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The art of trying and the 10 percent rule

2011 April 11

EXISTENTIALISM ON THURSDAY NIGHT: Every Thursday Ryan and I bowl in the basement of the Winking Lizard in Lakewood with Pete and Erin. We play in a league, so usually our scores count in some sort of competition, but a few weeks ago our scores didn’t really matter, so I stopped trying so hard. I just whacked the ball down the lane without bothering to really aim or even wait to see where it was going.

I was kind of surprised to see that it really didn’t make that dramatic of a difference in my score — maybe 10 percent at the most. I brought this up to Erin, and one of us proposed the idea that maybe all things are like that: if we really┬átry, push ourselves to our edges, there is one outcome, but if we sort-of try, maybe the outcome isn’t really all that different. It makes me wonder whether putting in hours of effort in things — how we look, how good we are at our jobs — really makes a noticeable difference in the long run, or if we essentially are what we are. In the end, maybe it would be fun to not try so hard, to really hurl the ball into oblivion without aim or strategy, to not even watch for the outcome, and just see how things turn out.

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