Like many wise principles, this one seems like a no-brainer. But when we think we’re fighting to just survive, we tend to repeat what we’ve done in the past. Think of me, holding onto that rudder for dear life, even while our boat was taking on water.
Struggling is a sign that you’re going in the wrong direction. During a seminar at a bank, I made the mistake of handing out finger puzzles—a braided straw tube about five inches long and about an inch in diameter—to everyone, including the bank’s president. I instructed my audience to put one finger from each hand into either end of the tube and see what happens when they try to pull their fingers apart.
They quickly discovered that the more they struggled to remove their fingers, the more the tube tightens its grip. I then said, “If you’re struggling in life, you’re going in the wrong direction. To free yourself, you have to go in the opposite direction—do what is counterintuitive, like facing down the ski slope to gain control over your skis. Stop struggling, push your fingers into the tube, it will loosen, and you’ll be free.
This is the law of reverse effort.” Following my instructions, everyone got free except the president. He was still struggling harder and harder, causing the tube to tighten its grip. He must have been trained, or brain-washed, to believe: “If you’re not succeeding, try harder and put in more time.”
My heretical advice is
“If you’re pushing on a door and it doesn’t open easily, it’s probably a pull-door. Stop pushing and struggling and it will pull open easily. Life has hinged the doors—and most seeming problems—so that they open easily.”
In what ways do you struggle unnecessarily and find that you are repeatedly frustrated? Yet you continue to struggle and stay stuck.
How will you let go of your struggle, change direction, and free yourself?