Don't Try, Do!Jan 04, 2022
I believe in the power of positive thinking. I even named my business Positive Achievement, but lately, I have shifted my approach a bit. I still believe strongly in positive attitudes but I have eliminated the word try from my vocabulary.
Now, I say to myself “Don’t try, do!” When you say, “I’m going to try to…” you have already conceded defeat. The very essence of the word try means you think there is a chance you won’t be successful. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right.”
I have decided to replace the word try with the word do.
That is not to say that I think I will succeed the first time I attempt something, but I am going to attempt it with the expectation of success. I believe I am going to do it! Lately, I have become a fan of vision boards, visual images of what my success will look like.
For me, it is a home on the beach, preferably in Hawaii (may as well set the goal BIG). For my students, it may be the college of their choice or maybe the career they want to pursue. I keep a visual image of my goal in my workspace. I encourage my students to do the same thing.
When you are tackling that task that you REALLY don’t want to do right now, remembering why you are doing it not only helps you get started but motivates your to do your best. It helps you remember, "don’t try, do!"
So what does my vision board have to do with why doing is better than trying? Can you picture “trying” to do something? Maybe you’re trying to lift a box. That can’t be a picture of you actually lifting that box. That would be you doing it.
Trying indicates struggle and potential failure. If I acknowledge that I might fail before I even start, I have increased the chances that I will in fact fail. Go ahead. Think of images of “trying”. Now think of images of “doing”. See the difference? Don’t try, do!
So what happens when I do something and I am not successful. Do I quit? Of course not. I look at my effort. I analyze what went right and what didn’t and I do it again. But each time I tackle my task, I do so with the expectation that I WILL be successful.
I would like to change the adage “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” to “If at first you don’t succeed, do it again and if necessary again.” I am not suggesting doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That is Einstein’s definition of insanity.
Rather I am suggesting that you attempt everything with the expectation of success and if you fall short, you don’t think of that as a failure, but rather as an opportunity to learn and improve. Dwelling on your past mistakes is a waste of energy.
In some respects, Ted Lasso (from the tv show) is onto something when he says, “You know what the happiest animal on Earth is? It’s a goldfish. It has a 10-second memory.” Don’t remember the failure. Think about what you will do differently next time to increase your chance of success.
Did you notice I said “do” differently, not “try” to do differently? The focus is on the action. Don’t try, do! Remember, “life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.” (Vivian Kimori)
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