What’s a Boomerang Effect?

A Boomerang’s defining characteristic is that it’s much like karma – what goes around, comes around, and a Boomerang always returns.

The idea of a Boomerang effect is that sometimes putting too much effort might lead to an unexpected backlash.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of the Boomerang effect. Imagine that you really want someone to agree with you. So you try to persuade them. You keep going on and on. You throw everything you have at the problem and, in the end, the person is so tired of the experience, you get the opposite effect. They remain unconvinced and angry because you used too much effort.

Another example is when you are trying to get to sleep early. You push yourself so hard to fall asleep that you find yourself lying wide awake because you get stressed.

Putting too much attention, effort, and energy into achieving an outcome, in short, can sometimes lead to the opposite outcome.

Why does the Boomerang effect happen?

We are usually taught that we have to work hard to get things, and sometimes we take this advice too far. It’s not that we need to stop putting in an effort, but there are several disadvantages to doing too much.

First, it can lead to a tunnel vision. It becomes hard for us to see any other possibilities, paths forward, and alternatives. We become so focused on the goal that we lose sight of the context, which makes us less likely to adapt if there are any changes.

Secondly, it happens because too much effort does not always translate into better outcomes. We might need to focus our efforts specifically and try to do things in a smarter way rather than just working harder.

Thirdly, the relationship between effort and outcomes is even less powerful when other people are involved. Other people tend to respond poorly if they feel pressured or pushed into a solution or situation. Even if we make amazing points, we might turn people away because of our pushiness.

What can you do to avoid the Boomerang effect?

Be flexible with the way you approach problems. Be willing to consider alternative options and solutions rather than becoming fixated on the one way it has to be.

Don’t try to force people, and definitely cut down on being pushy. Offer the option, your opinion, and the benefits you see, however, accept a negative gracefully.

The Boomerang effect can be avoided if we plan how to throw it and how to catch it. Be flexible and smart about the way you approach your problem.