It’s the increasingly popular idea that we can ‘cosmically attract’ success to ourselves.
But those who believe in the practice of ‘manifesting’ are more at risk of bankruptcy, a study suggests.
Researchers also found they were more likely to be drawn to risky investments and to believe they could achieve an unlikely level of success more quickly.
‘In our studies we defined manifestation as the belief that if you send out your desires to the universe through positive thoughts, visualisation, or acting as if goals have already come true – like writing a pretend cheque to yourself – the universe will deliver what you desire,’ said study author Lucas Dixon from the University of Queensland, Australia.
‘Manifesters seem to be overly optimistic, believing they are more likely to be successful in the future, in shorter timeframes, meaning they may overestimate the odds of success.
It’s the increasingly popular idea that we can ‘cosmically attract’ success to ourselves. But those who believe in the practice of ‘manifesting’ are more at risk of bankruptcy, a study suggests (stock image)
‘Focusing on positive aspects of one’s life, as manifesters tend to do, helps people feel good and to be more resilient. ‘However, it may lead to downplaying negative but important signs of business fragility, e.g. mounting debt.’
Believers are ‘more likely to feel they have control over fairly uncontrollable aspects of their life – whether they get rich quick or become famous’, he added.
‘In business, this could lead to an opportunity cost, where time is spent focusing on more uncontrollable long-term goals rather than controllable short-term goals in their business.
‘Or perhaps focusing on more symbolic actions – e.g. visualising success – rather than instrumental actions e.g. managing finances, attaining new customers etc.’
For the study, the researchers measured the manifestation beliefs of 375 people. They were asked to rate on a seven-point scale how much they agreed with statements such as ‘I attract success into my life with the help of the universe or a higher power’; ‘my soul, spirit, or higher self helps me attract success’; and ‘the universe or a higher power sends me people and events to aid my success’.
Their answers were then analysed along with their finances.
‘For every one point people scored higher on the manifestation scale, they were about 40% more likely to have experienced bankruptcy and about 30% likely to have investments in cryptocurrency, though not more likely to have invested in stocks,’ said Mr Dixon.
People who believe in manifesting are more likely to be drawn to risky investments and to believe they could achieve an unlikely level of success more quickly (stock image)
‘Given the value of crypto has a history of having massive gains over short time-frames, we imagine that this finding is related to the fact that manifesters have a stronger belief in getting rich quickly.’
Mr Dixon said he was surprised by some of the findings, which are published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
‘I think we expected to see over-optimism, given this seems to be part of the belief system,’ he said.
‘But some of the less obvious results, like bankruptcy and belief in getting rich quick, were surprising.
‘While it is possible that higher manifestation belief leads to these outcomes, another possibility is that people develop stronger belief in manifestation after they have had experiences with get-rich-quick schemes or having been bankrupt.
‘This is something we yet don’t know.’
Mr Dixon said he was also amazed by how widespread the belief in manifestation seems to be. One in three of those he surveyed had some degree of belief.
‘This may be due to the ongoing popularity of books like The Secret and Think and Grow Rich, but also the rise of social media influencers,’ he said.
‘As of today, videos with the hashtag ‘manifestation’ have been viewed 42.8 billion times on TikTok.’
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