Why you should ignore anyone that thinks you’re “trying too hard”

By Marc McDougall

If you’re not being called a “try-hard”, you’re doing something wrong.

Ever since I was a teenager raiding dungeons in World of Warcraft (I know, I can hear you cringe from here), I’ve been exposed to people trying to shame me for “trying too hard”.

This idea has always baffled me.  Why do people care so much if you really try to accomplish something?  It wasn’t until reading a few “high-and-mighty” self-help books that I finally understand what’s going on.

Here’s why people think you shouldn’t try hard:

If you try too hard, others will assume you are desperate and needy, leading them to be less likely to interact with you in some way (business or otherwise).

completely disagree with this idea (and you should too), and today I’m going to explain to you exactly why it’s total B.S.

Let’s go.

What’s so wrong with desperation, anyway?

Think about it.

When you really want to do something fantastic, it borderline consumes you.  If you want to hit a particular financial goal, and you see a clear path towards that goal, it’s very hard to not jump out of bed every morning and do everything you can to expedite the process.

Remember when you were a little kid sitting in bed in anticipation of Christmas?  Do you remember how hard you tried to go to sleep so Santa would stumble down your chimney and drop some holiday goodies under your tree?

Imagine waking up to this… 😀

Would you say that kid was desperate?  Probably.

..but does it matter?  Absolutely not.

Let’s come back to reality: if someone is desperate to reach a particular goal, they’re sure as hell going to try hard.  Wouldn’t you want to work with someone that needs to hit their goals like they need air?  Would you rather work with the guy who gives off the aloof vibe just because he doesn’t want to seem “too desperate”?  I know I wouldn’t.

Disclaimer: This is not to be confused with mindlessly pursuing your passion (another topic I love to disagree with the masses on — I’ll talk about this one in a later article).

Today, being a “tryhard” is the cost of entry.

If you think you’re going to get somewhere in today’s fast-paced, results-driven world without trying really hard, then I’m sorry…but you’re delusional.

The problem is that everyone knows this, so if you’re not trying hard, you’re not even playing the game.  Guess what: neither are those people that are trying to call you out for trying too hard!

So just don’t listen to them.  Try hard, and pour everything you have into what you’re doing — you’ll find that people will want to work with you more when you do.

Disclaimer: This is not to be confused with working hard, which you should avoid doing when you’re self employed (again, more on this in a later post).  Instead, you should work smart, but you have to try to figure out how to be smart.

If you don’t try hard, you die…hard.

Ever wonder why most businesses end up failing?  Well, I’m not going to be that guy who claims that they just didn’t want it enough (that’s super toxic), but why even let your lack of trying be an issue?

The point I’m making here is that if you don’t try hard, you’ll have no context for learning.  When a particular venture fails, you’ll never know if it’s because you didn’t try hard enough, or if there’s a genuine problem with your business process.


So, instead of dealing with all of that, just try super hard to hit your goals, and if it doesn’t work, change something about your approach and move on!

You’ll soon find that…

Being a “tryhard” is empowering.

You want to be known as that guy/gal who tries really hard.  When that happens, quite a bit changes:

  • People will start coming to you when they need something important done.
  • You’ll be able to keep the pace with your “tryhard” competition.
  • You won’t have an easy excuse for any small failures, and you can start making business changes that are based on cold, hard facts.

Being someone that tries is empowering.

(Hell, I might just make a t-shirt about it.)

It sends the message that you’re very heavily invested in what you’re doing (and if you’re committing most of your life to it…shouldn’t you?).

In a nutshell, if you don’t try hard, you could still get lucky and make it big somehow.  But if you try hard you’re giving yourself permission to succeed (or fail) on your own terms.

…and that feels fantastic.

Anyway, I’m curious to know if you’ve ever been called out for “trying too hard”.  If so, please share your experience let me know in the comments below so we can both have a laugh!

Then…get out there and try your face off folks!