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Law of reversed effort

Development | law of reversed effort

“The harder we try with the ‘conscious will’ to do something, the less we shall succeed.” ~ Aldous Huxley

This idea runs counter to logic, but not counter to intuition. It is a counter-intuitive logic that the more we strive, try and effort, the further it takes us in the opposite direction from what we want. For example, the more we try to de-stress, the more stressed we often feel. Ever “tried” to relax? It is near impossible to relax while efforting to do so. What about a great musician? Of course, skills are required, but the best music flows effortlessly. Too much efforting to be a musical great usually creates a self-conscious and non-relaxed musician.

Here’s how individuals of each type can get in their own way as examples of Huxley’s law of reversed effort:

Effort so hard to make everything perfect that they put enormous pressure on themselves to be perfect and to notice mistakes so that the perfection that is already present eludes them.

Effort so hard to be loveable that others experience this as neediness – the need to be loved – and turn away from this implicit pressure and expectation.

Effort so hard to gain love through approval for what they do that they can’t understand what it would be like to be loved simply for who they are.

Effort so hard to be connected deeply with other people that others shy away from this intensity and sense of expectancy.

Effort so hard to be autonomous, independent and not energetically depleted that they become depleted by way of relying solely on their own resources.

Effort so hard to reduce doubt and find certainty that they continuously doubt everything as if, at the end, they will somehow doubt no more.

Effort so hard to be whole and complete that they continuously search for new gratification as if that will make them whole.

Effort so hard to be strong that they never learn to be truly strong in a completely full, real and deeply receptive way.

Effort so hard to create harmonic, low tension environments in which everyone is heard that they create tension in themselves for not accessing and speaking their own voice.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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