Happiness and Trying Again

You know that famous proverb, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”? It’s a neat little saying.

It needs to be adjusted.

If when you fail you just try again and again without making a change to what you’re doing, you’re going to experience a lot of demoralizing failure. If what you’re doing isn’t working, change it. You probably do this a lot anyway without realizing it. If your 3-point shots always float to the right then you will naturally adjust your follow-through slightly to the left. If every time you serve broccoli your whole family avoids it you’re probably going to put some cheese on it next time or give them carrots instead. If traffic always makes you late for work you are going to leave earlier or try a different route or change your schedule. We have a natural drive to do what works. But when emotion is involved we don’t always use such logic. When angry, we might approach our partner with the same harsh start-up even though it leads to the same bad argument. In our enthusiastic hopefulness we might set the same exercise goal that we never reach and always end up feeling bad about. At these emotion-laden times it pays to be aware when what we’ve been doing isn’t working, and then we need to adjust our approach.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try again maybe one more time the same way just to be sure, and then consider why it’s not working and do it differently.”

It just rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?