On Friday I was chatting with a colleague and the law of attraction came up. The topic ended with them saying, there are two magical outcomes if you believe this theory. You think so much about something that it happens because you attracted it or you’re a fortune-teller because you predicted something before it happens.
Despite the many anecdotes (some of them outrageous) I’ve listened to about this theory coming into play, I’ve always chalked them down to coincidence. It’s simple, really, thanks to our cognitive biases.
Think of all the times when you’ve really wanted something, thought about it, and never got it. There are way more of those incidents than successful ones. Since there are fewer successes, it’s easier to remember what they are.
Objectively speaking, there’s no winning at this ‘game’. Not everything you think about is going to come to fruition and things will happen in life — whether you think about them or not.
On the same night of the law of attraction conversation, two incidents happened. First, this video popped up on my YouTube feed:
For context, here’s what my typical feed looks like (screenshot from today):
It’s mostly gaming videos, music, and random crypto crash videos because I was on a Coffeezilla binge a few weeks ago. Nothing philosophical or pseudoscience related since it’s been a while since I’ve watched videos like that. A video on “the backwards law” was completely out of place.
Out of curiosity, I watched it and I’m glad I did. I’m no expert on such topics, but the video resonated with me. Since I agree with the points discussed in the video, my cognitive biases made me feel that it was informative (as opposed to useless).
When you try to fall asleep, your effort will keep you awake. Only when you stop trying, you’ll doze off… When we stop trying to be happy, we’ll be happy because there’s nothing we need beyond what is… Thus, the only way to have what we want is not to want it and that’s what the backwards law teaches us.
The backwards law teaches us not to be fooled by the idea that the pursuit of happiness leads to happiness. And with that knowledge, we’re able to enter that blissful state of ‘not wanting’ a bit more often.Stop Trying to Get It And You’ll Have It | The Backwards Law
My key takeaway is the backwards law is the opposite of the law of attraction. Instead of focusing your thoughts on what you’re lacking (your wishes), make the most of what you currently have. I’ve been unconsciously practicing it. No wonder I’ve been told that I’m too apathetic or relaxed about everything around me.
Turns out I’m just zen.
As someone who’s all about the present (sure, I whine about the past in my lyrics but I’m a singer-songwriter) and never thinking about the future, this video validated my views on life in a more articulate manner.
Next, this video appeared on my feed the same night.
Guess what happened after that? I ate a curry puff for supper and had diarrhea that lasted until Saturday. Urgh.
What a coincidence, especially after watching a video about dirty water.
I was going to eat the bad curry puff that night. I could have skipped it, but I was hungry. Nobody told me it was going to make me suffer. That would have changed my mind about consuming it. Was it my own fault? Doesn’t matter.
Just like how I ruined my watch’s ability to function as a credit card when I updated the Samsung Pay plugin yesterday. Fuckin’ Sammy, please revert this change.
That’s a story for another day.