Try to Sit Down

Although college wasn't for me, I will eternally be grateful for one class that I took: Interpersonal Communications by Josh Pachter. I remember one of his lessons clear as day.

"In the words of Yoda, 'Do or do not, there is no try,'" Josh said to the class. He was explaining to us that trying isn't even a thing. You either do something or you don't. One of the guys voiced his confusion and borderline objection of the concept.

"Alex, stand up," Josh replied.

Alex stood up.

"Now, Alex, try to sit down," Josh instructed. 

Alex sat down but then realized that he sat down, he didn't try to sit down, so he stood up again only to realize that he stood up and that he still wasn't managing to try to sit down. He awkwardly shifted between sitting and standing posture while the class giggled.

In that moment, Alex got it.

Josh explained that Alex could either sit down, or he could stand up. There was no way that he could try to do either because if he tried he was just doing it!

Much like sitting or standing, anything in life you either do or you don't do. You can't try to do something. I saw firsthand in the workplace the phrase "I'll try" being used as an excuse. Usually, in the workplace when someone said "I'll try to do ____," they didn't do it, and it was followed up by some excuse for why they didn't. They might as well have just said "I won't do it, I'm not interested in investing my time in learning how to do ____." 

If you're not going to do something, say it. If you're nervous about doing something, be honest! Instead of timidly saying, "I'll try to ___," say, "I'll give it my best shot." If you end up missing the mark, it's ok! You did your best, you were honest about your intentions, and you gained knowledge and experience. It's a win-win.

Whenever you do something, maybe the end result of what you hoped to accomplish didn't happen, but you still did it to some degree. You didn't try, you did. Next time you do, you'll do it better.

Lydia Weibel