The Fallacy of Try

A year ago when I was doing the certification for Parisi Speed School of RI, Bill Parisi, the founder of the franchise, used a pencil to bring home the point about trying.  He held a pencil in his outreached and open hand and asked me to take the pencil.  I did.  He said put it back, and said don’t take the pencil.  So I didn’t.  Next he said ‘Try” to take the pencil.  I took the pencil, which was not trying to take the pencil, but actually taking it.  If I didn’t take the pencil, then I was actually not taking it.  The take home point is there is no try.  There is either you do, or you don’t.  Try is something we manufacture up in our brain, when we need some self reassurance that it is okay to fail, or to give up.  I tried and I can’t.  I have written previously about the dreaded “C” word, and how it limits what we allow ourselves to achieve and it is all just mental garbage we concoct for one reason or another, when we don’t want to put the effort that is required to actually do and accomplish a task.  It isn’t that you cannot achieve something, it is because you won’t.

One of the most often under looked performance enhancers is mindset. Carol Dweck, a Stanford Professor has done tremendous research into this phenomenon, and wrote a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of success. Through her work she has shown how a person’s mindset sets the stage for their goals, either performance or learning related. If you are stuck on a performance goal, and you are afraid you won’t get it, you will avoid all the challenging work it takes to get there. Whereas if you have a learning goal, you will pursue interesting and challenging tasks in order to learn more.

Your personal viewpoint about your own intelligence and/or abilities has a significant impact on your motivation, effort, and approach to challenges. Are you a victim of the tyranny of now? Do you run from difficulty? If yes, it’s not that you can’t, it’s probably more of you won’t. Whether you have a fixed vs. growth mindset shows how what may be what is holding you back are your own perception and thoughts of your own abilities, and what you could potentially achieve, with a concentrated effort. If you believe you and your abilities are malleable you are more likely to embrace challenges and persist despite failure.

If we look at this in regards to the gym, a fixed mindset may try something, and then say they can’t, and keep “trying” but never get it, because in the back of their head they cannot, when really they won’t or don’t want to put the effort it is to actually attain something.  This person sees the outcome as the reward. A growth mindset will see the process as the reward, with the actual outcome, the cherry on top, and will be totally happy, if they never get that cherry.  They will attack the necessary steps needed to potentially accomplish their goal.  In time, they will get it, but it may take time.

The Level Method Map is perfect for growth mindset focused individuals. It first of all gives you a concrete definition of your starting point in 15 categories, and it also gives you a clear and decisive path to where you need to go to get to any performance goal you may have. And each step of the way is a learning process. How do you get there? Maybe you need to get stronger. Maybe you need to lose some body fat. Maybe you need to put more in focus when you are at the gym. Maybe you need to increase your total effort, the number of times you go to the gym, how hard you work when you are there. Maybe you have to be open to just being coached. Maybe you need some one on one work.  Maybe you seek the help of someone with more knowledge from you and embrace learning. The beauty of it all is that you can see the path and you can chart your progress on the Map, step by step.

This same thing can be applied to your own health. Do you see yourself as a fat person and nothing you do will ever change that, or do you see yourself as a future fit and healthy person? Do you start nutrition programs, “try”, only to have a setback and then dive off the deep end, and continue to move further away from your goal or do you have a setback, and get right back up on the horse the minute after?  Many people “try” to lose weight.  If I asked any person if chips, cookies, and cake was healthy, almost everyone would say no.  Then why do they gravitate towards it, and make poor decisions.  It all starts with the psychology of the starting point and where you see yourself now, and where you see yourself six months from now.  Not where you want to see you, but where you actually see yourself.  The dream is not your vision, your mental image of yourself six months down the road is.  This is why those who succeed, use failing efforts as just learning experiences to make them more successful in the future?  (The ProCoach nutrition program dives down deep into the psychology of why you make the choices you do.  Maybe you need the guidance, and the accountability to make the changes so your vision becomes the reality.  From now until Christmas I am opening up 5 spots, so if interested check out more info here!)

As we approach the holidays and a time of consuming an excess and and putting our goals, and ourselves in the background, in preparation for the New Year and all the resolutions that may come with it, think about where you are at, and where you truly see yourself.  If you truly see yourself somewhere, the holidays won’t be a challenge or obstacle in the way to your success, because the change is going to start now.  Don’t let the holidays be just another excuse in the book of excuses of how you tried to accomplish a goal, but couldn’t.  Change your mindset, start looking at things from a different perspective, one in which you and your abilities are malleable. Know that you can be molded any way you want to put your mind to. You have the ability to shape yourself and your future. The only thing it is going to require is a strong mind and a strong effort!