It’s interesting to me how often we are totally wrong about what is possible for us. Us humans aren’t very good at predicting things, particularly when it comes to predicting what we’re capable of. A lot of that has to do with the assumptions we make about ourselves and the world.
And a lot of those assumptions are wrong.
That’s because success isn’t tied to experience and practice, as much as it’s tied to choice. That can be a bit uncomfortable to accept, but it’s often the truth.
Practice and repetition can help you to perform the neural pathways to coordinate a kick or punch in martial arts. Drills can help you to learn how to parry, evade, or block. Feints, counter attacks, and combinations can help to learn how to attack more effectively. But until you choose to hit, you probably won’t.
You can practice something over and over, and you can gain a lot of experience, but there’s something qualitatively different about choosing to be remarkable. When you decide that you are going to succeed, a shift happens in your mind. Instead of thinking about “how you might try to make it happen (maybe),” you move into a place of “this is going to happen, whatever it takes.”
You can try to write a great book, or you can choose to create a best-selling book.
You can try to be a great partner, or you can decide that that is what you’ll be.
You can practice balancing, or you can choose to not fall down.
You can make an effort to eat healthy, or you can make a choice that you will be healthy.
You can try to follow your passion, or you can decide that is the only path you will follow.
The interesting thing about making that shift to what is possible is that it would seem like deciding that something will happen would involve a lot of strain, controlling, and hard work. But the opposite is usually the case. When you’re trying to do something, it’s a lot harder because there’s a lack of confidence, belief, and complete commitment. You’ll usually seesaw back and forth from being energized and taking action to being frustrated and questioning your abilities.
And that wavering effort dilutes the power and force of your energy.
Being all-in, however, doesn’t include the energy drain of constant questioning and a waxing and waning commitment that takes a lot of energy to maintain.
Sure, sometimes doubts and fears will arise. But because you’ve given all of your heart, not half of it, you will have a much easier time overcoming those difficulties as they come. It’s easier to quell your doubts with your whole heart engaged, than when you’re internally divided.
Giving yourself over like this is probably one of the most challenging things you can do in your life. And it’s also one of the most important decisions you can make.
When you move in the direction of complete commitment to your path, you simultaneously move in the direction of radical honesty with yourself. And that means becoming honest with yourself about what you really do want. You say Yes to the real power that you have inside of you.
Ultimately, you say Yes to yourself.
After that, who knows what will happen. But I can bet that your life will probably never be the same.
photo courtesy of It’s Greg
Wow – completely right. I studied martial arts for many years and the absolute hardest thing was actually hitting someone else. I drilled until I could perform kicks and punches perfectly and quickly, but overcoming the fear of getting hit back was my single greatest challenge. It was, remarkably, much easier when I would completely ignore strategy and form and just let my body do what it was trained to do.
I am happy to say that I am in a good “saying yes” place in my burgeoning business. I am not trying to start a side business. I am running a side business. I am not trying to make it successful; I know that it will be successful because I will work on it until it is. It is definitely easier than trying.
Thanks for the great post!
Mike Stankavich says
Jonathan, thanks for sharing your thoughts on partial commitment. This is something I struggle with a lot. It’s really tough to fully commit. But you’re so right that it actually gets easier once you’re all in. Like Yoda said, Do, or do not. There is no ‘try.’
Mike Jara says
Thank you Jonathan.
You are right, it is all about choice. I have been telling myself and those close to me the same thing. My move to choose a new path in life is sparking the same in others. You have provided a spark to further my creative interests. I want to thank you for that and the timely post. I know what lies ahead will be awesome!
Cheers to you and your illuminated mind readers!
Bamboo Forest - Tick Tock Timer says
Very inspiring post. Sitting on the fence could even last a whole life time! What insanity!
Glad to ingest this message.
What a great post. This is something I’ve been ignoring in my own life lately, and although I already knew the advice you’re providing, it helps to read it again.
I read once that when you say that you’re ‘trying’ to do something, you’re implying to yourself that you’re not going to succeed. After all, you don’t try to walk across the street, you just do it. You don’t try to make breakfast. You just make breakfast.
It’s the same with those bigger goals. Saying you’re going to try is only setting yourself up for mediocrity. Being more forceful and claiming that you’re just going to do it– making that choice– can make all the difference in the world.
Great post! Thanks!
Joe Wilner says
Definitely feeling the post, very inspiring! I agree completely, there is a major difference between “trying” to do something, and making a commitment to doing it. It really is a different mindset that takes place between the two. It becomes a more serious endeavor that takes the forefront when we are all in and willing to do what it takes. Thanks!
THANK YOU for writing this. I can’t tell you how many arguments I get into when I say the words “I honestly believe that if you put your whole heart into something, you will be successful.” I get American Idol contestants and washed up actors thrown at me from all sides. Now at least I can just direct them to this post.
Kent Schnaith says
“Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try. ” – Jedi Master Yoda
“Go for the delicious, give everything 100%,” those are the words I live by. This post totally resonates with me, it reverberates around my brain and makes me want to giggle and dance jig. Good vibrations, sir. You has them. Rock on with your bad self!
Jonathan – exactly what I needed to read today. I spend a lot of time telling myself I don’t have this choice or that choice. Actually I have all the choices. I just need to make them.
Tony Teegarden says
In the past I could usually tell when someone in my team was going to follow through on something they were (half) committing to. All I had to do was listen to their language. (I will try, I want to, I’d really like to)
Once I picked up on it I would begin to find way’s to call attention to their language. Or to support them in ways that allowed them to become conscious of their language.
I began to really hear what they said but know what they were saying. They were saying they didn’t really see themselves as capable or they didn’t see that it was something actually could accomplish.
Once we began to see these points and acknowledge them together we could start the process of working on a self image so that they were inspired to take the action and could actually see themselves having the successful outcome they desired.
Great article that brings me back to that point and keeps it in the forefront of my mind.
It’s hard to fire when you’re half cocked.
Hi. Love the difference you’ve pointed out between trying to do something and setting out to do it. For when we set out, we never stop, till we get there, however slow or difficult it may be. Thank u for this post.
while I believe every being inherently knows this thank you for illuminating it when the pollutants of our every day life hide it from our being.
Again…..thank you for bringing it to the forefront of our minds.
Numair Qureshi says
These choices are the hardest choice in life to make, though.
We are born into so much abundance that it is difficult to zero into the essentials that make you who you are.
That choice is difficult, because there are so many factors that come into play. Most of our lives, we are trying to make sense of all the confusion around us. It’s hard to do it.
It took me a VERY long time to find my life’s purpose.
Sure, choice is essential, but I think the right choice is even more essential, and the best choice is to discover your truest passion.
Once you operate form that standpoint, life is not a matter of “choices” anymore, it’s a matter of living.
Your goal is your lifestyle, and what others see as a struggle, you see as play.
Laurie Cameron says
Really helpful and insightful. The point about choice and living was impactful to me, and the idea of it all becoming play. Thank you.
You are so right I want to cry, motherfucker. I’m sick of being indecisive. My personal goal is going to happen no matter what. Mark my words.
A big hug to you Jonathan.
Lachlan Cotter says
Totally. It’s an exhilarating feeling when you finally make that mental shift. Something clicks over in your mind and you move from thinking about how to get somewhere else from where you are, to suddenly thinking in the mindset of someone who’s already there. It’s such a subtle thing it’s hard to articulate in language, but boy does it feel different. Possibilities suddenly feel so much closer and more real. The accomplishment becomes a matter of when, not if. But you don’t even care about the when so much because now you’re revelling in the process, not yearning for the destination.
Mike Roberts says
In everything that we do, if we go “All in” not only the results, but the process itself will become magical.
“Being all-in, however, doesn’t include the energy drain of constant questioning and a waxing and waning commitment that takes a lot of energy to maintain.”
I have trouble conveying this message. I like the way you worded that to reflect that “All In” should not be an energy drain. It is more of a surrender to what it is that we want. “All IN” is an Energy enhancer.
Elle B. says
Strange synchronicity, this. I recently decided I simply must get out of debt. It just had to be. And every decision that followed was simple.
When my car died, I didn’t take out a car loan–I decided to do without a car. It’s been great. I have better health and attitude from walking, biking, not getting further into debt, letting my husband do all the driving in his car ;)
I’ve been wondering recently how to apply the “out of debt” insight into other areas of my life, and you’ve just nailed it — be all in. Thanks!
You can try to not fall down/cheat your double salchow.
Or you can think of Yoda saying “there is no try” and you can go rotate the darn jump.
Aaron Kerr says
Being “all-in” saves you the effort and inner turmoil of having to talk yourself back into an idea every time you start to have doubts. It’s amazing how easy it is to waver, and thus get nothing done, when you haven’t totally committed to a course of action.
It’s so easy to fall into a perfectionist mindset, where we start to see the challenges in an undertaking and tell ourselves, “this won’t be as good as I want it to be.” Better to make your mistakes and then improve them then to have the perfect idea in your mind and never take the first step.
Get in or get out! If you are going to achieve great things in your life you are going to have to play to win. That will require giving it all that you’ve got, performing at your very best, all the time.
Christopher Foster says
Hello Jonathan. Putting our whole heart into something. So different from being half-hearted. When you read in a novel someone is half-hearted about something you know it’s not going to work.
My spiritual mentor came from an aristocratic Brit family whose motto was and is: “One heart, one way.” Let me be wholehearted … I think it’s a bit like getting into a new Cadillac or Lexus as opposed to riding in a rusty old clunker… you have a reason to be confident about your journey…
pretty inspiring man..cool stuff
loddy micucci says
Being your authentic self and being all in seem to have a great deal of synergy. I believe you have to know your passion and follow it to the point where it leads you. Once you commit to this everything lines up for you and it does become an energy enhancement as Mike Roberts points out.