If I said to you, “try this” and handed you a piece of gooey pizza, would you lean forward as if to eat it and then not really do it? I don’t think so. You’d probably take a bite and tell me whether or not you liked it. That’s what trying is all about.
According to Merriam-Webster, “Try” means:
to make an effort to do something : to attempt to accomplish or complete something
to do or use (something) in order to see if it works or will be successful
to do or use (something) in order to find out if you like it
I remember when I was at a workshop given by my (at the time) mentor, he corrected me for telling someone to “try” something. I believe he quoted Yoda, “There’s no try. Only do.” I thought to myself, “No, there is try.”
Trying is about you experiencing something once. You actually take action. It doesn’t necessarily mean you continue to take action. I’ve tried mushrooms and I don’t really like them. I’ve tried riding a BMW motorcycle and I don’t really like them. I’ve tried getting passed the 2nd level of my yoga and it really hasn’t happened…yet. I’ve tried sitting on a balloon and that works.
There’s nothing wrong with trying. I believe the “bad” part comes in when someone isn’t intentional. They tell someone they’re going to “try” to do something and they have no intention of taking any action at all. It’s not about trying it’s about integrity and commitment. For someone to say to another person, “I can’t do that” or “That’s not going to happen right now” is uncomfortable. So instead of being uncomfortable, they lie. The person says, “I’ll try” when their whole unconscious is saying, “No you won’t.” It causes cognitive dissonance – when we say something that our minds don’t agree with. When you put yourself into this position, you cause more stress then the uncomfortable feeling of just saying no. Had you just said no, then the incident is over and you can move on. Yes, it’s uncomfortable for a few moments and that fades as you get back to other priorities.
But when we say we’ll “try” without intention, the stress stays with us. There’s a possibility the other person is going to come back and check up on our progress or to see if we are finished. And then what? Do we say we’ll try again and play a waiting game with the other person? Even if we don’t, we are still stressed until we confront our uncomfortable feelings and just say no.
So avoid the stress. When you tell yourself you’re going to “try” you must take action. You must experience something before you decide whether it’s the right thing for you or not. And when you tell someone else you’re going to try, then do, even if it isn’t done.
I tried the mushroom burger and it’s still sitting on my plate. But I tried.
And remember, a “try” in rugby is actually a successful result. So try like a rugby player and have a great day.