6 Reasons Why Trying is Not Enough

What we think, we become.

We’ve been told “try your hardest” and “do your best” ever since we were kids, but we’ve yet to learn that trying isn’t always enough. This is perplexing: if you’ve already done your best, what else can you do? You need to reach beyond yourself and do something for someone else that you ordinarily wouldn’t. You need to turn to yourself to find the strength needed to really make a change. Here are 6 reasons we need to do more than try.

Sometimes Our Best Isn’t Good Enough


Our best is great in ordinary circumstances. What is more, we often give a lot less than the best we’re capable of, doing only what’s needed to complete a job or task. And it’s enough. However, it’s possible to find yourself in unusual or even extraordinary circumstances, in which even your best won’t cut it. In such abnormal circumstances, you will need to give it an extra push, to go beyond your “best.”

We read and learn about people who did what had to be done in extraordinary situations, not just their best, and applaud them. Still, hundreds of thousands of people around the world do what is required, but don’t get the press’ attention, and we never find out about them. Sometimes a person might help someone push their stuck car off the road to a safer place. That person didn’t have to help, but they did.

First Think, Then Act


W. Edwards Deming put forth something of a reverse call to action: “Don’t act – stand there.” This doesn’t seem to make sense at first. The quote is actually related to the tendency of “tampering” – looking for solutions to an issue without knowing what the actual issue is.

We observe this often in organizations. Managers are told their job is to take action and do so even in the absence of the knowledge needed to make the best decision. They do something instead of just standing there. One of the most valuable skills we can develop is saying “I don’t know” and then taking the time to learn rather than act and end up making what may turn out to be a bad choice.

You Need to be Prepared

Do you know first aid and CPR? Can you put out a fire? Do you have a fire extinguisher in your house or car? How do you use it? If you witnessed a car accident, what would you do? Most importantly, do you see how doing your best in these situations might not cut it? These situations happen to people. They can happen to you too.


True, you might never find yourself in a situation where you need to do more than your best. By being prepared, your best becomes even better. You can step forward and do what has to be done, which is a great deal more than what others are capable of. You might even save a life. By being prepared and knowledgeable, you can make a difference while bystanders stare in shock.

Best Efforts can do Damage

While no one could argue against the value of best efforts, they can do lots of damage in the absence of guidance and reliable principles. Using the intellectual potential of everyone involved in an effort is the only way to work on the factors doing damage to a person or organization. In the realm of business, there are frequently too many things to address. You can’t leave everything to a small group of people.

Organizations that see managers as thinkers and staff as actors and tools are rarely successful. By taking away someone’s ability to think and create, you destroy their motivation. You waste their abilities and potential. This tendency is reflected in our personal lives as well.

Mental Fortitude: We are What We Think

Mental fortitude comes from within. This governs the discipline to do what is required, not simply your best, and the will to go on despite obstacles and challenges. We are not born with a strong mind and spirit; we develop them. Most of us wouldn’t go out of our way to look for risk and we don’t need to; the daily grind suffices.

Things can (and do) go wrong every day. Instead of complaining, move forward. When the going gets tough, it’s no time to whine or make excuses. Challenges make us stronger. This might not help, but it definitely won’t hurt in a time of duress. Others will start seeing you as a person with a “can do” attitude, which is becoming a rarity in this day and age.

If all You do is try, Failure Will Deter You From Persisting

We now come back to the quote at the beginning of the article. Some people think they have no limitations and charge full-on. Accomplished people share a profound understanding of their realistic limitations and work on improving them, which ensures consistent and sustainable success over the long term. When you try, you can fail, but that’s not what matters. What matters is recovering and trying again, this time equipped with the right attitude and approach.

The above isn’t always true. Sometimes failure shows us certain things are just not for us. Nobody is perfect at everything and even on the off chance that such a person existed, we wouldn’t want to be around them. Realizing something isn’t right for you should not crush your ego. It’s a recurring phenomenon in our existence that we learn to cope with.

Final Thoughts

Winston S. Churchill once said, “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” This article has shed light on what he meant. Few people could argue with this great politician, whose words aligned with his actions. It is hard to dispute the verity of the views of people who not only think before they act, but also face challenges with the right attitude.