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How Thoughts Become Things (A Skeptic's Guide)

“Well, just look at that, Charlotte. You’re manifesting!”

With three packages in hand, I half-smiled at my neighbor, Erica, before I said my good-bye

in the courtyard of our buttercream-colored apartment complex in in the Slums of Beverly Hills.

As soon as I was out onto the street, I cringed.


It was the summer of 2018, and, somewhat unemployed, I was teaching myself the in’s and out’s of e-commerce. Watching several hours of YouTube a day, I fell under the spell of Gary Vee, and I wanted so badly to achieve a variation of his 2017 Flip Challenge (which was to find, flip, and sell $20,170.00 worth of goods as a means of creating start-up capital for solopreneurship).

I was good at it, too.

I taught myself how to research, photograph, list, sell, package, and mail hundreds of items. More importantly, I was teaching myself sales, negotiation, customer service, logistics, supply and demand, and the value of of a brand. Doing this gave me a certain entrepreneurial fearlessness that changed me forever and made me realize: if I mastered this skill, I would never have to work a "real" job again (not that there's anything wrong with that); it's just that since "real" jobs may not have the stability that they once had, I wanted to be, in a sense, unfireable because I'd always know how to create my own income.

Anyway, selling everything in sight on Ebay or on Facebook Marketplace, I made several weekly trips to the post office. As I ambled along Doheny that afternoon, I mulled over her comment.

“Manifesting,” I thought, slightly insulted, "bah humbug! I created these results myself through work! And not just any type of work...hard work! Because work should be HARD!"

I also thought, "Well, Erica, if I'm so good at manifesting, then how come I can't manifest a date with Hot Neighbor!?"

I tucked away manifesting as some woo-woo, only-in-Southern-California concept for several years.

That is, until I took up life coaching.

So, what is manifesting?

Well, according to this interview with thought leader Gabby Bernstein, "Manifesting is acquiring the experience of what it is that you want to feel, and being, and living, and believing in that experience and then allowing that experience to come into form." It's kind of like training your brain into thinking something is real as a way for it to actually make it real. For instance, if you've ever heard the adage, "dress for the job you want, not the job you have," that's a form of manifesting; you're creating the conditions internally for that change to occur; you're also signifying to the outside world that you're changing.

Magical thinking is thinking of something and believing it will pop out of nowhere because you thought of it; as you can't control the outcomes with magical thinking, it's closer to superstition. For instance, if I dress for the job I want (not the job I have) and expect someone to approach me with a job offer out of the blue, that's magical thinking.

See the difference?

What changed the game for me

Last year, I discovered Brooke Castillo's Model, which stems more from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy than from visualization tactics.

It goes like this:

In The Model, all circumstances are objective; that is, say, they must be agreed-upon by everyone in a court of law (i.e., "girl says words" is objective; "girl is sad" is subjective because everyone won't necessarily agree).

All circumstances are neutral UNTIL we have a thought about them. The thought (positive, negative, or neutral) will give rise to a feeling which will give rise to an action, reaction, or inaction. That action will produce a result.

What does this have to do with manifesting? Well, your thoughts will show up in your results.

Let's go back to the Ebay example.

C: Making $20,1700.00 on Ebay

T: Hitting this goal is easy

F: Determined

A: Keep 100-125 listings active for several months

R: Increased likelihood of sales target

Note how a positive thought shows up in a positive result. Despite my resistance, Erica was right: I was manifesting.

Let's look at a negative thought.

C: Making $20,1700.00 on Ebay

T: Hitting this goal is impossible

F: Defeated

A: Fall behind on listings, watch Netflix instead

R: Decreased likelihood of sales target.

A negative thought shows up in a negative result.

I can't control if people buy or how much they buy (that would be magical thinking), but I can control the likelihood of my results with with my thoughts, feelings, and actions (that would be manifesting).

So what does this mean for you, dear reader?

If you look around your life, today's results were borne of yesterday's thoughts and actions.

Let me put it another way: everything that is front of you was once a thought held by someone else (maybe even you).

Whether you believe in manifesting or not, it doesn't matter: you're creating new results every day because of your thinking, feelings, and actions.

So, if we know that, the question becomes, what new thoughts and feelings do you want to have today that, through action, will create newer and better results tomorrow?

Life change really is that simple (and, to a certain extent, that hard).

That's why it's good to have a coach, someone who lives this stuff and who can help you get unbelievable results. If that sounds like you, hit me up here!

Oh, and as a coda to the above narrative, I sadly didn't hit that $20,170.00 goal (I let my Dad's death put a damper on my e-commerce activities).

Hot Neighbor also never asked me out ('cause that would be magical thinking).

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