The Willpower to Beat the Backwards Law

If you work hard towards a goal, you shall get it. The willpower helps you do so.

Likewise the more you want to forget someone and work hard to achieve this goal logically you think you shall forget him. However, wait as this is contradicting the Law of Backwards. The harder you work to achieve a goal the more distant it gets. What you want to forget persists and you get far from forgetting.

The backwards law proposes that the more we pursue something, the more we achieve the opposite of what we truly want and the more disappointed we feel.

You want to remove the cloudiness of doubt the more doubtful you get. You fortify the doubt instead of removing it.

You are fearful of dogs. The harder you try not to be the more fearful you get.

Alternatively, want to be the top storyteller and you try hard to do so. You fail and get the opposite result.

One reason for this I believe is the feeling of inferiority complex. You know you are not the best. Starting with this feeling shall hold you back. This negative feeling may eat away your efforts.

Negative self-talk leads to negative feelings and these, in turn, lead to the opposite actions.

Does this mean never to try? Will it rain gold on you if you stay lazy and do nothing about your goal? This is a call for us not to work and be lazy as much as we can. How can we compromise the willpower and the Law of Backwards?

It is by living the now with no expectations. Just enjoy the now. Immerse in what you are doing. Believe in yourself. You start with positive feelings and these lead to positive outcomes.

This is one reason I find benchmarking a bad idea. Benchmarking may lead to an inferiority complex. With this negative feeling, the gaps with the competitors shall only get wider. You focus the light on the shortcomings. Therefore, this is what you shall see.

There is a huge difference between starting with an attitude of I am behind then I know I can.

The willpower needs a healthy mindset to direct it in the right direction.

What is your say?


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. I have a story to tell you Cyndi Wilkins. Your comment reflects 100% my feelings while writing this post.

    I said in replies to some comments here that we tend to restrict ourselves into small pots with limited ventilation. This puts us in situations where we rlimit ourgrowth. You said this in a great way “If we are able to release ourselves from our own limiting expectations and the expectations of others, we disentangle ourselves from the mindset of ‘not being good enough.’

    We limit our growth for the reason that you expressed too so well by allowing negative thoughts to creep in our minds and further limit our growth. To the contrary, they limit our growth.

    You seeI am just telling the story that you told me. Who is then the better storyteller?

    I greatly appreciate your kind words.

  2. In general, we humans have a tendency to believe that anything worthwhile requires great sacrifice in an unrelenting pursuit for success at the highest level.

    Although it is true the requirements for those who wish to ‘reach for the stars’ are going to be more stringent, it does not necessarily mean the results are going to be any more blissful than those who choose a more ‘ordinary’ existence.

    If we are feeling stress and strain over a situation, allowing doubt and negativity to creep into our thoughts, it is because we are attached to outcomes.

    If we are able to release ourselves from our own limiting expectations and the expectations of others, we disentangle ourselves from the mindset of ‘not being good enough.’

    You are ‘good enough’ in all you do! Even the lazy one is good at being lazy! 😅

  3. The post questions the appranet contradiction between willpower and The Backwards Law.
    Willpower says you achieve what tou desire and if you work hard for it.
    The backwards law says the opposite. The harder you try, the more distantyour goal shall be.

    How to solve this controversial paradox is suggested in the post

    • Ali, as always, I love your thought-provoking posts! When reading this I immediately felt something we say in our home, “Same action, different core” which means an action can look the same on the outside and be motivated by different energies/inspirations on the inside. When we pursue a ‘goal’ with our (ego, small-self, limited ‘Knowing) willpower, we can ask, “Is this goal motivate by my own fears, insecurity, desire to prove my worthiness to others OR is it motivate by a deep soul ‘knowing’ that is in alignment with my purpose?” I personally feel when our desires and goals are motivated by fear and subconscious beliefs of inferiority, worthiness, or lack, those energies move through our every action out into the world and sympathetically resonate with those whom we interact, including ourselves. It’s a loop, a self-fulfilling prophecy manifesting our feelings of lack – hence the goal post continues to move. Twisted around the fears (at it’s core – the fear of survival) is often a lack of Trust and feelings we are completely responsible for our own survival, which makes it very difficult to slow down and stop ‘Doing’ – Hence, a personal Life Lesson learned “When I’m Caught in Doing, I’m Resisting Being”. As I slow down, listen, and trust, I fall into my Being-ness and feelings of Oneness expand, feelings my mind cannot comprehend because it needs to separate in order to define. Within this Being-ness, (calm waters) a sense of peace, contentment, and compassionate acceptance of my human-ness (fullness of who I AM) emerge from the depths within me. From this space, it is easy to trust and listen for the next step to take – the next step to take toward my soul’s desired expression – not my limited-self goal – but my ‘goal’, purpose, and reason for Being. “Same Action, Different Core” makes all the difference in how we experience this gift of life 😉

    • Dear Amy,

      Amazing comment and it basically “penetrated” my heart Amy Camie, CCM. I endorse your splendid comment in full.

      You mentioned purpose and this is exactly the word that I used in one of my replies to preceding comments on LinkedIn.

      If the action is based on a narrow purpose then we place ourselves in a narrow and self-closed place. There is only toxic or discouraging thoughts. The more we try and fail the more negative we get and the narrower the place gets with hardly any ventilation.

      In contrast, if the ppurpose is large. We allow ourselves for wonderment, drive , passion and discovery. We use our energy in a relxed and relaxing atmosphere.

      I find your comment so deep and worthy of spreading.