I always hear the same thing from good people who want to feel better about failure. They say “I’m trying or I tried.” They might say, “I’m doing my best or I did my best.” While I agree that we need to avoid injuring our ego (or in layman’s terms avoid beating ourselves up), I think it’s important to make a distinction between trying and actually doing.
Let’s talk about the journey. Whether it is college, vocational training, sports, or even trial and error in everyday life, we are all on a journey to grow. That includes our physical fitness and our physical health, as well as our mental and emotional well-being. I would also include our spiritual health, as well as relationships with friends and loved ones. Again, we are all on a journey that requires learning and growth, so we should make some mistakes in order to gain the experience we need. That experience converts directly into wisdom, so we typically have to make those mistakes to improve. Let’s keep in mind throughout this article that I’m not beating people up who are still on the journey. I’m not poking anyone in the eye who gets up every day, puts forth a valiant effort, and gains something in return. This article is about something else entirely.
An old crusty Sergeant once told me, “Trying is nothing more than failing and making a whole lot more noise.” I think about those words every time I hear someone complain that they tried. If we use that word in the past tense, “we tried or I tried,” it almost always indicates that we failed and we’re just trying to feel better about failure. I tend to ask the following question when I hear those words. So what are you doing next? It really is about setting realistic goals, achieving small milestones, and continuing on the journey toward greatness.
There’s a huge debate about minimum wage earners needing a living income, and I can’t agree more that $8 to $10 an hour makes it almost impossible to exist, unless you still live at home with Mom and you’re able to catch a ride to work. In essence, those good folks on minimum wage are dependent on other people for shelter and transportation in most cases. It is a difficult financial situation. I bring that point up because it seems like there are politicians, as well as individuals supporting those politicians, who expect the government to just fix these things. It seems like they have given up on self-improvement and self-reliance. They indicate that “we have tried to make a living,” but in truth they’re saying they don’t have the skills or education to get a better job. As an expert in personal development, as well as professional development, I’ve helped many people with career counseling, personal drive, and motivation. I have coached good people on finding jobs through networking. It is hard. The real question is what will you do? If your answer is to rely on the government, then be prepared for a long wait indeed.
When I look at it the rate of overweight and obese individuals in the United States, it is shocking to me. Sixty percent of Americans are overweight or obese. I have been blessed with a high metabolism and a life that’s been centered around some form of physical fitness, so I don’t understand these challenges. I am not an expert at being overweight or obese. I would never judge anyone because they are overweight or obese. But let me reiterate that there is a difference between trying and doing. If you’re on the journey to lose weight, to get healthy, and to feel better, then you’re already a winner. Well done…you are doing it. As long as you choose to never give up, to be hardworking, and dedicated, you will succeed. As a personal trainer certified with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, I feel confident that I have the ability to help most people make great improvements in their lives, and I can help all people make small improvements in their lives. I help them with a change in eating habits and physical activity. In short, I know what it takes, and it is a hard, long road, but it is possible. What will you do?
This article was written for a fitness and martial arts website, so when it comes to our self-defense and personal preparedness, the average person does little or nothing. I see videos every single day of kids getting bullied in school, and their peers are videoing the assault on their cell phones instead of helping. I see good Americans making simple mistakes, bad decisions, and getting into trouble that results in violence and injury or death. I ask myself why they didn’t come prepared. Why didn’t that individual do more to defend his or her life? I shake my head that no one steps forward to help. We have never been so alone as we are today. We must become self-reliant.
So what will we do when the time comes for self-defense? If all else fails, God has given us subconscious or unconscious systems of protection. One of those systems is to simply run away. Another is to fall down and assume the fetal position to protect the vital organs. Couldn’t we do better than that? Shouldn’t we be a little better prepared? I submit that after physical abuse, sometimes the first thing that comes out of the victim’s mouth is, “I tried to talk my way out of it.” They might even say, “I tried to defend myself.” I believe them. I’m confident they did the best they could because their life and well-being depended on it, but much like an individual who is struggling with obesity, or struggling with a low-paying job, I wonder if they have put in the time and effort to be better prepared. I wonder if they’ve taken the time to research a local gym to get stronger and in better shape. I wonder if they’ve taken the time to check out the local boxing gym or martial arts studio. I wonder if they have considered training with firearms for self-defense. This could come across as a shameless plug for my business, but I hope you will see the truth of my intent. When it comes to our health, be it financial, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, or any other facet thereof, let’s all agree that trying is not enough. Let’s decide today that we are doing what it takes. It takes one choice made with absolute conviction to get on the path of doing and off the path of trying.
Let’s define that. What does it mean when I say doing what it takes? We must have motivation, or we won’t make the effort. Motivation doesn’t last long, so we have to develop habits. Even with good habits, oftentimes we run out of steam or get to the end of the line and don’t know where to go, so we need goals. Even with solid goals sometimes we find ourselves unable to meet those goals at first, so we need determination. Therein is the basis for achieving anything in life.
Ask yourself, do you have the motivation? Will you put in the effort? Have you developed healthy habits? Are there established goals that are actually written down somewhere and reviewed periodically, and do you have the intestinal fortitude, even the relentless drive, that it takes to be determined to get it done?
If so, you aren’t trying, you are doing, and I applaud you. If not, then I hope this article speaks to you. Let us all stop making excuses and start getting things done. I have faith in you. I know you can. You’re cut from the same cloth that I am. We are all children of God made in his image. I pray this has been helpful and that these words might inspire those who read it.
Even Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try.”