Toxic Motivation, but Positive Results

I’ve witnessed a variety of spiritual paths help people overcome their pasts and move forward with happy, constructive lives. I’ve even seen people use the Law of Attraction to great success. I’ve also seen people let these things ruin their lives. Because of this, I’ve learned the common ideas that ultimately lead to the results.

The Common Ideas

Virtually every spiritual path has the following concepts:

  • Distractions are ok, but keep them limited;
  • Don’t compare yourself to others;
  • Fill your heart with love and gratitude; and
  • Be of service to others.

It’s hard to live life like this and be miserable. People who shift their views from lacking gratitude to actively being grateful report seeing so many more blessings in life that their lives are ultimately better. For that reason alone, isn’t it worth a shot?

Where People Go Wrong

People tend to love their systems. They can develop tunnel vision because of this. Take the famous line “Drink not unto drunkenness.” It clearly shows that drinking in moderation is not bad, just don’t overdo it. Some people develop such a fear of overdoing it that they go into total avoidance mode. 

This is fine if the focus is on sobriety, but can be limiting if it’s based on a fear of drunkenness. This fear tends to grow. It’s easy to become so afraid of booze that you wind up cutting yourself off from people who don’t abstain. It’s easy to begin to think of the booze as evil and treat anyone who thinks otherwise as though they are evil. 

Judgmental people ever seem happy to you? | Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The Law of Attraction/Mirroring/Whatever the Kids Are Calling It

Ah, a fun one. As with religions, I’ve seen this make people’s lives better and worse. As with religions, it’s often because the individual begins to hide behind it rather than let it drive them.

The LoA appeals to the lazy because it creates the false idea that your actions are not as important as your intention. Here is where I have to call bullshit. Even people who preach LoA call bullshit on this, they just try to not say that. 

It’s gotten so bad that LoA preachers have taken to saying things like “You can pray for a good harvest, but you still have to plant the seeds.” I take it further by pointing out that if you want to grow watermelon, you have to plant watermelon seeds.

Oops. | Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash

If you plant cucumber seeds, you get cucumber…plain and simple. It doesn’t matter that you intended to plant watermelon. It doesn’t matter which god you pray to, how big your focus board is, or which celebrity is whispering affirmation into your ears while you sleep, you aren’t getting watermelon. 

My chief complaint with the LoA is it leads to a lot of people substituting work with a focus board and happy thoughts. 

Remember how I said I’ve seen people use it to great success? Here’s what those people all had in common: They were methodical in their use of the LoA. They visualized what they wanted the end result to be, then deconstructed their current situation to determine what they needed to do to bridge the gap between where they were and where they wanted to be.

The RN didn’t listen to podcasts on nursing. She went to nursing school, busted her ass, and became a nurse. The writers didn’t just post that they were writers; they wrote. They did the steps that would have led them to success even if they didn’t believe in the LoA.

Cause and Effect

Health is my favorite example to demonstrate how little intent matters to action.

If you live on junk food and never exercise, you will become unhealthy no matter what. It’s just how the body works. Similarly, if you go from only consuming junk to eating only nutritious food, you will become healthier. You can’t not. 

Reality Check: Fitness Models

Do you honestly believe that everyone who works out is doing it for their health? HAHAHA! Cute. Sure, it’s a part of it. But, the biggest motivation for people working out is appearance. Vanity. We do it to look good. Hardly a positive reason to do it, but the results are what they are. 

It doesn’t matter if you are motivated by health or appearance, improved health is a result. 

Dammit. I was just thirsty. I didn’t mean to get hydrated. | Photo by Yasuo Takeuchi on Unsplash

Choose Consequences

I’m sick of hearing “I didn’t mean to” as a defense to destructive (and often stupid) behavior. You choose the action, you choose the consequences, no matter what. Your lack of intent is irrelevant, especially if damage is done.

Reality Checks: Because…No Shit, Sherlock

NOBODY INTENDS TO CAUSE A DUI-RELATED ACCIDENT!!! They all only intended to get to their next destination.

Nobody sitting in AA meetings meant to wind up an alcoholic.

Not one parent who has been murdered by their child over an inheritance intended to raise such a spoiled brat that their lives were at risk.

I’m sure you can come up with more


Forgiveness is another fun topic. I refer to it as “The Ultimate F Word.” Nothing says that what someone did is not going to change who you are quite like forgiving them. 

Thumb up
You’ll be happier every time you replace the middle finger with this one because you know it pisses the other person off more. | Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Forgiving people is so healthy for our minds and bodies that I encourage people to do it even if it is only for the selfish reason of moving on with their lives. Yes, it is selfish to only forgive a person so YOU can feel better. But, you know what? That’s fine. Again, the result is so wonderful that the motivation is irrelevant. 

Intent doesn’t leave our bodies. It’s merely how we justify to ourselves the actions we take. Our decisions go out into the world. When our decisions don’t match our intentions, that’s when our results become a problem. That’s why so many LoA newbies are miserable and insufferable to be around. 

Your intention matters to you and you alone.

The LoA teaches the importance of our actions matching our intentions. It’s often referred to as “Being in alignment” or “Stepping into your vortex”, depending on the source. LoA teaches that our desires manifest only when we’re in alignment. 

In other words – DO THE DAMN ACTIONS!!! If you intend to grow watermelon, plant watermelon. If all you have is cucumber seeds, plant those knowing you’re getting cucumber. Keep the soil healthy. Water it. Grow the biggest cucumbers in the world! Just, don’t expect watermelons. 

Many thanks, and Best Blessings,

Neth W.

Related Journaling Prompts: Am I letting hope substitute action? What actions do I need to be doing? What are all of my benefits of following through with these actions?


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