The Law of Backwardness

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I’ve seen good faith efforts and well-intentioned desire crash to the floor in explosions of shredded glass. Was there a rhyme or reason?

There’s a law of science known as The Law of Reversed Effort. It reveals to us the fact that life works in contradictions.

  • Try and stay on the surface of the water and you quickly sink.
  • Tell a person to not think about a pink elephant, and she can’t stop thinking about it.
  • The more you try to fall asleep, the more you can’t.
  • The harder you try to do something, the more difficult it becomes.

Here’s an example of the law of reversed effort from my own personal highlight reel. It serves as a rather effective “lesson learned” in my working life.

Not too long ago, I decided I would make a commitment to double my outreach efforts through the help of a virtual assistant. I knew there were risks, and I did a fair amount of research to find someone I trusted. I built a plan, designed compelling copy, and launched my campaign. My mission was to promote my new book across the globe!

How deliciously proud I was at the moment right before I put the idea into motion.  I remember feeling as if I had uncovered special powers that would allow me to tap into some immense secret. I couldn’t wait to reap the rewards, but it would be only moments before I realized I had made a monumental mistake. My desire for more had led me down a path in direct conflict with the messaging I had been sharing for well over two years. I was exposed, rather quickly, with a laundry list of scathing criticism.  I tried to make sense of what happened when it dawned on me that I had sacrificed my unique connection and lost my grip. The genuineness with which I initially forged relationships suddenly took on a flavor of desperation and selfishness.

Stay patient as you long to grow, and be honest with yourself. Keep the integrity of your message and the experiences you provide. Those who are open to listening will know the difference.



  1. Kathy Murphy  July 10, 2012

    Thanks David. It’s so easy to forget what we know and what we want. We get seduced by the “doing more” trap and forget that the organic way is always best. You have always been a tremendous example of living with integrity. And I thank you for sharing the ups and the downs.

  2. David  July 14, 2012

    I find I have to remind myself from time to time abut the focus for my business. Thanks for the kind words Kathy! The feeling is mutual!

  3. Dr laura Dessauer  July 24, 2012

    Thanks for sharing this David. There is an immense learning process when we are willing to connect with our authentic self and shine that in our business. All of us who have been in business for a while can relate with the remarkable learning opportunities that come from growing and expanding ourselves in the public eye. Sometimes we can grow with grace and other times we just plain miss the mark… oh what wonderful learning along the journey! Thanks for keeping it real 🙂

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