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The Big, Fat Lie... about "Trying Harder!"

Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler

You've been searching for more success in some area of your life. Perhaps for abundance, personal growth, or some other important goal. But if you're running into problems, it may come from something you were taught as a child! Do you remember being told: "Just try harder — you'll get it!" Well that advice is actually the worst possible advice to drill into a child's head. Are you surprised to hear that from a success coach? Then allow me to share a true personal 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. It's very quiet, except for an 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 success strategy: "Just try harder — try harder — try harder!"

Obviously, the fly's goal seeking behavior is not working! Its efforts hold no hope for success. No matter how hard it throws itself at the glass, it can't escape. 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 could be free. The possibility of a 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. Into just hoping for some miraculous success... in spite of the evidence to the contrary!

The next morning I found the fly dead on the dusty windowsill.

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 gave 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 a dead end approach!

First: The very word "try" indicates you actually expect failure (you're going to "try"). 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 lies 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.

Let go... relax... then try another approach! Sometimes just letting go will clear your mind to see a better way of getting what you want. "Just try harder" will seldom get you to your goal. It's just a big, fat lie that needs to be replaced with some different goal-directed behaviors! Think about it for a moment... If you want "something new," you're going to have to "try something new."

Copyright 2005 Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler. All Rights Reserved.
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