• To do or not to do

    4th July 2018 | Blog
  • How often do you use the word try?  How often is at an excuse to appease someone, and how often is that someone you?

    ‘I’ll try to get to the event.’ ‘I’ll try to get this finished on time.’ ‘I’ll try to eat healthily.’ You probably have your own similar phrases. Try might be replaced by I’ll do my best. The implication is the same. I did try!

    On the surface, perhaps there’s nothing wrong with the word try, particularly if you’re already very busy and genuinely aren’t quite sure how your day is going to pan out. Of course you don’t want to make any promises or commitments you can’t keep. In these situations your message to the other person is clear enough – you may or you may not.

    The problem is that by using try  you’re also giving yourself that same message – you may or you may not.

    Your intention then is to try, not necessarily to do. It’s almost as it ‘Try to finish xxx’ is on your task list for the day. As long as you try you will have succeeded in terms of what you committed to do, but you may not have actually done whatever it was.

    Of course it’s important to be realistic but once you set your intention to do instead of try it opens up another set of questions and actions to take you forward. It opens your mindset to different opportunities. For example, what else do you need to do or what else needs to happen in order that you do whatever it is?

    Does it mean that your priorities change so that something else that’s less important can get postponed, or even dropped? Is there someone who can help you? How can you best manage the time available in order that you achieve this outcome?

    What might also come up is how much you want to do this, or maybe more importantly, how much you want the outcome once it’s done. It’s as if you’re following a clear straight path in order to do whereas you might follow a more meandering less defined path in order to try.

    Do you really want to give yourself permission to not achieve this task?

    Such a small change in the language you use can have a great impact on yourself as well as others. Who do you know that when they say they’ll try to do something it actually means that they won’t? Is that how you want to be thought of?

    If the task in hand seems daunting and the problem is that you’re not entirely sure you can achieve it, how can you chunk it down to make it more achievable?

    Keep focused on that first step then once that’s been reached, focus on the next one. Achievement is often incremental.

    In the words of Yoda from Star Wars, ‘There is no try  – only do.’

    You just need to work out how.

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