I'll cut to the chase, the common thread is "learn to control your perceptions". Now I'll share the two things and then I'll expand on them.
Thing 1: A talk by Comic Book Author Grant Morrison at the Disnformation Convention in 2000 about the nature of the world and the power of magic.
Thing 2: The Last Psychiatrist's two part article on how movies have warped our perceptions (part 2 is a separate article) and how we have failed to look past the red and blue pills that they offered us.
Read all that? Good. I learned a lot of this from Eric years ago. The world cannot be wrestled into your idea of how it should be by force. You have to become part of the flow of the world first before you can be a rock to divert the river. And I didn't start that sentence out trying to be a Zen koan, it just happened. The world has momentum. It has a momentum that is measured in the lives of the billions of humans that inhabit it, and the unfathomable gajillions of life forms that spring from it. You are one of them. If you want the world to conform to your idea of reality you have to either use the sytem in place or you will be very unhappy.
The system, as it happens, is easy to use. You have to visualize it, then make it happen. Simple right? But every time I say this, someone says "I am visualizing myself rich, why aren't I rich?" Because you aren't visualizing yourself rich. You are visualizing yourself with lots of money. And it isn't real money, because all your experience with "lots of money" is from movies and TV. You don't know what it feels like to be rich so you can't visualize it properly.
Saying you want to swim across the English channel and then jumping into the water without knowing what it feels like to swim is recipe for failure. So you visualize having less debt first. Visualize not caring about money or how much things cost. This was my first step, and while I am not rich I have rarely ever had to worry about money. When I need it, I have it. If I need more, I get more. When I have enough I have enough. I know what that feels like, now, but I felt it very strongly before I was ever at this point.
The next step is to have a focus for your energy. Morrison in his essay talks about 'sigils' and his method will work by reducing your statement into an object which can be contained. It is symbolic and abstract, and it'll work. But if you (like me) find it a little silly then it won't work for you. Believing it'll work is the key to making it work. Try this instead, take a picture, find a photo, or draw a picture of what you want and put it on your mirror in the bathroom where you'll see it every morning and every night.
Focus on that picture every morning for a few seconds while you sit on the can. Imagine walking through the door of that house or driving that car. Imagine holding the hand of that beautiful girl or admiring that view from the beach. Whatever it is, imagine it as real. Then forget it and go about your day. If, during the day something works its way into your field of vision that reminds you of your focus or in some way conjures up that memory then drop everything else and pursue it.
At night when you see the picture, think back through the day and try to remember anything that made you think about it. Tell yourself that you will dream about it and if you have dreams about them write them down...even (or especially) if they make no sense.
Have you seen "The Secret"? Nope, neither did I. But I have it on good authority that this is EXACTLY how it works. Guess what, this isn't new. Okay back to my observations.
This is where the two things above come in. You have to be 1) prepared to accept that this will work. and 2) You have to be prepared to be a different person when you get what you want now. Crazy? Don't I know it. I made my list, did my focus thingy and got exactly what I wanted. And guess what, I'm not as happy about it as I thought I would be. I am not the person who wanted those things any more. I want different things now.
Back then I was in a dead-end job, lonely, unhealthy, and bored. I wanted a really good job, enough money, a woman and I didn't want to feel like crap all the time.
I got the better job, and it's boring. I have good friends but they live all over the world and it is a chore to hang with them. I have a beautiful wife whom I love dearly but she can be frustratingly static (as in the opposite of adaptive) at times. I don't feel like crap because I have permanently damaged my health and I have a handful of pills I have to take daily. See how this works?
I am still working on my new list. I've not had a lot of time to focus on it as there always seems to be other things distracting from my focusing on it. It is that momentum again. I need to get back into the flow. It seems I have settled lately.
Hopefully someone will read this and the light bulb will go on for them as it did for me back in 2000 when Eric showed me. I didn't believe him then, but as it began to happen, I believed. Thanks, Eric, I owe you more than I can ever repay.