All through our lives we’ve been told to try, right? I know I’ve said this many times to my own kids, friends, clients and even to myself as well-intentioned motivation to open a window where it seems the door was closed to new possibility. When the ‘But I can’t/Don’t know how!’ protest arises in the space, the first word we usually reach for is, ‘try.’
Hey! This is great! Try this!
You won’t know until you try!
Until you try, you don’t know what you can’t do!
What if you try?
Try – it’s our go-to optimistic opening to possibility
And there’s a certain truth to this. Trying, or having a go gives us an actual on the court experience from which we can draw our own conclusions. Do I like green eggs and ham? Sounds disgusting, but hey, I’m feeling adventurous, let me try it and decide for myself.
What we don’t test or experiment personally doesn’t truly exist for us as anything other than a concept – a thought. So, giving something a go is a logical first step in understanding anything from a place of knowing.
But there’s a dark side to trying.
The problem with trying is that it also offers us the possibility to throw ourselves into something half-heartedly – unless you are trying with all your might that is. And even then…. trying creates a distance between you and what you’re actually doing.
Most often when I hear people (my clients, my kids… and myself!! ) say ‘I’ll try’ or ‘But I’m trying,’ it’s coming from doubt and a sense of not enoughness, rather than a keen desire to experience and experiment. In this moment of trying we are looking to a) minimize the impact of not feeling competent or confident, and 2) uphold an image of ourselves as still being competent. Acting from doubt and keeping up appearances is both dispiriting and energy draining over the long term.
There’s this sigh, ‘Ok, I’ll try,’ with the look that says, ‘ This is not going to work, I’m not very good, it’s not my thing… but I actually still have merit because, I’m making an effort – trying – right?
In that moment all of your precious energy is directed into the trying to be or trying to do, trying to get it right, rather than simply being or doing what ever it is you want in the moment. That’s an extra layer weighing you down.
The thing with coming from trying is that there’s no real skin in the game and you deprive yourself of the energy of full commitment. When you try you don’t have to truly commit to giving it your all. Rather, you get to aim for what you know you can achieve , what is predictably possible or less.
And when you don’t have any skin in the game, your results and experiences aren’t as powerful.
Trying is also pretty inadequate for finding out if you’ll be any good at anything. The only way you will become great at anything and develop mastery, is by practicing more than once, over and over again. Trying to protect yourself from the deception at having ‘beginner’s results’ by covering it with an ‘I’m trying’ is like tensing before you fall off a bicycle, so it doesn’t hurt when you land.
Be honest. It still hurts – or at least feels uncomfortable!
What would be possible for you if you fully accepted that excellent results take practice, stopped hiding behind saying you’re trying and simply started mastering what it is that interests you ?’
Besides, trying is lying.
Each time you say you are trying you are actually being and doing anyway.
You are tasting green eggs and ham
You are experimenting with something new
You are implementing new ideas
You are riding your bicycle without trainer wheels
You are creating new opportunities
You are leading your company
You are bungy jumping (just try ‘trying’ that! When your toes are pointing over the edge of a 60m drop, and the rope is pulling at your ankles, you know there is only jump or not jump. There is no ‘try’ to jump.)
You are running or maybe you are walking – wogging!
You are learning
You are writing
You are playing
You are practicing
You are creating
You are the immediate creator of your experience.
You don’t have to try, to do that.
Be the commitment to the results you want