I’ve been “trying” to achieve a goal for the past twelve months. That one word trying is where the problems begun.
Trying assumes you have no certainty, confidence, strategy or belief in what the hell you’re doing. If I want to achieve a goal, then I’ve got to get off my ass and do something about it. It’s so easy to lie to ourselves and drown in a pool of negative emotions.
My definition of trying is to give something a go without any passion or certainty around the outcome. Trying, to me, is about telling people you did something so you can look good without really achieving anything at all.
Like nearly every person on the planet, I have a dream and I want to achieve it. I want to reach my own version of success. The trouble is that trying won’t get any of us there.
The word “trying” is closely followed by the words “giving up.”
Next time you think of a goal, think to yourself “do I want to take action or not take action?” That question will get you a lot further in business and in life than the word trying ever will.
Here’s why you need to eliminate trying:
1. Trying equals indecision
I meet people all the time that can’t decide. Deciding is hard work so of course, we avoid it. That’s why we fall into the trap of trying. When we can’t make up our mind, we start trying to achieve goals in the hope that maybe that will move us into either a yes or a no about that goal.
Trying is a way for us to dabble, but we all know that mastery is where it’s at. I met this dude who pitched my his startup (nothing wrong with that.) The only problem was that for the next six months he pitched me six more startups.
I told him to stop trying and stop being indecisive. I told him to make a decision about the startup he wants to do and then just go do it. I told him that if he doesn’t love what this startup does, then he’ll keep trying to convince himself of the lie that the money and success will be worth it.
Guess what? The money and success will never happen if you try. And even if you get the success, it won’t keep you motivated. Again, my advice is simply do or not do.
2. Telling someone you will try is like slapping them in the face
Trying is flat out rude. If I ask you to come to my wedding and you say, “I’ll try” you’re basically telling me my wedding is not important. Telling someone you will try is sending the message that you’ll accept the invitation for now unless something more interesting, critical, joyous, inviting, happy, worthy etc, comes up.
In fact, telling someone you will try is like slapping them in the face and telling them they are worthless. Do you like slapping people in the face?
3. Trying gives you an excuse
Excuses are like cocaine: they motivate us until the point where we realize we’ve lost our mind and we’ve been lying to ourselves. None of us want to be coke addicts so let’s think differently. People that take action, with a sense of purpose, don’t give you excuses about how they tried and it didn’t work. Here are some common excuses I hear:
– I tried but it’s not my time
– I tried but I don’t have enough money
– I tried but he or she just doesn’t like me
– I tried but X event got in my way
If you were told that you were having your first child next week would you make excuses about how you’re not ready? No, you wouldn’t. You would be so excited that you would go out there and do what had to be done. You wouldn’t have time for excuses because there was something more important called “your baby” on the way.
Here is how you overcome the above excuses that lead to the dark place called trying:
– It’s never a good time to do anything pal
– Define enough money. Maybe you are blowing money on useless crap hence the shortage
– How do you know he or she doesn’t like you? Maybe you haven’t demonstrated who you are. Or maybe you need to take more action and see someone else
– Events are always going to get in your way. Assume distractions, detours and catastrophes are going to occur
Rather than try and then use it as an excuse, replace this way of thinking with doing instead. Trying is an excuse for not giving it your all.
“Trying is giving you an excuse before you’ve even started so you can blame the failure on something other than you”
You’re in control and you’ll determine the outcome and the meaning that is derived from that outcome. Once you start speaking about action and stop speaking about trying, people will back you more and you’ll find success is easier than you think.
4. Say no, then you won’t need to try
Half the reason you get stuck trying all the time is because you keep saying yes. If someone asks you to do something and it doesn’t make you say HELL YES then say a big fat no. Don’t get emotional, don’t feel regretful, just say no.
I’ve found that when I have to go into a state of trying it’s because the task was something I should never have begun in the first place. We need to be inspired to do our best work. Doing work with a sense of passion lights us up and makes us achieve more than we thought was possible.
The fewer things you say yes to that don’t align with your goals, the more you get to avoid the awful feeling of “having to try.”
Who wants to try for the hell of it? I sure as hell don’t. I want to be full of energy and change the world. This bold plan can’t be achieved through trying. I can either change the world or I can’t.
There’s no middle ground. I decide. I make the decisions around here. I am good enough not to try and to do instead.
5. Trying makes no sense
Imagine you are going to bungee jump for the first time in your life and the instructor says to you “I’ll try and make sure you survive.” You wouldn’t be too happy with this response.
Imagine you are having heart surgery and the doctor says, “I’ll try and fix your heart, but who knows.”
Is that a surgeon that you wouldn’t want to punch in the face and ask him why he’s not giving it his all?
These scenarios show us that trying is not acceptable. Why should trying not be acceptable when it’s life or death, but be acceptable in everything else we do in life?
You can’t get away with trying. Trying is showing the world that you don’t care and you’ll see how you feel on the day and maybe give a rats about whatever action you’ve been asked to take. Success is about getting serious. Success is about being committed and not settling for second best.
Hold yourself to a higher standard. Commit to taking real action not half-assed, I’ll see how I go on the day BS. Take action or don’t take action. Forget trying.
6. Trying shows a lack of confidence
Confidence comes from being decisive and being able to cut off from all other options and go with your gut.
People who are not confident sit on the fence and think about things until their brain talks them out of it. Your brain can convince you to give up if you give it enough time. Show some confidence, take a risk and commit. Confidence is sexy whereas trying is ugly.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back
Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.
Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:
1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side
Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.
2. Do something that you love
When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all?
Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.
3. Don’t overcomplicate it
Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.
4. Get up and get moving
This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.
5. Reset your focus
It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do.
One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.
6. Listen to your favorite music
Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.
7. Expand your knowledge
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.
If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.
When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.
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