How To Avoid Thinking In Reverse In Order To Achieve More

As progressive human beings, we are programmed to want more — more happiness, more success, better health or better relationships. If that is an innate part of who we are, then why do so few people achieve what they really want?

Throughout human history, all the great leaders, all the great teachers, all those who achieved noteworthy success have disagreed on many things however there is one thing they’ve all agreed on — we become what we think about.

Our awareness of how we think and what we think about is the starting point of why we get the results we do. In order to get different results, we must be willing and able to change how we think.

The problem is we’ve been conditioned to think in reverse and most of the time, we’re not aware that’s how we think.

Image courtesy of Chaiwat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When referring to thinking in reverse, I’m not talking about the idea of “starting with the end in mind,” where you form a picture of the outcome you want and work backwards to get the steps that are to be taken to achieve that outcome. This type of thinking has its advantages as it can help us be more creative, solve problems quicker and create outcomes with a lot less effort.

The concept of thinking in reverse referred to here can do us more harm than good over the long term. Here are three applications of thinking in reverse and what can be done to avoid it so that you can achieve what you really want without the struggle and stress.

  1. Not making a decision until we think we have the required resources. This is thinking in reverse because until we make a decision, we will not elevate our thinking to a new level. Our current level of thinking is giving us the results we are currently getting. If our current level of thinking is adequate to create the resources we need to achieve the results we want, we probably would have created or attracted the resources we need by now. The truth is we don’t really know what we need to achieve something until we make a decision that’s what we want. When we make a decision, we automatically go to a new frequency of thought and start to attract other thoughts or ideas that are in harmony with this new frequency of thought.

    Typical examples of thinking in reverse in this situation include I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, or I will do that when I have the time, money, skills, knowledge, etc. In order to avoid this scenario, we must become better at making decisions.

  2. Not going for what we really want because we don’t know how to do something. This is one of the biggest dream killers around. The idea of not attempting something because we don’t know how to do it is once again thinking in reverse because if we knew how to achieve what we want, it’s most likely we would have already achieved it by now. The how does not matter as much initially as the why or the what. It is has been said that the how will only show up to the extent of the clarity we have on the why or what.

    The best way to avoid falling into the trap of wanting to know the how first before doing anything, is to get really clear about what you really want and why you want it. As much as your current paradigm will want to know how to do it, focus on the end result you want and make a clear decision to go for it. Then new ideas will come to mind, which will start showing you how to achieve it.

  3. Letting the appearance of things control our thinking. Most of us look at our present results as the starting point to do or not do something. In such situations, our present results causes the thoughts we have, which in turn, causes our feelings, which then causes our actions, and that just perpetuates the same types of results. This can be regarded as the cycle of doom because we keep repeating it over and over. A typical example is someone who is in a sales role — they will look at what they did last year/month and predict what they are able to do based on those past results, not based on what they really want to achieve. As a result, they will only have small, incremental improvements, if at all.

    A better approach is to start with thoughts or ideas of what you really want. That will cause your feelings, which will dictate your actions, which then will produce results. The results you produce will provide feedback on what worked and what didn’t work, and that will generate new and better thoughts and ideas, which then repeats the cycle. In the book, The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace Wattles wrote, To think what you want to think is to think truth regardless of appearances. This means the starting point should always be thoughts of what we really want.

Thinking in reverse very rarely allows us to achieve what we really want. Our results indicate our current level of awareness and thinking. If we are not getting the results we want, then it’s possible we’re habitually thinking in reverse. If we don’t make the effort to change our thinking, then we’ll continue to get the same type of results. If we can make the starting point thoughts of what we really want, we will increase our awareness of who we are and what we’re capable of, plus we’ll achieve much better results.

Action Step: Assess situations in your past where you have been guilty of thinking in reverse. Recall what you really wanted in those situations. Decide what you will now do differently to increase your chances of achieving what you really want.

Question: How will you apply these ideas to avoid falling into the trap of thinking in reverse?

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  • Jane Ransom

    Excellent insights & sound advice. Thanks, Neel!

    • Neel Raman

      Thank you Jane for your comment! Glad you found post insightful.