Stop Trying…

Dec 30, 2020 | Motivation, Positivity


Happy New Year! After a six-week hiatus, I am back. I spent a lot of time over the holidays with family and friends and I am very happy to share that so many of them have included my positive speech tips as part of their New Year’s resolutions. I am confident that many of my readers have eliminated “can’t” and “have to” from their speech already and I am beyond proud of you for that. I am also thrilled that you are spreading the word and encouraging others to eliminate these negative phrases from their speech.

This segment, Part 3 of my Positive Speech Campaign, I’m encouraging you to remove the word “try” from your lexicon. That is, I want you to stop saying, “I’ll try”, “I’m trying”, “he/she is trying”, etc. Why? Because “try” is self-denigrating, “I’ll try” destroys your credibility, and “I’ll give it a try” simply gives you permission to fail.

When you say, “I’ll try”, you are not actually committing to anything. By using “try” to describe how or what you’re doing, you’re stating that you aren’t capable of doing what it is you are trying to do – whatever that may be. Or, at the very least, you lack the necessary self-confidence to do it. Also, it’s not just damaging to you to say “I’ll try”, it’s difficult to hear it. It sounds weak, apprehensive, and noncommittal.

Also, please eliminate using the word “try” when speaking about others — your child, your spouse, your friends, etc. Why? Because when you say someone else is “trying”, you are expressing that you have little confidence in that individual and their ability to accomplish whatever it is they are wanting to do. That, my friends, is DISempowering, DISparaging, and DIScouraging.

I aim to shift that mentality. You are better than that. You ARE capable, you ARE powerful, and so are the people in your life.

People who achieve don’t say, “I’ll try”. Nope. They do it. Nike didn’t choose “Just try it!” as their slogan, they chose, ‘Just do it!’ It exudes power, it expresses confidence, and it assumes achievement.

Whenever you catch yourself saying, “I’ll try”, stop and decide what your real intention is. Then either commit one way or another: “I will” or “I won’t”. Be honest with yourself. When you commit to others, either say “no” or “I’ll do my best” and mean it.

So, eliminate “try” from your lexicon. Make up your mind to either do something, or not. Say, “I will” and commit. By doing so, you are declaring you are capable of doing the task. That you have the self-confidence, the grit, and the determination to overcome any obstacle that might get in the way of you accomplishing it. That you are confident, capable, and powerful, and so are the people in your life. It’s as simple as that.

One short conversation example below. I want you to read this out loud, just so you know what it sounds like to hear someone say, “I’m trying”. Then, in the second version, how much better and more confident it sounds and feels to simply substitute “try” with a few, more powerful words.

Me: Hi, Christine, how goes it with your New Year’s resolutions?

Christine: Ugh. Ok, I guess. I’m trying. (ick!)

Let’s try this again.

Me: Hi, Christine, how goes it with your New Year’s resolutions?

Christine: Pretty good, actually. I’m making it to the gym fairly often and sometimes even enjoying it. Thanks for asking. (awesome!)

Is it just me or did you also hear a HUGE difference in those two statements?! I feel sad for Christine in the first conversation and I LOVE Christine in the second one. What a difference in attitude, power, and positivity. It’s like comparing Eeyore from ‘Winnie the Pooh’ to Winnie the Pooh himself.

In sum, I’ll quote the wise and enlightened Yoda from Star Wars, in a scene in which he assures Luke he has the ability to use “The Force” to lift his X-wing fighter out of the swamp, with his mind. Luke is frustrated and half-heartedly says to Yoda, “Alright, I’ll give it a try.” Yoda quickly responded, “No! Try, not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” And, guess what? With a shift in mentality and commitment, Luke succeeds.

So, friends and readers, stop trying. Do.

Dr. Mary Beth