How many times do you either think or say “I’ll try….”? A friend recommends a book – a must read, “I’ll try to get it.” A co-worker suggests an easier way to locate information on the internet, “I’ll give it a try.” A friend invites you to a party, “I’ll try to come by.” Often the “try” becomes a “never happen.” Why? Why don’t we try new books, faster information sites, to get to our friend’s for a drink? It doesn’t meet a need, solve a problem or erase a strong enough pain for you to really take the time to “try.” If it did, then you’d try and accomplish – for the most part.
When you first began your job you had to try multiple new learning tools and techniques as part of the job. You didn’t question the “why,” you just did them. You now perform those duties with nary a thought, because not only did you try them, they became routine. The tools and techniques that you were taught and later learned were paramount for you to excel at your job; they were a necessity. That necessity also points to your learning how to drive a car, using new software, using a new computer, phone, camera or DVD player. You didn’t just “try” to get the car in gear, the software to mesh with your operating system, your computer to talk to you, your phone to do everything except drive your car – that’s probably the next advancement from Apple! – or your camera to focus for you, no, you did what you needed to do in order to make everything work for you.
“I’ll try to get that done by 4, today.” You’ll “try” to get it done? Why not make the concerted effort to get it done? “I will get that report to you by 3:30 this afternoon.” Now your thoughts and commitment focus on finishing the project. “Try” is an escape technique in some instances. How many times did you show up when you told your friend(s), “I’ll try to be there”? Probably never… okay, one out of ten times!
Do you tell someone, “I tried to call you yesterday, or last week, or whenever”? You actually completed your task: dialing 7, 10 or 11 numbers and the other person didn’t answer. Right? Change the “tried,” to, “I called you….” We try to be nice to some of the people we don’t particularly enjoy. Actually we either are nice, or completely ignore them; we’ve done it. You try to lose weight. How hard did you really try?
On the other hand, trying and succeeding is brilliant. You may have, “succeeded on the first try.” You did try – attempt – to complete something and it worked. Yeah! I have a few friends who are training for their first 10k and mini-marathon road races. “I’m going to try to finish.” Do you think that Olympic athletes say, “I’m going to try to make the team”? They probably visualize their making the team – no try necessary, only reality. When they complete their tasks – get to the finish line – they definitely succeeded on their first try. I know my friends will cross their finish lines and be proud of their accomplishment.
At a 5k Fun Run/Walk fundraiser last weekend so many people made excuses for not being able to run a “good” race, run my “best” time, or “keep up with my friend,” etc. and this was hours before the start time. They made excuses and yet they actually showed up and that’s the first step. Our only competition is ourself! Think about that for a moment or two: You are your only competition.
When I went to Cirque de Soleil a few weeks ago, the acrobatic, gymnastic and contortionists acts are definitely acts I’m not going to ever try! Believe me. I don’t want to; therefore, “trying” is not in my vocabulary to “try out” for Cirque de Soleil. But I know I did try to make a full hour of my spin class within four months of pedalling my heart and legs out that first day. I did it. What have you tried and completed that made you proud of yourself? Write them down.
When we really make the commitment, focus on the result, visualize the completion of our projects whether it’s our first of something, mundane duties, or the last attempt, 94 percent of the time we complete the task. Why? Because our minds focus on the result, not on the “try.”
Try something new today. Make a commitment to do something that scares you. It may be pressing the “send” button for an article or story you’ve written; getting in front of your peers and giving a speech; picking up the phone or sending an e-mail to someone asking for his/her business; or maybe it’s just saying something to someone whom you’d like to befriend. Make a commitment to start that diet. Make a commitment to get that report in early. Make a commitment to yourself to exceed your own expectations.
I know that famous men and women tried to create their masterpiece: art, technology, literature, manufacturing, business, et al, and they succeeded. I paraphrase: “There is no triumph without the ‘try.’ ” Their initial attempt was a revelation and a success; they made our world a better place. How do you see and perceive the word “try”? How has it either demoralized you or kept you from meeting new people, getting the job done, or excellence? How has it been a medal of honor imprinted on your mind because of its success?
“Trying is the touchstone to complishment.” Paul von Ringelheim