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Trying Harder Only Gets More of the Same

Dan Rockwell is a well-known blogger who offers insightful and brief leadership tips through his blog entitled “Leadership Freak.” Most self-improvement tips are timeless. Using a biking analogy, he wrote about why pedaling faster doesn’t work. Most people feel that if they move faster or work harder, it will solve whatever they are trying to achieve.


 

“Trying harder only works for people who aren’t really trying. More of the same produces more of the same.”– Dan Rockwell

 

He offered five simple tips to focus on instead:

1. Solve the right problem and stop obsessing over symptoms.

Most people confuse problems with symptoms. If you set a goal and don’t hit it, that is the symptom, not the problem.

2. Define behaviors that lead to problems.

Behaviors can be changed. The more consistent you are with the change, the more likely it will create a habit. What are you, or others, doing or not doing to cause your current situation? What can you then modify in your behavior to create the change to solve the problem?

3. Recognize frustrations that are recurring.

When you walk in the forest and start noticing the same landmarks, you don’t know you keep going in the same direction until you do. When you realize you are in a continual loop, change direction. Frustration is the beginning of hope.

4. The best solution is most often the simplest.

I’m sure most of us have been faced with a malfunctioning computer where we’ve tried everything, only to call the IT department and have them ask, “Have you tried turning it off and then back on to reset it?” Don’t overcomplicate things.

5. Try something else.

We all know the definition of insanity, but have you heard of Kaplan’s Law of the Instrument? “Give a boy a hammer, and everything he meets has to be pounded.” In other words, if your only tool is a hammer, all your problems look like nails. What can you change that might work towards a better result? What other tools can you use out of your toolbox?


BONUS TIP: Go off the rails (bike pun intentional). Make a more drastic change.


 

“Painting the bike red or adding racing stripes looks cool but won’t actually make it go faster. “– Jennifer Paperman

 

If you tire of trying harder only to get the same results, try these tips and let us know how it goes.


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