I read a very interesting take on the Law of Attraction, a principle made popular recently in the book and video, The Secret. Here is the link to the blog: http://www.engineno9inc.com/blog/
And below is my response to the writer, Alden Levy…
Alden – I like your post. I share your healthy skepticism about the “Law of Attraction.” While I believe that deeply-held thoughts can manifest in favorable and unfavorable ways, the New Age faith in fervent repetition of affirmations and positive thinking is misplaced. Your AHA idea of letting people know what you want reminds me of a book written a few years ago by Canfield and Hanson. I think it was called the Aladdin Factor where the oft-repeated refrain was “Ask, ask, ask.” Clearly this is a powerful approach, and too many of us resist asking others for help. On the other hand, there is a subset of folks who ask, ask, ask without any thought to reciprocation or feeling obligation for the help others give. Such people come across as users and takers, which is not an ideal brand to wear around. It’s best to keep away from such people.
This brings me to what might be a companion to your AHA Theory. I call it the Universal Reciprocation Law (URL). According to this law, a person first offers help in whatever form. Could be as simple as listening with compassion to a friend in need, or offering help to a customer prospect without having any guarantee that they will do business. Such a move can be treated as a down-payment for a return favor later. This may sound mercenary, but it’s also pragmatic. It is how humans have cooperated since the Beginning. Call if selfish-altruism. In any case, if you give a couple of times and see no evidence that the recipient is willing to reciprocate, stop giving! And if you feel like someone is being very generous, take steps to reciprocate meaningfully. It’s not exactly about keeping score and tit-for-tat, but to avoid an imbalance, one should pay attention to debits and credits in this game.