Manifesting vs Demonstrating

Unlock Your Success: Manifesting vs Demonstrating

I’m writing this because I’ve seen countless clients report that they know how to manifest extraordinary results but wish they knew how to do it predictably.

It sounds something like the following. I’ve taken some typical dilemmas and molded them into what follows. Let’s start with Darleen.

Darleen: Three days ago, I had a lunch appointment with a friend to discuss a potential job. Running late, I said, “The Universe will provide parking”  over and over. To my surprise, a spot was available right in front of the restaurant. I felt supported and was sure the Universe was listening to me.

But this morning, a similar situation occurred. Running late to a community project meeting, I did the same thing. I expected a parking spot, but finding one took ten minutes. I’m unsure why this happened. 

But that’s not the worst of it. I’ve been in a prosperity study group. One book we’ve just read says that if we have the right frame of mind, we’ll manifest just what we need the moment we need it. The Universe only wants us to be happy and prosperous. For anything to occur, we must believe it will and practice an affirmation like “I am rich and financially abundant” the moment we wake up. It’s suggested that we print that on at least ten pieces of paper so that our mind sees and believes it and can manifest it. I’ve been doing this for three months, and nothing has changed. What am I doing wrong?

 Does this sound at all familiar to you?

The truth is, Darleen is doing nothing “wrong.” She was taught that affirmation and belief led to manifestation, and she followed her instructions. The problem was that this strategy didn’t work.

What didn’t work about the above approach was that she wasn’t taking specific action to make things happen. Metaphysicians know that thought without action leads nowhere. 

More about Manifesting

The word “manifest” was initially used to describe something that you could see in a person’s demeanor: “His emotions were manifest in the way he spoke about missing Sally.”  

During the late 1800s, metaphysicians, influenced by  Hinduism, learned about the “Law of Attraction.”  They saw manifestation as bringing something tangible into life through attraction,  belief, and action. They called it New Thought.

Since then, some people interested in New Thought have taken away the action part and adopted the view that manifesting is making whatever you want to have or experience into a physical reality via your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. They included meditation, reciting affirmations, and keeping a gratitude journal. This approach can help you focus on what you want, but it isn’t directly related to taking visible action that brings you closer to your goals. 

Wallace Wattles, in this groundbreaking book, “The Science of Getting Rich,” put it this way: “Thought is the creative power or the impelling force which causes the creative power to act; Thinking in a Certain Way will bring riches to you, but you must not rely upon thought alone, paying no attention to personal action. That is the rock upon which many metaphysical thinkers meet shipwreck–the failure to connect thought with personal action.”

His description of personal action was more than writing affirmations 3,  6, and 9 times daily for 30-60 days.” He meant taking purposeful action that brought you closer to your goals. To put it in the phrase used by many metaphysical thinkers:

“Treat and move your feet!”

Goal attainment by positive thoughts paired with action toward a goal gives us a sense of personal agency and brings us closer to what we mean by “demonstration.”

While manifesting and demonstrating originally meant the same thing, since the early 1900s the two have come to mean differences in goal-directed activity.

More about Demonstrating

When you demonstrate something, you show what it is or how it works. 

For example: “To demonstrate how your new juicer works, you should have lots of kale, carrots, and beets on hand–and some brave friends to try your concoction.”  Vocabulary.com

As a verb, “demonstrate” means to provide evidence for, stand as proof of, and show by one’s behavior: “Her decision to stay with her ailing friend for a while profoundly demonstrated her love and concern for that person.”

You may be curious why I’ve focused so much on this topic. Over my 50-plus years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Master Certified Coach, I’ve seen countless people grow frustrated and disheartened when their efforts fall short. And some of the reason this happens is because of the language they’re using. For example, to “demonstrate” implies that the person is aware that their behavior is instrumental in bringing about their most precious goals. It is closely aligned with a psychological construct developed by psychologist Julian Rotter in the 1950s called  “Internal Locus of Control.”

According to Rotter, people with Internal Locus of Control (ILC) know they are the architects of their own experience of life. For instance, they might say: “If you want to earn an extra $2000/month in your coaching practice, do whatever you must do to make it happen. If you don’t know what to do, learn what to do. Then go and make it happen!”

On the other hand, people with an “External Locus of Control” experience that external forces influence them and the outcomes they get. For example, if they win a game, they might believe it happened because of luck. Or, if the Universe wishes it, they’ll get what they want. 

By now, you can see the difference between these two concepts.

Success isn’t magic; it’s about being clear about what you want and then taking action. There’s a definition of success that I’ve used for decades. I offer it here to you:

Success is doing what you said you would do consistently, with clarity, focus, ease, and grace.

  • Where clarity means being clear about what you truly want. What has meaning for you.
  • Focus is about training yourself to focus your energy on what’s important without getting distracted.
  • Ease is about taking small, sweet steps to avoid exhaustion.
  • Grace is about seeing the blessings already around you so you are grateful for just being alive.

May you see how powerful you already are, especially when you allow yourself to take action toward your goals and dreams.

Until next time,

1 Comment
  • Richard newport
    Posted at 04:16h, 20 September Reply

    Hi maria
    wonderful article again thank you!
    can you give some scenarios of taking action please?
    rich!

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