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Sonia Price
Features Writer
12:59 AM 6th November 2021
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Opinion

Secrets And Some Lies?

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
Scrolling through Netflix I came upon a Documentary? Film?

I really couldn’t say - it’s a secret. I come across the Netflix presentation of The Rhonda Byrne 2006 book sensation The Secret.

To my mind Netflix is an abudantly stocked larder of stuff we really shouldn’t be indulging in but do. You do have to root around for the decent stuff that might do you some good. Have you noticed that a lot of that is old stuff like Jaws? The 1975 Steven Spielberg directed film based on the best-selling Peter Benchley book has everything a good story needs: A good cop, some partial officials and even more vested interests who are hellbent on ignoring the scientists and a big shark.

Jaws has a simple enough morality to it. After Jaws has feasted out on half a dozen or so citizens the good cop triumphs, after some dangerous tangles with a psychopath at sea, and ultimately blows up the poor fish. All because the dominant species of Amity couldn’t be bothered to find somewhere shark-free to swim.

Image by Christel SAGNIEZ from Pixabay
Image by Christel SAGNIEZ from Pixabay
Anyhow I digress. I wanted to talk about the Netflix documentary which mines Byrne’s 30 million plus selling book, featured on and imbibed by Oprah, no less, and countless well-meaning nitwits like me.

Its premise is a seductive one for those of us who can’t resist the idea that if only we could stop our minds wandering into dark, shark-infested waters our lives will go swimmingly. The Secret is the universal law of attraction and the idea that we are the manifestation of our thoughts.

So we need to be bright-eyed, scarily optimistic - regardless of mounting existential threats - permanently showcasing a perfect Invisalign-trained set of teeth as regular and white as a nicely-tiled gents’ toilets, buffed twice daily with Beverley Hills Whitening Toothpaste.

Image Pixabay
Image Pixabay
Incidentally the toothpaste brand that dominates this film for all you product-placement spotters is Crest - remember that one?

This Rhonda Byrne’s not daft though. Her epiphany, as she relates it, arrived at a point in her life which found her bereaved, world-wearied and hopeless when she chances upon a note from her late mother, which I would have read as “Pick up some OXO next time you’re in town”.

Her life takes a volcanic turnaround as she feverishly researches those ‘secret-holders’ through the ages. You’ll recognise the names: Plato, Leonardo da Vinci and a few of the present day ones including John Gray, author of Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. These are the chosen ones who know where to get good dentistry and capitalise on The Secret.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke
Rhonda got to work like the very best of self-help writers in constructing a series of tracts that enraptured enough readers to make her and her publishers very contented indeed.

My take on it though is it is a compelling mix of pseudo-science and sophistry which found a receptive audience amongst millions of people who are likely trepidatious about what the future might hold.

That said no one likes an Eeyore and a positive mind-set, I am convinced does make a difference. I have countless examples when the right mind shift has rewarded me and opened new encounters, opportunities and ideas to me. I am sure you will have similar experiences and evidence of the outcome of positive thought.

This is, I think, why entertaining and uplifting events are conducive to forging new friendships and business acquaintances. Success and confidence breeds more success.

Every good business leader or sales manager knows that the confidence that comes with landing that contract or big win must be harnessed to capture the next one. Sports coaches know the phenomenon of the winning streak and how hard it is to overcome a run of losses. Horse racing trainers even talk about the confidence of horses and their mental preparedness for competing.

One of the messages I took on board from this documentary was that it is important to watch the company that one keeps. Negativity is infectious. I don’t have children but I can well understand why loving parents pull their children out of schools where bullying is tolerated. A bully will thwart another’s potential in the service of its own interests.

A ‘con’ to this film though is its assiduously promoted idea that illness is the result of an unhealthy mind-set - with one of its disciples pronouncing that disease cannot exist within a well-ordered mind. Ouch. Another presenter, a metaphysician, unblinkingly tells us that we are responsible for all the bad circumstances that come our way.

The problem with this binary synthesis of the course of a human’s progress through life is it seems to proffer a guarantee that we truly are in control, all of the time, and the moment we realise we are not we should give ourselves a good kicking, or get someone else to do it for us.

Image by Jill Fulton
Image by Jill Fulton
As mainly a glass-half-full person I am prepared to take some of its messaging on. I break ranks with this documentary though where it overreaches its claims in the interests of an unequivocal and pure marketing message. I have no doubt that its stakeholders can clearly visualise millions of dollars dancing before their eyes and they have no room for negativity.

So I will take large doses of it with a good pinch of salt. Preferably rimming a chilled Margarita with my taco dinner.