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‘Trying’ versus ‘Doing’:

To do or not to do - that is the question says Bobbi.
By Bobbi Chegwyn
Date: July 18 2014
Tags: self-help,
Editor Rating:

I am commencing personal action to remove the word ‘try’ from my vocabulary.

The word ‘try’ is the Breakfast for the Uncommitted. ‘Doing’ is the Breakfast of Champions.

I choose to be the champion of my life – to be responsible for my actions, honest about what I can do and cannot do, and to be someone who others can trust to take some sort of action. There will be no uncertainty or grey areas confused with the word try.

To state that you will ‘try’ to do something does not guarantee that any action at all will be taken, because in truth, trying does not tangibly exist.  It shows no results nor does it indicate any definitive action. Trying is based on thoughts of ‘perhaps’ and ‘maybe’, and is not necessarily based on a drive and a willingness to follow through. It indicates a lack of desire or personal drive to attempt to carry out a task to reach an end goal.

To 'try'  indicates that a thought such as ‘hopefully’ or ‘I may’, could be present but in the end it does not denote a call to action. Trying really says “I might have thought about it, but not committed to completing”.  It gives you an excuse for your lack of action and lack of results in any aspect of life.

Doing is defined as an action, not by the result that you get. You are either doing or you’re not doing. Even when a reason external to you prevents you from achieving what you set out to do, you’re still doing, and when you choose to ‘do’ over ‘try’ you indicate that REAL action will be taken toward a result, regardless of how close you come to obtaining or finalising, action has been taken, you have done something.  

Doing brings commitment and a level of honesty; honesty in that you have taken some action, however may not be in a position to complete a task to another’s standards or your own. Commitment - in that you still take action steps to bring you closer to your outcome, regardless of the obstacles to reach it.   

Failing when a result of doing is not wrong, it is just an action that did not bring you the results that you desire and should then drive you to an alternative or even better way.

Eliminating the word try from your vocabulary also puts you in a position to more effectively and more credibly communicate with others. 

Question:  “Can you meet with me today?”

Response: “I’ll check my schedule.  I may or may not be able to according to my appointments, however I will keep you posted as the day unfolds and let you know at lunchtime as to whether it will be possible.”

How much better is that response to an “I’ll try?”  To hear someone say ‘try’ typically leaves you with uncertainty or doubt as to whether the meeting will occur or whether they want it to occur.

Tony Robbins is an American life coach, self-help author and motivational speaker.  At a seminar he conducted a while back he spoke to a woman who stated she had ‘tried’ numerous ways to resolve marriage issues. Tony took the following approach to highlight the difference between trying and doing and that ‘trying never works’.

“What if I asked you to try and pick up that chair?  Go ahead, try and pick it up.  The chair you were sitting in, try and pick it up."

“Pick it up?” Sam says.  “I said ‘try to pick it up’” interjects Tony.

The woman picks up the chair.  “No, try to pick it up” says Tony.  “You picked it up.  You asked me whether you should pick it up or should you try.  I said ‘you should try to pick it up’.  Now you’re not picking it up.  You either pick it up, or you don’t or you try."

Tony is highlighting the fact that trying cannot be defined as an action, as trying is the absence of action.  You are either choosing to do something or you’re not. And a choice ‘to do’ is committing and actually making you accountable to take that step.

So from now on, I have decided that I will not try, I will simply act and in each case do my best.  I will take action in the best possible way I can with the tools, knowledge, capacity and resources I have at the time.

Here are some tips in transitioning from ‘try’ to ‘do’, and replacing ambiguity with commitment:

  • Say NO if you’re in any doubt about following through. Commitment means you either do it or you do it!
  • Remember, ‘doing’ is a positive action.  It does not necessarily have to lead you to the completion of your goal, as long as it’s leading you toward your goal.
  • Replace ‘I’ll try’ with ‘I’ll do my best’.
  • Create and offer an alternative if you can’t do it their way.
  • Be accountable. Take ownership for your personal behaviours and communicate that choice of action in every situation!
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