Grass doesn’t try
to grow. Doves don’t try
to fly. They simply do their thing, or they don’t. No other beings on our planet “try” to do anything. Except us silly humans.
The Word "Try" is Wishy-Washy.
Let’s examine the following statement: “I’m trying to give up coffee.”
Feel into that declaration. Not very powerful, is it? No. In fact, it’s kind of wishy-washy. It points to the giving up of the coffee thing, sure, but not with any real authority. No one tries
to give up coffee. There’s no such thing. Either we’re drinking coffee or we’re not drinking coffee. We might even be in the process of weaning ourselves off of an addictive relationship with coffee, but again – either we are weaning ourselves off, or we’re not. And if we are, then the wisest and most effective way to communicate this is with the declarative: “I am giving up coffee.” This doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to be 100% coffee-free forever, but it does lay claim to a process that the first statement only tiptoes around, which gives us an infinitely greater chance at succeeding.
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Words Shape Our Reality (and "Try" is a Word).
Every word we think and utter carries with it a unique vibrational frequency. That frequency infiltrates our intellect and our psyche, as well as our emotional and energetic bodies, where they subtly inform our every single experience. The way we describe our aims informs how we experience their materialization. What this means for our intents and purposes is that if I communicate my intentions to give up coffee using words that indicate that the process is challenging (i.e. try, trying)
, then I am infinitely more likely to have a hard time giving up coffee, if for no other reason than I’ve named it as such. And while that might sound like so much woo-woo, mumbo jumbo, it’s true; words create our reality.
"Try" is Fear of Failure.
When we describe our actions with the word try
, what we’re really doing is giving ourselves permission to fail. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with failure. Failure is absolutely necessary to any creative process, as well as to growth. Still, no one wants to fail. Failure is never a goal or an end point; rather, failure is a circumstance set up to teach us something along the way. But, when we muddy our intentions by stapling them to the word try
, we are infusing the possibility of failure onto the circumstances from the get-go – inviting them in, if you will. Because, as we’ve already established, every word we use affects our experience of reality. Every. Single. One. (Illustration by Dani Katz)
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"Try" Triggers Doubt.
to do anything only serves to allow us to not
do the thing we claim we’re trying
to do. It’s a secret side exit that we build into any endeavor, poised and ready to soothe our bruised egos should we fail. The thing is that when we build this door, suddenly failure is a viable option that the psyche opens itself to consider. In this way, try
is a transport vehicle for doubt, which has a niggling habit of piggybacking itself onto that word.
Think about it. What if your architect says she’ll try
to make your foundation sturdy, or your dentist tells you she’s going to try
to numb your tooth before drilling into it, or your political representative says she’ll try
to keep her oceanfront nuclear power plant up to code? These trys
don’t just not
instill confidence, they implant fear. Trying
doesn’t just communicate the possibility of failure, it invites the energies of failure into the endeavor it’s referencing, and in this way, trying can be rather reckless, if not down right dangerous.
"Try" is Contagious.
I take a lot of ballet. My teacher will very often tell the class to lift our leg into arabesque, and to then “try to balance on relevé” (which is a fancy way of saying lift your heel, while transferring all the weight to the ball of your foot). It’s hard, sure, but certainly not impossible. But, whenever I hear that word try
placed before the instruction, my brain translates it to mean that whatever we’re supposed to be doing is really hard, and probably beyond my abilities, because if it were possible, and if the teacher had faith in me, she wouldn’t have told me to “try” it, she would have just told me to do
it. Same thing in yoga. The instructor tells the class to squat down, wedge our knees into our upper arms, and “try” to transfer our weight onto our hands, and balance. This errant try
programs the entire class to think that balancing in crow pose is a very, very hard thing to do, and to not get our hopes up about succeeding. It’s, like, the worst type of mind control because it’s so unconscious, and so subtle, and yet it absolutely affects the class, and the way we approach our practices. (Illustration by Dani Katz)
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Now, let’s be clear. These teachers aren’t trying
to cripple their classes; aren’t intending to suffocate their students’ physiological self-esteem. They are simply projecting their own experiences and ideas about these poses onto the class, and not realizing that in doing so, they are infecting dozens of psyches with a perceived challenge that may or may not apply to them. It’s unconscious, and thoroughly unintended, and yet it’s super damaging in its effects on their students’ psyches.
The great news is that just as our words can inspire fear and doubt, they can also embolden and encourage. In simply removing these tries
from their instruction, these teachers can infuse an entire class with confidence, such that their students can tackle and master all sorts of balancing poses without the doubt or the perceived challenge that these trys
inadvertently communicate. Because all our words are contagious, not just “try”; which means we can use them to uplift and inspire. Yay, words.
"Trying" is a Big, Fat Lie.
When I say “I’m trying to give up coffee,” what I’m really saying is I’m drinking coffee, and I feel crummy about it.
It’s an unconscious way of mitigating judgment – from ourselves and others – for not doing what it is we say we’re doing. It points to a great big batch of limiting beliefs I am holding about my ability to give up coffee, and likely to some larger issues with integrity and keeping my word.
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Here’s the thing, we are allowed to falter in our endeavors. I am allowed to own my decision to give up coffee, and even to drink some, and I don’t have to negate my efforts with that weasly little word “try”, because it only serves to weaken my resolve, my efforts and my belief in myself, to say nothing of infusing those around me with all the doubt that that tiny little word carries. Trying negates our efforts, alleging to rebrand our intentions when we slip back into the patterns we are aiming to transmute. But, it’s a lie, this try
we handcuff to our challenges, and it holds us back.
You’re Better Than "Try"
Here’s the thing: We’re better than try. We’re bigger than doubt. Let’s own it, shall we? Let’s take charge of our lives by taking charge of our lexicon. Let’s believe in ourselves; believe in what we are creating in the world; and, language our actions accordingly - with big, bold declarative words unsullied by a single try
flung before them. Own our aims and claim our victories, even when they are still in progress. And sure, it can be really scary to make a bold declarative statement without having the benefit of a crystal ball, or a fairy godmother, or some sort of absolute guarantee in our success. But that’s okay. It’s okay to be afraid, and it’s okay to own our aims and our intentions with declarative words that make our hearts race. It’s how we grow, and accomplish the (seemingly) impossible, and encourage our fellow humans to be amazing.
And every word matters.
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calming workout for body and soul. Join hosts Kate Potter, Erica Blitz and a cast of experienced yogis as they guide you through a morning yoga flow sure to start your day off right. Get a sneak peek here
Tell us in the comments: Are you ready to eliminate the word "try" from your vocabulary?