Think about how often you hear yourself or people around you say things like:
“I’m trying to…”
“I’ll give it a try.”
As Yoda said in Star Wars: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Try is what I call a “stuck” verb. It gets us nowhere, and actually permits a state of inaction to exist. As Yoda said, you are either doing something or you’re not doing it. There is no in-between, and if you allow yourself to think that you’re trying to do something, well…then you’re going to be stuck in limbo!
Someone else came up with the great observation that, “to try” means “to fail with honor.” Like, you may not have achieved your goal (because you didn’t really intend to, perhaps?), but you get extra credit for saying you were going to try.
If we treated our whole lives this way, we would essentially be letting ourselves off the hook for never actually putting our full commitment and passion into whatever it is we say we want – and chances are, we wouldn’t accomplish much, and then we’d walk around feeling like a failure much of the time. Yikes!
The impact of using the word “try” without thinking about it goes further than that, however, so it’s actually important to be more conscious of using it. When we say the word ‘try’ in any statement, we actually increase our internal levels of stress and tension. Why? Because the word ‘try’ implies that whatever we’re about to undertake will be a struggle. And who would ever look forward with excitement to struggling? Not many people are actually invigorated by the idea of that sort of experience!
How To Shift Out Of Trying And Embracing Doing
Sit with the following message for a moment. Allow yourself to breathe into the following statement: “I am sitting and breathing.” Take a minute and do this. Notice what happens. Are you sitting and breathing? Are you rolling your eyes in abject frustration? No judgments, just awareness.
Now breathe into the following statement: “I’m trying to sit and breathe.”
Feel the difference within you between the two statements. It may be difficult for you to simply sit and breathe, and allow a moment of quiet to pass. Be aware of what happens inside you as you allow this process to unfold. Again, there are no judgments here, just awareness.
Notice what happens when you add the word “try” to the statement. Are you still actually sitting and breathing? Are you agitated, eager to move on to your next activity, thinking about something else, or disconnected from this exercise? Did some part of you “relax” because now you weren’t really required to do anything?
Your answers to these questions will help you become aware of the impact of “trying” in your life, and the potential benefit of dropping that word from your vocabulary and letting go of that struggle once and for all. Do you want to be more active and empowered in your life? Are you ready to move forward? In spite of your uncertainties, fears or trepidations, do you feel a renewed sense of hope and exhilaration?
By simply dropping “try” you may find you can actually cope more effectively than you have in the past. While you won’t always succeed every time to take action, you’ll be more focused on what new action you apply to the situation that might work better – instead of on the feeing of defeat when you give up by saying, “Well, I tried.”
This Works Great for Managing Feelings Too!
Want to be more thoughtful, more compassionate, or calmer? Declare it as though it is already the truth: “I am compassionate, I am understanding, I am handling this situation maturely and responsibly.”
Think about it: if you would typically says something like, “ I am trying to be more understanding,“ what exactly does that mean? Isn’t understanding something you’re either being or not being? What are you doing that is more understanding? How does that sound, look, and/or feel to you? What exactly would you be doing that would communicate increased understanding? How would you measure the increase?
I don’t mean to be silly about it, I just want you to come to realize how pervasive and self-defeating it is. There will most assuredly be times when we will be more successful at whatever we are doing. There will also be times when we will be less so. That’s okay!
We do the best we can in any situation. And both our best, and the results we get, may change, depending on the nature of the circumstances involved. The point is, we’re not trying, we’re doing! Even when you fall short of your goal, it is important to acknowledge the actions you have taken to achieve that goal.
This is equally important whether it is an emotional, mental, physical or spiritual goal.
So here’s my loving challenge to you: catch yourself “trying” from now on, or planning to try, hit the refresh button, change your wording, and commit to doing whatever it is!
Notice how many times it happens, over the coming week and beyond. Are there certain types of situations where you’re far more likely to use the word “try” instead of “do” in your thoughts and/or your speech? How does it feel when you stop yourself and re-commit to a more powerful stance about accomplishing those things? Shoot me an email with what you are discovering!