This was a great piece that good friend of mine Kurtsin Richardson wrote about trying and the perspective he has around the various types of advice people give on the subject.
Bad advice is pretty easy to ignore. You hear it and every fiber of your being lets you know that you should immediately dismiss it.
A more unfortunate trouble in life is that even though bad advice is easy to ignore, really bad advice sometimes gets traction.
Cliche ideas about never looking back, and making your career your passion come to mind for me (I’m sure I’ll discuss those this year) but perhaps no advice is worse than Yoda’s “Do or Do not. There is no try”.
I have never watched StarWars but I know the saying. Furthermore I know that there are actual paid professionals who have borrowed this axiom and delivered it to people looking for inspiration.
Here’s the problem- it is unequivocally, undoubtedly and without question wrong.
Trying is the most important thing you could ever do. It’s directly connected to your successes and failures.
You won’t lose because your parents weren’t rich.
You won’t lose because you weren’t a good student.
You won’t lose because you don’t have a mentor.
You’ll lose because you stop trying.
It doesn’t matter that you come from a dysfunctional family.
It doesn’t matter that you made mistakes as a teenager.
It doesn’t matter that you you’ve only made it this far.
But it matters a lot that you keep trying.
You don’t need better teachers to be successful.
You don’t need a more caring support system to be successful.
You don’t need more money to be successful.
What you need is to keep trying. Obsessively.
The irony of the Yoda philosophy is that it could be tweaked to be absolutely correct. “There is no quit. There is only try or not try”
That’s not just semantics. It’s the unabated truth.
Look back on your life. How many times have you ever had a definitive “I QUIT” moment?
For most of us the answer is probably only once or twice. We’re not programmed to operate like that. We’ve been trained not to be a “quitter”.
What happens most often is that we stop trying.
Ask a person in July when they quit their NYE resolution. They won’t know. Over time they just stopped trying to keep the resolution.
As adults we seem to lose our ability to try. Even worse, we lose our enthusiasm to try.
I remember watching my daughter try to hit a softball at the batting cages for the first time. She wasn’t a natural, but like every child she wanted to try again, and again, and again. It didn’t matter to her that she was failing during her early attempts. She innately believed that with enough “trys”she would succeed.
Over time we lose that quality. Or it is stolen. But the fact remains: Trying is what matters.
One of the main problems though is that as we age, we are given two equally bad pieces of advice in regards to trying. Reversing those erroneous concepts is the key to unlocking what you were programmed to do since birth…TRY
1.) The first concept is” It doesn’t hurt to try.
Complete BS. Trying hurts, that’s why people stop doing it. In fact the very idea of trying implies pain, discomfort, or dissatisfaction. That is why it called TRYING and not called DOING.
It means that the outcome didn’t go the way you had hoped. If you want to reignite your “try”, you have to accept that it might hurt.
Endeavors should not be started with a whimsical “it doesn’t hurt to try”. They should be started with a definitive “I’m willing to hurt to try”.
2.) The second is “Try to do your best”.
In my opinion this rationale is why most people won’t keep trying to accomplish something for which they are not naturally inclined. TRYING and YOUR BEST are apples and oranges concepts. If you’re in the “trying” stage, it’s likely that “your best” stinks. You have to have the fortitude to accept that your best stinks and not be deterred. You have remind yourself: This is simply a try. Nothing more nothing less.
Then you try again, and it too is just a try, and so on and so forth. That is where progress comes from. Try after try after try. When you boil it down to “trys” it is much easier to not become frustrated. There is a clarity in its simplicity. The metric becomes “did I try”? And that is a yes or no concept. There are too many variables in “Did I try my best”?
If you are in the trying stage, you don’t know what your best even looks like. And you’re certainly not in a position to make a sound self assessment.
There is an old saying about divorce: “No one ever gets tired of loving, they get tired of trying”… The same is true of all of our relationships as well as our ambitions.