In a recent segment of A Minute with Maxwell, where Leadership Authority, Dr. John Maxwell extemporaneously speaks on a word sent in by a subscriber, the word was “Try.’
Now, this is an interesting word because, first, like many, it has different meanings and connotations. Also, like most words, it triggers different meanings and contexts based on the belief system of the individual.
I thought that – as always – Dr. Maxwell handled the word with excellence. You can watch it here (and, subscribe to his series, if you’d like. I watch these minute-long gems practically every day. He’s an exceptional teacher).
I’d like to look at three different concepts of the word try:
- Non-Committment. Most of us have, at one time or another, asked someone to do something and they responded, “I’ll try.” Did they ever do it? Probably not. Why? Because they were not committed. By and large, the time one is most “committed to a thing” is at the point of decision. If they’re so uncommitted as to say “I’ll try” at the moment they are asked, it makes sense they won’t be any more committed as time passes. Please understand, unless they are “consciously saying no without having to say no” they might not even be aware of their own lack of commitment.
- “Do or do not. There is no try.” Interesting that this lesson from Yoda is perhaps my favorite movie line. More interesting is that I’ve never actually seen that movie. Actually, I still haven’t seen E.T. either but, hey, sometimes I’m a bit slow off the mark. 🙂 Now, while this example is somewhat related to the above example, it’s not quite the same.This one has to do with the person who truly desires to accomplish something, but perhaps doesn’t really believe it’s possible, or that it’s possible for him or her. And, this was the point of Yoda’s admonishment. Perhaps it’s one of my favorite sayings because I relate to the times I didn’t have the confidence to do something though, in fact, it was very doable.
- Try it – you might like it. This one doesn’t imply commitment or expectation (from yourself). It simply says that, if you are open to a new experience, go ahead and experiment. Try it. It may or may not be something that’s for you, but at least you checked it out.
In the world of personal development, the word “try” is often maligned. And, sometimes for good reason. However, like most everything, it’s probably best to first place it in its proper context. Sometimes, it’s a good thing. Other times, counterproductive.
What do you think?
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Actually Bob I don’t think it was E.T. (which I thought was overrated) but Yoda in either The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi.
Hi Joel, yes, it was Yoda in “Return of the Jedi.” I must have miscommunicated – I was just saying that I hadn’t seen that movie, and *also* still hadn’t seen E.T. This one will fall under “intended jokes gone bad” 🙂
I definitely avoid the word “try” when it comes to things I want. Either I want it, and I’m planning to do it, or I’m not.
When it comes to doing new things, I’ll taste new foods, listen to new music and have new experiences, and then I do those things. Not that much trying involved.
Of course, when it comes to trying clothes, I don’t know whether they will fit or not, so it’s a definite try.
I think avoiding “try” all together is much better than using it too much, so I err on the side of Yoda. 🙂
PS. I’ve got a self help confidence report contest up on my blog!! Check it out…
Thank you, CarolAnn. Appreciate your joining the conversation.
What do I think? I think that when I become aware of the word try, I also become aware that most things I use that word in reference to, don’t deserve to have TRY in their sentence.
For example, I was going to “try to make a video for the GG Thank YOU Contest” By saying that, I was implying (to myself) that I might not succeed. When I take the word TRY out of the sentence (or, more importantly, out of the thought process) I completely change that energy. It’s like, as you mentioned, making a committed decision as compared to a mere hope or wish. I would never say “I’m gonna try to pick up that pencil”
There’s more than one reason Yoda is the master, and this is the primary philosophy. I have eliminated the words “TRY” and “SHOULD” from my vocabulary. They’re as useless as the sentiment behind them. Thanks Bob!
Thank you, Jody. Great points!
When I was a child and had a request that was answered with “… we will try.” I quickly learned that “try” didn’t mean yes or no. I knew it wasn’t the real answer and that I had to watch and wait for the real answer. Sometimes I figured it out quickly into our journey and other times it took all day, before the answer revealed itself.
I learned some valuable lesson for the many “try” journeys, BE PREPARED FOR A YES AND BE OKAY WITH A NO. For example, If I got the “we will try”, answer about going skating that day, I would tell my little sister to bring a pair of socks, just in case dad could take us skating, and not to cry if he couldn’t. He always took us when he could and if we were too late he took us to putt putt golf, or the beach.
I don’t particularly like the word try, not just because it doesn’t mean yes or no, but because it doesn’t imply priority either. (And I’m not implying that we weren’t our daddy’s priority…. his “I will try” was always extracurricular activities that we “tried” to squeeze into a busy day.) What I mean by priority, is if I say I will “try” to open my Bridal Salon and serve my brides the best I can each day, I am saying there are some days I won’t do it. Furthermore I will not prepare myself for a no in that case. ….I would cry if I messed up.
Fa-get-a-bout trying, just DO, or don’t do…..commit!
I like how when I read your blogs, these great memories surface. 🙂
Amy, always valuable lessons you share with us. Thank you!
I’m so glad I saw this today. These 3 concepts definitely hit home for me and I know it has been an issue that I’ve encountered when coaching others. I will always steer them (and me too) towards that last idea of trying something new. I encourage my clients to honor their commitments and not hide behind the word “try”. And, personally, I’ve learned to eliminate the word “try” from my vocabulary when it comes to discussing my new life coaching business. I own a business; I am not trying to start a business. There is a big difference between those two statements.
Thanks for posting this Bob. I’m going to have to share it with friends. 🙂
Kathleen, thank you. I greatly appreciate your comments, and so glad you found value in the post. Thank you!
I love the stuff you post Bob!
When Yoda made that comment to Luke – he was prodding him to lift his ship from the swamp after Luke had successfully used the Force to lift some stones. He had already succeeded with an object smaller than the ship but figured it would be too difficult to succeed with the ship. He made an excuse to not even attempt (try) because he thought it would be too hard. All he had to do was to change his way of thinking about raising the spaceship from the swamp.
We all too often convince ourselves to not even “Try” something because of some inane reason – even though we may have succeeded at something very similar or even more complex or difficult in the past. After all it is easier to make an excuse than to move forward. It is easier to to come up with a reason why we might fail than all the reasons we should succeed.
So Try or Do – what separates the two? Generally – Fear or No Fear.
Awesome, Randy. Thank you for sharing!
Humm, doing a little self-reflection here.
I do that plenty myself, Liz! 🙂
Dad just told me that for “try it, you might like it.” he uses, “Give it a whirl.” LOL
That certainly works, as well. Thank you. And, thanks to your Dad!
May ‘The Force’ be with us all as we go forward in our day being consciously aware of how we use the word “try” in our vocabulary… perhaps a little energy shift is in order to cross over from the ‘dark side’ (said in my best Darth Vader breathing voice) 😉
LOL. Love it!!
I realize this is an older blog post, but I tend to catch up on my Burg from time to time.
We hypnotists use the word “try” when we want someone to fail, for instance: “When you’ve locked your eyelids shut, try in vain to open them.”
So when I was in hypnosis training, someone said to me, “I hear you’re trying to become a hypnotist,” to which I instantly replied, “No, I am becoming a hypnotist.” 🙂
Hi Jim, thank you for catching up on your Burg. I’d never thought of it that way before! LOL. Seriously, great info; always interesting to know how a hypnotist “frames” certain words.