Why the Pull Principle Beats the Law of Attraction

Cute Dog. This image is CC0!

Today, I provide a “battle of ideas” to you. The opponents are:

  • The Pull Principle (PP): Pull what is valuable for you. Do it actively. Do not expect that it happens without your action. [As defined by Lean Self]
  • The Law of Attraction (LoA): The “law of attraction” is the name given to the belief that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. [As defined in Wikipedia]

  1. Marketability
    The Pull Principle sounds very much like common sense. Who would spend money for common sense advice?
    Millions of books and videos sold about Law of Attraction or “The Secret” and its sister beliefs. Marketability is time-proven.
    This round goes to the Law of Attraction.
    PP 0 : LoA 1
  2. Measurability
    When you start to actively pull, you can define measures for success. You can even measure that you do not act.
    Unless or until concrete thoughts or “thought energy” can be measured, it is even not measurable when or how much you think about something.
    This round goes to the Pull Principle.
    PP 1 : LoA 1
  3. Confirmation bias (only seeing outcomes confirming the assumption):
    If you pull and act, you can attribute success or failure to your action. This reduces risk of confirmation bias. Nevertheless, you might have had luck and do not recognize it.
    Usually, the conformation of the Law of Attraction is after the fact. Once a success occurred, it is attributed to the so-called law. Failure can be easily omitted or seen as a result of not thinking hard and often enough.
    This round is a draw. Both views can fall prey to confirmation bias.
    PP 1 : LoA 1
  4. Selection bias (only successful users communicate actively):
    Failure of an action is not in contradiction to the pull principle. People who apply the pull principle can still say that some action did not work for them, without losing their face. Change based on measurable results is part of the process. Also, it is not about believing in the pull principle. Either one acts or not.
    Lack of positive thinking is easily stated. That means failure is seen as personal fault of the believer. Believers will not admit failure. Non-believers are by construction of the principle not accepted as reliable witnesses against the Law of Attraction.
    This round goes to the Pull Principle.
    PP 2 : LoA 1
  5. Personal responsibility:
    The basic assumption of the Pull Principle is that if you do nothing, you are depending on luck or fate. If you act, you can still fail. But by doing a root cause analysis it is possible to objectively understand what caused a failure.
    “Think positive and you will succeed” can lead into a degrading spiral. The believer of the Law of Attraction sees his responsibility as a matter of thinking harder instead of working towards a goal.
    This round goes to the Pull Principle.
    PP 3 : LoA 1
  6. Internal contradictions:
    If two people work towards contradicting goals (imagine both want to be the new boss of the same department), it is obvious that at least one loses, unless they come to an understanding and achieve a win/win situation.
    The Law of Attraction says that if you think hard and positive enough, you will achieve a goal automatically. Now imagine two colleagues thinking “I will be the new boss” all the time. At least one will fail, contradicting the so-called law.
    Besides, what is a “Secret” that is published in books and videos?
    The final round goes to the Pull Principle.
    PP 4 : LoA 1

Of course, this discussion is totally biased. I had negative thoughts about the Law of Attraction and positive thoughts about the Pull Principle. Thus, following the Law of Attraction, it could only happen that I wrote this negative post. Forgive me.

I’m curious: What do you think? And how often?

Posted in 5 Principles, Action Tagged with: , , , ,

2 comments on “Why the Pull Principle Beats the Law of Attraction

  1. Focault on said:

    What does science tell about the Law of Attraction? It tells that LoA doesn’t work. Do you need a proof by scientific evidence? Read this:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa-van-edwards/law-of-attraction_b_2082921.html
    http://www.heatherkappes.com/?page_id=68
    But if you are a hard die believer in LoA, affected by cognitive bias, then please refuse to believe in science. For instance refuse to believe that your personal computer was built by using science knowledge, refuse to believe in Newton gravity law, refuse to believe in scientific evidence in general. Program your brain with positive thinking like a robot. Don’t accept your feelings as they are. Don’t love yourself as you are. Throw your life experience and your own judgment into the trash. Never desire to save your emotions.
    Cheers!

    • leanselfleanself on said:

      This is a really thoughtful comment.Thank you, also for providing the links.

      Regarding “believing in science”: this is tricky, because belief is not what makes science work. It is evidence and the willingness to correct every theory that is not backed by hard facts or even in contradiction to them.

      Typical believers, on the other hand, have no problems at all to incorporate two mutually exclusive claims into one belief system…

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