Stop Trying and Start Doing!

“No. Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.”

– Yoda

Many years ago, I had an employee who started to make a habit of coming into work late.  After this happened several times in a row, I took her aside to find out what was going on and to discuss with her the importance of being on time.  Her response was unlike any I had heard before and caught me completely off guard.  “I can’t guarantee I will ever be to work on time, but I will try my best.”  As you might imagine, she didn’t remain employed for very long after that!

Now, my mental defense goes on alert any time somebody tells me they are going to “try” to do something.  “I will try to be there by 3pm,” “I will try to get that report done by tomorrow,”  “I will try to finish that project,” or “I tried and it didn’t work…”

I have made a conscious choice to eliminate every conjugation of the verb “try” from my vocabulary, and have come up with few reasons why you might want to as well.

There Is Really No Such Thing as Trying

What does it really mean when we tell somebody we’re going to “try” to do something?  How come we just don’t say we’re going to “do” it instead?  By comparing the two, the word “do” sounds more concrete and powerful than the word “try.”  That’s because the word “try” lacks any real commitment to actually following through.

If we take the time to set an important goal and then start to work towards its attainment, why would we not be truly committed to making it happen?  Whether the goal is short term or long term, there are only two potential outcomes that are going to happen.  Either we are going to succeed or not succeed at accomplishing it.  There isn’t anything in-between.  Therefore, we either do something or we don’t do it.  Trying doesn’t exist.

Trying Is Just an Excuse to Fail

When you take it a step further, “trying” is really nothing more than an excuse that rationalizes failure.  If we are not successful at our first attempts towards accomplishing our objective, does it mean we failed at it?  Not at all; it simply means our first attempts were not successful.  This could have happened for a variety of reasons.  However, if we are truly committed to accomplishing our objective, not succeeding is feedback that tells us what didn’t go as planned.

As painful as it might be, it’s not how many times we fall down, but how many times we get back up and keep moving that determines if we achieve our objective.  Using the word “try” is acknowledgement that when we’re down its okay to stay down and give up instead of getting back up.

“I Tried” is Justification for Quitting

No matter how many attempts we make at achieving our objective, we have not failed until we actually make a choice to quit.  Failure is not the result of a lack of money, time, talent, or other resources, but a choice we make by quitting.

“I tried” is too often used as a reason for quitting.  It says we have given up or decided that not reaching our goal is ok and not that important to us after all.  When we aren’t making the progress we are hoping for, instead of quitting and making the excuse “I tried,” consider what might be some possible alternatives or next steps to take.

Many times, choosing different alternatives means we are going to be faced doing new things we’ve never done before.  Stepping outside of our comfort zone can be a scary place to be, but isn’t that where all growth and success occurs?  Sure, it’s risky every time we do something new; we may have no idea what’s up ahead, or even how we are going to handle it and the numerous obstacles in the way.  Eliminating “I tried” keeps you committed to moving forward instead of the alternative of stopping and not going anywhere.

Maybe it’s time to see if “I tried” is still an active part of your daily vocabulary.  Dropping the “I tried” has improved my attitude, and changed the way I adjust my plans as I respond to the feedback I receive.  I hope it makes a difference for you as well.

To your SUCCESS,

Daryl Murrow

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