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July 5, 2013


The other day I wrote about feeling as if I were in a funk and ended up feeling better after I wrote about it (another tremendous benefit I’ve found in blogging daily). Although I no longer feel as if I am in that frame of mind, I am sort of lacking focus today. Maybe the humidity and +90 degree weather we’re experiencing have something to do with it (ya think?)

In any regard, I’m finding it difficult to stay focused today and to keep my mind on the task at hand, something we all experience from time to time. So what do I do? I try harder to focus. That’s what I should do, right? Well, then why is it that the harder I try to focus, the more difficult it becomes?

I’ve noticed something very similar when I bowl at times. “You’re trying too hard,” my team mates shout in unison. “Trying too hard,” I ask myself, is that truly possible?

You BET it is. Trying too hard is pushing beyond what feels natural and people do it very often in many different situations. If you try and research trying too hard on the web, most of what you will find relates to trying too hard to impress other people. Sometimes it is obvious by the way a person dresses. They spend too much money on attempting to make a positive impact by choosing fancy or expensive clothing. An example would be someone uber-focused on dressing for success. Rather than relying on their natural ability and positive qualities and qualifications to get the job, they rely on material items to sell themselves to a prospective employer. Bad choice!

Ladies, we’ve pretty much all experience the guy who tries too hard to impress on the first date. You all know what I’m talking about here – this is the guy who pretty much talks about all his achievements and successes in his life, beginning with when he first learned how to talk and walk, ad-nauseum, throughout dinner. I’m pretty sure he continues well beyond dinner, but this is the time I usually remember how early of a morning I have coming up and how I have to call it a night.

Trying REALLY hard

Trying REALLY hard

Yep….trying too hard hurts us in many ways.

So why do we do try and force something that ought to come naturally? What makes us feel as if overkill will help the situation?

Well, to begin with, I don’t know that we feel as if it really is overkill at the time we’re doing the over-killing. I think we are just feeling frustrated because we’re not able to get ourselves into the groove in a way that feels smooth or natural so we try and push harder. And of course, as soon as we do that, we’ve crossed over the line between behaving naturally and trying too hard.

Some of us can sense that sooner than later. Those that sense it late, push even harder and cross further over that line than others. Then, there are some situations that cause us to feel more pressure than others, either because we are in a hurry, or maybe it is very important to us, or sometimes, other people impose the pressure on us, as is the case with deadlines and due dates.

One of the ways we attempt to relieve that pressure is to try harder to get things done and again, the line between trying harder and trying too hard is a very fine one, so it is easy to cross it.

And in my attempting to be objective about this phenomenon, I cannot think of a single instance when trying too hard ends positively. I found just the opposite, actually. By trying too hard, we blow it…we are not successful at all.



If we want to be successful, we will need to find more appropriate ways to manage pressure and stress so we don’t resort to pushing too hard. By remaining calm and collected, we can feel freer to be more natural and to rely on our abilities and maybe even learn to trust in a force greater than ourselves to help set things right.

So, just for the heck of it, I tried to stay very smooth and natural this past week when I bowled with my league, and no kidding, I bowled more than 30 pins over my average for all 3 games. It made spares galore, even a few pretty amazing splits, and I finished the night with the highest series I’ve ever bowled!

I know it works….Sigh. Here’s to our being able to trust the process more often and just be who we are able to be, without having to try too hard.


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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