Surrendering to the Law of Reversed Effort

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” ~ Mark Manson

Here’s a quirky little perceptual feedback loop that will turn your brain into a proper pretzel. Coined by psychologist Émile Coué, the law of reversed effort exists because our conscious mind and our unconscious mind are often in conflict, and the unconscious mind wins. It’s what Alan Watts referred to as the Backwards Law.

According to the law of reversed effort, when desire and imagination are in conflict, the imagination always wins. The unconscious mind is always more powerful than the will. Why is this?

Because our unconscious mind has only one agenda: self-preservation. It’s always going to create fear and anxiety as buffers to preserve the system. It’s an overriding principle that backfires quite often.

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Gary Z McGee
Gary Z McGee
Gary 'Z' McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.
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