Deconstructing “The Science of Getting Rich”, by Wallace Wattles

wattles.jpgIf you are interested in Wallace Wattles and his work, The Science of Getting Rich, Debra Moorhead has a great seven-part commentary on applying the science.

Her first blog on the topic is available here.


March 29, 2007. life, Money, Passion, personal, Personal Development, Work. Leave a comment.

Believe and Succeed

thinking-2.jpg  “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”
Helen Keller

One of the big challenges in life is to recognize when you perceive that you have “failed”, and then to make something good come out of that.

When we allow ourselves self-pity for too long, we ultimately start feeling not only like a failure — but also like a victim.

The key  is to acknowledge that your hopes did not pan out — but that this experience means that you are meant for something different, and usually something better.

I had an a-ha moment watching one of the two Oprah shows on The Secret, wherein Oprah said something along the lines of, “If you’re fired, you should thank them … because that just means you weren’t meant to be there anyway.”

Similarly, I saw Donald Trump speak a couple of years ago in Los Angeles and he recounted the story of a friend who was talented but doing abysmally in his line of work. Trump kept telling him to quit — but he wouldn’t. Finally, he was fired. Thereafter, the friend started some sort of golf business and has never been happier.

Often when we fail — assuming we are working diligently — it is because we really are supposed to be doing something else. It means we are on the wrong path.
And often that “something else” is so much bigger than what we were doing.

What’s great about this is that if we think about it hard enough and creatively enough, the opportunity presented by the “failure” often dwarfs the problem.

An obvious example would be being laid off from your job and being forced to start your own business … which you have wanted to do forever but didn’t have the guts for.   In this case,  life has given you a kick in the pants.

Another example would be attempting a freelance writing career for niche magazines, and being rejected over and over. You might realize that you have been thinking way too small and decide to sumbit to the big national magazines, write a book, or even start your own magazine.

A less obvious example: your website/business is not doing as well as you hoped. You visit your traffic stats and notice that 50% of the people who are your visitors/customers are interested in X. You have been focusing on X, Y, and Z and everything in between.

Out of this failure you can recognize that there might be a huge market for X. You build the website and products centered around X … and your niche idea takes off.

A still less obvious example: what have you been criticized for your entire life? Arrogance, timidity, too loud, too meek, inability to cooperate with others, a desire to have everyone approve …

Whatever it is, that is part of you. And you should use that in a unique way that makes you stand out like no other person could.

For example, if you are criticized for being self-centered and money-focused — go for it. Start a business and use your (rare) arrogance to instill confidence in your employees.

If you have been criticized for being meek and wanting everyone to like you … use that! Work at a non-profit at which you aren’t front and center (at least for now) and do your best work for others.

Our personalities are uniquely ours, and we must use them for distinct purposes.

If we do not do so, we become yet another member of the crowd who damns his or her  “flaws” and hopes for a better day.

But you are the master of your life.  You create your life through your thoughts and your expectations.

Shape it according to your will and mold it to the form of your own unique personality.

March 26, 2007. life, Money, personal, Personal Development, Work. 3 comments.

Michael Beckwith on the Materialistic Aspects of The Secret

michael-beckwith.jpg Michael Beckwith, one of the “teachers” in The Secret DVD, is incredibly charismatic – and intelligent.  BTW, I realized as I watched this video that he reminds me of a close family member in my life who is also ridiculously charismatic and intelligent.

At any rate, here is Michael’s reaction to the materialistic aspects of The Secret:

“People kind of gather around how to get things fast in their life. That is not the real message [of The Secret]. The real message is that as you begin to change internally, your life begins to reflect that change. And that does include prosperity, it does include health, it does include life relations, it does include ideal employment. It includes using the Law to stabilize your structures in Life. Health, your mental and emotional health, finances. You stabilize the structures so that ultimately you can be a beneficial presence on the planet.”

All I can say is that Michael’s words are wonderful, but be careful about becoming so identified with a guru that you stop thinking for yourself. Read more about this in my post, Be Your Own Guru.

View the CBS video here; I mentioned the video in an earlier post but didn’t comment on it. It’s fairly good … but take what you need and leave the rest.

March 24, 2007. life, Passion, personal, Personal Development. Leave a comment.

Is Your Life Working For You?

path.jpg Our life is either working for us or it is not.

Either way, we know.

In fact, I think for most people life is not working. And that’s O.K. The problem is that they don’t do anything about it.

Worse, the people who think they are doing something about changing their lives tend to be really into personal development. So they’ve bought the tapes and read the books and been to the seminars.

And yet, nothing has changed for them. They essentially keep doing the same things, with a few patches here and there from the latest guru.

I recently had a startling moment of clarity. I realized that if you really want to change your life, you have to ask yourself a basic question: is what I am doing working for me?

I don’t simply mean your job … or your TV habits … or your drinking habits … or your work ethic.

What I mean is something much bigger: is your way of thinking and being in the world working for you?

If the answer is no, then you cannot keep subscribing to your current worldview. You have to adopt a new worldview that works for you.

For example, for most of my life my worldview of achievement and winning worked well. Competition and “life awards” were the way I kept score. And I always won.
But as my life passed into a new phase, that mode of being no longer worked. And the harder I pushed my old way, the worse things got.

So I realized that I needed an entirely different way of living. I will write about this in the future, but I basically realized that what I was doing was not working … and yet everything I was doing was what I had been taught. So I needed to come up with new ways of thinking and doing — and I mean entirely new ways — if I wanted to enter a new realm of life.

As I said, I kept doing what I always did and for a while I kept getting what I always got … which was very good stuff. But after awhile, this competition mindset no longer worked for me and the universe pushed back. Hard.

So now I realize that as my soul is transitioning to a higher level, my consciousness and ways of thought have to change.

Otherwise, I would remain stuck.

Actually, I would move backward because my consciousness was operating at a higher level than my habitual ways of thought.

Finally I feel as though I am experiencing forward movement again, like a ship slowly going back out to sea. But I consciously have to operate from my entirely new mindsets everyday. If I don’t, I have a “stuck” day.

I realized I could keep living under the fog of life that I was brought up to believe would produce happiness and success … or, once my soul started reaching for higher levels of consciousness, I could set out to find my own way(s).

In exploring my new ways of being, I am excited every day to discover that life is so much richer than I ever imagined.

March 23, 2007. life, Passion, personal, Personal Development. 6 comments.


mansion-7.jpg Every spiritual teacher tells us that gratitude is imperative to personal development.

Yet gratitude is a more difficult concept than many would admit. For example, I am grateful for my life, what I have, my loved ones’ lives, and everyday beauty (for example, I love watching the birds and squirrels in our backyard scampering and flitting about).

But this feeling of gratitude can pale in comparison to the many things that are not quite right in one’s life. And so the gratitude exercise can sometimes be a little difficult.

So when I feel this way, I force myself to take in precisely what I have. And everytime I do this … I realize I have so much.

I don’t want to get too off-topic here, but as a professional with a nice car, I have sometimes been treated to forms of abuse — being cut off, yelled at — by people who I believe see me as a rich snob. Actually, I bought the (stereotypical rich person’s) car used — and it probably has a year or three before it is retired to a mechanic. But to some people, my life seems so much different than their own because I drive an “expensive” car.

Please. I – like all of us — have a myriad of problems and difficulties. Moreover, I am on a personal development journey that is requiring all of me to stay on course.

So I realized that the way I look to some people — rich and carefree — is the way the richest and most famous people seem to me.

And then I got it.

We all have our own experiences to live out, whether in a beatdown apartment or a grand mansion — but we’ll always still be the same soul and experience the same life hurts and difficulties.

So yes, Richard Branson’s life looks grand to me. But to him, I am sure it feels just as ordinary and problem-ridden as any other life.

So the key is to just enjoy whatever level we are at. In terms of Earth’s population, I probably have a better life than 99% of people. So to grump and groan seems a bit ridiculous. Sure, I always strive to make life better but the fact is … life is pretty good.

And I want to remember that as my life, wealth, and abundance grows. Actually … only if I appreciate that will my abundance grow.

March 21, 2007. life, Money, personal, Personal Development. 7 comments.

Succeed by Doing What Others are not Willing to Do

mountain-climb.jpg Over at, Brian Lee offers an article titled Why People Fail. Although it is not a cheery title or subject, the wisdom Brian imparts is priceless. He speculates that even though many people are presented with the precise information on how to become successful and wealthy, 99% of people won’t do anything about it.

Why? He gives five reasons, all of which are things most people avoid:

1. Hard Work

2. Taking Risks

3. Doing Research

4. Getting Organized

5. Selling

The truth hurts, but it can also be liberating if you are honest with yourself.

Read the full post here.

March 19, 2007. life, Money, Personal Development, Work. Leave a comment.

One of My Favorite Quotes on Being Unique

thinking-2.jpg  One of the greatest assets any person can secure is a reputation for eccentricity. If you have a reputation of this kind you can do a lot of things … Many an act which, if performed by an ordinary person, would arouse indignation, animosity and antagonism can be performed by a person with a reputation for eccentricity with no other result that that of exciting mirth …

E.W. Scripps

March 18, 2007. life, personal, Personal Development, Work. 2 comments.

Finding Your Purpose

path-in-boboli-gardens.jpg Paul Graham has one of the best articles I’ve read, How to Do What You Love, on finding your passion.

Some of the best passages:

Why is it conventional to pretend to like what you do? … If you have to like something to do it well, then the most successful people will all like what they do. That’s where the upper-middle class tradition comes from … [C]onventional attitudes about work are, without the owners even knowing it, nth-degree imitations of the attitudes of people who’ve done great things.

His thoughts on prestige:

Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.

That’s what leads people to try to write novels, for example. They like reading novels. They notice that people who write them win Nobel prizes. What could be more wonderful, they think, than to be a novelist? But liking the idea of being a novelist is not enough; you have to like the actual work of novel-writing if you’re going to be good at it; you have to like making up elaborate lies.

And perhaps my favorite observation:

Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.

I do disagree with him on one point. He says that in finding what you love to do, you shouldn’t worry about the opinions of anyone beyond your friends. I’d go even further: don’t worry about what your friends think. This is your life to live, so choose accordingly.

Read the full post here.

March 15, 2007. life, Money, Passion, personal, Personal Development, Work. Leave a comment.

Steve Olson’s Response to Criticism of Oprah and The Secret

the-secret-wax-seal.jpg  For those of you interested in the recent critiques on Oprah’s recommendation of The Secret, please read this thoughtful and dead-on response from Steve Olson.

I am more than thrilled that an intelligent person shot back with a very smart response. I am not linking to the infamous criticisms because they are linked to in the article that I recommend; more importantly, I prefer not to link to vitriol.

Happy reading and contemplating!

March 13, 2007. life, Passion, personal, Personal Development, Work. 5 comments.

The Secret on Oprah: The Aftershow

oprah.jpg  For those of you who enjoyed the original Oprah show on The Secret (DVD), here is a link to the aftershow (provided by

It is also a good show. Once again, one of my favorite quotes came from Michael Beckwith (this is a quote to say to yourself in the mirror):

“I am available to more good than I have ever experienced, realized or imagined before in my life.”

March 12, 2007. life, Passion, personal, Personal Development. 1 comment.

Be Your Own Guru

20060514u-myselfonthecarneddmoelsiabodsummittrigpoint.jpgAs someone deeply devoted to personal development, I voraciously devour books, films, and podcasts on personal development and spirituality.

This focus, which has been fairly intense the last two years or so, has had a profoundly positive effect on my life.

But there is an aspect to the whole P.D. industry that worries me. There are certain people (O.K., a lot of people) who flock to so-called “gurus” in order to learn how to live their lives … step-by-step, if possible.

I’ll give you a brief example. I rarely attend live presentations, but when I do they have been very good (I am extremely selective). Last year I attended a two-hour talk by Wayne Dyer. He was very, very good. I brought my reluctant fiancée along, and he also very much enjoyed the talk. We even bought two plastic bracelets (I think they cost $2.00 total) to support a cause Dyer was advocating.

But that was it. I left feeling great and focusing on remembering a few points from the talk that were helpful to me.

I did not — as so many did — rush up to the stage during intermission, desperate to touch the hand of this man who might solve all my life problems. I did not stare in wonder at him as he paced the stage. I did not leave with a feeling of, “I need more Wayne Dyer, more!”

But so many people do seem to need Wayne Dyer. Or Deepak Chopra. Or Tony Robbins. Or Marianne Williamson.

Worse, they tend to gravitate toward one individual so that their need is focused on one “guru” in particular. In sum, they mistake the messenger for the message.

Look, I love many of the P.D. gurus. These people deserve every penny they earn for the changes they have made in peoples’ lives. But some of their devotees seriously need to learn to “take what you need and leave the rest.”

Another example: there is a very popular P.D. guy who blogs online. Most of you probably know of whom I speak but I won’t name him because this isn’t about him … it is about his followers. Most of his articles are great and many of his thoughts make me think critically in a way that I had not before.

Recently, he posted a pet theory about something we’ll call –for the sake of amusement — The Law of Magnetism. His theory about this “Law of Magnetism” grouped 1% of people into the thoughtful camp who had decided to personally become a magnet — or not. Again, I’m using analogies here; this wasn’t the actual theory. The other common 99% of people, according to the theory, float helplessly along in life, having chosen neither to become a magnet nor to become a non-magnet.

The theory was thoughtful but, to my mind, whacked out in many respects. To me, that’s fine. The guy is smart and critical but …. he gets stuff wrong — just like the rest of us.

Nonetheless, thousands of people rushed to the forum boards wondering whether they were among those who had decided to become a “magnet” or not. How did they know which side to choose? And what did the guru mean when he said X … and how did it apply to their lives?

It was crazy. It was like someone proclaiming that 99% of us are drifters, and 1% of us are magicians — but we have to decide which kind of magician … and then everyone re-framing their life to decide whether they are a magician or not. And what kind of magician precisely?!?!

People, please resolve to be your own guru. Even if a modern day certified savior were to appear and set out certain life precepts, wouldn’t you want to question these precepts and — if you decided you agreed with them — determine how to structure your own life accordingly, by means of your own critical thinking? You would not (I hope) run to this modern day savior and ask him or her about every detail of how to live your life. You would understand that we must know our own selves, and that we are all part of a divine intelligence that has given us the tools to take the basics and construct our own abundant lives.

At least I hope so.

I am not dismissing the gurus here. Rather, I am critiquing the phenomena of people desperately attaching themselves to one guru, taking everything the guru says as the Word, and then figuring out how they should live their lives according to the guru and that guru’s Word.

This is why so many people consume ridiculous amounts of products and seminars from particular speakers. Buying some books and films from various sources is one thing; hungrily devouring everything produced by one human being is another.

Please learn to listen to yourself. Read the books and listen to the podcasts. But be a critical thinker and take only what you need.

In short, be your own guru.

March 10, 2007. life, Money, Passion, personal, Personal Development, Work. 9 comments.

On Abundance

red-flowers.jpg Over at, Arvind has a helpful post titled Abundance, Abundance, Abundance.

He gives us nine ways to experience more abundance in our lives.

Here are three:

1. Be generous, without being wasteful. Always remember that what goes around comes around. Share the abundance already in your life and it will be reflected back to you by the people around you …

2. Let go of any habits of poverty. Start giving away your loose change to charities and people in need. Start cultivating being prosperous. Stop yourself from thinking thoughts such as “I cannot afford that.”

Let’s stop here for a moment. I would personally change this advice to focus on the positive: “Move towards habits of wealth. Start giving away extra money to those you feel deserve it. Cultivate prosperity. Start believing, ‘I can afford that.'”

In other words, I would phrase it in terms of what one wants to move toward rather than away from — but Arvin has the correct general idea.

Also, the whole idea of giving loose change feels … cheap. Believe you can afford to tithe and give away more. I use my loose change for the meter … but I give bills.

O.K., on to his third tip:

3. Expect the best from everything and everyone. Pessimistic people who are always moaning keep having negative experiences and bad luck. That is because what you focus on most is what you attract – so focus only on goodness from now on. Think of the things you love and desire.

Read the full post here.

March 9, 2007. life, Money, personal, Personal Development. 1 comment.

Quote on Living in the Now

rwemerson.jpg  “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

March 8, 2007. life, personal, Personal Development. 1 comment.

A Round-up of Some of this Week’s Best Personal Development Posts

happy-baby.jpgThe Balanced Life Center included one of my recent articles, Seven Ways to Change Your Life Tomorrow, in its current carnival (a roundup of good blog posts on personal development).

There are some very interesting Personal Development articles included.


Top Ten Things: Ten Old Ways to Learn Something New

The Art of Completion

You Teach People How to Treat You (one of my favorites)

There are many other great articles; these are just a few. Check out the other articles here.

March 7, 2007. life, Passion, personal, Personal Development, Work. 2 comments.

Quote from The Science of Getting Rich (by Wallace Wattles)


Studying the people who have got rich, we find that they are an average lot in all respects, having no greater talents and abilities than other men. It is evident that they do not get rich because they possess talents and abilities that other men have not, but because they happen to do things in a Certain Way.

Getting rich is not the result of saving, or “thrift”; many very penurious people are poor, while free spenders often get rich.

Nor is getting rich due to doing things which others fail to do; for two men in the same business often do almost exactly the same things, and one gets rich while the other remains poor or becomes bankrupt.

From all these things, we must come to the conclusion that getting rich is the result of doing things in a Certain Way.

Wallace Wattles, Chapter 2: The Science of Getting Rich

March 6, 2007. life, Money, personal, Personal Development, Work. 1 comment.

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