Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

December 21, 2011

Why Trying Hard Doesn’t Work

Time and time again studies show that hard work is a significant differentiator between those who accumulate wealth and those who don’t. It’s the simplest of ideas in theory. But it poses significant challenges when put into effect.

When you have to try it.

Hard work starts with you trying.

Trying something new. Trying something in a different way.  Trying what hasn’t been done before.

And trying by itself can be a frustrating process.

Almost any of us will try something at least one time. Especially with enough peer pressure.

But trying by itself, isn’t really a differentiator.

There are a lot of people trying.

You have to try harder.  That seems to be the next natural progression of effort.  This means you put in the effort more than one time.  You are disciplined enough to keep doing what appears not work in the hopes that it will result in your future success.

Trying harder assumes that you are comfortable with a string of ugly failures along the way.  It’s an attitude rather than a string of activities.  More determination — not simply doing more.

And the raw courage of effort at times seems to bring success.

Heartwarming stories told in movies like Rudy, Remember the Titans, and Invincible showcase stories about individuals who tried harder than anyone else expected them to.  And trying harder enabled them to find success.

But trying harder isn’t the secret to success.

In fact, it’s hard to define.  It’s hard to do.  It’s confusing.  And complex.

Who are you trying harder then? And how long are you trying harder? And why are you trying harder

Trying harder by itself might just make you a bitter, burned out business leader.

The answer is is only slightly different. You have to try. And you have to try hard.

That much is true.

The secret then is to try hard enough.

Trying hard enough means measuring.

Without that, you won’t get the results that you’re looking for.

Iron is one of the most common elements on the planet.  It is found almost everywhere.

Because it is so strong and yet cheap, iron is used to build automobiles, machine tools, the hulls of container ships, construction elements, and machine parts.  But as a solid element, iron is almost completely useless.

At 220 degrees, water is boiling, but iron is still too tough to work with.  At 900 degrees, glass will melt, but iron is just hot.  Even at 2799 degrees Fahrenheit, iron is still unworkable.   But with one more degree of heat  — at 2800 degrees Fahrenheit — iron begins to melt.  It becomes moldable.  Meltable.

With enough effort and energy, iron becomes useful.

Trying hard enough means that you know where the line is.

And then you purposefully go beyond it.  You go beyond what others think is acceptable in order to achieve the goals that you want for yourself.

Going that extra degree is trying hard enough.

It’s a deliberate alignment of what you believe in with what you are willing to do to achieve it.

Just like iron, you’re useless until you push far enough.

You’ll never be successful if you don’t try. You might be successful if you try harder. But you’ll always be successful if you try hard enough.

Because then, you will have become unstoppable.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.