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STOP Trying Harder By Jill Ammon-Wexler

You’ve been searching for self improvement or personal development. Trying to increase your self esteem, achieve personal growth, have more happiness in your life … or perhaps reach an important goal.

You’re on a meaningful quest! But if you’re running into problems and barriers … it may come from something you were taught as a child! Do you remember being told: “Just try harder!”

Actually, that advice could well be the worst possible advice to drill into a child’s head.

Are you surprised to hear that from a success coach? Aren’t we *supposed* to keep on harder until we reach our goal.

Actually –- NO!

Trying harder often just leads straight to failure.

I’d like to share a true personal story.

** A “Try Harder” True Story

I’m sitting in a screened porch in a peaceful little cabin by the shore of Lake Tahoe reading a book. It’s a warm late August afternoon and very quiet … except for an increasingly irritating “buzz-thump.”

I look up and see a large fly desperately throwing itself at the window at the far end of the porch.

The fly has staked its life on a doomed strategy: Just try harder … try harder … try harder!

Obviously, the fly’s goal-seeking behavior is not working! No matter how hard it throws itself at the glass, it can't escape.

Its efforts hold no hope for success.

I watch and wonder at the irony of its situation.

The little creature has literally staked its life on reaching its goal through determined raw effort! But its very struggle is a trap!

I look over at the open door just a few feet away. A short flight and it would be free. The possibility of a life-saving breakthrough was there. It would be so easy.

But the fly had made its commitment!

Why doesn't the creature explore its options, I wonder? Why doesn't it try something different? How did it get locked into one doomed course of action? Into just trying the same thing harder and harder.

The next morning I found the fly dead on the dusty window sill.

I was reminded of an earlier period in my own life. I had wanted to create a breakthrough in my own life. Like that fly, I too had tried harder and harder and harder … until I finally had to give up in exhaustion.

Here’s what I learned (the hard way):

Attempting to achieve a goal by trying the same thing harder and harder is usually a dead end approach!

First: The very word “try” indicates you actually expect failure (you're going to “try” to succeed.)

But if you already know an approach is failing, trying it harder won’t get you anywhere!

You’ll just fail harder!

Second: Failing again and again does NOT take you any closer to success. All it does is dampen your spirit and damage your self-confidence and self-esteem. And who needs that!

“So,” you ask, “How else can I achieve my goals?”

The answer may lie in a pulling back and trying a completely different approach!

Think of that fly on the dusty window sill the next time you find yourself “efforting” to achieve a goal.

“Try harder” is just a big, fat lie that needs to be replaced witha different goal-directed tactic!

Think about it for a moment.

If you want something “new,” you’re going to have to “do” something new and different. Just doing the same thing will bring the same result. And if that result is failure, forget it!

Let go … relax … then try another approach! Sometimes just letting go will clear your mind to see a better way to get what you want.

© 2004 All Rights Reserved

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