Some of my favorite memories of growing up are building model airplanes with my dad. I remember him showing me how to assemble, sand, and paint them. I think back on how proud I always was when we finished a project together.
On one occasion, I remember struggling to get two parts to fit together. I tried several different angles. Nothing seemed to work. I grew increasingly frustrated.
Calmly, my dad said, “Son, don’t force it.” I stopped what I was doing, looked up at him, and instantly knew he was right.
I relaxed, set down the parts, and started working on some other aspect of the project. An hour later, I returned to the obstinate parts and clicked them into place.
Life is often like that, isn’t it?
You do your best, but often you get to the point where you are in danger of breaking something if you press any harder. Then you realize that the best strategy is to let go—at least for a while.
I had an experience like that yesterday.
I have been wanting to interview my friend, Bob Goff, for some time. His new book, Love Does, was just published earlier this month, and is already in Amazon’s top 300 books.
I read the first draft of the manuscript more than a year ago and was blown away. Not only did I want to help my friend, I wanted to share this treasure of a book with my readers. I knew they would love getting to know Bob and his book.
So, Bob and I decided to do the interview via Skype last Saturday. I called him at the appointed time. However, he couldn’t get Skype to work correctly on his computer. I could hear him; I just couldn’t see him.
After twenty minutes of fiddling with it, we gave up and decided to reschedule.
We tried again yesterday. Everything seemed to work fine. I had a fantastic time talking to Bob and hearing more about his adventures with the book. But when we hung up, and I played the video, the audio was badly out of sync.
I worked on it for several hours, trying various solutions I found on Google. Nothing worked. The video looked like a bad foreign film where the actors lips and words wouldn’t align.
I grew increasingly frustrated. I kept thinking, I just need to push a little harder.
Then I remembered my dad’s words. “Son, don’t force it.”
So, I relaxed, set it down, and decided to do something else. It’s just not worth breaking something. Instead, I had to believe that it was not meant to be. At least not for now.
In life, we have to learn there is a fine line between working hard and forcing an outcome that isn’t meant to be.
If we don’t push hard enough, we never experience the breakthroughs that take us to the next level. But if we push too hard, we risk breaking something important—our physical or emotional health or even a relationship. It’s just not worth it. We have to trust.
After all these years, this is a lesson I am still struggling to learn.