The Law of Attraction: Explained, Debunked and Redesigned in 500 Words

3 min readJun 2, 2021

The Law of Attraction says that if your thoughts align with your desires, you’ll manifest what you want. But it’s not that easy. Our emotions also need to align with our thoughts. It’s not enough to want X, or to think about X — you also need to feel what it would be like to have X. But we’re not done yet.

So far, the (incomplete) advice is that if your desires, thoughts and emotions align, you’ll get what you want. The missing, fourth ingredient to turn this triangle into a square is action. My desires, thoughts, emotions and actions need to align. Once this happens, god, the universe, energy frequencies, positive vibrations — whatever higher power you want to help you out — will lift you up higher than you can imagine. But you need to complete the square first.

Here’s an exercise: Draw out four circles, one filled with all your desires, another with what you regularly think about, another with the emotions you most often experience, and a final circle with the recurrent actions you take in life. Now, examine where these circles overlap. That’s your first clue. If you don’t like what you see, move stuff around, make changes in your life.

Do you honestly expect the power of sheer belief, trust or thought to change reality? The reality distortion effect is real, but it happens when action, desire, thought and emotion work in harmony. Remove any one of these wheels and your vehicle will immediately veer off course. You can’t exclusively think, feel, want or do your way to your destination. You probably have a tendency toward one of the four wheels. But you have to respect them all equally in order to move forward. Treat each one like a sense that must be fully developed.

Even the Bible addresses these ideas in Ezekiel’s Call —

“Son of man,” He said to me, “stand up on your own two feet and I will speak to you.”

Interpret this however you’d like (as long as it doesn’t inspire violence). For me, this verse means that in order for any bigger power to help me, I need to make the first move. The very alignment of desire, thought, emotion and action has a special emergent property that one might term god, the Universe, luck, good karma, or any number of mystical ideas.

Mark Manson explains that we typically expect motivation to inspire action, but often action is what inspires motivation. But what can inspire that initial dose of action when we aren’t motivated? That’s faith. Faith in what? It doesn’t matter, as long as what you have faith in resonates with you.

Go to the ontological candy store and keep experimenting with different treats until you hit your sweet tooth. There’s so much to choose from — faith in variations of god and gods, chaos, science, art, the unknown, stillness, nature, the human soul and energy frequencies, just to name a few choices. You’ll eventually find something that hits the spot. And over time, your tastes might change. That’s exciting! Spice it up — find something new to have faith in.

The bottom line: remember not to be fraudulent. Back up your desires with thoughts, your thoughts with emotions and your emotions with actions.

Build the foundation beneath your dreams, so they harden from flimsy ideas into tangible creations. Don’t just talk the talks, feel the feels, want the wants, think the thoughts or walk the walks. Align them all.

Remember Thoreau,

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”