How to Accomplish Anything

Stop trying is the answer.

So how is it going with your New Year’s Resolutions?  Here we are – week 3 of the new year and my resolution is going great.  I decided to stop trying anything for 2012 (and for the rest of my life).  Why?  Because trying is a state of mind and it is a trap for losing and aggravation – or as I like to say it in a fancy way (I like to say a lot of things in a fancy way) – willfully engaging in a prolonged struggle that will lead to certain failure.

I learned this from one of my favorite coaches – my 3rd grade son.

He came home from school the other day with his (or should I say OUR) homework.  New for this year, he has to grade his own assignments on a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the best.  I asked him how he thought he did on his assignments and he said a 3.  I asked him what he thought he could have done to make him feel like he did “4” work.  Surprisingly he had 3 specific things he thought he could have done (I was blown away!).  I asked him that since he knew what he could do to be a 4, if he was going to do 3 or a 4 work with his next assignment.  He said he would try to be a 4.  This struck my coaching chord in me.

I put a pencil down on the kitchen table and asked him to try to pick it up.  Of course, he picked it up easily.  I asked him “did you try to pick it up?”  he said “Yes”.  I said, “No, doing it is not trying – that’s doing it”.  I put the pencil down and asked him to try to pick it up again (I had no idea where this was going to go with my 8 year old – but I was game to see where it would lead).  This time, he did nothing- didn’t even move.  I asked him “did you try to pick it up?”  he said “No”.  I said, “You did nothing, that’s not trying, that is doing nothing”.  I put the pencil down and asked him to try to pick it up again.  This time he gave an Oscar worthy performance of trying to pick up the pencil but pretending it was too heavy to budge.  I laughed out loud – how cute is he??  I asked him “did you try to pick it up?”  he said “Yes”.  I said, “You didn’t pick it up – you engaged in a pretend struggle”.  Then it hit me – he was still confused as ever – but I often have that effect on my kids!  But I was crystal clear . . .

I explained to my son that there are only 3 courses of action when you think you want something – and the first step is to make a decision if you truly want it.  Decide to either have it, not have it, or to willfully engage in a struggle (i.e. trying to have it).  If you decide to have something (4 level work in my son’s case), then have it.  Maybe it won’t work out on your first attempt – so you can either go on struggling with how you first thought it could work (isn’t that the definition of insanity?  doing something the same way over and over again expecting a different result), or come up with new ideas and plans in your quest to be or have what you decided.  Persistence is key!  On the flip side – there is no shame in deciding not to do something – just make the decision and move on – guilt free – it is certainly smarter than struggling.

So this year, when I catch myself in a struggle I am putting some money in a “struggle free or get rich in 2012” can.  Did I mention I am a master in “win/win” scenarios?  I have decided there will be very little cash in there by the end of the year!

About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

Comments & Feedback:

  1. Gina,

    I love this post and your message. What a way to lead by example with your son. Trying vs doing is a trap so many fall into. I also find that deciding and then “allowing” instead of pushing is quite effective.

    Write on!~

    Lisa Manyon

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