"Lydia's Challenge"… (i.e. TRYING = Winning In The Moment!)

Thank you, Lydia, for the hard challenge in your comments yesterday.  For those of you who missed it, here is what Lydia had to say about my thoughts on "TRYING":

I’m not even going to read this post after seeing that dirty three-letter word in the headline. Once you introduce the word “try” into the equation, you’ve already conceded failure. You are acknowledging that you might not be successful. You are allowing yourself to fail. If you are only going to try again, you can bet you will not succeed tomorrow either. This has nothing to do with fist pumping, false bravado, or harsh words. This has to do with the conviction that you will be successful when you do something. That doesn’t mean that you may not have to find another way to reach your goal, but it does not leave any room for failure as the the word “try” does.

I did an experiment this morning at my 6:30 am Triathlon spin class. After warming up to the point where there was already a little puddle of sweat under my bike, we got into the real work of the class, a series of 18 intervals w/ a 3-minute recovery after the first 12. At one point, I was doing really great, feeling really great, riding strong, and feeling happy, thinking about the effort Olympians and pro cyclists invest in their sports. Then, I let a couple of less than positive memories enter my consciousness. Instantly, it was harder to pedal and I wanted to ease up on the tension, slow my cadence. I realized what I was doing to myself and recognizing how these thoughts got in the way of my performance earlier in the summer. As soon as I consciously shifted my thinking back to successful models, the workout once again became joyous, the pedals spun a little faster, the tension didn’t feel so heavy and I finished an ass-kicking 60-minute workout with a smile even though I was panting for breath, my heart-rate monitor was red-lining, and there were two puddles of sweat on the floor under the bike.

I contend that courage is truly, deeply believing you will accomplish whatever you’ve set yourself to do and absolutely not allowing the tiniest doubt.

There is no try. There is only do. –Yoda

Lydia, I agree!  I agree!  I agree!

HOWEVER!

I think that there are a few contributing factors to success.  You have written brilliantly about the mental aspects of being successful.  Being mentally prepared for success is amazing, but a proper mindset about failure is also VERY healthy -- and necessary.

Failure is a reality of life.  In spite of conviction and confidence, the biggest successes of all time have experienced failure -- repeated, egregious failures:

  • Abraham Lincoln failed at farming, being a store owner, a senator, and pretty much everything else...
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his High School basketball team...
  • Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 filament sources before inventing our light bulb...
  • Lance Armstrong has lost more Tour de France races than he has won...

I think we would ALL agree that these individuals listed above could be noted as the leading SUCCESSES in each of their respective fields...  Perhaps leading successes of ALL TIME!

What's the disconnect then?

Most of us would agree that failure (or learning from our mistakes...) makes us stronger.  That's a cognitive process that we often vocalize.  However, it is unhealthy and many times fatal to deny the possibility of failure.  I have witnessed the crushing blow of failure to be so mentally taxing that for some individuals to "try again" was almost impossible -- the WILL to TRY was broken.

I agree that the "I will TRY" excuse is overused and frankly an escape mechanism for just not wanting to put in the necessary effort...  It usually lacks the conviction and WILL to fight through failures to accomplish that "there is only do mantra" that you referenced...

"I equate trying to "winning in the moment"... (DEWism)

You have heard people talk about focusing on the "journey" rather than the "destination"....  In the rough-and-tumble world that I live work in, TRYING is the next step down the journey to success.  I can not control the universe beyond myself, but I can control my response to the forces that affect my WILL to survive and flourish...

KUDOS, Lydia!  You have made me think about WINNING in the moment -- my desire to TRY and the mental discipline to accept nothing other than excellence from myself...