Author, Speaker, Coach

What’s in a word. Success and Failure?

The words we use mean more than we mean by using them. Often we are unaware of the affect that words we use both to communicate with the world and ourselves (internal dialogue) have to a communication.

Some years ago I wrote with a colleague a small book  called My Little Book of Verbal Antidotes to help clients overcome some of the not so obvious traps that sometimes we put ourselves in. It is not that we necessarily mean to do so rather that we are not aware that the outcome may well not be the one we had intended.

Lets take the word “try” which is commonly used by many people. It is often used by people who cannot commit themselves and find it difficult to say ‘no’. You have probably heard someone say ‘try and call you later’ or ‘ I’ll try and get it for you’. The probability is that they did not make it. The idea was not to do something rather to try (attempt) at doing something. Comments like ‘I tried to call you but there was no time left'” or ‘It tried to find the shop, but I couldn’t see it’.

What comes to mind are the countless times at school hearing the teachers tell us all ‘you’ve got to try harder’. And that is exactly what we did. TRY. No more no less.

Try to the mind does not mean ‘do it’ after all if you meant ‘do it’ say do it. The problem in some ways stems back to childhood when we where told to “try harder” as if that was going to make the difference. In reality only about 1 in 10 escape this trap. And I might suggest that it would be wiser not to assume that you are the 1 in 10. Safer to change you words and know you are on the right track.

It is not only that you are unlikely to reach your objectives, it is also that you could exhaust yourself in the process. The instruction to the mind is straight forward. Exert yourself and put all your energy towards getting there. There is no mention of being there, of arriving, of having it.

Try is a time and energy waster. It just consumes our energy with little or no return. It is used extensively in some therapies when it is necessary to have the client fail at something that by so doing benefits them. That’s for another day. The object of this blog is to highlight the importance of keeping your communications and instructions clear to yourself and others.

It seems that the word ‘try’, for most languages, has the same negative affect with negative outcome. I might suggest that you analyse the word ‘TRY’ in another language and discover if it means ‘DO’. It is as simple as that. As Yoda said “there is no try, there is only DO.

It could be interesting for you to have a go at doing it for a day and notice what you notice as being different.

There are many such words that you may not realise are having a detrimental outcome to your intentions.


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