons why the Law of Attraction doesn’t work


If you’re like me, you’ve read that book. You know the one, don’t deny it… you don’t have to keep it a “secret.”

After reading it, you probably fell into one of two camps:

You either thought, “This is great! I just have to wish for what I want! Why have I been working so hard to create a career, buy stuff and (insert your goal here).” And you started reciting affirmations about your intended outcomes and desires.


You thought, “This is bullshit. I can’t believe I just spent $20 on this crap.”

I was initially in the first camp. I was excited by the concepts in the book and on a metaphysical level, they made sense to me.

But then, it didn’t work.

That’s when I became a turncoat and stepped into the other group.

The physical reality of my experience was more real to me than the goals of my vision.

I went back to a boring job, accepting what I thought I deserved and I was successful… for a while.

A few years ago, I had a major shakeup in my life. It wasn’t so much an existential crisis as it was an awareness, a need to break free of all the stuff and beliefs that I’d wrapped my life in. They weren’t contributing to my happiness any longer.

That journey still continues. It’s been a challenging climb up the mountain of personal reinvention.

(From an optimist’s perspective – more on that later – through being aware of my challenges as I navigate this change, I’m charting a path by which to help others. That’s the realization of my purpose that started me on this course years ago.)

While reading Martin Seligman’s brilliant book, Learned Optimism, last night, I realized that I am a mild optimist.

You can take the test here.

What does it mean to be a mild optimist?

On the bright side, I expect things to work out. I take personal responsibility for my role in situations and my ability to find success.

On the darker side, as someone who is only mildly optimistic, I find that sometimes I am temporarily overwhelmed by environment. I fall into brief, false thoughts, hasty generalizations such as, “Nothing ever goes right,” “Why do I always have to work so hard,” and “I’m not meant for this.”

I bet you’ve been there too.

What else did I learn from Seligman’s book?

I can change my perspective and learn to be more optimistic.

I am a work in progress. As are you.

Over the years, one major realization that I’ve learned to help me get out of trash thinking is that over-generalizations are false. They logically cannot exist.

We can think, “Nothing ever goes right for me,” but when we turn our focus and begin to look for even the smallest iota of good, we can find it.

Maybe our coffee was perfect this morning, maybe we woke up on time and felt great rather than groggy, or maybe we just saw a perfect sunrise.

While those all may seem meaningless, it’s the awareness of their presence in our life that begins to shift our thinking from victim-minded to gratitude.

Awareness is an active state of mind. We choose to be aware – and we choose that of which we are aware.

Choose wisely.

Try it. Spend the next week being aware of good things as they happen, or reflect on them before you go to sleep. Your opinion of yourself will change for the better.

What does this have to do with the Law of Attraction and why we seem to struggle with it?

Your outlook determines what you attract.

If you’re a pessimist, or have pessimistic tendencies, you’ll not look for the signs that things are moving in the right direction. Instead, you’ll perceive the obstacles.

Or, you may not believe that you deserve to achieve your goals and will self-sabotage your efforts.

Here’s a list of five reasons why the Law of Attraction doesn’t work. See if you identify with one or more of them.

1. You aren’t clear on your goals

You say you want one thing (a better job, more money, a better relationship…) but you aren’t defining what those things will look like.

How will the job be better? Shorter hours, no working on weekends, better environment, better alignment with your skills?

How much more money?

What about the relationship? More supportive, more intense, more personal space, less alone-time?

Write these goals clearly and define them outside of temporary fixes.

After finding a new job, many discover that the same problems that drove them from the previous position still exist in the new opportunity.

That’s because they weren’t clear on what they sought to change.

They didn’t properly define their outcomes.

2. You don’t want to do the work


Probably the most offensive four-letter word in the English language.

Doing work implies getting results. It’s pretty basic Newtonian physics.

Unfortunately, we think that the work will be easier than it turns out to be.

If we’re pushing against the wall of our goals, shouldn’t our goals be responding?

When we don’t see results in our imagined time-frame, we begin to believe we are wasting our energy and efforts. So, we stop striving and go back to surviving.

We view celebrities, friends and family and judge their success as “overnight,” possibly as “undeserved,” because we don’t see the years of work that they dedicated themselves to in an effort to realize their success.

Wishing is easier than working. That’s why that book I mentioned earlier was so popular.

Admittedly, it worked for some people. Others however, were left struggling with an unclear path forward.

If you’ve read this far, you are probably one of the latter group and you want answers.

3. You are afraid – of failure or success

Let’s revisit that idea above regarding celebrities, friends and family.

When you think about their success, what do you feel?

Do you feel that they didn’t deserve it, or maybe that they’re too successful: that they have too much money, stuff, popularity, blah, blah, blah?

You’re probably thinking, “If I had what they have, I’d make a difference in the world,” or “I wouldn’t flaunt my wealth like the do. It’s distasteful.”

I’m here to call you on your bullshit right now.

If you feel this way toward successful people, then you are projecting your own fears forward.

Maybe internally you don’t feel deserving of success.

It’s understandable to feel afraid of failure – that’s a position that is ingrained in our cultural psyche. Failure is thought to be bad.

But growth comes from failure. We learn how to move forward and navigate a new path toward success.

Thomas Edison on failure
Thomas Edison's perspective on failure. Do you perceive your efforts?

On creating the light bulb, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

His resilience came from learning from his errors and shifting his course for the next experiment.

Many of us, when faced with perceived failure go back to the same course of thinking and try again. Repeating the same process over and over, expecting different results. That’s the stereotypical definition of insanity.

The more insidious fear, the one that is the hardest for most of us to accept for ourselves is the fear of success.

What? Fear of success, you say?

I can hear you now, “Why would I be afraid of succeeding?”

Let me ask you, what does success look like?

Yeah, there’s the gilding on the surface – more money, more fame, perception of an easier lifestyle, but look closer… what’s under it?

Possibly more work, more responsibility, being in a new position with which you are unfamiliar, more exposure, reduced family time, maybe less personal time for yourself.

Snapshot summary: OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.

So, yeah, you can want success, you can image it and think of all the wonderful things that it will bring to you, but fear will hold you back, because:

4. Emotion is more powerful than thought

While you may have a thought of what you desire, there’s an emotion behind it that’s more powerful.

Maybe that idea was created from a moment of anger or frustration when you realized that things had to change and you wanted a better life.

Maybe that idea was created from a place of peace when you had a quiet epiphany on a way to bring improvement to the world.

Either way, our emotions drive the manifesting process, not our thoughts.

Dig deep into your ideas. Ask yourself what’s driving them and get a sense of the emotions that are associated with your goals.

A sense of fear, or a belief that we are undeserving of success will hold us back from achieving.

It will look like the outside environment is conspiring against us, but in a very real sense, we are sabotaging ourselves.

At that moment of sabotage, we are fulfilling the Law of Attraction by drawing our belief of lack and sense of undeserving to ourselves.

In that way, it’s not that the Law of Attraction isn’t working, it’s that we’re sending the wrong signals out.

The Law is always working. It’s what we’re asking for, or what we are saying we deserve, that is coming back to us.

5. You’re stuck in the past, defining yourself on who you were, not who you are

Are you the same person you were when you were five years old?

Unless you are a six-year old reading this, I hope not. And even then, you’ve probably changed a bit.

Who you learned to be in your childhood is the template from which you decide what you deserve in life.

If you were continually told that you were bad, didn’t deserve anything nice because you always broke your toys or thought that because you received second-hand clothing from your siblings that you weren’t good enough for new things, you might carry a subconscious belief that you can’t have a better life.

Even though you’ve been very successful in many ways, you still see a goal that is ahead of you, un-achieved. Rather than focusing on how far you’ve come, all you see is how far you have yet to go.

To realize your future, it’s time to let go of the script of the past.

You are no longer the person who you were as a child, or even who you were ten, five or two years ago.

You’ve grown. You’ve learned. You’ve succeeded.

You’re still here and there’s still fight left in you.

It’s time to change.

I’m here to help.

Let’s talk about where you are and what’s holding you back.

From the side of the mountain, rather than from the top, I’m here to give you my perspective.

Handing off ropes, pointing out loose rocks and suggesting solid hand-holds, I’m here with you. I was where you are and I’m still climbing.

I’ve recently taken my experience and written a new hypnotic protocol to help my clients remove their perception of barriers and connect more strongly with their goals.

What barriers are you sensing? Where have you been stuck? Where do you want to go? What do you want to achieve?

Write a comment below or send me an email.

Let’s try a new path rather than the old, familiar ones.

PS: There's more on this topic in the upcoming book, Practical Manifesting, by written by myself and Orecia (Iris) Terner. (Notice the word "practical" in the title. It's no secret where we stand.)


Five Powerful Things You Need to Know When You Hear, “You’re Fired!”


How to reframe your personal story from failure to success

“This isn’t working out for us.”

And with that sentence, I was out of a job.

It’s a kinder, gentler way of saying, “You’re fired.”

Maybe it softens the blow, maybe it helps to ease the transition from earning an income to a potential void of currency, or maybe it just makes the other person feel better because in their heart they don’t want to be harsh. I can appreciate that.

Either way, for me, that moment sucked. For many people, that feeling sticks.

I was lucky.

In the moments after that statement, I realized that I had a new perspective on my abilities and my resiliency.

It’s because of these realizations that come from the shock of losing a job, that some people believe that everyone should experience being fired at least once in their career.

Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I immediately took action reaching out to contacts and recruiters to make connections and get referrals.

I also dug in deep on a personal level and kicked up the marketing for my personal business.

Those who have known me for a long time will recognize that this is a massive shift for me.

I used to play the victim a lot. I felt bad for myself when things didn’t go my way; I felt bad for others when things went my way and not theirs; and I felt bad in general – I had a victim mentality that said “life happens to me” instead of “I happen to life.”

I’d look for ways to scramble back to old relationships that were clearly unhealthy, but they were encased in a comfort zone of “this is what I know.” There were familiar and therefore comfortable.

Thankfully for me, the other person tended to recognize the lack of health and stood firm on their decision. I was forced to move forward in spite of myself.

And since the direction was imposed on my outside of my perceived choice, I wasn’t happy with it.

Seeing a pattern yet?

Maybe this confession resonates with you and your experiences.

How often do you define your path forward based on your past?

Do you perceive the closing of one door to leave you alone and without resources to move forward, whether it’s in business, relationships or a personal challenge?


Change is almost never easy. (Notice that I didn’t fall for the trite version, “Change is never easy.” That’s a logical fallacy of over-generalization that is easy to fall victim to. It’s a trap that I help many clients get out of when the fall for the similar message, “Nothing ever goes right for me.”)

I have to thank the mentors who have helped me to move past the old, victim-minded me and into the achievement-minded self I am currently.

That path was a challenge for all of us as I kept feeling the pull of the past, the familiar and the inherent perceived safety therein.

Looking back on those years of growth and change, I realize now that I’ve been granted a gift to use to help others navigate the same space. I was acutely aware of the challenges and how I moved past them.

It was hard work, and it gave me the perspective to bring strength to others for their journeys.

Here are five things that I’ve learned in my journey.

Oh, and by the way, I’m still changing and growing. It’s an ongoing process. I still need mentors to help me move forward.

As one of my teachers said to me recently, “You help those who are on the path behind you. I don’t even have it all figured out yet, but I am in a place to help you and you are in a place to help those who are coming along. Do what you can do for them as I do for you and others do for me.”

OK, back to the list.

1. Before You Do Anything, Take a Deep Breath

Assess your situation.

If you’re prone to falling into negative thinking and associating your situation with failure, become aware of those thoughts and SHUT THEM DOWN NOW.

When I teach scuba diving for PADI, one of the safety concepts we teach new divers is how to avoid making entanglement worse. While it’s a rare occurrence, it is possible for a diver to become stuck in fishing line or a net.

The steps for this situation are applicable to life in general: Stop, Breathe, Assess the Situation and Act.

Without that moment to breathe and assess, it’s easy for a new diver (or even an experienced one) to fall into the trap of reacting.

When that happens, they panic – twisting and turning in an attempt to free themselves. Unfortunately, this tends to make the problem worse by wrapping them up more securely.

2. Don’t React, Instead Choose to Respond

Reaction is emotional. They are charged with potential energy of conflict.

Responses are intellectual; they come from a place of perspective and reflection.

If you need to, walk away.

Give yourself time to calm down before taking action.

What do you want to accomplish? What are your goals in this new space?

It’s a blank slate upon which you can write your new destiny. Will it be one of failure or success?

Will you choose to stick to old thinking that left you where you are, or choose a new thoughts that will take you into new territory?

3. Remove Defeatist Negative Thinking

Instead of trapping yourself in ideas such as, “This is not what I want,” “I should have done X and this would be different,” or “I can’t go on,” give yourself a new perspective of personal power.

Choose phrasing such as “My future is mine to choose,” “I did everything in my power to the best of my ability, it’s time for me to move forward with something different,” or “This is just a bump and I am stronger than this event.”

4. Realize That You Have Resources

As I wrote earlier, it’s easy to feel disconnected when we lose a relationship or parts of our network.

But even as one or two pieces fall, step back and realize that there are others to whom you are still connected.

You are not alone.

Others have been where you are, and others will be there after you. Reach out to those whom may be able to help build your positive perspective.

Pay attention so that you can help those who reach out to you in a few months or years – because they will.

Advanced Tip: Avoid the pitfall of commiserating and playing the “Woe is me card.” It’s an easy trap to fall into.

5. Your Thoughts Can Stall You or Save You – It’s Your Choice

"The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both right. Which one are you?" - Henry Ford

Our beliefs in ourselves are learned. We are not born thinking of ourselves as success or failures – we merely are alive.

Through shocking events or repetition of exposure to a message (or both) we begin to tell ourselves a story about who we are and what we deserve in life.

Some of us believe that we are undeserving and unworthy of success, love, and maybe even happiness. These ideas are embedded in our subconscious.

As silly as it seems, we reinforce these negative beliefs as our minds look for proof to reinforce the thoughts we have about ourselves. Our mind is doing what it thinks is good for us – reinforcing the story of our identity.

Unfortunately, when these stories are based in false, negative thoughts, they do not help us to reach achievement. Instead they hold us in an uncomfortable comfort zone: familiar yet uninspiring, we stay there because the world outside of that space is unknown and therefore to be feared.

These beliefs about ourselves can be changed. The program is not hard-wired into our brains.

Psychological therapy, behavioral therapy and/or hypnotherapy can all help in creating the new foundation of positive internal thoughts of success.

Obviously, I am partial to hypnotherapy, but I have experienced the other techniques too. At one time or another, they each helped me to grow and reframe my perception of my self and my personal power.

My question to you is, “How can I help you?”

If this confession resonated with you, if my past struggles are similar to ones that you are experiencing, know that I understand and have been where you are.

From that place of empathy, I can offer help to you to navigate your path forward and discover your strength.

Contact me to talk about your challenge. I offer a free 30-minute consultation.

It’s your choice to decide how to move forward.

Choose wisely.