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Episode 204: Affirmations And The Law Of Attraction


And hello to you and welcome to the Richard Nicholls podcast. The personal development podcast series that's here to help inspire, educate and motivate you to be the best you can be. I’m psychotherapist Richard Nicholls and this is episode 204 it’s titled Affirmations And The Law Of Attraction and if you're ready we'll start the show.

Alright folks? How are you doing since we last spoke?
Did you watch much of the Olympics?
Team GB did well I must admit.
I'm not a massive sport fan but I'm a people person and to see the enthusiasm in all the competitors was lovely it really was.

And of course being a therapist I was particularly interested in what was happening with Simone Biles.
If you aren't aware Simone Biles is a gymnastics icon but had to withdraw from most of the competition because the pressure was getting too much for her.
And a lot of people were annoyed because they wanted entertaining and of course they'd never say it but they probably felt entitled to that entertainment and even if the world is watching you should still compete.

And I remember Ronnie O Sullivan literally throwing down his snooker cue early in a match a couple of years ago and just walking away because he wasn't on top form
And if he couldn't get his head straight then he'd rather not play at all he was fined and the audience were annoyed because you can't watch a snooker match with just one player can you?

But Simone Biles was expected to perform some really complicated and dangerous acrobatic moves that if you get it wrong could break your neck.
There was a soviet gymnast once who did just that, Elena Mukhina.
After breaking her leg when she was 19 and had been expected to compete at the Moscow olympics the following year.

Her coaches pushed her and pushed her to train despite her not being fully healed and confident and 2 weeks before the olympics in training for a really complicated tumbling move she made a mistake, smashed her chin into the floor and snapped her spine.

She was permanently quadriplegic and died aged 46 because of it.
In an interview once she said that her first thought as she lay on the floor with her neck broken was,
"Thank God, I won't be going to the Olympics."

Because that was what had been on her mind for the last few months that she wasn't good enough, she wasn't strong enough, her leg hadn't healed enough she couldn't compete in Moscow.
That was what she'd said to herself and to others.
But I think more importantly it's what she was saying to herself.
I'm not saying that it was the negative mindset that caused the accident we'll never know of course but she knew she wasn't ready

and all the positive encouragement from coaches of
"you got this"
was never going to change how she felt. And that's what I want to talk about today.

I was in my Tamworth clinic once before the pandemic when things were face to face and my Tamworth clinic isn't a clinic as such,
it's an alternative therapy centre rather than a clinical practise
so it attracts therapists who are a bit more left field, some might even say that some of my friends there are a little unusual.

They're into energy healing and tarot cards and spiritual stuff. And you might be too for all I know. And I don't know enough about it to know if it's real thing or not, but I do know that people are helped with it so I certainly cant criticise.

So in-between clients I come downstairs to the shop area to wait for my next client and chat to the volunteers there, and one of them was buying some crystals and had to put one of them back because there wasn't enough money in her purse for all of them.
And as she closed her purse and put it back into her bag she closed her eyes and softly said
"I am an abundant and wealthy woman, the universe will provide"

It was more of a joke than anything but it's something I've seen her do before about things.
And she smiled and kind of laughed it off.
And I've met many people over the years, clients too, that are very much into this idea that what you send out to universe gets sent back to you because you've put the intention out there for the universe to provide you with something.

I've met people that have been very positive and optimistic because of this law of attraction, yet some of those people been declared bankrupt 2 or 3 times despite it.
But still remaining positive that if they put the intention out there enough times and with the right mindset that connects them to the right frequency then abundance will come.
And I'm not so sure. The problem here is relying only on the universe to provide it rather than the universe providing you with the motivation needed to take action.

Because that's where the affirmations need to be focussed.
Rather than "I am abundant and wealthy" it needs to be
"I see opportunities to be abundant and wealthy" or "I deserve to be abundant and wealthy" maybe.

It needs to be specific for you and it needs to be about the actions that lead you to success not about success itself. Because maybe the reason the intentions work so well is because of what's called the the Baader Meinhof phenomenon or the frequency illusion.

This is when you learn something or notice something and because it's on your mind you then start seeing the same subject crop up in multiple places.
That's why it's called the Baader Meinhof phenomenon.
Because if you don't know who Baader Meinhof were they were a German terrorist group back in the 70's and outside of Germany 1970 you probably would never have heard of them.

But when a reporter first heard about them in 1994 and then coincidentally heard reference to them again 24 hours later it freaked him out a bit
and so nicknamed it the Baader Meinhof phenomenon.

And I bet this has happened to you, it's certainly happened to me loads of times. When I bought a car a few years ago I saw the same model and colour everywhere I went.
I bought my son tickets to see Bon Jovi for Christmas the other year and immediately the radio station Planet Rock seems to play Bon Jovi twice as often as they used to because my son's hearing them more.

So 2 things are going on here we've firstly got selective attention, something captures your focus, you're struck by a new word or idea or rock band, it interests you so much that you unconsciously keep an eye out for it, and as a result find it turns up in your environment surprisingly often and secondly is confirmation bias, which is the tendency we all have to favour information that confirms existing beliefs rather than seeing alternatives.

It's why people will say that red heads have a fiery temper and left handed people are more creative because all they look for is the experience that matches their existing belief and don't notice the experiences which contradict it.
So that when they meet a calm chilled out red head or a left handed maths genius that hasn't a creative bone in their body it doesn't override their beliefs.

There was a book out a few years ago now called The Secret which was all about connecting with the universe and making positive intentions.
It was and still is really popular it's sold something like 30 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 50 languages.
I'm not envious at all, honestly. Grrr.

And although there's so much about the universe that we just don't know.
Quantum physics is ridiculously complicated and so maybe connecting to the frequency of the universe is a real thing but whether it is or not you can't simply overcome a lifetime of negativity with just a thin layer of positive thinking pritt-sticked on top of it.

You still have this huge thick solid underbelly of negativity there. You wouldn't expect to be able to lose 3 stone in weight overnight if it took you 10 years to gain it in the first place.
It's the same with your personality, your thinking, your beliefs about self.
These things took years to build and condition yourself with.
Focus on the positive, yes. But you must take action.

And that's the thing. People expect the secret to be a magic pill that will do the actions for them as if the law of attraction is a solution rather than simply a motivational tool.
It's just a technique not a cure for anything. For my friend with the empty purse the intention to find abundance and wealth needed to be put out there before she ran out of cash not afterwards, and she knows that actually.
But a lot of people don't.

In short the law of attraction is simply about focussing on the things you do want to see happen rather than the things you don't, plain old fashioned positive thinking.
But by claiming that we're sending things out to the universe with that we can cause someone with anxiety to feel worse and worse, because if we're fearful and our default attitude IS to focus on the things we fear then the law of attraction suggests that you've only got yourself to blame when things go wrong.

I mean anyone with kids knows that them getting hurt is your biggest fear right from when they're born.
You fear them getting hurt or even killed in an accident, of course you do.
The law of attraction says that if they did get hurt or die in a car crash then maybe that's your own fault, you manifested the accident yourself with your intentions.
And we all know that's nonsense.

But there are some things that ARE within our control, and this is where our thinking can have an influence.
Let's use wealth and abundance as an example here.
Say you get made redundant and need to find a job right now. Your redundancy money and savings is only going to keep you going for about 12 weeks so you need to do something.

Now you might ask yourself "what do I need to do to make sure I don't run out of money"
Well if your focus is on what you don't want to see happen, in this case the running out of money, then it primes our unconscious mind to expect that.
By unconscious mind I mean the part of us that's thinking in the background, the processes that run outside of conscious awareness.

If you've never heard me talk about that before it might seem strange to think that we have an unconscious mind that does stuff, but we do and it does.
We don't have to be thinking about something consciously for it to be having an effect on us.
I've mentioned this before but it's worth repeating.
If I'm in a play we normally do a 3 night run and it's the first night on a Thursday. I won't have to be thinking about it consciously for my unconscious mind to be telling my body that there's something anxiety provoking coming up.

I'll feel it in my stomach and my heart rate and I'll probably be twitchy all day.
Because my unconscious mind knows what's coming up.
Well if you prime your unconscious mind for the things you fear such as
"I mustn't run out of money"
then you'll expect to run out of money and maybe miss opportunities to earn some because that's not what your unconscious mind was looking for.

If you can use the Baader Meinhof phenomenon, the frequency illusion to your benefit by priming your brain not for running out of money but instead for finding opportunities to earn it then that's what you'll start seeing,
but it won't be a suitcase full of cash that you'll find,
I mean it might be.
I do remember as a kid being told by my parents that I was lucky, because I was always finding money in the street,
I wasn't lucky. I was lookING.

I was looking for money in the street, and on the way back from the local pub where I used to play pool with my Dad as a teenager at the weekends I'd be scouring the paths for the loose change that dropped out of peoples pockets when they took their hankies out or whatever.
I grew up in a working class mining town where all the men piled into the pubs and workingmen's clubs every Saturday and Sunday at 12 and then stumbled back out at 2:30 after cramming as many pints in as they could which meant I regularly found their change lying around outside pubs and chip shops.

I was looking for the opportunity, and the adult equivalent when you've just been made redundant is obviously looking for work or looking for ways to earn. If you start up a business and your biggest focus is
"how can I prevent it failing"
you're likely to steer it towards all the things that make a business fail unless you actually answer the question and see the action that needs to be done and focus on that instead, because the answer to "how can I prevent it failing" might be

"I will promote my business to everyone I see" or "I will answer every enquiry promptly and confidently"
because when I started up a sales company back in the late 90's as a sole trader my focus was on it not failing,
my focus was all about how I wouldn't procrastinate,
how I wouldn't come across as childish and amateurish.
Well guess what? I was a flake, an absolute flake.

When enquiries came through for business I knew deep down that it would come to nothing, so I didn't engage with them, I didn't follow up with them and came across as very childish and amateurish.
I didn't last 6 months because what I feared became my reality,
not because of the universe but because of my actions.
And when I took responsibility for my life and trained as a therapist instead I had to work really hard to not make the same mistakes.
Because my self esteem was getting in the way and so on, but as a therapist

I could see the games I was capable of playing and decided to work WITH my mind instead of against it.
Because we always find what we're looking for, even when we didn't know we were even looking for it in the first place.
So here endeth that lesson folks.
Make sure that if you are going to send something out into the universe that you send out the stuff that makes you take action instead of assuming that the intention is like rubbing some sort of magic genies lamp that grants you wishes.

It doesn't, but your thoughts will influence your unconscious expectations, so make sure that what you're unconsciously expecting is that you're going to do something that actually helps to create the life you want.
One way of doing that would be to become a patron of mine on Patreon by the way.
Quick plug!
If you like the show and you'd like more content, I make weekly episodes that go out via Patreon every Monday morning

And they also come with a lot of hypnotherapy tracks as well which are perfect at subtly creating the frequency illusion to help train your unconscious mind to look for and expect the results you want.
So if that sounds like something you want or if you just want to support the show because you don't want me to start putting adverts and sponsorship stuff into it and it needs funding somehow then hop over to and look me up.
If all you're interested in is extra episodes and you use the Apple Podcasts App then you can always subscribe there if that's easier for you,

as Apple recently introduced paid subscriptions and my Monday episodes are on there.
But you do get a lot more through Patreon because you can message me, there's a community area and of course there's my Hypnotherapy tracks and you can also get that warm feeling knowing that you're making the world a better place too as I use a portion of your Patreon pledge to fund some charitable things as well.
Anyway I've overrun, look at the time!

So, if you are an Apple subscriber or a Patreon supporter then I'll be back on Monday with an episode all about Perfectionism so look out for that one.
Otherwise I'll be back in September. Stay safe, be kind and I'll talk to you then.
Take care.