Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Fly That Wouldn't Quit - Part 2

"Sooner or later you're going to reach the point where you can't try any harder. It may be that your spirit flags, or that your physical and mental resources are stretched to the limit. And often, well before you come to that set of circumstances, you reach the point of diminishing return-trying harder and harder starts producing less and less. Sometimes, in fact, intensifying your efforts produces nothing except bigger problems.

As a case in point, go back to the story of the fly. That little insect could have turned away from the window 180 degrees and followed the path of least resistance as it flew to the open door. A quantum leap to freedom. Ten seconds of effortless flight would have produced total success, while hours of frustration and panic spent beating its wings against the glass were destined to end fruitlessly in death on the dusty windowsill.

Now this is not an argument against self-discipline or persistence. Those are virtues. Over a lifetime they can make a powerful contribution to success and achievement.

They are fundamental to the development of your talents. It's extremely important to apply yourself diligently, and sometimes "staying power" is what delivers a big win.

But ordinarily you will find that trying harder produces only incremental gains, not quantum leaps. Also keep in mind that trying harder sometimes offers little more than a straight path to burnout. Attempting to succeed through "more of the same," being resolute, and relying on committed effort, can blind you to better pathways.

If you want to make a quantum leap, quit thinking about trying harder. More effort isn't [always] the answer."

-Price Pritchett

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