What you could be doing wrong in your manifestation journey

We speak with manifestation expert and bestselling author of ‘Manifest’, Roxie Nafousi, on the mistakes that are stopping you from living your dream life.

Harper's Bazaar India

It has been over six years since I read The Secret for the first time, and while my faith in the practice has yo-yo-ed (thanks to a few unfulfilled wishes, to say nothing of the ones that came true), I increasingly came to realise that it wasn’t manifestation itself but what I had learnt of it and how I was practising it. 

The ‘lucky girl syndrome’ is the latest in the manifestation trend that has been sweeping the globe. Call it that, or manifestation, positive thinking, law of attraction, mind over matter—the central idea remains that our thoughts are omnipotent and have the power to create our dream lives. It dates back to the Hindu scriptures, also Buddhism, with one of the first easily accessible accounts of it being Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, and so many more speak of their manifestation journey; and when Alia Bhatt married Ranbir Kapoor, so many talked about how she had manifested her dream partner. But what is the merit in the practice? There are plenty who talk about it as nothing more than a wash job that dilutes the importance of hard work. But since we are more on the believer bandwagon, we spoke with Roxie Nafousi, the author of Manifest, before her next book launch, about what it really means to manifest and what we may be doing wrong in the practice. 

Before Nafousi began her manifestation journey, she says she was in a bad shape in life—heavily into intoxicants and directionless. Years later, she is a leading life coach, an author of two bestselling books, and a third on the way as we speak. How her practice differs from others, while the core belief in our power to attract our dreams into reality remains the same, is that it talks of action, self love, and healing as integral to it. 

In her first book she illustrates in detail the process in seven steps: 


A post shared by Roxie Nafousi (@roxienafousi

  1. Be clear in your vision.
  2. Remove fear and doubt.
  3. Align your behaviour.
  4. Overcome tests from the universe.
  5. Embrace gratitude without caveats.
  6. Turn envy into inspiration.
  7. Trust in the universe.

Although, having read the book, I believe it is eight steps—building self love being the third, which Nafousi delves deep into. 

In the second, Nafousi answers questions that she received on the first, and talks about the many things that we may be doing wrong and can do to improve our practice. We speak with her about one big mistake that most of us make at each step. Yes, you can thank us later. 

Be clear in your vision
“I think the most common block that people have with this step is that they find it very hard to figure out what they want for themselves. Our vision boards are often clogged by dreams that our families, partners, teachers, and societies want for us. We can get so caught up in the expectations that people have of us that what we want is not authentic to us. So when you don’t manifest those things, you get disappointed, but the question is, did you really want it or do people around you want it? 

I ask people to be truly honest to themselves in this step. Manifestation is not about greed or material possession, but becoming the best version of yourself, which is why I tell people to focus on who they want to become, how they want to feel about themselves, what they would like their daily routine to be like, what they want the relationships in their daily lives to look like.”

Remove fear and doubt
“Inner work or commitment to your own healing journey is an ongoing process. People often want to skip over this step because they wonder why they need to revisit their past or past trauma. But I have learnt that we have all experienced trauma to varying extents and until we work to heal, we will never unlock the most abundant life we can live because the way we see the world now is influenced by our past. And you have to find ways to re-programme your subconscious beliefs and your past to see how worthy you really are. Of course, I know it is challenging, and often people give up on this step because they feel so unworthy that they think they will never change how they feel about themselves. 

I, myself, spent 28 years with severe self loathing. My childhood and teenage years were a dark and messy time, and I truly believe that if I can change that, everyone else can too.”

Align your behaviour

“People often forget that they have to do the work with manifestation. You have to take risks and push yourself to do uncomfortable things. You have to be proactive; you can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen. There is no shortcut here. You have to do the work and show up, you have to be brave. And in this step, it often means to push yourself to get out of your comfort zone, whatever that work may be for your manifestation.”

Overcome tests from the universe
“In this step, people often start doubting themselves and settling; they don’t overcome the test. They start to doubt their worth and believe it won’t happen for them so they just choose to ‘go with it’. But actually, you need to recognise if you are settling and tell yourself that you are worthy of more.

This step is also about understanding that life is full of ups and downs, and even if you learn to manifest, it doesn’t end. You will be faced with challenges and you have to see the value in them. Don’t let challenges let you crumble or sway you in your faith. See them as opportunities for growth. After every rock bottom, there is a levelling on the other side, there is abundance waiting.” 

Embracing gratitude without caveats

“We are all thinking of what we want next, but we forget to be grateful for what we have now. And often the question is ‘Wouldn’t gratitude for what I have now mean I won’t push for more or want more’. This is the manifesting sweet spot—knowing what you want and being entirely grateful for what you already have. You can absolutely do both. 

Manifestation is not just about attracting more but also about making the life you have right now feel better. And gratitude is an integral part of the process. The more abundance you feel you already have, the more abundance you attract.”

Turn envy into inspiration

“With social media, we always have the opportunity to be triggered by envy, and people often find it difficult to be happy for one another. This comes from a fear response that there isn’t enough to go around, which creates a toxic environment. I am trying to make people celebrate each other, be happy for one another, and support each other, because that comes from such an abundant mind set.”

Trust in the universe
“This one is really about surrender and patience. And people often go wrong in practicing patience. They want everything to happen fast. And this urgency has a desperate, low-vibration energy that will keep you blocked. This step is about saying ‘I don’t know when, but it will happen.’ It is trust in divine timing, surrendering, and allowing things to happen. That is when the magic happens. 

It allows you to live freely. You cannot force what you want into place. You have to be free with it, and fully trusting, not clinging to it. People find it hard to let go and trust that it will happen at the right time." 

Of course, the conversation went on for a while longer, questions that came up when reading both her books that needed answering, but somehow, it felt like they were all answered in the book, too, I just wasn’t looking closely enough. So, while you work on the seven steps and perfect the mistakes you are making with them, I recommend you pick up the book and read and reread them. You could be a book away from your dream life. 

Feature and Square Image: @roxienafousi / Instagram