Home 🡆 The Bystander Effect Is The Reason You’re Not Manifesting

The Bystander Effect Is The Reason You’re Not Manifesting

crowded place depicting bystander effect.

In the bustling streets of your mind, where the luminous billboards of your aspirations light up the night, there lurks a silent, invisible force that might be keeping you from turning these dreams into reality. This force, known as the “bystander effect,” operates subconsciously, holding us back from manifesting the life we long for. It’s a psychological phenomenon that not only affects our actions in emergency situations, but also stagnates personal development and the application of the law of attraction.

Today, we’re peeling back the layers of this invisible barrier, showing you how it’s been secretly influencing your ability to manifest your desires.

Bystander Effect & The Law of Attraction

The bystander effect, a psychological concept unearthed by Darley and Latané in 1968, sheds light on our tendency to refrain from action in emergency situations when others are present. Now you may find it unintuitive at first, but the bystander effect isn’t just about emergencies; it has a way of influencing our behavior in various aspects of life, including our manifestation mindset. Let’s look at this diffusion of responsibility from a LOA perspective, and see why it’s so relevant for us.

Have you experienced this before, when there are more people around us, we feel less personally responsible for taking action? It’s like we assume someone else will step in, leading to a decreased likelihood of intervention, even in emergencies.

Our behavior in the presence of bystanders is heavily influenced by social norms and expectations. We tend to look at others for cues on how to react, and if everyone else seems unfazed, we’re more likely to follow the heard, even if we know action is needed.

What’s particularly fascinating is how ambiguity exacerbates the bystander effect. When situations are unclear or uncertain, individuals may hesitate to act, waiting for someone else to clarify the course of action.

Now, apply this to manifestation. The presence of others and the inherent ambiguity of the process can intensify the bystander effect, making it challenging to take decisive action towards our desires. It’s like we’re waiting for permission or clarity from external sources before moving forward.

Why It’s So Important to Eliminate The Bystander Effect

The thing is, when we’re caught up in the bystander effect mentality, we become hyper-aware of how others perceive us. We start worrying about judgment or criticism, which can seriously hold us back from pursuing our desires. Plus, there’s this weird sense of shared responsibility, like someone else should be doing something instead of us.

Do you know what robs a person off of his/her/their potential and pushes them into darkness and negativity? It is suspicion (or Sanshaya). This has been stated in the Yoga Sutra, Ramayan, and Bhagavad Gita, as well. Suspicion can be looked at from 2 angles:

  1. When a doubt arises in your mind, you assume the worst possibility until you find an evidence that clears the doubt. When you’re around people, you make up the worst possible self-image of yourself (and others), and react to oppose it. This is sanshaya.
  2. The second aspect is, when you’re not sure of anything. Primarily, being unsure whether doing something (taking certain action) will bring a specific result or outcome.

This quality is inherited through our company, or the people we surround ourselves with. It destroys families, end friendships, robs one of their potential and inherent competence. It’s the seed of poverty and public humiliation.

How to Tackle The Bystander Effect

Eliminating this quality will take more than just mindful meditation and courage. Courage can be a temporary solution, but it’s also a rebellious quality and can have negative implication in certain situations.

The Egret & Swan Perspective

In the Hindu lore, it is said that “devi kali” (the gross manifestation of creation) reside under “devi Lakshmi” (the manifestation of power/wealth/accumulation of energy). And “devi lakshmi” reside under “devi Saraswati” (the manifestation of knowledge, and divine wisdom).

If one wants the blessings of Saraswati devi or embody her qualities, one has to become like a swan, which is her ride. Let’s understand what’s so special about swans.


There’s a saying. If you mix milk and water in a pot and give it to a swan, the swan would drink all the milk and leave the water. This may not be a factual statement, so we should look at it as a metaphor. The milk is all the purity and good of the world and water is all that does not deserve your attention (negativity).

Pick the positive qualities of people and the world, and contemplate upon them. This way you’re praising the creation of the ultimate, which would also come under karma yoga. Now, let’s talk about how you can deceive yourself while trying to do this.


A couple of Egrets saw a saint feeding the swans, and devised a plan. Only if they could look like the swans, the saint would feed them too. So, they went on for a search, got their face done with lipsticks and kajol, came back to the saint.

The saint smiled and brought them some fresh milk. The egrets immediately started running their beaks through the milk. The first egret asked “Caught one?” The second to no avail, “Did you get all of them?”. The third one asks, “You’re getting fishes? I can’t even see through the water!”

The moral of the story is, egrets may surely look and act like swans, but they are inherently different. An egret not matter how beautiful, will look for fishes even in pure milk. They are a complete opposite of swans.

Practice, and try to become like a swan. Once you do become like a swan, you’ll not only be happier, but also have the divine knowledge, and perception. The bystander effect is not even a problem, because such concepts are (wo)man-created. It’s a cultural distortion that can be forgotten, and the world will not change for bad or good.

Key Takeaways

The bystander effect, noted by Darley and Latané in 1968, subtly impedes our manifestation journey, compelling us to hesitate in the presence of others. Overcoming this hurdle demands more than courage; it requires a shift in perception and a rejection of doubt.

Embrace the discerning qualities of the swan to overcome the bystander effect and make progress on your law of attraction journey.

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