The Harder You Try, The Worse It Gets | Law of Reversed Effort | Summary and Q&A

April 21, 2022
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The Harder You Try, The Worse It Gets | Law of Reversed Effort


The key to achieving goals and overcoming fears is to balance effort with non-action, as too much effort can push us further from our desired outcomes.

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Key Insights

  • 😺 The law of reversed effort shows that chasing something often causes it to move further away, while letting it be can bring it closer to us.
  • 😌 Putting in effort isn't always the key to success, as sometimes abstaining from action is necessary for achieving goals.
  • 😌 Wanting happiness can lead to a sense of lack, while accepting negative experiences can bring contentment and happiness.
  • 🔑 The law of reversed effort also applies to performance, achieving goals, and overcoming fears.
  • 😴 Trying too hard to sleep or force attraction often backfires, as relaxation and elusiveness are more attractive.
  • 😰 Hyper-intention and fixating on specific outcomes can generate anxiety and hinder performance.
  • 🌀 The flow state, where actions are fluent and effortless, can only be achieved by letting go of conscious effort and intellectualizing.
  • 🤝 Balancing conscious effort and relaxation is necessary for optimal performance and skill development.


Have you ever tried petting a cat, but every  time you come closer, the cat runs away and   keeps watching you from a distance? Then,  you walk towards the cat in a second attempt,   but it runs away again. When you approach the cat  a third time, it flees and disappears. However,   a few hours later, when you’ve focused your  attention on somethin... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why do our efforts sometimes push us further away from our desired outcomes?

The law of reversed effort suggests that too much work and effort can create resistance, making it harder for us to reach our goals. This can happen because we become attached to specific outcomes and fixate on them, generating anxiety and hindering our performance. By trying less and balancing effort with non-action, we can create the space for things to happen naturally and achieve better results.

Q: How can paradoxical intention help us overcome anxiety and performance issues?

Paradoxical intention is a technique that involves shifting our focus from avoiding specific outcomes to actually wanting them. By wishing for the outcomes we previously tried to prevent, we release the pressure and anxiety associated with wanting results. This can help us perform better in situations where excessive effort and fixating on outcomes hinder our performance.

Q: How does the flow state relate to optimal performance?

The flow state is a state of optimal performance where our actions are fluent and effortless. In this state, we're fully present and our activities happen naturally, without conscious effort or overthinking. Achieving the flow state requires relaxing the mind, getting out of our own way, and allowing our actions to emerge and happen automatically.

Q: What is the role of conscious effort in achieving goals?

Conscious effort is necessary for developing skills, learning, analyzing, and understanding. We need to put in the work and practice to improve. However, when it comes to performance and achieving goals, excessive conscious effort can hinder our progress. Balancing effort with non-action is crucial to allow our developed skills to emerge naturally and optimize our performance.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The law of reversed effort states that putting in too much work can actually hinder our progress and move us further from our goals.

  • Achieving goals requires a combination of effort and non-action, where we know when to act and when to let things happen naturally.

  • Trying too hard or fixating on specific outcomes can generate anxiety and hinder our performance, but applying paradoxical intention can help us release the pressure and achieve better results.

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