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Do you believe in manifestation?


Someone recently asked me if I believe in manifestation. For those who don't know what this is, manifestation is a term that is currently popping up in a lot of popular psychology. It is a technique with roots in spiritual traditions, that uses thinking and visualizing exercises to turn one's aspirations into reality. Manifestation makes use of the 'Law of Attraction': if you believe your dream will be a reality, you start embodying the energy of this dream, and attracting this thing, person, or opportunity into your life. The universe, if you will, shall then match your energy and provide you with what you've been manifesting. Let me explain this with a few examples: Example 1:

Let's say I want to become a professional magician. Manifestation will have me approach this goal as if it's already done. I would visualize in detail what my career would look like as a magician, what stages I'd be invited to perform on, what kinds of outfits I'd wear, and what types of spectacular acts I'd prepare. I would also use the power of my thoughts to raise my energy and repeat positive affirmations such as 'I am a world-renowned magician', 'my shows are all sold out', and 'my fans fly in from around the world to attend my performances'. Doing such practices would then get me to truly start believing not only that I can in fact be a professional magician, but also that it is in a way already done, already decided. It is no longer a matter of if, but of when. Example 2:

Let's say I want to fall passionately in love. I could visualize in detail what this loving relationship would feel like, what characteristics my romantic partner would exhibit, and what our life together would look like. I would use my thinking to declare to the universe that I am ready to find this relationship, that I am loved, and that I am a joyful person who is open to sharing their happiness with someone else. The idea is that, by doing such practices, I start to embody the energy of the love I desire to find, so that I can attract my dream partner - who would resonate with the vibration I put out - into my life. They would be attracted to me, and I to them, like bees to honey. Example 3:

Let's say I want to be a millionaire. Now if I were to constantly tell myself that I am bad at managing my money, and that creative people are doomed to struggle financially, and that I will never be able to own a house or make more than 30 pounds an hour, this attitude will not be helpful in becoming a millionaire. But if I use the power of my thoughts to start believing in a future scenario in which I can see myself as a home owner who flourishes financially, invests wisely, and experiences an abundance of resources, I will change the way I think about myself and about what is possible for me. In short then, manifestation refers to a set of inner work practices that you engage in to become an energetic match for the things you want to attract into your life.


 

Now, back to the context of this conversation. This person asked me if I believe in manifestation. I answered him with a very swift 'no'. To which I added that 'I am not a wishy-washy person'. He replied that he'd already sensed that about me. While brief, this exchange was rather interesting. Because reflecting on it in hindsight, I am surprised by my own response. For a more truthful answer would have been 'yes'. I actually use manifestation techniques on a daily basis. As a consequence of it, I am able to live the fulfilling and joyful life that I have carefully crafted over the years. I teach these techniques to my clients as well - without ever calling it 'manifestation' directly. There is no doubt in my mind about the impact of our thoughts on our life, and I very much believe we are the creators of our own reality. It all begins with our mind, what we think about ourselves, the world, and what we believe is possible for ourselves in that world. One of my most valuable routines is to go for a solo walk every evening. I've been doing this since I was 14 years old, and it's the one routine that is most directly linked to my success and happiness. On those walks, I play music that energizes my body and mind, and I let my imagination run free. I dream up the wildest future scenarios, in which I visualize myself as an accomplished, fulfilled, and purposeful person. I visualize the future I want for The Smart Rebel, I imagine what my PhD viva will be like, I dream about the house I will one day own, the relationship I will one day have, the next-level reinventions of myself and my career, and many other things. The visions I come up with fill me with great joy and enthusiasm, and I cannot wait for those things to happen. When I feel this alignment with a vision so powerful, it becomes a tangible sensation. The same happens when I use affirmations, positive thoughts and self-talk. In those moments, I feel I already am that future version of myself, here and now. This confidence allows me to show up in the world as 'Next Level Simone', making decisions from her advanced perspective. At this point, all I gotta do is let reality catch up with me. I do not ask myself if the things I manifest will happen, for I already know they will happen. The only thing I wonder about is when they will happen. Now, I hope you can sense that this 'if' versus 'when' energy is of a very different quality.


 

So, why then, you may ask, did I say I don't believe in manifestation? I told this person 'no', because there is one core problem I keep encountering whenever I hear people in the self-development world talk about manifestation. I keep noticing a neglecting of one of the most essential elements when it comes to creating the life you want: action-taking. You see, I do not believe in sitting down cross-legged, closing my eyes, dreaming about the things I want, saying my affirmations out loud, and the universe magically delivering all the things I am wishing for, right to my doorstep. Like I said, I am not a wishy-washy person. And I don't want to be associated with the problematic messaging that pervades much of the world of self-help spirituality. People often ask me why it seems that everything I touch 'magically' turns to gold. I frequently get told 'wow, we all have big dreams but you actually fulfill yours'. This has always been the one thing that's distinguished me from others: a tendency towards action-taking. I am a dreamer, big time, but I also get out there and DO the things I am dreaming of. I have a talent for making things happen. Because I make them happen. Don't get me wrong: I am fully aware of the role of positionality and privilege, and of the fact that we live in an unequal world where opportunity is unevenly distributed (more on this in a future article). Not everything is always in our control, and life is not entirely malleable. Some experience a lot more adversity than others. But we often have more decisive power and creative freedom than we think.


I actively create the conditions that allow my biggest dreams to come true. This requires both dreaminess and strategic thinking and practical planning and committed execution. For instance, I travel a lot, not just because I dream about future trips, but because I also sit myself down to make sure I save up enough funds, plan my journey, book my flights, pack my bags, and make my way to the airport. I secured a fully funded PhD position in my dream field at a world-class university, not just because I dreamt about it, but because I also spent many years building a stellar CV, gaining experience writing winning motivation statements, and strengthening my intrinsic motivation. I managed to go on a speaking tour with my data music album a year ago, not because speaking invitations magically started flooding my inbox, but because I myself came up with the idea, then compiled lists of academics to pitch my talks to, sent out hundreds of emails, hustled hard, and got rejected 9 times out of 10, in order to finally end up with a full tour schedule. Just to re-emphasize: these successes didn't magically happen. I made them happen. And, at the same time, if I had never allowed myself to dream so big, and if I had never believed I could actually travel the world on my own, do a PhD at a place like Cambridge, or go on tour as a new artist, I would have never even given myself the chance to make these things happen. So this is precisely what I work on a lot with my clients: the foundational belief in themselves and their capacity to do, be, and have it all. Oftentimes, I have to drag my clients' biggest dreams out of them, because they're too afraid to even merely acknowledge the size of their aspirations (and this is when all the excuses come up). Coaching is a lot about identifying those self-limiting beliefs and replacing them with a much more empowering story. That is the work that precedes the action-taking. That is what makes coaching powerful and worthwhile. That is why coaching can save you a lifetime of delays, frustration, and missed opportunities. Coaching saves you time otherwise wasted on you blocking your own growth. And time, in this short life we have on this earth, is our most precious good.


 

One of my main slogans is to 'Stop waiting and start creating'. If you follow me on Instagram you will have heard me say this countless times before. Because I firmly believe in agency, free will, and being the writers of our own life stories. Yet besides action, I also firmly believe in the power of our thoughts. As I just showed, creating the life you want starts with daring to dream big, believing in yourself, and learning to see your dreams as actual possibilities that are out there for you to successfully achieve. This involves a lot of inner work, including building your self-confidence, raising your energy, and learning to attract the things you want by being an energetic match for those things, places, people, and opportunities yourself. The power here truly lies within YOU. But beautiful thoughts and exciting dreams are nothing without real-world actions. You've got to put in the work, and actively pursue your desires. You've got to get out there and make your life happen the way you want it to happen. Want to become a magician? Go and sign yourself up for a course. Practice your tricks. Start performing for audiences. Create a YouTube channel where you upload shows. Want to find love? Infuse love into everything you do, including how you speak, act, and move in this world. Go on dates, and meet new people, all whilst radiating this loving energy. Want to become a millionaire? Start attending conferences about wealth management. Learn about investing. Raise your rates. Monetize your outputs. Launch a new business. So ask me again if I believe in manifestation, and this time round I will have a more nuanced response ready: I believe in manifestation, if and when it is accompanied by action-taking. The two of them go hand in hand.


February Masterclass


Literally as I am writing this article, an idea for a new masterclass spontaneously came to me. So, let's make it happen! I'm calling this one a non-existent word I just made up on the spot, 'Manifestaction' (I hope you can appreciate the word play!), which combines the power of manifestation with an attitude of action-taking. You'll learn all about my approach to dreaming big, manifesting your desires, and taking action to make your aspirations happen. This one is going to be filled to the brim with golden nuggets, and this masterclass may be just what you need to start creating the life you want. Perhaps you manifested this masterclass... ;) Next action? Signing up!




Ps. Ready for more?


Nothing beats the impact of 1-1 coaching. So if you are serious about going fully in on your dreams and potential, I recommend that you check out my private coaching offers here.

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