Why Go Forward When You Can Go Backwards? | The Backwards Law

September 8, 2022

Why Go Forward When You Can Go Backwards? | The Backwards Law

“When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float’ and that insecurity is the result of trying to be secure.” — Alan Watts

For those of you who know how to swim, the first time you tried, desperately, you probably couldn’t get yourself to float in water. In fact, the harder you try to make yourself float, the more you are likely to sink. It is only when you surrender yourself to physics and learn to relax that you learn how to float.

We often have this mindset that if we want something, we have to work harder to get it. Want more money? Work two to three jobs (at the expense of your sleep). Want to be happier? Then do a lot of things that will be fun and make me happy (and spend more money on those things). Want to feel more loved? We do borderline stupid things just to be liked (at the expense of self-love and self-respect).

We go after so many things, thinking that if we try a little harder, we will be able to achieve them, but often, the reverse is true. The more jobs we work, the less money we have because we spend it on hospital bills, or we get stressed at work and go on alcohol binges on weekends. Or we stress eat or find ourselves stress-shopping.

The more we chase happiness, the emptier we feel at the end of the day, when we are alone at home and the parties and revelries and daring activities are done. The more we change ourselves in order to feel loved, the more frustrated and unloved we feel.

It is similar to control. The more we strive to gain control, the less in control we feel. You’ll notice it when you try to plan every minute of your day—once life gets in the way of your perfectly laid-out plans, you feel disoriented, like you’ve lost control of everything else in your day (sometimes, even your life). We get so scared of uncertainty because we chase after security. The more we want things to be certain to feel secure, the more insecure we start to feel.

The backward law, or the law of reversed effort, is teaching us to pause. To rest. To not try (too hard).

We entrepreneurs are bad at pausing to take care of ourselves. We are in charge of too much, and if something bad happens, it is our responsibility to fix it, or else the people working for us might lose their jobs if we can no longer pay for them because the business failed.

Or so we think.

A lot of the problems that seem like we need to be on top of them will resolve themselves if we let them be. Some are just small hiccups and bumps that will go away the next day, others we can trust our team to deal with.

We are really only needed for a small percentage of the problems that crop up in our business (unless you are a solopreneur, doing everything on your own: then maybe it is time you thought of getting help from someone else).

The lesson I want to share with you today is something that Mark Manson mentions in his blog, and it is very beautifully written by him: “This skill—the ability to let go of control when one wants it most—is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. And not just for SEAL training. For life.

When we learn to let go and stop obsessing about having control over every facet of our lives, we can start being fully present at the moment. We get more time to focus on the things that are right in front of us, our quality time with our loved ones improves, and our bodies and minds feel more rested and focused.

And when we start living fully in the present, we can start working more on developing ourselves and focusing on making sure that the life we live is directed down the right path towards our goals.

Take time to pause, and learn to let go. Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.