The Manifestation Trap

June 3, 2024

I once met a couple who told me they believed so fervently in manifestation that they decided to sit in their empty house and do nothing but concentrate on receiving furniture.

Their mantra was simple: “The universe provides.”

For 48 hours, they visualized and meditated, convinced that their thoughts alone would fill their home. Remarkably, they proudly shared that by the end of the second day, a neighbor knocked on their door and offered them a free couch.

While they beamed with pride, I was concerned that all they had to show for 48 hours of expended resources was someone else’s unwanted sofa.

As compelling as it may seem, this type of magical thinking underscores a dangerous misconception. The universe may have provided a couch, but it did so through the neighbor’s generosity, not some mystical force. Manifestation, when stripped of its allure, often reveals a harsh truth: relying solely on the power of positive thinking can lead to passive waiting rather than proactive doing.

​Sitting and waiting for the universe to provide is certainly a way to get what you want, but for those of us who want to take a more active role in our life, we must ask: what’s the opportunity cost of waiting around?

The real magic happens when you pair your vision with action.

Manifestation, especially in the context of wealth, is the concept of bringing desires into reality through the power of thought, visualization, and positive affirmations. The idea suggests that focusing on positive thoughts and believing in a specific outcome can attract wealth and success into their life. This concept is heavily tied to the Law of Attraction, which posits that like attracts like, meaning positive thoughts attract positive outcomes.

The term “Law of Attraction” was first articulated by Prentice Mulford in the late 19th century and further popularized by authors like Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich” and Norman Vincent Peale in “The Power of Positive Thinking.” The concept gained widespread popularity in the 21st century with the release of “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, which combined elements of self-help and pseudoscience, suggesting that thoughts can directly influence the physical world.

Manifestation is alive and well in 2024, exemplified by the popularity of Joe Dispenza, a renowned neuroscientist and author who has popularized a comprehensive approach to manifestation that blends principles from neuroscience, quantum physics, and mindfulness. His teachings revolve around the idea that we can shape our reality through the power of our thoughts, emotions, and intentions.

Before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, it’s worth noting that I believe crafting a detailed vision of the life we want to create should be the foundation for proper wealth building. Further, getting rid of head trash and limiting beliefs around money is a key component to reaching our dreams.

But a clear vision must be paired with action. This is where devotees of manifestation often fail.

Instead of the Law of Attraction, I prefer the Law of Action:

“The universe helps those who help themselves.” – Anyone who has accomplished anything worth noting

I understand the allure of the idea that thoughts become things. But instead of waiting for the universe to provide, the most powerful question to ask ourselves is:

“Who do I need to become in order to make my dreams a reality?”

This single question removes us from the victim mentality created when we leave our desires up to the universe, God, quantum physics, or any other supernatural force.

The power of this question lies in the implicit ownership of the outcome.

When we take radical ownership of who we must become, we also gain clarity. This helps us cut through the noise and distill the signal.

When we visualize a clear outcome and ask who we must become, we can identify the one or two singular actions or behaviors that would make that outcome inevitable.

Be like Thanos.

For example, if someone wants to become a millionaire, they must first understand the most fundamental habits and behaviors that a millionaire must possess. Many habits or traits might contribute to a millionaire’s success, but only a precious few are absolutely essential.

In this case, the one behavior that every millionaire has in common is that their income must exceed their expenses. There is no other possible way to reach the destination. Once that fundamental part of the equation has been solved, the only variable that remains is time.

When we examine the path to becoming a millionaire, there are two options: increase income or reduce expenses (or both). Expenses can only be reduced so much, especially if we want to enjoy a comfortable standard of living. Therefore, increasing income is the logical path.

Continuing on the reductionist path, what habits or behaviors would someone who was dedicated to increasing their income focus on? What would be necessary to make this outcome inevitable?

This is where the two most important factors in achieving any goal become obvious: consistency and compounding.

Any goal, dream, or outcome that we want to achieve can be boiled down to simple habits that, compounded over time, make failure impossible.

This doesn’t simply apply to money; it applies across any category in which we seek to improve.

One of my goals for 2024 was to become the healthiest I have ever been. Obviously, this is a broad and perhaps lofty goal for a 43-year-old. In order to achieve this goal, I started by visualizing what that outcome would look like, and who I would have to become to achieve it.

As I broke it down, I decided that only three things would have to be true for me to be the healthiest I have ever been: a movement practice that included strength, mobility, and cardiovascular conditioning, a diet that nourished my body and supported longevity, and mental health practices to reduce stress and, therefore, cortisol and inflammation.

After deciding on how I would measure success and undergoing a battery of lab testing to establish a baseline, I set about further breaking down each pillar of success. I decided to distill each down to daily non-negotiables that, together, would make success inevitable.

After the first quarter of the year and making significant progress, I decided to refine my targets and go all in. I updated and refined my daily non-negotiables. Starting April 1st, here are the daily habits that I knew would compound to create my desired result:

  • A 60-day Carnivore diet challenge: During the baseline testing, my doctor identified something I had long suspected but had yet to confirm: I have a gluten sensitivity. I decided that I wanted to fully heal my gut, so an elimination diet like carnivore made sense. I also wanted to eat 1g of protein per pound of body weight to build lean muscle mass, so carnivore checked all the boxes. I rounded things out with a custom supplementation stack tailored to my test results.
  • 1 Gallon of Water Per Day: Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health, especially when following a high-protein diet like the carnivore diet. Drinking a gallon of water a day helps in several ways: adequate water intake ensures that my body functions optimally, from digestion to circulation and temperature regulation. It is essential for muscle recovery and function, helping to reduce cramps and improve performance during workouts. Additionally, water helps flush out toxins from the body, which is particularly important during a diet change aimed at gut healing.
  • Work Out for 45 Minutes: Physical fitness is non-negotiable for maintaining energy levels and overall health. My fitness goals were multifaceted: body recomposition, adding lean muscle, increasing mobility, and cardiovascular fitness. I built a routine that included four days of strength training with Tonal and one day each of boxing, yoga, and mountain biking.
  • Read a Minimum of 10 Pages: Reading daily is a cornerstone of personal development. By committing to reading at least 10 pages a day, I ensure continuous learning and mental stimulation. I chose to alternate reading books for pleasure and personal development. For me, reading can be a great way to relax and unwind, reducing overall stress levels.
  • Meditate for 20 Minutes (with Sens.ai): Meditation is vital for mental clarity and emotional balance. Using Sens.ai, a meditation device, I can enhance my practice with biofeedback and guided sessions. Meditation helps lower stress levels, which is crucial for maintaining mental health amidst a high-paced work schedule. Regular meditation practice improves attention span and cognitive function. It also fosters a sense of inner peace and emotional resilience, helping me stay grounded.
  • Phone-Free Block from 6:30-8:30 PM: Creating a phone-free block in the evening allows me to be fully present with my wife and my children. This habit is essential for strengthening family bonds, as quality time with family strengthens relationships and creates lasting memories. Taking a break from screens helps reduce eye strain and improve sleep quality. Being present in the moment enhances mindfulness and overall well-being, helping me to disconnect from work and focus on what truly matters.

These daily non-negotiables are designed to ensure that each day is structured to support my overarching goals. By consistently adhering to these habits, success becomes not just a possibility but an inevitability.

60 days later, the transformation is remarkable. I feel stronger and happier and look better physically than I ever have in my entire life.

Here’s the point: I didn’t sit back and think my way to health. I took decisive action and built habits that harnessed the power of consistency and compounding.

Even better, after 60 days, these habits no longer feel like something I do; they are who I am.

Attention manifesters: you are 60 days away from becoming any version of yourself that you desire. Find 5 things to focus on, do them consistently, and watch the results compound.

That’s it. Whether it be financial, health-related, or learning a new skill, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in such a short amount of time. But the secret is in the daily commitment.

Now that my sixty-day challenge is over, I won’t be shelving these habits. However, I will be upgrading and integrating new ones.

My long-time goal has been to write a bestselling book. My new commitment is to write for at least 60 minutes a day.

I can envision how it will feel to be ranked number one on the New York Times list. I can think positive thoughts that will help attract the right people into my life.

But while I’m thinking those thoughts and envisioning success, I’ll be busy honing my craft and relentlessly pursuing my goal day after day.

When I reach my goal, it may be tempting to point to the power of manifestation.

But I’ll know the truth:

Because of consistency and compounding, success was inevitable.

To action over imagination,


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