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The Law of Reversed Effort

The Law of Reversed Effort

“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone”. – Alan Watts

muddy-water-cleaning

    Lately, I have been thinking about The Law of Reversed Effort.

    Simply put, the harder we work at something the less effective we are.

    A great example of this is the insomniac. Sleep is an entirely subconscious process, and ‘willing’ yourself to or ‘trying’ to sleep has exactly the opposite effect. The more you think about sleeping and tell yourself to ‘get’ to sleep, the more awake you become.

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    Or think about it this way, when you are swimming, if you want to float what happens? You start to drift and sink. If you want to sink and push down, your body fights against you to push you back toward the surface. If you want to sink, you float.

    This law exists because our conscious mind and our unconscious mind are often in conflict, and the unconscious mind wins. Why? Because it is our protector and it is rarely rational. The french psychologist, Émile Coué, defined the law of reversed effort and said:

    “When the imagination and will power are in conflict, are antagonistic, it is always the imagination which wins, without any exception”.

    Imagine if I laid a board on the ground and asked you to walk on it. You would do it without reservation, right? After all, it is just a board and to walk on it from one end to another is no problem at all. You can consciously tell your body to do it and it will.

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    But what if we took that same board to the top of the highest two buildings in your city? I placed one end of the board on the tip of building one, and the other end on the tip of building two. Now I ask the same of you: will you walk over the board? It is the exact same physical action as before. One foot in front of the other, just walk down the board. But your unconscious mind will fight you with everything it has. You will be scared, anxious, afraid to fall, and the more you try to “will” yourself to not feel this way the worse it will get.

    See, you have no more a chance of stepping off the board in the air as you did on the ground, but your mind imagines all sorts of scary scenarios and stops you from being able to complete the task.

    “The harder we try with the conscious will to do something, the less we shall succeed. We cannot make ourselves understand; the most we can do is to foster a state of mind, in which understanding may come to us”. – Aldous Huxley (The Law of Reversed Effort)

    So how does this affect our everyday lives?

    I can tell you from personal experience that I fall prey to this on a daily basis. I am a real estate teacher and coach by day (which I love and have a passion for) and a writer/speaker/community organizer by dream. But why by dream? I have always wanted to write, have always felt like I had something to say. My conscious mind says “I can do that. I can share, speak and write” but then what happens? My unconscious mind for years has sabotaged it with doubt, and insecurity, and fear. My imagination of what may go wrong was stronger than my will to make it happen.

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    It was not until I completely let go as a person and started to blend relaxation with activity that I was able to write and speak and share. I have a very long way to go. Enlightenment is not a destination but a journey. At best, I am hoping to just stop fighting myself. 

    Is some form of this happening in your life right now? The agents that I coach have amazing talent. They are wonderful people whose stories are compelling, genuine, and true. Yet, many are hindered by self-doubt. Their conscious mind has set a goal and their unconscious mind sets out to sabotage that goal.

    Take a moment and take stock of yourself. Are you continuing to fight this fight?

    Émile Coué says:

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    “The solution for this fear, is to relax, to let go and to think about relaxing things that can provide us with the confident feeling. From this confident feeling, when we feel fresh and secure, we can, easily deal with anything that will appear less threatening.”

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      Relax and let go. Stop fighting yourself. Smile. Remember the last time you took a test? You study and study, your stress and anxiety building until the moment you sit down and then….poof. You go blank. The harder you search your brain for the answers, the less you can remember. What happens when you walk out of the room? An hour later, when the pressure is off and you are relaxed, you remember everything.

      The negative thoughts are apt to be more effective than the positive because the negative usually has more feeling with it.

      Take your goal into contemplation and focus on relaxing, letting go of the negative feelings associated with not achieving this goal. Set up a positive image about the goal, then put feeling with it. Nothing is simple, but everything is worth trying.

      More by this author

      Glenn Killey

      Author, Motivational Speaker, Mindset Coach

      What Is Your Defining Mental Picture? What My Teenage Daughter Taught Me About Simplicity What An 86 Year Old Man Can Teach Us About Procrastination The Randomness of Life: 3 Steps to Take Back Control The Law of Reversed Effort

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      Last Updated on July 11, 2019

      10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

      10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

      If you have watched movies like Limitless[1] (both the movie and television series) and Lucy,[2] then you have likely come across smart drugs or nootropics. In the movie Limitless, you are introduced to NZT-48 (known as MDT-48 in the book The Dark Fields), which grants heightened intellectual abilities allowing one to pattern-match at lighting speed.

      In the movie Lucy, you are introduced to the drug CPH4, which is actually based on a molecule that a pregnant woman produces after six weeks of pregnancy. The director of Lucy, Luc Besson, remarked,[3]

      “But it’s totally real, and it’s true that the power of this product for a baby is the power of an atomic bomb. It’s real. It’s totally real. So its not a drug in fact, it’s a natural molecule that pregnant women produce.”

      NZT-48 is fictional and CPH4 is a fictional drug based on a real substance. So, are there any real life smart drugs or brain boosters similar to either fictional drug? The answer is no. But powerful cognitive enhancing drugs do exist. And they are Nootropics.

      Nootropics

      Nootropics was coined by Romanian psychologist Corneliu E. Giurgea in 1972. The etymology of the word is nous or mind and trepein or to bend.[4] According to Smart Drug Smarts, nootropics is an umbrella term for a class of chemicals, some naturally-occurring and some man-made, that give cognitive benefits to the human brain. To be a nootropic, Giurgea found that the substance must meet five specific criteria:[5]

      1. Enhance memory and ability to learn.
      2. Help the brain function under disruptive conditions.
      3. Protect the brain from chemical and physical assaults.
      4. Increase the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanisms.
      5. Possess few or no side effects and be virtually non-toxic.

      Let’s now examine the 10 best brain power supplements that will supercharge your mind and 4 bonus tips (in no particular order – meaning #1 is not better than #2 nor #10). Very few of the brain boosters listed can be purchased in a local brick and mortar store.

      For most, you will have to place an order online. However, be extremely cautious and diligently research each prior to ordering.

      For a more detailed breakdown of each brain booster in the form of a wiki, I recommend visiting the website BrainTropic[6]. I will provide a summary for each smart drug below. Summaries will be from BrainTropic unless otherwise stated. In addition, visit my website (you can find the link in my bio) as I regularly write and provide advice on nootropics.

      *Some of the supplements listed require a prescription and could be harmful. Consult with your doctor before consumption.

      1. Qualia Mind

      Qualia Mind is an extremely powerful smart drug created by Neurohacker packed with a variety of nootropics. It is a multi-nootropic leading to potential neurochemical and physiological enhancements.

      Qualia Mind is specifically designed to lift brain fog, amplify willpower, upgrade energy, heighten creativity, and promote mental clarity. No prescription is required.

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      Side effects: headaches, sleep disturbance, muscle tightness, and upset stomach.

      Summary
      • Type: Multi-Nootropic (crucial ingredients include: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, DL-Phenylalanine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Taurine, L-Theanine, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Anhydrous Caffeine, Huperzine A, and more)
      • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
      • Typical Dose: 7 capsules per day (maximum of 12)
      • Half-life: 4-6 hours

      You can learn more about Qualia Mind in Neurohacker.

      2. Modafinil

      Modafinil is a stimulant to treat narcolepsy and has been shown to enhance our cognitive functions. Sold under the names Vigil, Nuvigil or Provigil, has became one of the most popular cognitive enhancing drugs on the market.

      Bio-hacker and founder of Bulletproof Coffee, Dave Asprey, is just one of many advocating the drug. Some think Modafinil inspired the movie Limitless. For more on this discussion, read I Spent a Week on Nuvigil, the Drug From ‘Limitless’ and Modafinil: My Experience with the Real Life Limitless Pill by Joen Rude Falsner. Falsner remarked about Modafinil, it’s “Sort of like a real life pop-up blocker…”

      In the US, Modafinil is classified as Schedule IV Controlled Substance and a prescription is required for it. Potential side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.

      Bonus Tip: Top Modafinil researchers have found that Modafinil combined with coffee can create a powerful combination.[7]

      Summary
      • Type: Stimulant
      • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
      • Typical Dose: 50-200mg
      • Half-life: 15 hours

      3. Adrafinil

      Adrafinil is a stimulant that can increase energy and prevent fatigue. It is metabolized and converted into Modafinil. In fact, the effects are similar to Modafinil; however, it is not as strong. No prescription is required for Adrafinil in the US, Canada, or the UK.

      Potential side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.

      Summary
      • Type: Stimulant
      • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
      • Typical Dose: 150-600mg
      • Half-life: 1 hour

      4. Noopept

      According to braintropic.com, Noopept is a powerful synthetic nootropic with cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective properties. It was developed in Russia in the mid-1990s and is used as a prescription treatment for cognitive impairments. Researchers found that, in animal studies, Noopept has been shown to stimulate the expression of two chemicals: Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).[8]

      Potential side effects: headaches, restlessness, dizziness, and irritability.

      Summary
      • Type: Peptide
      • Good for: Anxiety, Energy, Focus, Learning and Memory
      • Typical Dose: 10-20 mg
      • Half-life: 30-60 minutes

      5. Adderall

      Adderall is a stimulant used to treat those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall primarily increases the release to two specific neurotransmitters involved with ADHD: dopamine and norepinephrine.

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      For an interesting read on what Adderall does to the brain – to include a good discussion of the benefits and side effects of the drug – read What adderall does to your brain by Daniela Hernandez. Similar to Modafinil, some think the movie Limitless was inspired by Adderall.

      For more on this discussion, read Limitless: The Brain-Doping Movie We All Know Was Inspired by Adderall and The Drug From Limitless Is Available for Purchase on Your College Campus.

      Adderall is considered a Schedule II Controlled Substance and a prescription is required for it. This means anyone caught in possession of it without a prescription could face criminal charges. Potential side effects: irregular heartbeat, paranoia, headaches, restlessness, dizziness, lack of appetite, high risk of dependency, and irritability.

      Summary[9]
      • Type: Stimulant
      • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
      • Typical Dose: 5-40 mg (Adderall XR is 5-60 mg)
      • Half-life: 4-6 hours (Adderall XR is 6-8 hours)

      6. Oxiracetam

      Oxiracetam was developed in the 1970s and is a synthetic derivative of the original nootropic – Piracetam. However, according to braintropic.com, Oxiracetam is more potent than Piracetam. Oxiracetam has been studied for treatment with those suffering from Alzheimer’s or memory.[10] No prescription is required for Oxiracetam.

      Potential side effects: no serious side effects – the most commonly reported side effect is headache.

      Summary
      • Type: Ampakine and Racetam
      • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning and Memory
      • Typical Dose: 400-2400 mg
      • Half-life: 8 hours

      7. Bulletproof Coffee

      Dave Asprey (also an advocate for Modafinil) is the creator of Bulletproof Coffee. Asprey contends that Bulletproof Coffee is clean and tested for toxins.

      However, when you first read about Bulletproof Coffee, you hear about the combination of Butter – Oil – Coffee. That can’t be a good combination, right?

      Wrong. It is.

      Bulletproof Coffee has been found to help with weight loss, boost cognitive functioning, maintain mental clarity, and decrease brain fog. For more on Bulletproof Coffee, read What It’s Like To Drink Bulletproof Coffee Every Morning For Two Weeks by Chris Gayomali. Potential side effects: restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and rapid heart rate.

      Summary[11]
      • Type: Stimulant
      • Good for: Mental Clarity, Decrease Brain Fog, and Weight Loss
      • Typical Dose: Varies by type of coffee (e.g. Coffee Pods or Brew)
      • Half-life: Varies

      8. Cellucor C4 Ultimate

      Cellucor C4 Ultimate is a powerful pre workout supplement. It provides an instant cognitive boost so that you can not only get the most out of your exercise training sessions, but also maximize your ability to learn (even during exercise).

      C4 Ultimate should be consumed 20-30 minutes prior to training. No prescription is required for C4 Ultimate.

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      Potential side effects: insomnia, diarrhea, dehydration, headaches, high blood pressure, and tingly or prickly sensations. To counter these side effects, read Pre-Workout Supplements: 6 Side Effects and How To Avoid Them by Matt Weik.

      Summary[12]
      • Type: Pre Workout (crucial ingredients include: Vitamin C, Vitamins B6 and B12, Niacin, Citrulline Malate, Caffeine Anhydrous, Taurine, Beta-Alanine, Creatine Nitrate, and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine)
      • Good for: Energy, Pumps, Endurance, and Physical Performance
      • Typical Dose: 1 scoop with water
      • Half-life: Varies

      You can get Cellucor C4 Ultimate at Cellucor.

      9. Piracetam

      Piracetam is the first synthetic smart drug developed and is the compound that inspired the term nootropic. It was invented by the same individual who coined the term nootropic – Dr. Giurgea.

      According to Brain Tropic, Piracetam works by improving blood flow in the brain, boosts the production of crucial brain chemicals, and increases synaptic plasticity.[13] It requires a prescription in the UK and Australia and cannot be legally marketed in the US as a dietary supplement.

      Potential side effects: no serious side effects – the most commonly reported side effect is headache.

      Summary
      • Type: Ampakine and Racetam
      • Good for: Learning and Memory
      • Typical Dose: 1600-4800 mg
      • Half-life: 4-5 hours

      10. Qualia Focus

      Qualia Focus is another product offered by Neurohacker. It too is a multi-nootropic with powerful cognitive enhancements. While it is not as strong as Qualia Mind, it still upgrades your energy, heightens creativity, and promotes mental clarity at a lower cost than Qualia Mind. No prescription is required.

      Side effects: headaches, sleep disturbance, muscle tightness, and upset stomach.

      Summary
      • Type: Multi-Nootropic (crucial ingredients include: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, DL-Phenylalanine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Taurine, L-Theanine, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Coffeeberry Energy, Ginko Biloba Leaf Extract, Huperzine A, and more)
      • Good for: Focus and Concentration, Memory, and Energy
      • Typical Dose: 5 capsules per day (maximum of 9)
      • Half-life: 4-6 hours

      You can learn more about Qualia Focus in Neurohacker.

      While the brain boosters listed above are not the smart drugs in Limitless or Lucy, they still provide you phenomenal results. To find out which of the 10 are the best for you, I suggest you do the following:

      1. Research each one diligently
      2. Test them out for yourself
      3. Try the following Bonus Tips along with your brain booster. In doing so, you will discover a pop-up blocker for your brain!

      Bonus Tips

      1. Take antacids to increase potency

      To increase the potency of a brain booster, ingest alkaline substances like antacids such as Tums or Alka-Seltzer. Read A Brief Guide to Non-medical Psychostimulant Use for more information.

      You should consult with your doctor as there could be serious side effects.

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      2. Take on an empty stomach

      You should take your brain booster on an empty stomach as this will further potentiate both the duration and effect of the drug. The exceptions are Qualia Mind and Focus. I recommend taking both with food as this will cause an upset stomach.

      However, you should consult with your doctor prior to taking any of the brain boosters listed and to identify the proper way to take each.

      3. Adderall alarm clock

      There is an interesting definition in the crowd-sourced online dictionary Urban Dictionary:[14]

      The Adderall Alarm Clock is defined as setting an alarm for an hour before you have to get up; upon waking, roll over and take your prescription stimulant of choice and go back to sleep. In about an hour, you wake up naturally with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

      This actually works. Choose one of your brain boosters and try this out.

      However, you should consult with your doctor prior to attempting this as there could be serious side effects.

      4. Exercise sparks neurogenesis

      Exercise alone will provide similar benefits and could be substituted for any of the brain boosters listed. Exercise plus brain boosters provide even more cognitive enhancing benefits.

      One of the most powerful benefits exercise provides is that it sparks the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which brings about neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain.[15]

      Dr. John Ratey discusses both neurogenesis and BDNF at length in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Ratey dubbed BDNF the master molecule and refers to it as “Miracle-Gro for the brain”. Linda Gabriel writes about BDNF in BDNF – Miracle-Gro for the Brain, “BDNF binds to receptors in the synapses between neurons, increasing voltage (yes your brain is electric!), and improving signal strength.”

      Featured photo credit: Josh Riemer via unsplash.com

      Reference

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