There Is No Try, Only Do

John Braat

Jonathan Braat / November 15, 2022 3 min read

When setting out to do achieve a goal, choosing the right wording is vital for success. Here is why you should erase try from your vocabulary.

Growing up I was often told "try your best".

This was a motiviational thing my parents, teachers or sometimes even peers said.

It didn't matter whether it was a soccer game, a long distance run, or achievements in school. Back then, it helped me to focus on improving no matter the expected outcome.

Ideally, trying my best meant I would focus on achieving the best possible result with the resources available to me.

However, there is an inherent flaw with the word "trying".

Choosing "try" over the alternatives can be detrimental to your success.

The flaw with "trying"

Yoda There Is No Try Only Do

Naturally, we want to do our best.

But what if "our best" isn't good enough?

People who say, "I will try" allow themselves to fail. Whatever happens, they can always claim that they "tried".

People who hear "I will try" and don't realize what it really means are fooling themselves, by thinking there's a chance that the speaker will actually succeed.

People who really and truly achieve goals never say "I will try.". They use words with stronger conviction like I will.

Why conviction is important

When the pressure comes, preferences give way while convictions hold firm.

  • Edwin Louis Cole

Having conviction and expressing it through your wording is important.

When you arrive at a fork in the road or face an obstacle, your convictions will guide you to make the correct decision aligned with your goals. Will you turn left or right?

Knowing what you will do, but more importantly saying "I will" rather than making a weak commitement with an escape route is vital to power through when times get tough.

This is where "I will try" will be of little support. Maybe the obstacle seemingly is too hard to overcome. "I will try" gives you a way out. "I will" empowers you to push forward.

Tip: Read about how to develop discipline here.

Words to replace

I'm no different to anybody else. I have made the mistake of using the wrong words when describing my goals, or proclaiming different things I wanted to achieve.

Here are some phrases I eliminated from my vocabulary to get to where I am now:

  • I want to
  • I might be able to
  • I have to
  • I will try
  • I will do my best

All of these can be replaced with "I will" and in my experience this has massively improved my life.

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