If you want to accomplish nothing, then tell yourself and others that you’ll try.
The other day, a friend approached me to see if I was planning to attend a local event. The subject matter didn’t really interest me, so rather than respond with enthusiasm, I hesitated.
My friend said, “Well, I hope you’ll try to make it.”
In my option, try is one of those words that should never be used.
The word “try” is a weasel word. It’s a word people use to be wishy-washy and noncommittal. For me, “I’ll try” means it’s at the bottom of my list. I don’t really care. Most likely, I’m not going to do it.
In case you’re not on board with my interpretation, here are some examples:
I’m going to try to bake cookies for the bake sale. Translation: I have no intention whatsoever of baking anything. I’m going to run to the store and pick up some Oreos and bring them on a china plate.
No matter how hard I try, I just can’t make it to the gym. That’s because I don’t really want to go. I joined thinking it was a good idea, but I don’t like working out. Instead, I want to miraculously look like a Vogue model without having to do anything at all.
I’m so depressed, no matter how much I try, I can’t get off the couch…out the door…around to cleaning my house. Translation: I don’t give a shit about myself or anyone else, for that matter. I’m just saying what I think people want to hear so they’ll leave me alone.
I’m going to try to eat dinner. What this means is that, with any luck, I’ll somehow manage to pick up a fork, poke a piece of chicken, raise my arm, put it into my mouth, chew, and swallow.
Until I stopped using the word “try” in my vocabulary, I tried doing a lot of things unsuccessfully. I tried to lose ten pounds. Then there was the summer I tried reading the complete works of Shakespeare. Imagine how successful I wasn’t when I tried to clean the entire garage on a Saturday.
Nothing got done until I stopped trying and started doing. That shift in language resulted in action.
I went to Weight Watchers and lost the ten pounds—and kept it off. Given a reasonable amount of time (all of 2000) I did manage to read the complete works of Shakespeare. When I put “clean the garage” on the family calendar, with help, it was done in a day.
In case you’re wondering, I did go to the event, but I didn’t have to try. A friend had an extra ticket and picked me up in time to have a drink before.
Jan Fishler, MA, is currently co-authoring a new book, Don’t Stop Now, Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (DontStopNow.us). She is also the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir), and has written several articles about alternative health and PTSD. You can learn more about Jan at www.JanFishler.net.