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The Adjustment Bureau or the Law of Distraction

How Not to Live Your Life, Apparently

Much has been written about positive thinking and The Secret's Law of Attraction. Similar concepts which, apparently if used correctly, can 'get you everything you want.' Far be it for me to play the sceptic, but is it really that simple? Or, as this film's title implies, are other forces at work, trying desperately to keep us on that pre-determined straight and narrow?

You're possibly familiar with The Adjustment Bureau’s story-line. A pending US politician (played by Matt Damon) falls for the girl of his dreams (Emily Blunt) and sets out to move heaven and earth to keep her. Unfortunately for them both, a band of mysterious gents have other ideas.

Just when the affairs of the heart seem to be going relatively smoothly, and hold the career in politics, along come these guys and hurl more than a few spanners into the works.

It brings to the fore an interesting concept: are we truly the architects of our own destiny, or are we being manipulated to follow a pre-set plan? And perish the thought about a deviation.

Are we programmed literally to follow our dreams, or do we bend the route ever so slightly? Certainly if you base your own life's journey on that of the film's main character, no amount of advice, warnings or mind trickery from The Bureau, seems to make any difference. It's potentially a very uplifting and heart-warming scenario to witness.

Despite the initial ‘why me?’, a potent mix of desperation, determination, guts and sheer bloody-mindedness become his only weapons as he strives to keep his life firmly on course. Not to mention that of his lady love.

Now, okay. Here’s a huge bucket load of reality. I appreciate these scenarios are pure Hollywood and it's all fictional, but it does make you stop and think. I'm sure there have been cases in your own life where you've set out to do something totally out of your comfort zone. Just at the last minute, alarm bells ring, and you’ve changed direction. Maybe scrapped the whole idea.

Or you've acted on a hunch. Completely out of the blue. We've all been there and done it at some point.

But was it a hunch or were there other forces at work?

Agreed, at first hand, it sounds like pseudo-science and mumbo-jumbo, but I am sure there’s more to it than that.

Entrepreneurs and visionaries the world over have proved time and time again that ‘having a dream’ is all it takes to start seeing plans become a reality. Have they ever witnessed an intrusion of strange little men hell bent on scuppering their ideas? I seriously doubt it.

Would Einstein, Shakespeare, Churchill and the like have risen to such prominence if members of The Bureau had intervened? (And, yes, I have watched The Secret!) Once again, I lean towards the negative.

Strip away the scepticism, cynicism and any other ‘ism’ that comes to mind, and we are all free spirits – at least on the surface – and thank God we are. Personally, I would hate the idea of someone else setting out to pre-plan my destiny, based on the diagrams in a book. No matter how stringent.

No, I’m quite happy to lead my own life, despite what The Bureau might think. Make my own mistakes and own up to them.

And, despite what the film implies about not crossing lines and sticking to the plan, I’m going to keep going in the same direction, and try not to pay too much attention to any mysterious guys with hats, carrying little black books.