Don’t try – just do it
You know the situation – you meet a former acquaintance in the street, chat a little awkwardly about what’s been happening in the years since you last met, and as you part to go on your separate ways one person says “We must try and get together, sometime!”
Or you ask someone to do you a favour and they reply “OK, I’ll try and get that done.”
Now imagine I said to you “I want you to try and touch the tip of your nose with your index finger” you would likely find that a strange request, providing you were not in some way disabled. It’s easy to do it, there’s no chance of failure, so why use “try”?
However if I asked you to “Try and touch the ceiling” that would sound and feel more sensible. Because there’s no certainty that you can touch the ceiling – most ceilings are too high.
What comes out of all of these examples?
That we only use the word TRY when we expect or assume failure!
“We must try and get together sometime” means something like “I thought I’d got rid of you and I haven’t the assertiveness to tell you I hope I never see you again!”
“I’ll try and get that done” means “I am not going to tell you I cannot or will not do it – but don’t hold your breath waiting for me to do it!”
But it’s only a figure of speech
Perhaps. But figures pf speech often give strong clues about what is going on in the background. They can be a form of leakage from the underlying emotions. Especially if you listen to them carefully and take them literally.
Words like ‘try’ indicate what we are really thinking – and, perhaps, do not want to admit even to ourselves.
The words you use sub-vocally in your self talk affect your mood. And the words you use out loud affect both my your own and other people’s moods.
“Try” creates doubt – in your own mind and in the minds of others – and suggests that it is unlikely that you will succeed.
Replace ‘try’ with ‘will’
Us it for a while and decide for yourself if it makes a difference to how you feel and to how people respond to you.
“I must try and start exercising”
“I will try to give up smoking”
“I will try to eat more healthily”
“I will try to be nicer to people”
use “I WILL begin exercising etc.”
What if I’m not sure that I’ll succeed?
That’s OK. You do not have to be sure you’ll succeed before beginning something.
It is OK to ‘fail’.
‘Try’ is a way of insuring ourselves against the bad feelings we associate with failure… “But I didn’t say I WOULD do it! I just said I’d TRY!”
Make a decision that it is OK to not get everything right every time and you’ll feel a lot better saying “I will…”
The other side of this coin is that if you do not say “I will…” you are not fully committed to it. You’re giving yourself a get-out clause – just in case.
Commit – fully
Commit fully – or don’t bother. If you do not commit fully you are kidding yourself. You are pretending to yourself that you are going to give something your best shot whereas in fact you are going into it prepared to fail and with your failure alibi ready in advance.
When you commit fully you are arming yourself with a belief that you will succeed – do this and you’re half-way there before you even begin.