The Law of Inverse Effort

If you think, "I want such and such a thing to happen." and your inner mind says, "You want this to happen, but it won't." not only will you not get your wish, you'll get the opposite of what you want.

To illustrate the point, Coue used a story told by the great French scientist Pascal: Take a plank of wood thirty feet long and half a foot wide, put it on the ground and ask people to walk its length. Most people would not have any trouble. Take the same plank, suspend it between two ten-story buildings, and ask people to do the same thing. Chances are, no matter how much of a conscious effort they make, most people would fall, or be too afraid to try.

The same applies to people suffering from insomnia, for example. The thought: "I'm going to have trouble falling asleep..." inevitably crosses their mind as soon as they get into bed. The more of an effort they make - the harder they try to fall asleep - the more agitated they become. In fact, it is only when they stop wanting to fall asleep that they are able to do so.

Say there's a word on the tip of your tongue - no matter how much of an effort you make, you can't recall what it is. But if you say something like, "It'll come to me." and then stop trying to remember, you'll probably have a sudden flash a few minutes later and remember the word.

Think about what happens if you say, "I'm going to give it a try." The word 'try' implies a possibility of failure. A suggestion formulated in this way will have a negative effect because it is accompanied by doubt, and it is the aspect of doubt that your subconscious mind will focus on. Result? The opposite of what you want to happen will happen.

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