Nov 162017 3 Responses

5 Signs You’re Trying Too Hard

We’ve all seen it.

  • The girl so in love with the guy that instead of looking interested, she looks desperate.
  • The guy so desiring the promotion that instead of serving his boss, he’s continually kissing up.
  • The couple who so wants to be friends that they are planning the group vacation before you’ve even had dinner with them.

Trying too hard. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all probably done it. Maybe our needs weren’t met as a child so it’s a lifelong problem. Maybe we feel undervalued or underappreciated in the moment causing us to show a desperation we don’t normally have. Whatever the cause, trying too hard is never productive. While effort is vital, whenever we come across as trying too hard, our actions will often have the opposite effect of our desired outcome. We want to connect with others, but desperation pushes people away.

It’s a simple principle–always try, but never try too hard. Effort is good, but desperation is damaging.

5 Signs

1. You are losing yourself trying to get what you want. Change demands change so it’s expected that if we want to attain something it will demand some kind of change from us. But there is a difference between making some changes in anticipation of something new and attempting to dramatically change the essence of who we are in order to become worthy of receiving/gaining what we desire.

2. You are compromising your character hoping the ends justify the means. Character matters. In the end, we don’t truly possess many things other than our name. There is nothing worth having which requires us to compromise our key values and principles. The means matter just as much as the ends. If you can’t be proud in how you got something, you shouldn’t be proud in having it. If you are compromising your beliefs, you are trying too hard.

3. You are losing the context of the situation. Circumstances in life are important, but when we are trying too hard we lose sight of the big picture. A single situation becomes all-encompassing. We can’t eat, sleep, or rest without thinking about the situation. We believe our lives will be dramatically hindered if we don’t get the outcome we desire.

4. Your feeling and response are focused on yourself. A group of friends plans a trip; instead of being happy for them, you focus on why you weren’t invited. A co-worker is telling you about a good experience and you respond, “I wish you would have told me so I could’ve been there.” When we can’t feel happy for others because we are focused on ourselves, we are likely trying too hard to fit in or be liked. Every time we aren’t invited to something, we take it personally.

5. You can’t say what you actually think or feel. If you want to say “no” but you find yourself saying “yes,” you are trying too hard. We don’t have to share every opinion, but when we find ourselves hiding our true selves, something is wrong. When we hand control of our lives to other people just so we can get what we want, we are making a trade that isn’t worth it.

How to Try Just Right

The answer to trying too hard is not that we need to stop trying at all. Our focus must be on caring and trying just the right amount. We must be engaged in life without making a single situation or circumstance the ultimate definition of our life.

Here’s how you try just right:

  • Put every situation into the bigger picture of who you are and what’s going on in the world.
  • Admit what you want, but don’t link it to a specific person or outcome.
  • Don’t be afraid of disappointment; life is full of it, but you will be able to overcome.
  • Lean on others to tell you how you are coming across and when you are trying too hard.
  • Trust that as you act, life will be okay.

Trying too hard will never lead to the outcome you want. Yet not trying at all is equally pointless. Engage your heart and mind fully into life, but don’t be desperate.

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