Strategies that may help us move forward can be worth their weight in gold. But rest assured, I’ll put that strategy through its paces before I endorse it. We should always take a closer look at the advice we are offered — breaking things down and exploring how things might really work. Where manifesting is concerned it is easy to understand its allure. (In a sea of self-care trends it does appear to embrace positivity.) But, while it purports to offer help when life or work become challenging — it falls woefully short in the efficacy department.
That is a serious problem.
Here are my specific concerns with the idea manifesting. You may or may not agree with my reasoning. (You can read more on the topic here.)
Problem #1. For an idea to hold water, “the proof” so to speak, “lies in the pudding.” To improve our lives I believe that “doing” — actual behavioral change — is necessary. Indeed, thoughts are the starting point of change. Yet, thoughts are never the complete story when we desire progress. We cannot simply wish for things to develop. We have to act. Without a behavioral plan of action, false hope can follow.
We must act to change our lives. Only our behaviors can truly accomplish this.
Problem #2. Let’s consider the underlying premise of manifesting. When our thoughts are unleashed into the universe, they somehow create more of the same energy. Logically, this leads me to ask questions such as: “Will my negative thoughts concerning my difficult client, bring more of the same toward me?” or “Did a new client prospect ghost me because my vibrational energy was low and broadcasted my concerns?” Essentially, this line of reasoning implies that whatever you put out there thought-wise, the universe magically (and inexplicably) slaps it back into your face. That shifts the power away from us.
Manifesting shifts power into the great unknown. It professes to offer control, but actually hands off that control to an entity outside of ourselves.
Problem #3. Let’s consider, what all of this implies about emotions that are not positive. Are we also saying that negative feelings are worthless? That they should be stomped out and ignored? I hold the firm belief that all emotions tell us something vital. That our nagging “inner-speak” is alerting us to the work that needs to be done — and this work might bring our work lives into alignment.
We can acknowledge what is wrong, yet challenge its impact upon our future.
Weighing in on the side of manifesting, I do know that hope matters. Hope leads us to try again and again, to reach for the goals that matter to us. However, while we might fulfill the “hope criterion” with manifesting, we must also take things one step further and build self-efficacy through deliberate action. That builds confidence. Which hopefully leads us to act in a way that supports our goals.
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including the Harvard Business Review, Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.