“Do or do not, there is no try…” – Yoda, Star Wars

Leave it to Yoda to simplify human nature! Our words are powerful. They don’t just come out of our mouths and dissipate into the air. They stay locked in our brains. They program our actions. They become our self-talk vocabulary. If the word “try” is in your current verbiage, it’s time to get rid of it. Why?

Try” offers hesitancy / “Do” conveys commitment

Have you ever invited someone to a party and they said, “I will try to make it?” Do you count on that person? Probably not. When someone says they will try, it means your request isn’t something that they will put aside all plans to pursue. The word “try” has become a way to say “No!” in our culture without actually saying it. It’s a cop-out word to get out of the uncomfortable situation of just saying, “No, I don’t want to go to your party tonight.” However, if that same person were to say, “I will be there! What do you want me to bring?” you know they are coming. They have shown that they are committed and will take action to follow through on your invitation.

Try” factors in failure / “Do” envisions the end goal

When people are faced with a tough challenge that they aren’t sure they can accomplish, they love to lean on the “try” crutch. If they say they will “try to quit smoking,” then that means if they fail they have already set up the expectation that they would. Therefore, when they do, no one is that disappointed. Maybe it’s because they are afraid of letting themselves and others down with a more firm commitment. Yet, when they factor in failure to the equation, they are giving themselves a way to continue to resist change.

If that person would instead say, “I am now a non-smoker. That was my last cigarette!” they would then be wrapping up in a personification of change instead of just looking at it from afar with binoculars. They would already be who they wanted to be in their mind. The actions and success would then follow the change in their perception.

Try” invokes passivity / “Do” commands action

People who use the word “try” often embrace passivity. They have a victim mentality. Instead of believing they can create their ideal life, they look at all the reasons why they can’t change. They will look at long lists of tries and failures and point to that as evidence that they don’t have the ability to be anything more. In reality, if they had simply blocked out the word “try” and just set about to “do,” then their list wouldn’t exist. Challenges become their excuses and reasons why it’s just too hard. But, they gave it a good try!

However, people who use the word “do” realize that obstacles are a part of accomplishing anything great. They embrace hard work without factoring in the possibility of failure. Failure is, after all, just giving up. Since they don’t plan to do that, anything else is just a temporary setback.

Try” is self sabotage / “Do” is self respect

People hate to fail to meet the mark, even if it’s an ideal they would like to reach. Because the fear of failure and discomfort of pushing themselves to meet a higher standard is too much, they don’t set the bar very high. It’s like someone struggling to take a step when you know they have the potential to run. When someone says they will “try,” they are really telling all within ear shot that they don’t respect themselves enough to believe in their own ability to change.

Parents don’t say, “I will try to teach my kid to walk” or “I will try to get my child to stop wearing diapers.” No way! They respect their children enough to know that eventually as they grow older, they will learn to do these things. They say things like, “When Junior can walk, I bet my backache will finally go away.” and “I can’t wait until I don’t have to buy diapers anymore!” They talk about a coming event as if it’s certain. Because, even if there are a few set backs, eventually Junior will learn to walk to the bathroom and use it without assistance. For tired parents, failure is not an option; give yourself the same courtesy. Talk about your goals like they are the given.

Try” is the problem / “Do” is the solution

People who try to accomplish things often don’t do them. It’s not that they can’t, it’s that they give themselves the “try” out. Remember when you went to a tryouts as kid? You either made it or you didn’t. While life is still full of moments where your previous preparation is given the spotlight, it is not the majority of it. Don’t live your life like a tryout! You do not have one shot at being a healthier person, a better parent, a more loving spouse, a more generous benefactor, or a more productive member of the society. You always have the daily choice to change your life from trying to doing.

YOU are the only one who can make you DO things instead of trying: Why You Are Your Own Best Competition

Featured photo credit: sw77 via Flickr

Love this article?

Read full content