Don’t Let the Waterfall Effect Control Your Life

We all have this innate feeling within us when we look at other people. We can see how they are living, and then for no apparent reason we compare their life to ours. Call it envy, call it jealousy, call it anything you want. We all judge how good or bad we’re doing in life based off of mirroring someone else. 

In psychology, there is a concept called the waterfall effect. It consists of looking at moving objects for some time, then looking back at something that is not moving, and having the illusion it is also moving, but in the opposite direction. I used to get this a lot when I would play Guitar Hero.

In a way, this is what happens to so many people around the world. We see others enjoying life and strive for something similar. This can lead to all kinds of mental health conditions that make life even harder than it already is. Depression is one of the more common conditions, and comparing yourself to others can make you feel inadequate, unloved and unwanted. So how can you stop any effects of the waterfall effect happening to you?


We’re all creative and want to be able to live a free life, but it's just not who we are sometimes. Many of us need a routine to get things done. Routine gives us parameters and allows us to maintain our lifestyles more closely. It's very easy to get on the rails but just as easy to come off them.

Make short-term goals and stick to them. It can be anything, what you’re aiming for here is the satisfaction of orderly behavior. The most immediate feeling of dread that comes over us when we feel we’re not going anywhere is the absolute lack of progression. Progressing in something makes us feel as if we’re improving and evolving, i.e. a sensation of moving forward in life. These goals can be something that involves improving your health such as workouts, eating healthy, or they could be something for mental relief such as writing a paragraph or page of your thoughts. After each month, look back over what you have or have not completed. Sit down and relive the moments of triumph and weakness and willfully be engulfed in the emotion of challenging yourself. For the next month, set goals a little bit more difficult or carry on with the same. Routine provides structure, and thus it gives you a real sense of control over what happens in your life. The decisions you make do matter and are reinforced when you carry them out such as sticking to the routine physically.


It's undeniable that people who are more likely to be emotionally unstable will show signs of frantic behavior when in an intimate relationship. You could be more clingy, meaning you need your partner as some kind of support. It could be for your feelings and worries, to express them and talk about them in detail. It might also be because you are in love and want to crush any doubts that you have about them not loving you in the same manner back.

Relationships only work when two people are reading from the same book and are on the same page. You don’t have to be on the same paragraph, sentence or word, just in the ballpark region.

So, what if the love of your life is ready and wanting children, but you’re not there yet? First of all, remember that you are your own person, even though your love is incredibly strong, they do not own you. Feelings of guilt and shame are ever-present when two people really love each other, and one or both cannot give the other true happiness. Be wary.

Place speed bumps along the way – talk to each other and understand how one another feels. If you’re ready for kids, go for it! But if you’re sure you don’t want them, don’t frantically google ‘’ordered my contraceptive pill’’ behind their back. Talk to your partner. Understand where each of you sit in terms of the relationship.


At one point in our lives, we all wish we were the ones in charge, not just of our personal lives but our professions too. Being a shy person, unfortunately, limits what you can achieve in the real world. Introverts are less likely to get promotions and thus, be the ones who will take orders rather than give them. Maybe it's just who you are, and your personality doesn't allow you to being the kind of person you have to be in order to be a leader. Other times it's just a matter of being pushed.

So how could you possibly make your mark on the hierarchy at work and get noticed? A simple manner would be to be superb at the roles you are given now. Do the thorough job of what you’re tasked with day in and day out. Put all your focus into just doing the best possible. It's a slow step, but you need to get comfortable with working to a high standard.

Offer to help the person who is one step higher than you, say for example the manager or team leader. Usually, they will do administrative tasks on their own, but if they see you’re a trustworthy person via your excellent work standard, they’re more likely to take you under their wing. There are two reasons as to why this is a great tactic.

  • - You don’t have to work in front of everyone such as becoming the organizer or taking on some role that involves public speaking because you’re working one on one with the superior. 
  • - You’re getting a closer look as to what they want from you, and you’re in direct contact with them. 

The waterfall effect happens to all of us. We see other people moving ahead of us, and we get a tight feeling in our chests. It can lead to panic attacks because we feel as if we’re not moving forward in our lives. Feeling as if your life is not making an impact in the world is a sinking experience. This doesn't help when we have mental health problems either. But the guiding light is to adopt a strategy of one step at a time.


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