Why we’ll NEVER stop believing in The Secret: Millions bought the original life-changing book. Now, as the sequel is published, we meet the devotees who say their dreams really did come true
- Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret has sold more than 35 million copies since 2006
- Devotees reveal how book changed their lives as the author releases a sequel
- Natalie Wright from Salisbury, used The Law of Attraction to meet her husband
- Hannah Murphy, 35, from Portsmouth, went from benefits to business success
You’ve probably heard of ‘The Secret’, even if you don’t know what The Secret is. Those who’ve discovered and practise it say that it is, quite simply, life-changing.
For the uninitiated, The Secret is the Law of Attraction: Ask, believe and receive. It says that our thoughts are the most powerful things on Earth, and that the universe will deliver whatever we focus on. Its brilliance, and marketability, is in its simplicity. Think it, and it will be yours.
The book came out in 2006 and went on to sell more than 35 million copies. It became a brand, with an official website, where all manner of Secret merchandise is available.
There are apps, a documentary and a new film, now on Netflix, inspired by the book, The Secret: Dare to Dream, starring Katie Holmes. This winter, with the launch of Rhonda Byrne’s follow-up book, The Greatest Secret, the internet has been thrumming with devotees — women who believe in the importance of creating vision boards depicting the things we want.
Women who claim Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret changed their lives shared their experiences, including Natalie Wright, 35, (pictured) who lives in Salisbury
People write of how it helped them find love. Or wealth. Fall pregnant after years of infertility. Cure illness. Or even ensure that they always find a good parking spot.
Here, four women reveal how The Secret — which purports to be a manuscript in ‘how to create anything you want to be, do or have’ — has enabled them to do exactly that.
I CONJURED UP A TALL MAN WITH A BEARD!
Natalie Wright, 35, runs PR firm NW Communications and lives in Salisbury with husband Oliver, 35, a data analyst, and son Oscar, two.
I was recently divorced and was spending Christmas 2016 with my parents, feeling very much like a sad Bridget Jones character, when my mum bought me a copy of The Secret. I was a bit put out at first, believing the veiled message to be ‘sort your life out’. However, I read it, and on my way home from a disastrous trip to visit a friend in New York for New Year — during which I lost my passport and luggage and was admitted to hospital with a saliva gland infection — I decided I had nothing to lose by putting its teachings to the test.
So, on the long flight back, I thought about what it was — if the universe really could deliver anything — that I really wanted.
As I drifted off to sleep, it came to me: I want a tall dark man with a beard. Going with it, I allowed my mind to create an image of him: a country gentleman, in a Barbour coat and flat cap, standing in my kitchen, with his brown Labrador.
A few days later, having forgotten all about it, I was bored watching TV and decided to have a look through my dating apps.
I’m tall, 5ft 10in, so had specified that I was only interested in hearing from men of 6ft 2in or above.
Deciding to be less fussy, I rounded that down to 6ft 1in and, all of a sudden, details of this man appeared on my phone: Tall, dark and the proud owner of a Labrador.
He didn’t have a beard in his photo; however, incredibly, when we went on our first date, he did, having been challenged by his dad, at Christmas, to see who could grow the best facial hair.
Natalie (pictured) who received a copy of The Secret as a Christmas gift in 2016, said she conjured up her ideal man
Our first date was at the pub where I’d had my wedding reception 18 months earlier. It may seem odd, but it was the only one I knew that was dog-friendly — and, because my vision involved a Labrador, I wanted Raffles to come along, too.
Oliver was, honestly, everything I had hoped for, not just looks-wise, and we hit it off instantly, talking effortlessly for two hours.
I’d arranged to see him in the afternoon as it was my friend’s 30th birthday party that evening and he offered to drop me at the venue.
I’m told I walked into the party with a massive smile on my face telling friends: ‘I’ve found him!’ We sat on the steps outside and I showed them all his dating profile, saying: ‘Look, he’s perfect!’
There was definitely more to it than the way he looked: he was a proper grown up, self-sufficient, with a responsible job — someone who could take care of himself. And, like me, he wanted to settle down, get married and have a child.
It felt like a fairytale ending — and was a bit of a whirlwind, but when you know you’ve met ‘The One’ why hang around?
By the November, 11 months after our first date, we had bought a house together. Two days after that I discovered I was pregnant. We got married in April 2018 and our son was born in the August, 20 months after that first date.
Natalie revealed she also used the Law of Attraction to find the perfect home. Pictured: A scene from ‘The Secret: Dare to Dream’
We’ve recently moved from Hertfordshire to be closer to family in Salisbury and I used the Law of Attraction to find the perfect home, a four-bedroom detached house in a lovely village, next door to the perfect school. Both Oliver and I visualised a symmetrical Georgian-fronted house — we’d point them out whenever we drove past one — but we didn’t think we’d actually be able to afford a mortgage on one.
Then, last Christmas, my in-laws moved to a village close to my parents and this idyllic home, a minute’s walk from the school, came onto the market and it was within our price range.
When I tell people I visualised Oliver into my life, thanks to The Secret, they say: ‘Oh cool’, though they may well be thinking, ‘She’s dippy’, but I don’t really care.
I’ve always been a very practical, pragmatic person, not an ethereal type, but this worked for us.
As for Oliver, like me, he’d been married before and it didn’t work out, so I think he liked hearing that he was exactly what I had hoped he would be.
He’s not fully versed in the Law of Attraction, but he does buy into the idea that things happen for a reason — and is as delighted as I am with the life we’ve created together over the past four years.
I GAVE BIRTH TO MY LONGED-FOR SON
Julia Fearon, 37, is a business coach who lives in Consett, County Durham, with husband Bobby, 53, a driver, and their son Will, seven.
Julia Fearon, 37, (pictured) who lives in Consett, County Durham, had been trying for a baby for seven years, before deciding to visualise how she’d want her baby’s nursery to look
My husband and I had been trying for a baby for seven years and almost given up hope when a friend recommended I see a reflexologist specialising in infertility.
She turned out to be a big believer in the power of positivity and visualisation, which are both teachings of The Secret, so as well as working on my feet, she told methat instead of worrying I would never be a mum, I needed to start behaving as if I was already pregnant.
Her advice was to go home and visualise how I’d want my baby’s nursery to look, and what sort of clothes, pushchair and cot I would purchase, as if it was already a reality.
She was so convinced this was the answer to our ‘unexplained infertility’ issues (we weren’t entitled to IVF on the NHS because my husband already had a child with a previous partner) that, far fetched as it sounded, I allowed myself to be swept up in her enthusiasm.
On my second visit, I told her I was due to ovulate and she told me, confidently, that there would also be a new moon that night, a time when women are believed to be more fertile, so to have sex and I would fall pregnant.
Two weeks later, I did a pregnancy test (I had a bag full of them as, ever hopeful, I was always checking) and took a shower.
Rinsing off the shampoo, I glanced over and shrieked with delight when I saw those two lines that I’d waited years for.
Julia (pictured) was able to set up her own company as a business coach, after letting ‘the universe’ know she wants to spend more time with her son
Our son, Will, is now seven, but when he was a year old I read The Secret myself, eager to know more about it. I was working full-time as an accountant, back then, and feeling sad that I couldn’t spend more time with my son, who went to a childminder on weekdays.
I became convinced that if I let the universe know what I wanted, it would, once again, deliver.
Within two months of applying what I knew from reading The Secret, I set up my own company as a business coach, working fewer hours and from home, initially doing network marketing.
My preliminary earnings target was £10,000 a month, and within five months I had my first, of many, £20,000 months.
I use the Law of Attraction to bring in whatever money we need. As per the advice in The Secret, at different times I’ve written ‘pretend cheques’ to myself for £20,000, £46,000 and £55,000, which has then made its way into my life in payments from new clients.
I’ve been able to clear our credit card debts and, in 2014, raise the deposit for our townhouse overlooking a lovely park. And I have The Secret to thank for my son — the greatest gift imaginable.
I WAS PENNILESS, NOW I HAVE IT ALL
Hannah Murphy, 35, runs fitness firm Globefit and lives in Portsmouth with her husband Tom, 37, a project manager, and three children, aged 12, nine and four.
Hannah Murphy, 35, (pictured) who lives in Portsmouth, said thinking about her daughter growing up in poverty and without siblings made her depressed
Back in 2009, I was living in a flat with my baby. My relationship with her dad, my fiancé, had ended and now a letter arrived informing me that I’d been made redundant from my job as an air hostess.
I’d had quite a privileged upbringing and went to a private school, so I couldn’t bear the thought that my daughter was destined to grow up in relative poverty or without siblings.
I became depressed, but, not wanting to take medication, I began exploring other ways to improve my circumstances. That’s when I came across The Secret and the Law of Attraction. I convinced myself that I really was in charge of my own destiny and that our future could unfold in whatever way I decided it would.
You have to take action — these things don’t just happen by magic — but knowing that my goals were to have a successful business, a lovely home, more children (whom I could afford to send to private schools), I believe my brain helped me work towards them.
I created a ‘vision board’ — a canvas on which I pinned pictures and wrote about all the things I wanted in my life.
My first goal was to work as a beautician — which I’d trained to do years before — and have my own salon, so I found a photograph of how I’d like it to look and pinned that to my board.
Hannah (pictured) said within a year of creating a vision board, she had her own beauty business and soon began winning awards
Within a year, I did indeed have my own beauty business, and after two years I was making such a success of it that I’d won two beauty awards.
Fast forward to today and I have managed to create my perfect life. I have a husband, two businesses with a six-figure turnover, three children, all of whom are at private schools, and we live in a lovely five-bedroom house by the sea.
Others may doubt it, but I believe I manifested all of this into my life after reading The Secret.
One of my first steps was signing up to my pilot training in America in late 2009. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work for an airline but I liked the idea of being able to hire and fly a plane when I fancied.
Tom — the man who went on to become my husband — was also on the course. Although I hadn’t used The Secret to visualise the man of my dreams, he was handsome and responsible, with a good job. Within two years, we were married with a second child.
In 2013, I set up my Globefit business, offering classes, workshops, parties and holiday clubs in hula hooping, dance and sports.
We started out just covering Hampshire and now operate nationwide. I also run a second company providing business coaching, and bring the teachings of the Law of Attraction into my training sessions.
When clients seem unsure of their ability, I tell them how, thanks to The Secret, I went from benefits to business success.
I BEAT DEPRESSION TO LAUNCH A COMPANY
Stephanie Dunleavy, 32, runs jewellery and gift company Soul Analyse and lives in Brighton with husband and business partner Jasper, 35, and daughter Selena, three.
Stephanie Dunleavy, 32, (pictured) who lives in Brighton, revealed her husband encouraged her to read The Secret, after watching the film
For two years after my father died, when I was 23, I felt depressed. It felt as if I had no control over my life and that bad things ‘just happened’ to me.
Concerned, my husband, who had seen the film of The Secret, encouraged me to read the book. The idea that we all have at our disposal the tools to change our lives really struck a chord. I’d already failed my driving test five times, so before my sixth test, in keeping with Rhonda Byrne’s teachings, I kept repeating positive affirmations: ‘I can drive’ and ‘I am a good driver’. I passed.
This gave me the impetus to try its teachings in other areas of my life. Jasper was a convert, too, so we decided to set up a blog, sharing daily positive affirmations. It attracted 50,000 followers.
This became the launchpad for our business, which we set up in 2017, selling necklaces, bracelets, watches and rings, all bearing positive ‘I Am’ messages, such as ‘I Am Enough’ and ‘I Am Loved’. Our jewellery, which we design, acts as a daily reminder to think positively about the things you value and want more of in your life.
Initially, we got just one order a day. Three years down the line, we receive hundreds of orders a day and our company has turned over more than £1 million this year.
When we launched, we were living with my mother-in-law, boxing up orders in her living room. Now we run the business from a lovely detached home which we rent and are working towards buying our own place.
I was five months pregnant with our daughter when we set up Soul Analyse, so it’s been a busy few years. I have every faith we will have more children when we’re ready, and a beautiful rural barn conversion to raise them in.
We’ve come a long way since I was so low I struggled to get out of bed — but I don’t believe I could have done it without The Secret.
EXCLUSIVE: Rhonda Byrne reveals her key to happiness… ‘I had the roughest, toughest year. Everything that could go wrong, did. Then I discovered The Secret’
For a woman who has changed so many lives, surprisingly little is known about Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret. The book is everywhere — she, however, is not. ‘Ha,’ she laughs from her home in California. ‘I’ve always been quite reclusive, but what’s important is the message not the messenger. I stayed in the background to allow the sacred to shine.’
What we do know about the Australian TV producer turned spiritual seeker and teacher is that she is divorced, with two daughters: Skye, who is the senior editor on The Secret team, and Hayley.
Rhonda Byrne (pictured) who lives in California, discovered The Secret after being handed a copy of The Science Of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles
The story of how she discovered The Secret is the stuff of legend. ‘I had the roughest, toughest year. Everything that could go wrong, did.’ Her father had died and her mother was catatonic with grief. One night, Rhonda’s accountant rang to tell her that the production company she ran was $2 million over budget with their latest project, and Rhonda herself would be broke within 30 days.
‘As I put the phone down, it rang again. It was my mother, saying she couldn’t go on without my father.’ Rhonda went onto her balcony and sobbed. Her daughter Hayley appeared, assured her it would work out and handed her a book, The Science Of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles, which carries the message that gratitude can help you take control of your life.
‘As I read, I knew my life would never be the same. I told my accountant I was about to embark on a life-changing project which was going to sweep the world. The way he looked at me!’
Even now, Rhonda isn’t sure how she did it. ‘To this day, I cannot tell you where the money came from. I mortgaged my home to the hilt, I took out overdrafts and maxed every credit card I had, but that didn’t even touch the sides.’
Now comes The Greatest Secret, which Rhonda promises will further transform your life. For those who use The Secret to boost their bank account, be warned: this time, the secret is of a far more spiritual bent. Rhonda drew on wisdom from thinkers including New Age author Deepak Chopra and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle for her new book.
Pictured: ‘The Secret: Dare to Dream’ Film
‘To have a dark cloud hanging over you, not to know who you truly are, that is the greatest tragedy,’ she says. ‘This book is all about peeling away what you are not.’ She speaks of The Greatest Secret with the fervour of a religious convert: ‘While material things areglorious and fun and everyone should have what they want, they will never bring lasting happiness.
‘We’ve all experienced it. When we get that new car or meet the perfect partner, it brings happiness but it doesn’t last. The truth is happiness is who we actually are; it’s inside us.
‘But there are two elements that cover it: negative thoughts and negative feelings caused by those thoughts. In The Secret, we learned that our thoughts create equally, whether positive or negative, so it’s better to think about what you do want in terms of health, money, family and relationships.
‘Negative thoughts cause disease in our body; they are what harm us and make us suffer. The Greatest Secret will end all suffering because it shows you how to end negative thoughts and feelings.’
But what of famine, disease, tragedies — surely she’s not saying these are caused by negative thoughts? ‘There are many factors involved, but if we have negative feelings around something, we make it worse because our thoughts have the power to energise things.
‘If we let go of that resistance, then things have to change. If we let go of resistance and are filled with love, then we can counterbalance the negativity. But what we tend to do is give all our focus to something we don’t want and make it bigger.’ A global pandemic, for instance?
‘Exactly. But we can look at it another way. It has shown us that something can appear from nowhere and take us all down.
‘While on the surface that seems bad, it isn’t. The truth is there’s no safety and security in the material world and that makes us begin to look elsewhere.’
You may be sceptical, but with 30 million sales under her belt, she seems to be on to something.
The Greatest Secret by Rhonda Byrne (£16.99, Harper Collins) is out now
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