Do you ever struggle to get back to sleep when something (like a wrong number call) rouses you suddenly from a sound sleep? I had one of these nights last night (probably happens to most of us at some point). As I laid there I was thinking things like, why tonight I have a ton of things to do tomorrow? I’m going to feel exhausted in the morning if I don’t sleep. The more effort and determination I focused on needing to get sleep the more getting back to sleep was doomed.
Emile Coue was a celebrated French psychologist whose lectures gained him many followers in the United States. One of his insights was: when your desires and imagination are in conflict, your imagination invariably gains the day. He referred to this as the power of reverse effort.
While our imaginations can be used for wonderful things they can also be ruled by fear resulting in the unconscious mind creating whatever is feared. Think of it like this imagination experiment I learned years ago (I used it to very effectively make the point about reverse effort to my kids).
Place a long narrow plank on the floor and walk from one end to the other. Easy right! Now, imagine walking this same plank suspended 30 feet in the air between two free standing walls and a bed of sharp glass below. Would you walk it! You would probably decline (my kids did). Why, because the more effort you put into not thinking about falling 30 feet into sharp glass the greater strength you give to this imagined outcome.
My point is, you head to where your head is (notably in my case to not getting back to sleep). It’s how our minds and bodies work.
Sir James Matthew Barrie the Scottish dramatist, best known for writing the play Peter Pan put it this way, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
William “Bud” Hart is a certified “Mindset” Coach, Accountability Partner and strengthen Business Consultant. Founder of Hart Group, www.hartgroupma.com.