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.

0 Replies to “Why Trying Hard Doesn’t Work”

  1. I do not understand the distinction between “Try harder” and “Try Hard enough”.
    With “Try Hard Enough”, do you “simply” measure your effort?

    1. Greg,
      Good question.  Trying harder is a noble gesture.  But it can fall flat when you put in massive amounts of effort without a mission.  You need to push hard enough to get beyond the struggle to the point of breakthrough.

      That’s hard work.  Like that example with iron.  You can be trying harder and heating things up, but without knowing that you need to be at 2800 degrees, you are unfocused.

      Trying hard enough means you work like a maniac but that you know the goal and the limits to achieving that goal.

      More focus.  More awareness of the obstacles in your way.

          1. My pleasure Dan. Thanks for your articles, they keep me focus & motivated. You can quote me on that! 

  2. I do not understand the distinction between “Try harder” and “Try Hard enough”.
    With “Try Hard Enough”, do you “simply” measure your effort?

    1. Greg,
      Good question.  Trying harder is a noble gesture.  But it can fall flat when you put in massive amounts of effort without a mission.  You need to push hard enough to get beyond the struggle to the point of breakthrough.

      That’s hard work.  Like that example with iron.  You can be trying harder and heating things up, but without knowing that you need to be at 2800 degrees, you are unfocused.

      Trying hard enough means you work like a maniac but that you know the goal and the limits to achieving that goal.

      More focus.  More awareness of the obstacles in your way.

          1. My pleasure Dan. Thanks for your articles, they keep me focus & motivated. You can quote me on that! 

  3. I do not understand the distinction between “Try harder” and “Try Hard enough”.
    With “Try Hard Enough”, do you “simply” measure your effort?

    1. Greg,
      Good question.  Trying harder is a noble gesture.  But it can fall flat when you put in massive amounts of effort without a mission.  You need to push hard enough to get beyond the struggle to the point of breakthrough.

      That’s hard work.  Like that example with iron.  You can be trying harder and heating things up, but without knowing that you need to be at 2800 degrees, you are unfocused.

      Trying hard enough means you work like a maniac but that you know the goal and the limits to achieving that goal.

      More focus.  More awareness of the obstacles in your way.

          1. My pleasure Dan. Thanks for your articles, they keep me focus & motivated. You can quote me on that! 

  4. I do not understand the distinction between “Try harder” and “Try Hard enough”.
    With “Try Hard Enough”, do you “simply” measure your effort?

    1. Greg,
      Good question.  Trying harder is a noble gesture.  But it can fall flat when you put in massive amounts of effort without a mission.  You need to push hard enough to get beyond the struggle to the point of breakthrough.

      That’s hard work.  Like that example with iron.  You can be trying harder and heating things up, but without knowing that you need to be at 2800 degrees, you are unfocused.

      Trying hard enough means you work like a maniac but that you know the goal and the limits to achieving that goal.

      More focus.  More awareness of the obstacles in your way.

          1. My pleasure Dan. Thanks for your articles, they keep me focus & motivated. You can quote me on that! 

  5. I do not understand the distinction between “Try harder” and “Try Hard enough”.
    With “Try Hard Enough”, do you “simply” measure your effort?

    1. Greg,
      Good question.  Trying harder is a noble gesture.  But it can fall flat when you put in massive amounts of effort without a mission.  You need to push hard enough to get beyond the struggle to the point of breakthrough.

      That’s hard work.  Like that example with iron.  You can be trying harder and heating things up, but without knowing that you need to be at 2800 degrees, you are unfocused.

      Trying hard enough means you work like a maniac but that you know the goal and the limits to achieving that goal.

      More focus.  More awareness of the obstacles in your way.

          1. My pleasure Dan. Thanks for your articles, they keep me focus & motivated. You can quote me on that! 

  6. I do not understand the distinction between “Try harder” and “Try Hard enough”.
    With “Try Hard Enough”, do you “simply” measure your effort?

    1. Greg,
      Good question.  Trying harder is a noble gesture.  But it can fall flat when you put in massive amounts of effort without a mission.  You need to push hard enough to get beyond the struggle to the point of breakthrough.

      That’s hard work.  Like that example with iron.  You can be trying harder and heating things up, but without knowing that you need to be at 2800 degrees, you are unfocused.

      Trying hard enough means you work like a maniac but that you know the goal and the limits to achieving that goal.

      More focus.  More awareness of the obstacles in your way.

          1. My pleasure Dan. Thanks for your articles, they keep me focus & motivated. You can quote me on that! 

  7. Trying for me is a verb that I prefer not to use and recommend to my clients to remove it from their vocabularies.  This word promotes the opportunity to failure, for running out the back door instead of going through the front door.  What I suggest is to replace this word of trying with doing.  In the words of the great philosopher Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

    1. I agree with you philosophically.
      My perspective is that complex tasks are impossible to “do”. They must be attempted. Tried. Reworked. Perfected.

      They require steps and calibration. Those steps can be “done” but the whole task is more complex than that.

      What do you think?

    2. This true, but you can’t “do” something until you know what “it” is. Trying involves effort and learning, at least for me. Once I figure out the solution, then I “do”, at least in theory 😉

  8. Trying for me is a verb that I prefer not to use and recommend to my clients to remove it from their vocabularies.  This word promotes the opportunity to failure, for running out the back door instead of going through the front door.  What I suggest is to replace this word of trying with doing.  In the words of the great philosopher Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

    1. I agree with you philosophically.
      My perspective is that complex tasks are impossible to “do”. They must be attempted. Tried. Reworked. Perfected.

      They require steps and calibration. Those steps can be “done” but the whole task is more complex than that.

      What do you think?

    2. This true, but you can’t “do” something until you know what “it” is. Trying involves effort and learning, at least for me. Once I figure out the solution, then I “do”, at least in theory 😉

  9. Trying for me is a verb that I prefer not to use and recommend to my clients to remove it from their vocabularies.  This word promotes the opportunity to failure, for running out the back door instead of going through the front door.  What I suggest is to replace this word of trying with doing.  In the words of the great philosopher Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

    1. I agree with you philosophically.
      My perspective is that complex tasks are impossible to “do”. They must be attempted. Tried. Reworked. Perfected.

      They require steps and calibration. Those steps can be “done” but the whole task is more complex than that.

      What do you think?

    2. This true, but you can’t “do” something until you know what “it” is. Trying involves effort and learning, at least for me. Once I figure out the solution, then I “do”, at least in theory 😉

  10. Trying for me is a verb that I prefer not to use and recommend to my clients to remove it from their vocabularies.  This word promotes the opportunity to failure, for running out the back door instead of going through the front door.  What I suggest is to replace this word of trying with doing.  In the words of the great philosopher Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

    1. I agree with you philosophically.
      My perspective is that complex tasks are impossible to “do”. They must be attempted. Tried. Reworked. Perfected.

      They require steps and calibration. Those steps can be “done” but the whole task is more complex than that.

      What do you think?

    2. This true, but you can’t “do” something until you know what “it” is. Trying involves effort and learning, at least for me. Once I figure out the solution, then I “do”, at least in theory 😉

  11. Trying for me is a verb that I prefer not to use and recommend to my clients to remove it from their vocabularies.  This word promotes the opportunity to failure, for running out the back door instead of going through the front door.  What I suggest is to replace this word of trying with doing.  In the words of the great philosopher Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

    1. I agree with you philosophically.
      My perspective is that complex tasks are impossible to “do”. They must be attempted. Tried. Reworked. Perfected.

      They require steps and calibration. Those steps can be “done” but the whole task is more complex than that.

      What do you think?

    2. This true, but you can’t “do” something until you know what “it” is. Trying involves effort and learning, at least for me. Once I figure out the solution, then I “do”, at least in theory 😉

  12. Trying for me is a verb that I prefer not to use and recommend to my clients to remove it from their vocabularies.  This word promotes the opportunity to failure, for running out the back door instead of going through the front door.  What I suggest is to replace this word of trying with doing.  In the words of the great philosopher Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

    1. I agree with you philosophically.
      My perspective is that complex tasks are impossible to “do”. They must be attempted. Tried. Reworked. Perfected.

      They require steps and calibration. Those steps can be “done” but the whole task is more complex than that.

      What do you think?

    2. This true, but you can’t “do” something until you know what “it” is. Trying involves effort and learning, at least for me. Once I figure out the solution, then I “do”, at least in theory 😉

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