Pavlov’s advice on how to succeed – ‘Passion and gradualness.’ Even in those areas where we have already developed a high degree of skill, it sometimes helps to drop back, lower our sights a bit, and practice with a feeling of ease. This is especially true when one reaches a sticking point in progress, where effort for additional progress is unavailing. Continually straining to beyond the sticking point is likely to develop undesirable ‘feeling habits’ of strain, difficulty, effort.Maxwell Maltz
In my yoga class today, the teacher talked us through a stretch that I was struggling to achieve.  As I was forcing my forty-something body to perform what the twenty-something yogini next to me seemed to breeze through, the teacher said something interesting: “back off the stretch, so you can go deeper into it.”

It seemed like a contradiction, until she explained.  When we push and push, and push still yet harder, without giving a slight breather through backing off, we can only go so far.  But when we allow ourselves to pull back from the stretch and try again, the body will go further into the desired pose.

My mind ticked over the relevance of her instruction to the rest of my life.  If I was to back off, pull back, rest, not all the way, but some of the way in the process of pushing forwards, perhaps I could get further than if I was to keep my foot slammed down on the gas pedal with no let up.

It’s helpful to remember that we can actually go further and achieve more, if we allow ourselves a mini-respite from achieving the goal in hand, just by backing off from it for a little while.  

Effort, in its right place, yields results.  As does backing off.  In the ‘backing off’ moment, you can re-strategise, see things from a different perspective, access more of your creativity, widen your vision.  Or maybe just rest and rejuvenate before you run the final stretch.