SO, master illusionist Derren Brown’s been knocking #TheSecret-style idea that we can achieve whatever we want just by asking the universe for it.

In a Huffington Post UK interview to talk about his new book – Happy: Why More Or Less Everything Is Absolutely Fine – Derren says The Secret “epitomizes the infantile notion that we can and should be able to have anything we want, by wishing it – by demanding it, and that the universe is there to give us everything that we want.”

Of course, cynics may claim this is one big publicity machine designed to sell more copies of his new tome, but I’m applauding the guy anyway.

Do I think all ‘self help’ books are a crock? No, of course not – there are some awesome writings out there to help people create the lives they want – Hal Elrod, Tony Robbins, Gary Vee to name a few. But the ‘magic’ won’t happen just by saying daily affirmations and putting your orders into the universe.

Largely, I agree with Derren’s assertion that “the universe doesn’t give a fuck.”


Do I believe in the power of manifestation? Yes. Though I believe a big part of that is being clear on what we want.

When we create crystal clear intentions, we’re more likely to put the effort and energy into making them happen. And we’re much more open to spotting relevant opportunities and grabbing them when they come our way. Would those same chances swing by if we weren’t clear on our vision, if we weren’t working on manifesting the future we desire? I don’t know. Are those opportunities really not there, or do we just not notice them because we haven’t focused our hearts and minds? Is it a classic case of deletion (a bit like noticing loads of cars the same as ours when we buy a new one, even though we thought they were rarely seen before)?

I don’t have the answers. I know ‘manifestation’ works for me and I’ve seen it work for others, but I think that has very little to do with drawing an angel card, or playing with prayer beads or speaking affirmations into a mirror in isolation.


I think ‘manifestation’ has more to do with creating a very clear vision of the life we want, being pragmatic about what’s possible to change, understanding that the biggest and most powerful changes we can make are to our own outlook on life, and then taking positive, determined action to create the future we want.

And yes, *part* of that is having utter belief that you can achieve it and giving your plans drive, energy and commitment.

If, for you, that includes using oracle cards, mala beads and affirmations, if they keep you positive and on track, I’m sure they help. Hell, I use some similar tools myself, but I know they won’t do the work for me – they’re supporting allies, if you like.

I say go ahead. Create your vision boards (though I reckon regularly updated action boards are more powerful), make your gratitude jars, read/watch/listen to The Secret, but please, please do not give all your power away to the notion that everything will just magically land in your lap with a spot of visualisation and a waft of sage smoke.


You know what they say… if you’ve found your path, that’s awesome, but if you just sit there in the road with your legs crossed you’ll get run over.

Believe. Energise. Pray. Dream. Whatever it takes for you to stay focused and positive about your future plans, but remember these tools are your backing singers. You’re still holding the mic. You still need to use your own powers to create the song and have it be heard. You need to put the work in – you need to do the graft. You need to identify what you really want to achieve and then reverse engineer the hell out of it to make it happen.


If I want to manifest a cup of coffee right now, it doesn’t matter how many times I pray for it, make offerings for it or search for it with a divination set, I still need to get off my ass, fill the machine with water, stick in the coffee pod, stick a cup under the tap and switch it on.

Did the manifestation stuff work? Was it worth it? Sure! That helped me to visualise the coffee drinking experience, smell it, taste it, be sure that’s what I wanted and provide the motivation and determination to walk to the kitchen and make it happen.

Is there magic involved in manifestation? Do we really attract more of whatever we give our attention to? Sure. I believe. But it also depends somewhat on your definition of ‘magic’!

Until next time,


• You can read the full interview with Derren Brown here –

PS: Has manifestation worked for you? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Tweet me (@TazThornton)!or come over and post on my Facebook page –


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