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“To try or not to try, that is the question.” 

There are articles to endorse every opinion, studies to prove every theory. It’s easy to find stories about how trying hard worked and stories about how it didn’t. I’m almost finished writing the latter. We’ll soon move on to what does work. 

Until then … 

Years ago, two friends, both talented singers, moved to Nashville around the same time. Both women were determined to make albums for a living, but only one received a record deal. If I had had to guess which one got it, I would have chosen the other friend because it appeared she tried harder. 

The same happened with writer friends who submitted articles and book proposals. A couple of them got published easily while some of the ones who tried harder finally gave up after years. 

All of them received all sorts of advice deemed good when it worked, bad if it didn’t. Since I wrote for a living, I tried hard to separate the two. Was it better to be pushy with a publisher or patient? Did being a stickler for details work best or should I loosen up and write freely? Did talent outdo tenacity or the other way around?

In general, was it better to … 

Shut up or speak up?

Step back or step up? 

Be still or be productive?

Act self-assured or humble?

Detach or help at the risk of enabling?

Try harder or let go?

When a friend posted about how she tried hard and attained her goal, and you and I could too if we tried hard like her, I only felt a slight urge to straighter her out. I scrolled fast, though, and it passed. 

I’m guessing at some point, I wrote blog posts that said the same thing. But after 40 years of trying hard and feeling tired instead of triumphant, she would have been hard pressed to convince me. 

Can anyone else relate? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, I’d like to think you’re in good company with friends who’ve sent private messages and ones in the comment section below.

In This Together, 

I have something for you!


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