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Want to Get More from Life? Stop Pushing and Start Pulling!

By Ilene Marcus March 16, 2022 Lifestyle

Do you remember the pushmi-pullyu from the original Dr. Doolittle (1967) with Rex Harrison?

I’ve always wondered why it never became an icon. As the rarest animal on earth, shouldn’t the pushmi-pullyu have triggered the tipping point and gained icon status like Sulley in Monsters Inc., Elsa from Frozen, or Sponge Bob?

Decades later, that question still nags at me. I got it now. The poor thing pushed too much instead of pulling.

Why does it matter? Well my friends, not only does it matter, it is one of the great secrets of getting the life you deserve.

Pushing vs. Pulling

Pushing is the act of driving. Take pushing to the nth degree; it’s fast and hard. Relentless. Focused on getting to where you want to be. Judging your success by when you finally arrive.

Pulling is the art of attraction. Bringing things to you. True, pulling requires some magic behind the scenes. Nonetheless, make no mistake, being “technically” sound cannot produce the magic. Like the poor pushmi-pullyu who couldn’t decide how to move forward.

When experts launch a marketing campaign, they make a conscious choice to use a strategy of attraction or of promotion. Attraction wins hands down every time. Attraction is the pull.

Think Apple and Nike: feel like this, buy our brand and this could be you. Now think Geico. Promotion: what’s wrong with you if you don’t buy insurance from the company with the cutest gecko on the planet? Are you making the right choice?

Where in your life did you opt for promotion when attraction would have gotten you further? Learn five ways to pull in the life you deserve.

Push too Hard and You’ll Repel

Constant pushing will repel what you are after. I remember a saying from a Hallmark Card. Hallmark is a company that has always used an attraction strategy – say what you believe and others will believe too: “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back it was yours. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t meant to be. “

It’s a small miracle I remember that since Twitter and Facebook were not in existence 40 years ago. The sentiment all these years later is the same. Show up as authentic and what you want will be naturally drawn to you. Recently, I pushed way too hard with my mom and wrote about it. You can read the Double Standard on my blog.

Trust the Process

Sit and wait. Seriously, who wants to wait? Next day shipping isn’t fast enough for me. And yet good things come to those who wait. I know we’ve all had our share of “that didn’t work out moments.”

Instead, look at all the other moments that did work and those that exceeded expectations. Don’t wait for the other shoe to fall. Wait with inspiration and hope. Everything unfolds the way it is supposed to. And if you don’t believe that, and you are still reading, would it kill you to try it and see if there is a difference? I mean, really, isn’t flourless chocolate cake even better than original? Who knew?

Stay Mission Focused

I said trust the process, not sit around and do nothing. Take action every day to move your dream, move your life forward. Every day, ask yourself: What am I doing towards my goals? Trust me, this works, regardless of the genre of your goals. From taking better care of ourselves, planning a trip, a house project or working on a business – whatever you want to attract, work on it.

The trick it to take at least three steps daily. Today, I wrote this blog, made four outreach calls and updated my Twitter page. I’m not saying it’s easy. I am saying just take the small steps so they start to feel more natural.

Hone the Nothing Skill

Easier said than done. We all have many roles and different responsibilities in our lives. Slowing down is hard. Slowing all the way down is a skill. Hone this skill. Learn that the art of doing nothing is really something.

It never fails, when I am stuck for an idea, need to get the perfect gift, or solve a workplace conundrum, I push and push and think and nothing happens. It’s only when I slow down and sleep late and sit with a cup of coffee that the answer comes. Stillness is serenity. Serenity gives you peace. Good things happen when you are at peace.

Stay Away from the Main Stage

Counter intuitive to most of us who think: If I’m not in the thick of it, how can I win it? While that is true with the lottery – it is not true with relationships and work life. Akin to honing the “nothing skill” is following the path less traveled to see what matters to you, what you do and do not notice.

Often, the real action happens away from the action. Case in point, sitting in an obscure public space writing this, a woman I managed 25 years ago just noticed me and was happy to see me. Haven’t seen her in years. Clear sign I am on the path. What a gift!

What’s Next

Look gently at situations where you push versus pull. Assess if you are getting the results you desire. Choose three ways each day to pull something towards you. Keep practicing until you feel the shift and are sitting right in the middle of something desired.

Tell us about a time you pulled instead of pushed. What did you notice in your actions and reactions? How have you balanced “doing nothing” with taking action? What actions will you take today to create the things you desire in your life? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Ilene Marcus, MSW, MPA, is the author of Managing Annoying People and runs Aligned Workplace, speaking and training Leaders and Founders to attract and retain great employees. An emerging literary writer, her goal is to make you smile just a bit more. Please visit her website at

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