Making the Law Of Reverse Effort Work For You

Everyone seems to value working hard, and we rather emphasize it in our world today, right?

“Work hard and you will succeed.”
“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
“Work harder today than you did yesterday.”

The message is this: The path to success always comes one way, and that is through hard work. There is nothing particularly wrong with hard work, but I ask you: does hard work itself always produce success?

Consider this: how many people do you know that work REALLY HARD, and still are NOT successful?

What are they doing? Are they not trying or working hard enough? Or is the reverse true: are they trying too hard?

Most people would shake their heads, declaring that hard workers who struggle are working harder but not smarter. This may be the case in some instances, but a strong case can be made for the latter – they are in reality working too hard.

They do not know how to apply “The Law of Reverse Effort,” which basically states this:

The harder that we work at something, the less effective we are. Alan Watts described this phenomenon by saying “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone”.

Confusing? Perhaps it is at first, but it’s not as complicated as it seems.

The idea is that the conscious mind and the subconscious mind are frequently in conflict with what they seek to do. When they are at odds, the unconscious mind will always win over the subconscious. The unconscious mind is our protector, so it’s rarely rational – and yet it ultimately drives our desires.

For instance, this law can be seen in simple situations like this: You’re taking a test and your mind goes blank under stress and pressure. No matter how much you try to will yourself to remember the answers, you simply cannot.

What is the answer? You walk away, do nothing for a while, and all of the information resurfaces. You knew it all along – the answers were in there – you just had to step away from the task at hand for all of the information to return.

What was the solution? Do nothing.

Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich,” is a great example of this law and how working “harder” doesn’t create more success. He titled his book, “Think and Grow Rich.” Notice he did not say “Work Yourself To Death And Grow Rich” –  he said Think And Grow Rich.

Rather than working hard, he emphasized a balance between working on the right things and taking plenty of brain breaks. The breaks are the key to help you keep focus on the right things.

In other words, work on the things that directly bring income into your business. But in addition, you need to take regular and scheduled breaks – to let the muddy waters clear.

In your scheduled breaks, journaling, meditation and scripting go a long way toward helping to enhance your success – because you are giving your brain a break. When you step back from the proper focused work and do nothing for a while, the universe can do some of the heavy lifting for your work because you’ve put your effort into the right things.

So I ask you: Are you sabotaging yourself? In your business or sales, are you always working – and seemingly getting nowhere?

Perhaps it’s time to stop. Let the muddy waters clear, and take some time out to think. Refocus your efforts – do nothing for a while. Sometimes, counterintuitive though it may seem, that is the key toward increased effectiveness, productivity, and sales.

  • Ruth Petermann says:

    This is amazingly true! Recently, a colleague and I took on the challenge to do the MS150 (biking 150 miles in two days). With neither of us bikers and only three weeks to train, both of our businesses were put on the back burner. Not only did we get phenomenal support for our challenge and ride, but both of our businesses did well during that time. She booked new clients from unexpected places (even at the ride) and her staff and family stepped up and took on more responsibilities. My sales for those three weeks were great even though I had a minimum of sales calls.
    Definitely pays to take a step back once in awhile!

  • Julie Foster says:

    Thank you so much, Ursula; such a pragmatic article, so well put.

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