Every athletic arena has a book of ground rules.These rules arbitrate the quirky and unexpected and tell the officials how to interpret those events. Usually, the ground rules rules are the same from arena to arena. For fairness and consistency, many ground rules are universally applied. In baseball, for example, the yellow foul pole is always in fair territory.
Similarly, a Universal Law is something that is true everywhere and all the time. The Law of Gravitation as discovered by Isaac Newton is one such law. He expressed it in an equation that is beyond my ability to try to explain. What I know, however, is that the Law of Gravitation is observable, reliable and quantifiable.
There is already a decent body of work about the various Universal Laws at work in human experience–observable, reliable, quantifiable laws that help us understand reasons that underlie success and failure. Napoleon Hill, for example, tried to explain those principles in his definitive text from the early twentieth century, Think and Grow Rich. Most people think the book is about becoming filthy rich. Its really about mastering your thought life.
In Maximum Achievement, Brian Tracey distills seven Universal Laws that govern the outcome of your thought. Some version of these will be found in nearly every analysis of human failure or achievement.
These Universal Laws of Mental Mastery are not magic. Since they are true everywhere and all the time, they provide a reliable framework to evaluate and understand the twists and turns of what some call fate, or providence.
Keep in mind that these Laws, or mental ground-rules, are inter-related. Even though this is a list, the Laws are not related in a linear way. There is ongoing interplay between these mental ground rules. They are component parts of a much larger system.
1. Law of control:
You feel positive about yourself to the degree you are in control of your own life.
To be in control means you are acting rather than re-acting. You are being purposeful and goal oriented. You have made promises to yourself and you are determined to keep them. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology notes that this autonomy–the feeling that your actions and habits are self-chosen and self-endorsed–is the single biggest contributor to personal wellbeing.
2. Law of cause and effect:
For every effect in your life there is a specific cause.
The thrown pebble lands on the water’s surface and the ripples begin. The light goes on when you flip the switch. The bacon sizzles if you put it in a hot pan. Whatever has happened, something preceded it. You have significant control over cause through the law of control over your actions. While you can forecast or predict effect, you cannot control it.
After the fact, the relationship between cause and effect seems so obvious, you might wonder how you ever could have thought there would be a different outcome.
3. Law of belief:
Whatever you believe, with feeling, becomes your reality.
A belief is simply a thought that you think a lot. Repetitious thought that is laden with strong feelings is more influential than other external factors. Pay attention to the feelings that ride along with your thoughts, for those feelings represent the thermostat that creates your external environment.
This Law can be a little tricky. Actively disbelieving something is a sign that you actually do believe it, or, at least, that you fear it. Otherwise, why would you bother giving it any mental energy? Fear is a strong emotion.
Carl Jung noticed, “What you resist, persists.” If your desire and belief are not aligning with your reality, you may need to sort feelings and exert control over the direction of your mental energy. Create an emotional sifter and let the useless thoughts and feelings fall away from you.
When you let your thoughts be directed by present circumstances you are believing that change is not possible, and so you start to repeat the thought processes and behaviors that got you there in the first place.
4. Law of expectation:
Whatever you expect with confidence becomes your own self-fulfilling prophesy.
Laura Day, in How to Rule the World from Your Couch, offers a helpful exercise. At this moment, she suggests, be the self you will be in twelve hours. Anxiety, says Day, is always future oriented. So take the future out of the equation. Be, at this moment, the person you will be in twelve hours after all of your day’s best choices have been made. Now, you know what to expect. It becomes your reality.
5. Law of attraction:
You attract into your life people and situations in harmony
with your dominant thoughts and feelings.
So I am clear, I want to say what the Law of Attraction is not. This is not magic. It’s not a secret power to be harnessed, nor a technique for placing your order with the universe.
This Law exists in tension with the Law of Cause and Effect. Sometimes things happen that defy causal explanation.
Carl Jung, one of the most credible psychologists of the twentieth century developed the idea of “synchronicity” to explain that certain events, apart from an identifiable cause, connect in meaningful harmony with each other.
Notice the synchronicities, and be grateful.
6. Law of correspondence:
Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world.
Sitting in my office, I look around. There is nothing here that was not first here in my thoughts. My desk. My phone. My computer. My lamp. All of these were in my inner freelancer brain before they became visible in my outer world as tools of my trade.
I have had the most trouble with this Law. There is a temptation to use it as a club of judgment toward yourself or others. If the Law is true, then my, or their, inner world must be seriously messed up, you might think. This sort of thinking only perpetuates the inner mess! Instead, start defining what new things you need to be part of your life and begin taking action in that direction.
Ghandi gives voice to this law with the oft quoted insight, “be the change you want to see.”
7. Law of mental equivalency:
Thoughts objectify themselves. Thoughts become things.
Jack Nicklaus, the twentieth century golf great said, “I never hit a shot, even in practice, without having a very sharp, in focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a color movie. First I ‘see’ the ball where I want to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there: it’s path, trajectory, and shape, even it’s behavior on landing. Then there’s a sort of of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous image into reality.”
By reading this you are becoming aware of these unchangeable and reliable laws. Now it is time to look for the ways they are at work in your own life.