“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I’m not sure who taught me that catchy saying, but I grew up believing it.
Then I lived for a while.
I started to see that the way I applied the maxim was dooming me to failure. It was like I was standing on one side of the Grand Canyon and attempting to leap it, only to tumble (of course) into the abyss. Repeatedly. Heroically. Stupidly.
Until someone showed me a better way: training. Training is very different from trying.
Trying attempts giant leaps forward. Training takes tiny steps, trusting that over time we’ll become entirely different kinds of people instead of just the same people doing new things.
Trying says, “I have to overcome this huge obstacle through the force of my mighty will.” Training acknowledges the limits of our tiny, little wills and asks them to just point our minds toward role models who exemplify what we long to be. And maybe to get our bodies to be in a spot where something good might happen (like, out of bed).
Trying focuses on what I can or can’t do now. Training aims to change me into the kind of person who can do something I’d never been capable of before.
This principle applies to many areas of our lives, but it’s particularly true when it comes to becoming an essential person in chaotic times. You don’t become safe and sane for others around you by trying harder. You do it by training, by replacing harmful habits with helpful habits.
Stop trying. Start training. That’s the only way you’ll become your best self.