I admit that the time to watch a DVD on The Secret is probably not when curled up on the couch with a hacking cough, sour stomach and notice from the IRS saying you really botched it this time. Still, a coworker swore this would change my life and that sounded pretty darn good at the moment.
Two days later, I’m still trying to figure out what’s all the fuss. The Secret is the Next Big Thing in self-help that says think positively and good things will happen to you. True enough, particularly if you live in a land of opportunity (and this book/video is definitely not marketed to places that aren’t). Our world is what we make of it.
It’s the law of attractions part that bugs me. Broken down to simplistic terms, the secret is that we’re all bundles of physical energy that attract similar energies. And that people exuding negativity should blame themselves for their continual misfortunes. To some extent, yes. But does this mean abused children had it coming? And genocide victims just don’t give off good enough vibes to save themselves?! Shouldn't we collectively confront evil instead of avoiding its negative energy?
That’s where the book’s author and believers like Oprah lose me, that and the emphasis on materialism. I can certainly understand trying to surround yourself with things positive, including people, to make improvements. But do it because you want to make someone else’s life a little better, not just your own and not just because it’s the only way you’ll lose 50 pounds or keep that Mercedes in your driveway.
As in The Secret, I do believe in forgiveness – for yourself and those who’ve done wrong to you; the latter by reinforcing that huge hole in your heart so they can’t regain entry so easily. But failure has a stronger role than I sensed on the DVD. In fact, failure is something everyone should experience, and, in the spirit of this blog, that includes runners.
That’s why I love reading running blogs and surrounding myself with runners, triathletes and recreational athletes of all stripes. We learn from the track stars that it takes a great deal of personal sacrifice and natural talent, and yet someone must finish last. Similarly, we learn from the guy who got passed late on the trail by a 9-pound, rather pious pooch; the endurance cyclist who heard them mock her as she left the last aid station; the triathlete who built herself up for months as the ultimate road warrior only to pull over well short of the finish.
So keep filling my days with tales of missed opportunities and flawed race performances. Mental breakdowns and physical collapses. Dreams that die only to be reborn as something better. Oh, and do relate the successes. We all love those too. (In fact, we secretly feel like we played a part if we somehow know you.) But know that it’s okay to be down on life sometimes, and not just when you’re in the throes of dry heaves and diarrhea while mulling over a huge tax bill. It sometimes helps us to be happy and continue to prosper when we realize we aren’t alone in our misery.