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Beyond Trying: Embracing the "Do Harder" Philosophy


Christopher E. Maynard


In a world where the emphasis is often placed on trying harder, a simple yet profound shift in perspective can make a significant difference in achieving success. This realization dawned on me during a recent conversation with a past employee, who was grappling with the challenges posed by new processes implemented by his current manager. As he vowed to try harder, I found myself offering a different piece of advice: "Don't try harder, do harder." This statement, though brief, encapsulates a powerful philosophy that can transform the way we approach our personal and professional lives.

The Limitations of "Trying Harder"

The concept of trying harder is deeply ingrained in our culture. It suggests that if we put in more effort, we will inevitably reach our goals. However, this approach has its limitations. Trying harder often implies a repetition of the same actions, expecting different results. It can lead to frustration and a sense of inadequacy when the desired outcomes are not achieved. Trying harder focuses on the intention rather than the execution, which can create a gap between our aspirations and our accomplishments.

Embracing the "Do Harder" Philosophy

The shift from "trying harder" to "doing harder" is subtle yet significant. It emphasizes action and results over mere effort. Doing harder means not just increasing the quantity of effort but also enhancing the quality of our actions. It involves critically evaluating our strategies, learning from our failures, and making tangible changes to improve our performance.

  • Clarity of Purpose: To do harder, we must have a clear understanding of our goals and the reasons behind them. This clarity helps us stay focused and motivated, even when faced with challenges.

  • Strategic Planning: Instead of blindly putting in more effort, doing harder requires us to plan our actions strategically. This means identifying the most effective methods to achieve our goals and allocating our resources accordingly.

  • Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is crucial for doing harder. We must be willing to reassess our approaches and make adjustments as needed, rather than stubbornly sticking to the same plan.

  • Resilience: Doing harder involves pushing through setbacks and maintaining a positive attitude. Resilience helps us stay committed to our goals, even when the going gets tough.

  • Accountability: Holding ourselves accountable for our actions is a key aspect of doing harder. It means taking responsibility for our results, whether good or bad, and using them as a learning opportunity.

The Impact of Doing Harder

Embracing the "do harder" philosophy can have a profound impact on various aspects of our lives. In the workplace, it can lead to increased productivity, innovation, and job satisfaction. On a personal level, it can help us achieve our goals, build resilience, and foster a sense of fulfillment. By focusing on meaningful actions and tangible results, we can move beyond the limitations of trying harder and unlock our true potential.

Likely results of Doing Harder

The likely results of embracing the "doing harder" philosophy are multifaceted and profound. By prioritizing action over mere effort, individuals and organizations can expect to see a marked improvement in performance and outcomes. This approach leads to more efficient problem-solving, as it encourages a focus on effective strategies and tangible results. In the workplace, it can result in higher productivity, increased innovation, and greater employee satisfaction, as team members feel more empowered and purposeful in their roles. On a personal level, doing harder can lead to the achievement of long-held goals, personal growth, and a deeper sense of fulfillment. Overall, the shift from trying to doing harder fosters a culture of accountability, resilience, and success, where challenges are met with determination and opportunities are seized with confidence.


The conversation with my past employee served as a reminder that the path to success is not paved with mere effort, but with purposeful action. The transition from "trying harder" to "doing harder" is a small shift in language that reflects a significant change in mindset. It challenges us to reevaluate our approach to obstacles and encourages us to take more deliberate and impactful steps towards our goals. By adopting the "do harder" philosophy, we can transform our intentions into achievements and turn our aspirations into realities.

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