‘TRY’ is Detrimental to Your Success

Word-Crafting as Alchemy

Third article in the series.

Try is detrimental to your success

by Sybil Watts


“There is no try. Only do, or do not.” ~ Yoda

Try‘ is insidious. It permeates our language, and thus our life with inertia. Have you ever noticed how the harder you try to do something, the farther away success of that task seems to move?

And yet we have all heard the old adage:
“If at first your don’t succeed, try harder.”
“Keep on trying until you succeed.”

I suggest that the reason you did not succeed in the first place is because you ‘tried’ too hard. When someone says they will try to do something, they are telling you they are not committed.

When you say you will “try” you are setting yourself up for failure – for no success.

Try is basically a state of inertia. When one tries, no matter how hard, they never accomplish what they set out to do. It is only when one stops “trying” and starts doing that they reach success.

When you are “trying” to do something, and find yourself unable to complete the project, perhaps it is time to stop trying, back up, and take another look at the project. What are you doing? What is not working? What is working? How can you do this part of the project differently so as to obtain different results. Then go forward again. If that doesn’t work, then once again, look at what didn’t work and change that. Continue to make small tweaks in your project until you finally find something that works. Do more of *that*.


Do this experiment:

Hold a pencil, or any other easily held object, lightly between you thumb and forefinger. Exert only as much pressure as it takes to keep the object suspended there in mid-air. Now, tell yourself, “Try to let it go. ” After a couple seconds say “Try harder.” Just keep telling yourself to “Try. Try harder. Try more.” As long as you “try” the object will feel like it is glued to your fingers, and your fingers feel frozen in place. No matter how hard you try, you cannot move your fingers apart to allow the object to fall.

After 10 to 20 seconds of trying (when you realize that you truly can’t let go because you are trying so hard) just take a breath and say, “Let it go.” BOOM! The object suddenly releases from your hand. This is exactly how trying works. To reach your goals, you must stop trying and start being and doing.

The Great Tragedy is that we get tired of failure and just give up.



Personally, I have put a lot of intention into removing “try” from my vocabulary. I don’t even try on clothes any more. I put something on, if it doesn’t fit, or I don’t like it, I take it off. There is no try.

As I said in the beginning, try is insidious – it permeates our language and keeps us from accomplishing our heart’s desire. This is a word that creates a state of inertia — the inability to do what it is we want to do or achieve. It is only when we stop trying and start being and doing that we can actually obtain success at our endeavors.

Here are some words and phrases with which to replace “try”:

attempt; work; strive; effort; go after; rethink and do it again; endeavor; have a go at; check it out; seek; consider; examine; investigate; undertake; exert yourself; experiment with.

These are all action / doing words that will get you on the track to success.


The Effort Will be Worth It!

I’m not saying that removing “try” from your daily speaking will be easy, I am saying that the effort and focused awareness to do so will be worth it.


Sybil Watts is a Life Optimization and Transformational Coach and Wordsmith. She guides people to let go of old habits and actions that no longer serve their highest good and supports them in living their optimal life. Go to the Appointments Page if you are ready to clear those old shadows that are stopping you from living the life of your dreams.


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