My latest moment of "Try Harder Isn't The Answer" was after my first in-the-gym workout in a couple months. I've been training with bodyweight nearly every day, but today was the first time I got into the gym and got in squat, bench, deadlift.
The workout was rather brutal. I over-did it. (That's not humblebragging, I like, stupidly overdid it. I'll be more sore tomorrow than I need to be. I wasn't paying enough attention and should've started lower.)
Combine this with two new protocols -- multi-purpose clothing that can function for business casual or fitness meant I had on a long-sleeve shirt, long pants, and boots for more heat than normal, and training at a more rapid pace for metabolic development...
...and I get out of the gym nearly about to keel over and throw up.
Well, good enough.
But then I get to a major intersection where the green pedestrian-can-cross sign is flashing down to 5 seconds. I'm about 8 seconds away at walking pace.
Plenty of time to make it if I run, not enough if I walk.
I don't like waiting at traffic lights.
I say to myself, "Run!"
And my body... just... won't.
I don't think it was straight depletion of glycogen or anything like that. If it was life-threatening, I could have run. But the interesting thing is, I didn't have an internal mental battle. It wasn't, "Run! -- oh, but wait, do I really want to run? Umm, well..."
No, it wasn't that. My body just didn't listen to my conscious higher-thinking command.
It didn't argue. Just... nothing happened.
I wrote about something in a slightly similar vein about half a year ago, in Flashes of Nondecisionmaking.
This was an interesting, humbling experience. After really hitting my 99th percentile of physical effort today, my body didn't so much refuse to sprint for the light as it did just ignore the command.
I suspect mental performance works similarly at times -- why wouldn't it? If so, "Try Harder" isn't the answer, and a smarter answer would involve having more optimal biochemistry, timing, advantages, scopes, and environment.
Lots to mull over. Interesting experience. "Run!" ...nope.