â€œTryÂ Harderâ€ is something thatÂ oftenÂ comes into my mind; often because IÂ need toÂ remindÂ myself, lessÂ so thatÂ I feelÂ theÂ need to explain what it means to some unspecified listener.
Sometimes wisdom comes in tiny one or two-word packages that can take years toÂ unpackÂ and appreciate. Imagine struggling against a problem or goal,Â be itÂ physical or academic, real or virtual, reaching the end of your wits, thenÂ turning to someone for a suggestionÂ and receiving only â€œTry Harderâ€Â asÂ advice. I can think of a fewÂ colorfulÂ two-word replies to that seemingly dismissive response. Letâ€™s assumeÂ though thatÂ itâ€™s not dismissive. Letâ€™s assume it is whatâ€™s required.
The simple act of tryingÂ harder meansÂ focusingÂ your effort. It’sÂ not necessarily brute forcingÂ your way through a problem or project, butÂ beingÂ more mindful of the goal.Â Not all endeavors require an aggressive redoubling of effort.
ConsiderÂ meditation, forÂ example:
At itâ€™s core meditation is a practice of calming the mind,Â and forcefully tryingÂ harderÂ to meditate is obviouslyÂ counterproductive.Â IfÂ an effort to calm the mind results in an internal shouting match consisting of you yelling at your mind to shut up, the point is lost.Â Mindfully tryingÂ harder means matching the appropriate method to the task at hand. In this case,Â trying harder toÂ calm the mind may involve conjuring exceptional patience with yourself as you struggle to actuallyÂ not do something.
Sometimes, however,Â TryÂ HarderÂ is exactly that. Bear down and push, go beyond your comfort zone, go to that place youâ€™re afraid of. There’s rest at the end, but you have to get there first. In physical fitness,Â itÂ couldÂ be liftingÂ moreÂ than you ever have by focusing on technique, orÂ it might beÂ running faster than your best time by not giving in to thatÂ internalÂ voice sayingÂ â€œIt’s okay toÂ quit.“
Try HarderÂ meansÂ discipline, progressions, perseverance. Ten minutes of focus today, eleven tomorrow, fourteen the day after;Â 100lbs overhead today, 120 next week, 175 five weeksÂ later. EvenÂ whenÂ there are setbacks you keep trying harder,Â you keepÂ fighting to keep or gain ground.
Tracking progress and effort is key to growth. If you donâ€™t know where youâ€™re at or where youâ€™ve been,Â how can you have anyÂ clearÂ ideaÂ ofÂ where youâ€™re going?
ThisÂ allÂ takes effort. None of this is easy. All of this requires you toÂ Try Harder.