By Mike Crandall
March 28, 2023

Stop trying

It's time to eliminate the word "try" from your vocabulary.

How would you feel on your wedding day if, during the vows, instead of hearing “I do,” you heard “I’ll try” from your spouse-to-be? What about if, when flying, the pilot said we’re “going to try” and land safely instead of “we’re going to” land safely? If you’re like more than 99% of the population, hearing either would make you extremely uncomfortable. Now let me ask: How often do you use “try” in your life or accept it from others?

Frequently, we say things like “I’ll try to make it,” “I’ll try to call,” or “I’ll try to do better.” When was the last time you said one of these things? Most of us use these words far too frequently. Why do you suppose that is? When you hear someone say, “I’ll try to make it,” how likely is it they will actually make it? When they say, “I’ll try to call,” how likely are they to call? Do you take them seriously? Do you believe them? Or are you like the majority of the population that knows they’ll most likely not make it or call? I’ve often seen situations where the person who uses “try” becomes the target of many jokes, and they are usually unaware of it.

Let’s flip the situation. If you do not take others seriously when they say “try” to you, what do you think happens when you say it to others? As a consultant, coach, trainer, and speaker, I frequently hear things from people before they work with us or in the early stages of our engagement, say things like: 

  • “I’ll try to be a better leader.” 
  • “I’ll try to communicate with my team better.” 
  • “I’ll try to sell more.” 
  • “I’ll try to prospect more.”
  • “I’ll try to close this sale.” 

In these examples, the person is not taking the outcome seriously. 

If the situation, event, or outcome is important, we don’t use the word “try.” Could you imagine someone saying, “I’m going to try and love my kids”? How about “I am going to try to breathe”? Of course not. These things are important enough that the word “try” would not be used. Consequently, the person would be taken seriously when they spoke. 

When we work with clients, one of the first things we do is help them start changing their behaviors to eliminate the word “try” from their vocabulary. As they grow and begin to do this, amazing things happen in their lives—professionally and personally.

If you’re still reading, you read this article. You did not “try” to read it; you read it. For those who are not still reading, they did not read it. They did not “try” to read it; they simply did not. Either way, “try” was not part of the equation. 

Most of us know a very wise figure named Yoda from the Star Wars movie. He has an extremely famous quote, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

What can you accomplish if you eliminate “try” from your vocabulary? How much more seriously will people take you? How much more efficient will you be with your time? 

Do not “try” to eliminate “try” from your vocabulary: Either do or do not!

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About Mike Crandall

Mike Crandall lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. He is a Consultant, Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and Author focused on the Subconscious Psychology of Human Interaction and Motivation. His firm specializes in Elevating Leadership, Management, & Sales Performance for Proactive Business Growth. Mike is based in Oklahoma and serves Visionary Clients across the United States. He can be reached at (405) 844-1700.