Third Time's a Charm - True or False?


To me, it's "True." 

There's a natural temptation to quit after a second try. The average, busy, over-worked adult says to themselves, "Well I gave it a couple shots. This is going to be a waste of time. I'll do something else."

Remember the other expression? "If at first you don't succeed, try and try again." It's not just "try again." Often, the trick is to get past that second hurdle.

In business, sometimes we must quit. Our idea isn't working. The margins aren't there. Other endeavors or projects are more important. 

But many successes are lost because of retreating too early.

 The result of quitting means you don't grow, push your limits, accomplish your dreams, and you end up sitting next to your buddy at the retirement home watching HSN repeating, "I had that idea 30 years ago."

Remember, your second try will often be as bad or worse than the first. Why?

1. Overcorrection.

 A staggering number of car accidents happen each year when drivers swerve a little, then whip the wheel the opposite direction to get back to the middle of the road. Overcompensation causes the accident. Your second attempt is often an exaggeration of your first failure.

2. Hyper Awareness. 

On your second attempt, you become overly conscious of your thoughts, words, hands, and body. You tighten up. Ever coached a kid playing tee-ball for the first time? If the child has a modicum of athletic ability, they'll almost always foul tip the ball on their first swing.

 But on the second attempt, they're now tense with self-awareness. What happens? They hit the tee. (Hyper-awareness on the second try can also explain "beginner's luck.")

3. Impatience. 

When I drew pictures as a youngster, time didn't exist. I could draw all day. My only goal was to enjoy the spilling of my imagination onto a blank page. I had no deadline, no boss, and no quota. The impatience of adults comes from time constraints, budget restrictions, and performance pressures. We can write off our first failure, but after the second defeat, the risk can be perceived as too great. The result – we quit. What a shame.

I think the third time IS a charm. After all, it's not two strikes and you're out. And who can forget "School House Rock," who taught us all, "Three is a Magic Number."

The simple knowledge of this life nugget helps. When attempting something new, remind yourself three times "I may get worse before I get better." If I'm right, your overcorrection will decrease, you'll remain more relaxed, and you'll afford the patience required. The profit for your persistence could be a blockbuster project, a lucrative new business, a standing ovation, or a home run at whatever you put your mind to. 

Instead of annoying your retired pals with your infomercial regrets, you could be addressing an audience of thousands with a speech that begins, "When I had this idea 30 years ago..."

Now, cue 

De La Soul