->''"There's a Zen {{koan}}. It says that if you want to find something, you have to stop looking."''
-->-- '''Temperance Brennan''', ''Series/{{Bones}}'' %%If anyone can find an actual source for this koan, it'd probably be good to use that instead. If the writers of Bones just made it up, it can stay this way...

Alice tries to do something. She tries really hard, in a bunch of different ways, and none of them work. Finally she succeeds--either in the one last half-hearted attempt she makes before giving up, or precisely ''by'' giving up.

This is a staple of SecretTestOfCharacter plotlines. When done poorly, it can come across as the BrokenAesop version of KnowWhenToFoldEm.

Contrast GaveUpTooSoon. Compare SheatheYourSword. The CentipedesDilemma is often due to this.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* For the first half of ''GunXSword'', Van carries around a small sliding puzzle. He constantly works on it, but never gets the grip of it. [[spoiler:After Woo defeats him, he angsts over the situation, unconsciously working on the puzzle... and solves it. Cue epiphany.]]
* Vegeta in ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' spends an entire story arc or two hellbent on becoming the legendary "Super Saiyan", putting himself through an equally hellish training program in an effort to top recently ascended Super Saiyan Goku. After a particularly brutal workout, Vegeta gives up in frustration [[spoiler:...and finally transforms, as the despairing rage that consumes him is what it takes for the SuperpoweredEvilSide to come out]].
* [[RanmaHalf Ranma]] is trying to learn a special technique which involves [[spoiler: grabbing chestnuts out of an open fire barehanded]] in order to [[spoiler: get a MacGuffin which will restore his ability to resist heat, but can't get close enough to the fire due to an aversion of ConvectionShmonvection ]]. Eventually, he is talked into taking a break [[spoiler: and going to a fair by Akane]] and while doing so learns effectively the same technique in a different way [[spoiler: through a goldfish catching game]].
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', Ichigo learns the Final Getsuga Tensho by realizing he has to give up and [[spoiler:let Tensa Zangetsu impale him with his sword]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* This is how the Creator/MarvelComics superhero ComicBook/{{Quasar}} gained control of his 'quantum-bands' in the first issue of his own series: after being forced to use the untested and dangerous alien devices in combat and trying his hardest to control the unstoppable energy buildup, Wendell Vaughn flies high up into the atmosphere so nobody else will get hurt in the inevitable explosion/disintegration (which happened to the person who tried the bands on before him) and basically stops fighting...which causes the energy to harmlessly dissipate. The point is reinforced by Wendell feeling explicitly ashamed for his poor performance and apparent lack of 'killer instinct' during his earlier ComicBook/{{SHIELD}} combat training.
* In the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' story arc "Unthinkable," Reed Richards' technical devices are useless against the newly magically-empowered SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom, forcing him to rely on a magic device provided by Comicbook/DoctorStrange. No matter how hard he concentrates on saying or doing the right things, it won't work. [[spoiler: Of course, when he gives up and admits that there are things he'll never understand, the device starts working flawlessly. It was apparently powered by humility.]]
* In ''SonicTheComic'', Robotnik modifies a standard trooper robot with a powerful predictive artificial intelligence that allows it to counter any attack made by Sonic and his allies. Sonic eventually defeats it by saying he's giving up, because that is so outside the {{Determinator}} psychological profile for him the robot is programmed with that it (explosively) shuts down.
** A similar example in the ''Sonic In Your Face Special'' by ArchieComics. Sonic and the Freedom Fighters are up against a powerful cyclops robot that's been programmed to attack anything that moves. After a few minutes of pointless fighting, Sonic has the gang hold still- without a moving target, the robot shuts down. Though this is might be considered subverted when Sonic admits that not moving is one of the hardest things he's ever done.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/{{Luminosity}}'', Elspeth keeps trying to convince [[TalkingToHerself herself]] that she should be able to use her "I am being honest" magic when she's lying, or be able to turn it off, and failing. Finally, she is simply herself, who hates lying, and happens to be unsure. (Empahsis added)
-->'''Siobhan:''' ''And you really believe all that? ''I can't tell when you decorate your sentences with all those [[WeaselWords hedges]].
* George in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'' works through this trope. He spends the better part of a day trying to figure out how to smuggle water into a house guarded by warriors and wizards. He comes up with a list of schemes that run the gamut from crazy to crazier, until he finally realizes he's trying too hard and decides to meditate to calm himself down. But he can't concentrate because of all the activity around him, including roof repair... and that's when he remembers the house he's trying to get into has holes in the roof. Given his [[PottyEmergency chosen method of sneaking water past the wizards]], this works out perfectly.
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8656550/15/Beyond-Recall Beyond Recall]]'', {{Series/Merlin}} starts working for Arthur as a manservant (again) after a bout of [[EasyAmnesia amnesia]] with [[ServileSnarker no idea of how their relationship worked before]]. He tries being a model servant, completing outrageous amounts of chores perfectly without complaint, but Arthur continues to look disappointed. It's not until they have a row and Merlin gives up and insults him that Arthur's finally happy with him, much to Merlin's confusion.
* In ''Fanfic/PartingWords'', Celestia was trying to Defy this and did not tell Twilight about being a Bearer of the Elements because she was afraid Twilight would end up trying to force friendships and make the other Bearers reveal themselves.
* In ''Fanfic/OutOfTheDeadLand'', Bucky tries to perfectly imitate the vocal and facial mannerisms of the pre-Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes he believes Steve wants him to be. Then, after Natasha picks apart his act, he tries equally hard to be just the mechanical, unfeeling Winter Soldier in the belief that there's nothing of the old Bucky left in him anymore. It's only after he stops trying and thinking so hard on what he "should" act like as Bucky or the Winter Soldier that he proves to have more-or-less the same inherent heroic resolve and inside-out knowledge/love of Steve that the "old" Bucky did.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Disney's Disney/{{Hercules}}'' during a training montage/song the titular character is shown launching projectiles at practise dummies. He misses repeatedly, then turns away throwing another weapon as he does. This hits the target, and for some reason both him and his trainer consider this a success.
* In ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'', Mulan pretty much gave up trying to climb the wooden pole with weights on her arms, until out of frustration she figured out she could wrap them together to help her climb it.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Inigo Montoya in ''Film/ThePrincessBride''. "Father, guide my sword."
* In ''Film/WhatDreamsMayCome'', Christy [[spoiler:finally saves his wife from Hell by giving up on trying to save her and instead joining her.]] Sometimes, [[IronicEcho when you lose, you win]].
* At the beginning of ''Film/NationalLampoonsEuropeanVacation'', the family is appearing on a game show and is asked a question they don't know the answer to. Chevy Chase's wife whines "Clark!", which is the name of Chevy's character. This turns out to be the correct answer to the question.
* In ''Film/TheMatrixRevolutions'', Neo allows himself to be assimilated by Agent Smith after realizing that the two of them are evenly matched. The Machine God uses the new connection to eliminate Smith and all of his clones at once.
* ''Film/TheFifthElement'': After trying numerous ways to activate the four elemental stones, they all give up. David laments that they're going to die and sighs, inadvertently activating the wind stone. Turns out the stones need their classical element to activate (wind for wind, earth for earth, water for water, fire for fire).

* In ''Literature/GoodOmens'':
** Anathema tries unsuccessfully to [[InvokedTrope invoke]] this when she's looking for her lost book of prophecy:
--->She even tried the one which every romantic nerve in her body insisted should work, which consisted of theatrically giving up, sitting down, and letting her gaze fall naturally on a patch of earth which, if she had been in any decent narrative, should have contained the book.
--->It didn't.
** It does work for Newton Pulsifer, who is desperately trying [[spoiler: to stop a nuclear launch]]. When he admits that he breaks anything he tries to build, he's told to fix it instead, at which point, it promptly breaks.
* [[TheGreatGatsby Jay Gatsby's]] over-the-top house, constant parties, super-fancy car, and UnlimitedWardrobe are all attempts to show himself to be rich for Daisy's sake; in fact, it's so ridiculous that many people mistakenly believe that he's not actually rich.
* It does, however, work for Richard in ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'' when he loses his keys in the mud.
* Malicia in ''Discworld/TheAmazingMauriceAndHisEducatedRodents'' tries to invoke it as well, and it's possibly a hidden double subversion in that she tries too hard accidentally leaning on things before Keith gets it first thing he tries by actually looking.
* This happens to Bilbo during the riddle-game in ''Literature/TheHobbit'': he can't figure out a riddle, he's really spooked, and he squeaks "Time!" meaning "Give me more time!" It's the right answer. Technically, also how Bilbo wins the riddle-game. Trying to think up a riddle, he off-handedly asks himself, "What's in my pocket?" Gollum takes it as a riddle.
* In ''TheLordOfTheRings'' Gandalf uses several spells while attempting to open the door into Moria, whereas if he had not translated the Elvish inscription on the door (Speak, Friend, and enter) when he read it aloud the door would have opened, as the Elvish word for Friend (mellon) ''was'' the password.
* In ''Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars'' by Creator/DanielPinkwater, Samuel Klugarsh sells an Omega Meter to Alan and Leonard, promising that the machine will play a tape recording of "Jingle Bells" instead of buzzing when their brains start to produce omega waves. The boys try various meditation tricks to no avail. Finally, Alan agrees with Leonard that Klugarsh played a trick on them, says, "I give up," and collapses in defeat. Moments later, the machine starts to play "Jingle Bells."
* This is how Saidar, the female half of the One Power, works in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. The only way to control it is for the channeler to recognise how infinitely greater it is than her and surrender to it completely. Try to fight it and it will burn you out.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone'', the final test to get the stone is to get it from the [[MagicMirror Mirror of Erised]]. [[BigBad Voldemort]] couldn't get it while Harry was able to. Dumbledore later reveals to Harry that only a person who wanted to find the stone, but not use it would be the one to get it.
* This is a huge part of learning to fly in ''Literature/LifeTheUniverseAndEverything''.
--> "One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. It's no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won't. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you're halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground, or about how much it's going to hurt if you fail to miss it. . . There are private clubs you can join which help you achieve the all-important moment of distraction. They hire people with surprising bodies or opinions to leap out from behind bushes and exhibit and/or explain them at the critical moment."
** This is later proven to be correct when Arthur Dent gets distracted while falling off a mountain on an alien world (having just spotted some luggage he'd lost while vacationing in Greece).
* In one short story from the magazine ''Highlights for Kids'', a boy apprentices himself to a master stone carver, to try to learn to make beautiful tiger statues, like the carver can. The carver says he simply sees the tiger in the stone block, and carves it free. The boy can't get that technique to work, no matter how hard he tries, until he realizes that he can see ''elephants'' in the stone, implying that he can be a master carver of elephant statues.
* In {{Aesop}}'s fable "The North Wind and the Sun", the two title characters each boast that they are greater than the other. They spot a man below them, and the Sun proposes that the first who can take the man's coat from him is greater. The North Wind agrees, and creates a storm to try to blow the man's coat off, but the man hangs onto it, only clinging to his coat tighter. After the North Wind gives up, the Sun makes himself hotter, until the man becomes uncomfortable from the heat and takes his coat off and finds a spot in the shade. [[AnAesop The Moral is:]] ''"Kindness effects more than severity."''

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' episode "The Stork Job", Parker's attempt at getting the kids from a Serbian orphanage to follow her works this way: she tries a few phrases out of a phrase book, all of which wind up as MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels, and finally half-heartedly offers up "Haagen-Daaz?", which they understand.
* In an episode of ''Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn'', Colin had a one-one-one basketball game with Patrice O'Neill, and couldn't land a basket to save his life until the final seconds of the game, where he halfheartedly hurled the ball at the hoop while walking away. It went in.
* Series/{{Eureka}}, ''Your face or mine?'': Carter is isolated in a test room and tries to get out. He only finds a way when he's ready to give up.
* Used in a couple of episodes of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'':
** In "Booby Trap," the Enterprise is caught in an energy-sucking asteroid field which, true to its description, sucks any and all power out of the engines. The crew spends the episode trying to figure out how to put more energy into the engines until they figure out that "That's the trap!" They escape by shutting the engines down and using a single thruster to fly free.
** In "Hero Worship," the ship is (say it with me) caught in a NegativeSpaceWedgie which reflects the DeflectorShields, creating a huge-gantic tidal wave of energy. Only when they drop the shields (in effect, giving up) does the tidal wave disappear.
** In "Peak Performance," Data plays against and loses to Sirna Kolrami in the game Strategema. He's really bothered by it, albeit stoically so, and runs dozens of diagnostics to figure out why he lost. Later in the episode, after saving the lives of millions or whatever, he reboots his confidence subroutine...yadda yadda yadda, and goes back to try again. This time, he doesn't try to win, he tries to draw. This makes the game go on longer than Sirna can handle (since his neural capacities don't allow him to play Strategema, sudoku, Ms. Pacman, and Final Fantasy VII all at once)-- in fact longer than the game is supposed to ever go on-- and he [[RageQuit forfeits in a fit of rage]].
** In "Q Who" Q tells Picard he wants to become a member of the Enterprise, and he'll even renounce his godly powers to do so. Picard tells them he believes they are equipped to handle anything the universe can throw them without Q's help. So, Q throws the Enterprise into Borg space. Just as the Borg are about to destroy/assimilate the Enterprise, Picard admits they aren't prepared and they do need Q after all. Satisfied, Q whisks them away from Borg space and departs. (Note that it wasn't simply because Picard satisfied Q's ego, but because Picard showed he was not too prideful to either realize or admit he was wrong.)
** In ''Lower Decks''. Ensign Sito gets chewed out by Picard regarding things she did while at Starfleet Academy. She accepts the dressing down quietly. Later, while taking martial arts lessons from Worf, he tells her to put on a blindfold and defend herself. After being smacked around by Worf several times, she gives up and tears off the blindfold, shouting at Worf that it wasn't a fair test. Worf is pleased at her response, and tells her that he hopes the next time she's being treated unfairly, she'll speak up. She goes back to Picard and tells him that she should be judged by her actions on the Enterprise, not on what she did in the Academy. If he felt that strongly that her past couldn't be overlooked, he should never have accepted her posting on his ship to begin with. It turns out that Picard, having specifically ''requested'' her for the Enterprise to be sure she got a fair chance despite her past, had been giving her a SecretTestOfCharacter hoping she would react assertively.
* On ''ILoveLucy'', Lucy and Ricky are on a TV quiz show. After [[WhatAnIdiot Lucy]] blows the first two questions, the third asks what GeorgeWashington said while crossing the Delaware. Ricky, who has no idea, says to Lucy, [[spoiler: "Please let me sit down, this is making me sick."]]
* The Thanksgiving episode of ''TheMommies'' revealed that one of the titular mommies has been trying year after year to recreate her mother-in-law's pumpkin pie recipe. This year, she gives up and uses Libby's (a brand of pre-made canned pie filling). Her husband then tells her she finally got it.
* Spenny's number one problem when trying to win competitions in ''KennyVsSpenny''.
* In a ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' sketch, a Hollywood producer is firing his screenwriters left and right for failing to come up with "something funny" for DorisDay to say to RockHudson. When this challenge is posed to the last remaining writer, he yells "I can't take it anymore!" and rushes out. The producer thinks it's a great line.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* To enter the Siege Tower in ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'', you must not want to enter it. And not in a false way; ''you really don't want to get there, so you go there''.
* In ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'', the DLC map "The Missing Link" requires the player to choose between saving the hundreds of innocents held captive, or the one scientist who can bring down the BigBad. If the player figures out that [[spoiler:both are being poisoned with the same gas supply via the same purge procedure]], they can take steps to [[TakeAThirdOption saving both parties]].
-->'''Burke''': You're clever, I'll give you that. Most men aren't capable of seeing beyond the choice in front of them.

* In ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'', Red Mage faces the ordeal of Pride in the castle of ordeals, and, after many unsuccessful attempts to defeat it, gives up. This is the entire point of the exercise, but he [[ComicallyMissingThePoint completely misses the point]] and starts gloating immediately afterward.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'', a death trap is sealed by a door that opens when the occupants are confused, and closes when they understand things-- including the nature of the door.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''{{WebAnimation/RWBY}}'': Jaune is a CasanovaWannabe, and frequently tries (unsuccessfully) to find a girlfriend by using bad pickup lines. However, he is also quite the NiceGuy, and has established good friendships with Ruby and Pyrrha because of this. The implication is that if Jaune weren't trying so hard to [[BeYourself be someone he's not,]] he'd actually relate quite well to women. (Notably, Pyrrha is attracted to Jaune, but for the [[SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan compassion]] and {{Adorkable}}-ness he shows naturally, not his affected attempts at suaveness.)
* In the ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'' episode "Utter Lunacy", Twilight Sparkle tells Luna that she needs to conform if she wants to be accepted by other ponies. When Luna tries to "act normal", she completely fails (apparently she thinks ''"I will devour your soul!"'' is something normal ponies say to each other). When Luna gives up and starts complaining about Twilight, everyone else realizes Luna's NotSoDifferent (because they're all annoyed by Twilight, too). Luna, however, is baffled and angered by her sudden acceptance, and she responds by running away.
* [[http://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/108934 This gif.]] When you can't open a door by kicking, swinging a giant hammer, shooting, a [[Manga/NausicaaOfTheValleyOfTheWind god warrior]], or a reverse KillSat, maybe you should, y'know, [[spoiler:pull it]]?

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
** In "Fry and the Slurm Factory", Fry tries to find the can of Slurm with the winning gold bottle cap inside, first by drinking can after can, then by using the professor's F-ray. After his search yields nothing, he gives up and has a can of Slurm... and starts choking on the winning cap.
** This is also used as a joke in "A Head in the Polls", when Fry is going to register to vote. The Apathy party only accepts members who don't care about voting.
--->'''Fry''': Now this is a party I can get excited about! Sign me up!\\
'''Recruiter''': Not with ''that'' attitude. \\
'''Fry''': Oh, well screw it then.\\
'''Recruiter''': Welcome aboard, brother!\\
'''Fry''': All right!\\
'''Recruiter''': You're out.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'': "When OMAC Attacks!", OMAC fights Shrapnel, who grows stronger the more he's attacked. When OMAC realizes this, he stops fighting, turns on his shields, and simply lets Shrapnel exhaust his strength punching him.
* In ''RockyAndBullwinkle'''s first "Dudley Do-Right" segment, Dudley [[FakeDefector needs to infiltrate Snidely's band]], so he tries to get kicked out of the RCMP by doing various dastardly things, but [[SpringtimeForHitler keeps getting rewarded for them]]. Finally he gives up, and is kicked out for [[FelonyMisdemeanor eating his peas with a knife]].
* ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'': He-Man gets tied up with some AppliedPhlebotinum he can't break because it turns his own (applied) strength against him. When he stops trying to break it, it has nothing to turn, and fades away.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyAndFriends'' episode "Fugitive Flowers", Cherries Jubilee struggles to push a boulder onto the Crabnasties, who are attacking Posey's garden in order to get at the Flores, who have taken refuge there. It finally tips over the edge of the hill and down the slope when she gives up and prepares to walk off in a huff.
* In later Franchise/MyLittlePony animated series, ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', this trope practically defines the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who struggle with it in virtually every appearance, though they never learn the lesson. The marks on a pony's flank appear when that pony realizes what their personal desires, interests and talents are. The CMC are three young ponies who desperately want to get these marks, and already have the aforementioned interests and talents-- if they gave up trying they'd likely get marks in short order. They've instead fixated on trying every possible hobby, sport and activity, especially dangerous and/or widely destructive ones, and also tend to persist in the ones they'd ''like'' to be talented in but don't really like and/or aren't suited for.
** Exemplified in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E18TheShowStoppers "The Show Stoppers"]]: Apple Bloom, who clearly has a knack for building things, wants to be the dancer/choreography expert because she thinks building props is "too mundane", despite the fact she's one of the clumsiest of the three. Sweetie Belle, who has a wonderful singing voice and an instinctive knack for lyrics, decides she'd rather do costumes and props, despite lacking any of her big sister's fashion sense, because she wants to be like Rarity and gets StageFright at the idea of singing in front of people. Finally, Scootaloo, who is quick, nimble and graceful, decides she'd rather do the lyrics and be the main singer because she wants to be in a rock band.
** After Twilight becomes an alicorn, it's implied this is why she has trouble flying. Notably, in the "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E1PrincessTwilightSparklePart1 Princess]] [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E2PrincessTwilightSparklePart2 Twilight Sparkle]]" two-parter, she seems to do a lot better when she's not constantly focusing on it.
** Rainbow Dash is virtually incapable of studying in any "normal" way, but while flying she's ''constantly'' observing and memorizing everything around her, entirely subconsciously.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', it's implied that part of the reason Tenzin can't enter the Spirit World despite years, likely even over a ''decade'' of study, is that he's trying too hard. Trying to live up to his dad's legacy may be a part of it as well.
* The Medieval Fair that WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}} and his class go to has a replica of {{Excaliburn}} stuck in a rock, which attendees are challenged to try pulling out for a prize. Nobody can do it until Arthur, hearing the barker say "All your might won't set things right! 'Tis a steady hand will rule the land!", tries gently jiggling the sword out. It works, and even [[SadistTeacher Mr. Ratburn's former teacher Mr. Price-Jones]] is impressed.
* [[NaiveNewcomer Smokescreen]] from ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' is a prime (no pun intended) example. He is a young Autobot with dreams of future greatness but has some serious self worth issues. Once he arrives on Earth he comes to believe that being on Team Prime will validate his self-worth which unfortunately translates into him rushing into dangerous situations without thinking, endangering himself and others to try and show off for his idols. He grows out of it by the end of the series, becoming a valued support character.
* In one Sherman and Peabody segment of ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'', where the pair meet Dr. David Livingstone, the protagonists befriend a tribe of natives, who ask them to solve a problem: the chieftain's father has been in the center of a lake for a week, and won't come out, and nobody knows why. After both Livingstone and Stanley try complex ideas and fail, Peabody tries something simple: he throws the old man a towel, which does work, getting him to come out. Peabody explains that he had simply gone swimming and had lost his trunks, and was waiting for someone to throw him a towel.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* One of the ''Franchise/DungeonsAndDragons'' trap compendiums includes a room with a timer and a button on a wall. When the party enters, the doors are slammed shut and the timer begins countdown. The button restarts the timer. Cue the party frantically looking for a way out, leaving someone to reset the timer repeatedly. The catch is, [[spoiler:when the timer reaches zero, the doors open without any ill effects.]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Chinese Finger Traps.
* Magic Eye 3D pictures.
* The phenomenon of "choking" in sports, music or any other practiced form is a genuine neurological affect. When you practice doing something, you learn by procedural memory and can do it without conscious thought. When the pressure is on, you try so hard that your conscious mind tries to take over, and your conscious mind has ''no idea'' how to do it. This is why people playing sports for fun can often do much better than when stakes are high.
** In sports in general, people are more likely to "choke" when the stakes are higher, because they overthink things. Most complex physical actions are only possible by practicing until it becomes second nature. [[CentipedesDilemma Trying to do things consciously actually slows you down and interferes with your trained response.]]
* One [[IceCreamKoan piece of advice]] given to people that [[UnluckyEverydude aren't exactly lucky in love]] is "it's easiest to find a significant other when you stop looking for them". May be related to the real {{Koan}} "when the student is ready, the master will appear".
** This probably works because people getting on with and enjoying their lives are a lot more attractive than people desperately seeking someone else to make their lives worthwhile.
* This trope describes exactly how the Buddha's disciple Ananda supposedly reached enlightenment.
* There's a (Japanese?) story about a master calligrapher who was asked to make a painting for an important temple. He paints slowly and methodically, and produces beautiful, clean strokes, but it's rejected. He makes several more methodically produced calligraphy, but they're all rejected-- the person commissioning the work even asks if he really is a master calligrapher. Exasperated, he quickly slaps together one last painting, which is instantly accepted-- "''There's'' the carefree brush of the Master I've been looking for!"
* Certain techniques in fencing, especially making an attack to the foot in epee, are less accurate the harder you think about what you are doing.
* Some alcoholics speak of total surrender as the necessary first step on the path to recovery.
** Recovered addicts usually start the recovery process because they hit such a desolate, soul-crushing rock bottom that it's practically less effort to go through rehab than it is to ''go on living'' like that.
* Much of Taoist philosophy revolves around this. Constantly struggling to get what you want leads to suffering and defeat, while simply "going with the flow" and doing what you're good at will reward you.
* Many inexperienced kids on the internet fall victim to this trope. They try too hard to make themselves seem respectable, by giving themselves unnecessarily cool names like [=DarkEvilLord97=] or Xkiller74x, and acting like an InternetToughGuy, when it isn't cool at all. As they grow up they mature a bit they realize that you shouldn't ''try'' to be a "cool" person, whatever that means this week.
** Similarly, other kids on the internet try too hard to [[SpecialSnowflakeSyndrome seem special or unique]] by acting "random". What they fail to realize is that real {{Cloud Cuckoo Lander}}s don't need to ''try'' to act the way they are, they're just eccentric by default.
** And whatever you do, don't try to be [[DarkerAndEdgier edgy]]. You'll just come off as annoying.
* After the lackluster reception of George Lazenby as Film/JamesBond in ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService'', and after SeanConnery quit being Bond for good, the producers were determined to make the next Bond completely different from Connery's Bond. For instance, in ''Film/LiveAndLetDie'', Roger Moore smoked cigars instead of cigarettes. Although successful, they believed Moore was still too much of a nice guy in his debut, [[TookALevelInJerkass and they tried to make him as much of a jerk]] as Connery's Bond was in ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun''. After the disappointing reception of that movie, they finally allowed Moore to play Bond as he felt it, [[GrowingTheBeard and he finally found his niche]] in ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'', which was well-received and is thought to arguably be Moore's best Bond movie.
* Pregnancy also is more likely to happen when the lady isn't [[LawOfInverseFertility desperately wanting children]]; being unstressed can really make a difference.
* Most art is like this. Any attempts at rushing something usually results in it not working, being subpar, or being a mess. In the same vein, artist who focus too much on a certain area in their artwork or a specific technique will grow frustrated when the results don't look right to them, only for the piece to come out good overall when they just go with the flow.
* This trope is a likely cause of OpusDissonance. When artists strain over every little detail that goes into their self-proclaimed masterpiece- details most viewers won't even notice- the art's quality will not be equal to the effort used to create it.