There are a lot of metaphors about doing the opposite of what you think you should do.
A poem by Rumi, the ancient Sufi poet, wrote about how when we “think” we’re walking into the water, we’re really walking into the fire, and vice versa.
If you’ve ever had a crush on somebody and your instincts told you to tell them EVERYTHING, certain that would get them to reciprocate your feelings, you probably found it had the opposite effect.
There’s that old saying that “what we resist persists.” The more we try to avoid something, the more we seem to make it come true.
What feels good in the short term (like eating cheeseburgers and playing video games) usually plays havoc on out long term success.
Even in Star Wars, Obi Won told Luke to “let go and surrender to the force” because he was trying to hard.
This idea shows up in movies, philosophy and everywhere in between.
There was even one episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza did everything the “opposite way” and it worked like a charm.
(Of course, since it was a comedy, he’d do things like walk up to gorgeous women several inches taller than him, tell them he was unemployed and lived with is parents, and they’d fall madly in love with him.)
How can we apply this to real life?
One way is how we get our ideas across to others.
We think if we say the magic words or become super persuasive with our ideas (backed by our pictures in our mind) we’ll somehow override the pictures and ideas in the minds of others.
But if they are doing the same thing (which most everybody is) then it turns into an “idea contest.” Or a “who can describe their ideas the best” contest.
The interesting thing is our ideas are pretty vague. Ours and everybody else’s.
Which means if you ditch your ideas (just for a little bit) and expand THEIR ideas, something pretty cool will happen.
One is they’ve likely never had anybody do this before.
Two is that the bigger their ideas (wants needs and desires) get, the “stickier” they’ll get.
Meaning they’ll start to see EVERYTHING (including you) through their newly expanded wants, needs and desires.
If you look at everything through a blue filter, everything will look blue.
If they look at everything through their wants, needs, and desires, they’ll see that as well.
It’s not intuitive, it’s certainly opposite, but it works like crazy.