Everything Language and Grammar

Try Less; Do More

Posted by languageandgrammar on October 30, 2009

Try is one of those simple, little words that we don’t give much thought to, but the difference in how we use the word is the difference between persevering and lacking commitment.

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

If you don’t have multiple examples of situations in which a failed attempt (or several) was  followed by a successful outcome, then you give up too easily. Perseverance and determinations are keys to success, and the common wisdom of “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is its stated motto.

The number of successful writers, singers, actors, musicians, and businessmen would most likely be very low if they stopped at the first rejection rather than continuing. Nothing is more vital to a successful outcome than continuing to try–unless you’re using it as a way to indicate a lack of commitment.

The Negative Side of Trying

We’ve all said things such as “A Tupperware party on Super Bowl Sunday? Sounds great. I’ll try to make it” when we mean “A Tupperware party on Super Bowl Sunday? No way!” often enough to know that we use the word try as a way to show a lack of commitment.

That lack of commitment doesn’t end with being too passive to say how we really feel (like the previous example); it extends to important parts of our lives.

We often say things such as “I’m trying to find a better job” or “I’ll try to get my homework done on Friday afternoon so that I can enjoy the weekend” or “I’ll try to lose weight after the holidays.”

With all of those statements, the word try (or trying) gives the speaker a way out of meeting that commitment–an escape clause. (The one about losing weight has a double out since it’s pushed back until after the holidays.)

We’ll have much more luck getting that job, completing that homework, or losing that weight if we do so with a strong sense of commitment.

Stop trying and start committing.

–Paul Yeager

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2 Responses to “Try Less; Do More”

  1. Powerful post! Perseverance is one of the keys to success. Taking action and responsibility is one important factor that can strengthen our perseverance.

    http://growingwithtruth.com/blog/113/how-to-strengthen-your-perseverance/

  2. Frume Sarah said

    You tried to raise a good point AND you succeeded!

    When I assist our Bar and Bat Mitzvah students with their speeches, I do make suggestions such as the one you have given here. Strong language choices are much more effective than the wishy-washy ones.

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