Right, but again, the topic is the definition of instrumental rationality, and whether it refers to “trying to win” or “actually winning”.
What do “admonitions” have to do with things? Are you arguing that because telling someone to “win” may some positive effect that telling someone to “try to win” lacks that we should define “instrumental rationality” to mean “winning”—and not “trying to win”?
Isn’t that an idiosyncracy of human psychology—which surely ought to have nothing to do with the definition of “instrumental rationality”.
Consider the example of handicap chess. You start with no knight. You try to win. Actually you lose. Were you behaving rationally? I say: you may well have been. Rationality is more about the trying, than it is about the winning.
The question was about admonitions. I commented based on that. I didn’t mean anything further about instrumental rationality.
OK. I don’t think we have a disagreement, then.
I consider it to be a probably-true fact about human psychology that if you tell someone to “try” rather than telling them to “win” then that introduces failure possibilites into their mind. That may have a positive effect, if they are naturally over-confident—or a negative one, if they are naturally wracked with self-doubt.
It’s the latter group who buy self-help books: the former group doesn’t think it needs them. So the self-help books tell you to “win”—and not to “try” ;-)