Will Try Harder

I once knew of a man whose surname was Harder. That's not so bad,   there are worse last names.   True. But his parents, whether as ...

I once knew of a man whose surname was Harder.

That's not so bad, there are worse last names. 

True. But his parents, whether as a joke or as an oversight, chose to christen their son Will. Will Harder. Sounds a bit strange with Harder, but not unbearable. Until they added an unusual choice for a middle name: Try.
Will Try Harder.

Will eventually became a newspaper deliveryman. As the story goes, when subscribers complained about the quality of the delivery service, Will simply left them a signed note on the next day's edition: "Will Try Harder."

Some people thought it was a joke. Others were offended. Poor Will was just signing his name. No one, it seemed, took his words seriously. No one expected any real improvement, because Will was just going to "try harder." 

When we say we're trying, we know we're lying. 
(Oh dear, my husband's predilection for rhyming must be rubbing off on me.)

There's a difference between trying to do something and doing it.

Trying assumes impending failure. Doing assumes eventual success.

Nike figured it out and introduced their "Just Do It" advertising campaign with tremendous success. Something about that phrase resonates within us.

Larry the Cable Guy figured it out with his "Get'r done!" routine, inspiring fathers of teenage boys to point to overgrown lawns and overflowing trash cans and say, "get'r done!"

But, if I say "I'm doing it" and fail, I'll look foolish. 
That may be, but as long as you just keep trying, you'll always be failing, never doing

Like the person who daydreams about getting out of debt, but keeps pulling out the credit card.
Or the one who longs to lose weight and tone up, but never exercises or changes eating habits.
The writer who wants to be published, but never sits down and writes the book.

"I'm trying!" We whine, to ourselves and our loved ones.
  • Trying to get control of my temper.
  • Trying to stop oversleeping/overeating/over-fill-in-the-blank.
  • Trying to break off these unhealthy relationships.
  • Trying to finish this project.
What goal, dream, or desire of yours has fallen into the sticky wicket of trying instead of doing?

I'm guilty. It's a lot easier to say "I'm trying" to write a book, than it is to write one. It's easier to say "I'm trying to make better use of my time, but it's just soooo hard!" than it is to put myself on a schedule and stick to it.

If someone asked you the status of that goal or desire of yours, would you send back a "will try harder" note, or would you be able to say "I'm doing it. It's not done yet, but I'm gettin'r done"?

(Nike neon photo by Photon@Flicker.com, get'r done photo by zampano!!!@Flickr.com, newspaper delivery boy from blogs.ocweekly.com, whining comic from gapingvoid.com)

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  1. Wise words, my Inky sister.

    A boy that went to school with my daughter has the handle... Michael Weichel (it rhymes).


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