Trying too hard

I don’t know about you, but I tend to try too hard.

I get something in my mind that I think should happen and I begin to push and push.
I exert all my emotional energy on a goal and try to arrange everything to meet that goal. And I become quickly dissatisfied if progress isn’t significantly made in a short while. My mind works overtime on thinking about this goal and I begin to put myself into a state of perpetual frustration. Out of frustration little is accomplished. I put myself in a bind.
Many years ago, a psychologist friend of mine introduced me to this phrase: “the harder I try I get more of the same.” It’s like the dominate thought idea: whatever you think about most strongly is the result you’re going to get. For example, if a baseball pitcher thinks, “don’t throw the ball high and inside…..don’t throw the ball high and inside…..” and so on. What result do you think he’s going to get? He’s going to throw the ball high and inside.
When I try too hard I get more of the same, because trying too hard is a negative motivation and emotion.
I’m not saying don’t have goals and don’t work on them. I’m not saying, for example, if it is your goal to run a marathon, don ‘t try, don’t plan, and don’t prepare. I’m not saying, “give up.” Trying too hard is different than working hard. It is a mental block we place upon ourselves.
There are some things that we simply must let unfold first. There are other people that have to be onboard. There are insights and realizations they need to have. There are things God has in mind that we may not know about. There are angles we may have not considered or discovered.
When I try too hard I’m thinking about what’s NOT happening. That’s my dominate thought. I’m not making the money I need. I’m not getting promoted. I’m not finding friends. I’m not getting my team (or organization, or church, etc.) to follow me, I’m not getting any better, and the list goes on. It’s endless.
If you are a person who tries too hard here is my recommendation:
1. Consider the things going on inside of you: what are your dominate thoughts? Are they about what’s NOT happening or are they thoughts of positivity and gratefulness? A positive and grateful thought would be: I can really see myself doing this full time in 5 years. A negative one would be: Everybody is in my way and will keep me from being who I want to be.
2. Make a list of what you are. Write it in terms of ‘I am’ statements and review them when you feel frustrated. For example, I am an impactful speaker. I am really good at delegating. I am great at follow through. And so on.
3. I’m not going to tell you to “be patient.” What I am going to suggest is to see the things that are unfolding and write them down. (Journal). This will help you be patient. Write down even the little things that are bringing you toward your goal, no matter how trite it seems. Such as: today I was asked to give a presentation to the department heads. Or, I’ve noticed that when I delegate to Tony, he gets right too it and is all in, he shines.
In the end, when you conquer the tendency to try too hard, you are a long way to becoming the best version of yourself.


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