The first time I heard about “Try” was in church. One Sunday we had a guest speaker who was greeting parishioners as they left the sanctuary, asking whether they’d be back in a couple of hours for a workshop she was offering that afternoon.
One woman said, “I’ll try.”
In her heavy South Louisiana drawl, our guest speaker admonished, “Don’t lie to me, honey. There is no TRY. You’ll either be here or you won’t.”
I got it. And, I came back for the workshop!
Years later during a group coaching program in which I was participating, the facilitator used a fabulous illustration for “try”. A participant said he would try to create a vision board by the next session. Our coach held out a pencil and asked him to “try” to take it from her. The coach held on tight … the participant could not pull the pencil from her grip. Lesson learned. You either take the pencil or you don’t … try is not an action.
Now, when someone tells me they will “try to be there”, I know that means they are not showing up. When I’m told “I’ll try to get that done”, I know not to expect it. When you hear “I tried to contact that prospect” or “I tried to stay on the diet”, you know you’re not hearing the full story, right?
Try can be an excuse, sometimes a way to avoid the truth. Often “try” is really procrastination. Try, in this case, is not an action.
The English language is a funny one.
The dictionary definition of TRY:
make an attempt or effort to do something.
an effort to accomplish something; an attempt.
When is the word “try” not bad? When is it believable? When IS it action?
Franklin D. Roosevelt said “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
How is “I’m trying to get that done.” different from “It is common sense to take a method and try it.”?
One sounds like an excuse, like it’s not expected to be completed (think of the pencil illustration.). The other is action; if it fails, admit it frankly and try…