Someone asked me yesterday “Are you going to try to get some work done today?”
“No, I AM going to get some work done today,” I answered back. I almost took this careless question as an insult. Then, I considered the source of the question as someone who does not pay close attention to their language as I like to think I do.
Some people might think it was a “smart ass” thing to say, but it wasn’t. I did my best to eliminate the word “try” from my vocabulary a few years ago. Why? “Try” is a bullshit word. “Try” is defeatist in the definition. Saying that you will “try” to do something, is like saying “I’ll start something, but I’ve given myself a method not to complete it.” The word “try” has a built-in failure mechanism when you tell yourself that you will “try” to complete a task.
Yoda had it right in The Empire Strikes Back. Granted, Yoda was not a real person, but he was a real character in a real movie with a real idea. In the movie, Luke Skywalker ‘s X-wing fighter was stuck in a swamp on a planet with different terrain than X-wing fighters were intended to land. They had to get the fighter out of the swamp if Luke is to continue his journey. Yoda suggested using The Force to get the X-wing fighter out of the swamp. Before Yoda said his famous quote, he said something else first. He said to Luke “Always with you, what cannot be done. You must unlearn what you have learned.” Then Luke said, “Alright I’ll give it a try.” Then came Yoda’s famously scripted “No! ‘Try’ not. Do or do not. There is no ‘try!'”
Webster defines try as a verb as “to make an attempt to do something.” “In vain” seems to be implied when I hear someone saying that they are going to try to accomplish some task or objective. “I will try, but I know I won’t succeed” seems to be the total message. The reason we should take very careful thought about our language is clear. Every time you say something, you hear that statement, and it reinforces that thought. It’s like a never-ending spiral. That’s why you have to watch your language carefully. If you say a limiting or erroneous statement, your ears hear it and takes that message back to the brain, reinforcing it is correct. If you start something but give yourself a way out to finish it repeatedly, you form a pattern. Then since you have subconsciously trained yourself in that pattern, your brain will look for and find the way out instead of completing the project. I experienced this for years until I broke the cycle, or at least became aware of it.
Do yourself a favor and delete the “T-word” from your vocabulary. In reality, no one “tries” anything that they complete.