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  • Sugimoto Shoujin

The Backwards Law

Have you ever found it hard to sleep at night? The harder you try to fall asleep, the more active your mind is and the more frustrated you become? Maybe this concept can be used in our day-to-day lives in achieving our goals.

The Backwards Law proposes that the more we want something, the more we will get the opposite. It is known that in order to achieve something, setting a goal and an effective framework to achieve your goals is important. Putting in effort to sharpen your knowledge and skills is important in anything that you want to be good in.

However, when is too much truly too much. Is obsession really healthy? Does wanting something serve us, or does it destroy us? We will unpack it as we go on.

The desire for something directly means that we perceive there to be a lack of what we want. Be it wealth, fame, love or happiness, we only start wanting something when there is a gap between where we think we are, and where we want to be. The feeling of lack drives many of us to get out of bed every morning, to earn more money and acquire more of what we desire.

But this means that the more we want something, the bigger the gap between where we are and our expectations. This perceived gap can be hurtful, stressful and demoralising. We see many people burning out from work, when they no longer feel that they have the energy and passion to keep pursuing something.

Larger Gap = More Dissatisfaction = Bad Mood

Maybe it is counterintuitive to want something really bad. It puts us in a state of despair and instability. It prevents us from being level-headed and consistent in our work and daily life. We need to have a healthy mind and a positive attitude to be effective people. So how do we manage this?

To know what you want, deep down

Many of us have ideals, but they are rarely internalised. Most of us don’t know why we want the things we want. Many people chase society ideals, such as to become a successful doctor. Some people say that it is a “feeling”. But we need to know what we want deep in our soul and in our unconscious mind. It rarely touches your soul by reminding our conscious mind that we must to be a scientist when deep down you know that you want to be a musician. And it shows in your work ethic and emotional state. With honest self-reflection, discovery and adventure and hardwork, one can find out many things to be passionate about.

To live earnestly

When you put effort into your work and live consciously, you make progress. When you take responsibility over aspects of your life, you feel more effective. Psychologist Alfred Adler suggested the idea of living one’s life as a series of moments. This means to take each day as a new experience and live each moment (be it work or leisure) with your heart. Many of us treat life like a ladder or journey. We see the ups and downs and we make useless judgements about our own progress. When we live each day earnestly, we forget about the progress, because we unconsciously learn, grow and enjoy each day, be it a good or a day of many learning opportunities.

“The Man Climbing the Mountain”

We can be working hard and putting our life on the line for something. But when we work so much, we can forget how much we are learning and all the strengths that we have. Imagine a man climbing a mountain. He will not be able to summit it if he has his eyes at the peak always. He needs to watch his footing, evaluate the resources such as rope she has to keep going, and monitor his health. He has to be conscious at each and every moment and follow the right path.

If desperation leads to him looking at the summit, the further it will seem, the scarier it will be for him, and the more he will focus on the pain at his fingertips when he realises how long more he has. When his energy and resources are directed to the wrong places, the less effective he will find himself in actually climbing the mountain.

Smaller Goals and Effort

To achieve anything worthwhile in life, effort, time and commitment are needed. We need to believe in ourselves to see it through. Not having our eyes on the prize does not mean that you do not work hard nor does it mean that you forget about your goals. Reflect and live earnestly, put in the effort and slowly inch in the direction of what you truly want, and before you know it, chances are that you will realise that you are much closer to your goal!

All in all, keep your desires in moderation, accept your current situation with a smile, find out what you truly want and live your life with intention.

Thank you for reading!

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