Why TRY When You Can DO?


The last few days, I’ve caught myself on several occasions stating I would “try” to do something.  It occurs to me now that TRY is a commitment-phobic weak word.

If I were inclined to play the blame game, I could trace my commitment issues to early teachings, like the Girl Scout promise.  It starts out “On my honor I will TRY to do my duty…”  Sorry.  That’s all I remember (but I could TRY Google to find the rest).

I dwell on odd things, as you can see, but I’ve figured out the situations where I use TRY the most:  (1) When I don’t really want to do something, but feel uncomfortable saying no, and (2) When I’m not sure if I can successfully meet a goal.

TRY is my safety net, my enabler, and it promotes my laziness.  I know what I have to do:  (1) Get a backbone and (2) Set realistic goals.  I will try to (oops) break my TRY habit.


Doesn’t “I will finish my manuscript revision by Saturday evening” sound more powerful than “I will try to finish my manuscript revision this weekend”?  I’ve made a big enough deal out of TRY that I should be able to catch and stop myself from using it.  I’d much rather DO than TRY.

What is your opinion of TRY?  Please share any other weak words (or phrases) that you’ve come across.


5 thoughts on “Why TRY When You Can DO?

  1. Cassandra Jade May 26, 2010 / 11:41 PM

    Try is my jinx word. Once I’ve said I’ll try something, what I mean is I’ll do everything short of killing myself to make sure I accomplish it. However, I know that when a lot of people tell me they will try to do something it means just the opposite. Everyone uses it differently but as individuals we tend to always use it the same way.

  2. averyoslo May 26, 2010 / 11:49 PM

    For me it’s “should”. The second I say “I should be writing” the teen within screeches, flips the bird, gets another piercing, and tells me that I’ve become part of the system, man.

    And then I just can’t write, you know?
    So I steer clear of shoulds.

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2010 / 9:39 AM

      Cassandra – I wish “try” motivated me to succeed like it does you.
      Averyoslo – Should…that’s another good one. Isn’t it amazing how once we acknowledge we “should” do something, it manages to not get done?
      Thanks for the comments and different perspective!

  3. milkfever May 28, 2010 / 12:29 AM

    Someone once demonstrated ‘try’ for me. He said, “try to pick up the pencil.”
    I picked it up. Easy.
    He said, “No, you didn’t try, you did it. Trying is ultimately ‘not doing’. Make the decision to do it, or not. But never try.”
    I thought that was pretty good advice.
    Notice when someone says, ‘I’ll try’. They usually don’t.
    And ‘should’. Yuck! Get rid of that one altogether.

    • jannatwrites May 28, 2010 / 3:44 PM

      I like the demonstration; that gets the point across very well. Thanks for sharing it!

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