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A totally irreverent view of prosperity programs

As a denizen of cyberspace, I have become familiar with several programs promising "prosperity." I've also read a number of prosperity-oriented books and experimented with manifesting on my own. Here's what I've concluded.

(1) Most lives move in cycles: for a while things go well, then not so well. You feel great, then not great, then great again. So if you're going through a bad bump, if you've been successful before the odds are you will be successful again. You've already developed a success mindset.

A prosperity program that lasts over a period of weeks or months will have happy clients simply because of these cyclical effects. Statisticians talk about "regression to the mean," but if you have no interest in statistics, that's okay too.

(2) Some of these programs charge pretty hefty fees. Anyone who can afford to spend $300-$1500 for a group program has probably generated money in the past and will do so again.

(3) Prosperity is not the same as abundance. Abundance has to do with a feeling. Rick Jarow's book, Creating the Work You Love, describes a millionaire who didn't want to buy an ice cream cone -- a perfect example of prosperity without abundance.

You can have abundance without prosperity, too. In his wonderful book, Embracing Fear, Thom Rutledge warns about feelings of abundance that are not backed by a bank account.

(4) Prosperity programs can tweak definitions to enhance their success rates. On one sample "prosperity" class, the leader said, "Let's say you want a trip around the world. You don't want the trip -- you want the feelings that go with taking the trip." Well, if I buy a promise of prosperity, I'm afraid I want the trip!

Leaders also tweak expectations: "It can take years to manifest your dream..." See #1.

(5) Feeling prosperous, happy and/or abundant can attract money. Clients and employers respond to a display of confidence and warmth -- and it's hard to fake. People who act confident on the job can expect to be rewarded and promoted (for an extreme example, rent the video Office Space). People who are afraid to spend money often under-invest in themselves and their businesses, with less than optimal results.

(6) There are no secrets in the self-help world. If you want to try your own manifesting, spend a few bucks and buy Lynn Grabhorn's Excuse Me Your Life Is Waiting. Get a copy of Shakti Gawain's Creative Visualization -- yes, it's old, and people sometimes joke about it, but I see her ideas recycled with new labels every day.
In my own experience, creating your own ritual can be far more powerful than working through exercises in a class or book. Your own involvement will speed the process.

I've identified more good books on my own store, with a special section for "beyond visualization."

(7) Don't discount the long arm of coincidence -- and the power of awareness.

Once I thought about signing up for a prosperity class. However, my intuition screamed NO.
Within the next few weeks, I had all kinds of unexpected wealth. I found a twenty-dollar bill on the ground, discovered unclaimed funds in a state where I lived many years ago, got an offer to teach a class out of the blue, and more. If I'd taken that class, I'd have said, "Wow! This stuff really works!" If I hadn't heard of the class, I wouldn't have added up my unexpected bonuses.

Bottom Line: When people have issues with money and debt. I encourage them to work with a financial advisor, coach and/or counselor, depending on what they need. Have fun with manifestation exercises -- with or without a program. In her Advanced Energy Anatomy tapes, Carolyn Myss includes some great tips for dealing with debt -- a wonderful blend of "spirituality" and commonsense.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast move to career freedom. Visit her site or call 505-534-4294.

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