The common mistake I’ve noticed with people is that, when they try accomplishing a task or getting work done, they often confuse working hard with trying hard. And, for this reason, most people end up biting off more than they can chew, or simply make a mess out of everything.
(I’m a firm believer in keeping things simple, don’t know about you, but it gets the job done.)
For instance, I once saw this movie, and initially, I thought it was quite interesting–the first twenty minutes were chucklesome, the characters were charming, and it had a blend of mystery.
An hour in, I was both bored and confused. The story lacked direction and it was difficult determining the genre (which at this juncture, had a blend of comedy, mystery, crime, and romance, all in one film).
(I’m no critic, but movie producers try too hard nowadays. Sometimes, it is difficult to lay your finger on the central message–which has been substituted for visual effects, charismatic characters, and unnecessary plot twists–case in point, Nolan’s Tenet.)
Just an example.
Not everything has to be mind-numbing or complicated — which is naturally what happens when we try hard–it can distort our creativity from actualizing what is real, and can make things appear disorganized even when we are working tirelessly to achieve the opposite.
The 80/20 Rule Abuse
A rule we are quite familiar with but don’t bother to use (or we use it wrongly). The idea that 80 percent of our result comes from 20 percent of our effort sometimes sounds like child’s play, because for us, the world can’t be that simple. We always want to believe that: If things are not complicated then it’s probably too good to be true.
Well, that is not always the case if you know what you are doing, and, if you can figure out the 20 percent effort that can yield 80 percent result rather than trying to increase the number of your efforts without getting any result at all (or getting one that is embarrassing).
When working or engaging in activities, please keep these things in mind to avoid being a try-hard:
· The goal: It is good to fall in love with the process of your work rather than always focusing on the goal or result but it shouldn’t mean that the goal, in question, can’t be acknowledged often (how else would you know what you are working for?). Having a goal in mind is what sharpens our work, keeping us from overdoing things. Another thing to consider: If you’ve established multiple goals for a single work routine or process, it is reasonable to tackle them separately, each with their respective routines. (Taking on multiple goals with a single process is simply trying too hard to get to nowhere, and no, it doesn’t make you stronger, it only allows you to procrastinate and burnout. For more on this see this guide.)
· Strengthen your relationship with reality: Question, how would you rate your level of realism from 1–10(being the highest)? If your answer falls within 1–9, then you are not as realistic as you think. Being real shouldn’t be a fifty-fifty thing, it should be everything. This does not mean you must be perfect or unimaginative, no, it simply means you must be natural. Act natural, work natural, everything you do should be natural. Several ways of achieving this are: Making things supple and tender, instead of heavy and complex; working with a flow, style, or rhythm that is unique to you; paying attention to details and observing nature; using real facts to guide your work, instead of making things up. When you act real–always aligned with nature and utilizing real fact–you don’t come across as a try-hard. You’d feel original, and others would be drawn to your originality and nature, either through your work, or your presence.
· Too many changes: Is overdoing things. Keep them minimal. I know we read a lot of self-help books and listen to self-help chaplains always giving sermons about change, but it’s not everything you can change, can you? If you can, perhaps you should stop reading now and allow the humans talk. Change is good, but sometimes we are forced into it, or we simply do too much. And, trying to force change (or having too much of it) can spell disaster in the long run.
· Eliminate so many options: Millennials or Gen Zs won’t like to hear this, but too much of everything is bad. I want this, I want that, shifts your focus away from what’s truly important. The reason we try hard is often as a result of misplaced priorities caused by an array of choices. The issue remains that: We find it difficult separating what we want from what we need–a cliché people care less about. (Well you should care if you are looking to achieve success in anything, or if you plan on staying close to reality as much as possible.)
Work overtime when you have to, work multiple jobs if you are trying to keep up with paying the bills, but learn to channel your effort and resources the right way to avoid overworking yourself. Working overtime or taking on multiple jobs should be done with a purpose or goal in mind, or else it would be all for nothing.
Happy New Year!