Thought Catalog
March 10, 2017

Trying Is For Losers

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God & Man

Listen up, because this is a life lesson you’re going to want to remember: Trying is for losers.

What? That’s the opposite. Everyone should try at everything they do. That’s what I was taught. 

Well, you were also taught Van Gogh cut off his own ear and Lincoln loved black people. Not everything you were taught was right.

Here’s the truth. Caring about something, exerting effort, or doing anything more than the bare minimum is bad. Oh, you want to get ahead in life? You want to make your parents and yourself proud? You and everyone else in the world, pal. Unfortunately, that means you’d be doing exactly what everyone else is doing. That doesn’t make you a leader now, does it? That makes you a follower. Bahhh sheep, bahhhh.

First and foremost, you will be so much cooler if you don’t try. Remember the kids in high school gym class who sprinted during basketball games and got way too upset if they lost? You know where those try-hards are now? They work low-level county jobs and spend their weekends drinking at TGI Friday’s. Not only did they fail at getting ahead in the world, but also they were brutally embarrassed in the process.

I recall some nerd once saying, “the greatest failure is the failure to try.” There is one crucial misstep in this faux-philosophical blather. Failing to try is not failure. If anything, it’s succeeding in not failing. With that logic, a person who buys a lottery ticket and doesn’t win is better than a person who never bought a ticket at all. Besides, everyone knows you have better odds having consensual sex with a rhinoceros than winning the lottery.  In reality, the person who tries to win the lottery is an idiot and the person who never tries is smart.

Here’s another example. There are thousands of people who watch episode after episode of Shark Tank and anxiously wait for the day when they will quit their jobs and start their own businesses. They think back to Robin Williams’s John Keating in Dead Poets Society. They repeat to themselves, “Carpe diem! Seize the day!” so they can one day muster up the strength to march on down to their bosses’ desks and hand in their resignation letters. Life is too short not to go after your dreams, right? What they forgot about that movie is the part where John Keating’s premier student Neil goes after his dream by getting the lead role in a local theater production. Not a week later he blows his brains out with his father’s gun. The fact is, if Neil never tried to go after his dream, he would still be alive prancing around with his rich, poetry-loving friends. So if you’re thinking of taking a chance and trying to better yourself, it would be wise to think back to what happened to Neil.

By the way, if you do feel trapped in your job and plan to one day start your own business, I have a word of advice. Mark Cuban is never going to invest in your googly-eye bottle-opener venture.

Don’t even try. TC mark

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