Ah the words that prompt me lol. One of my students, when asked to confirm an appointment today replied “I’ll try.” Huh? What does that mean even?

I really dislike the word try. It’s so passive, utterly non-committal. It’s lazy. “Try? Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda

Try is an abstraction. There is only do or do not. Look at all the ways we use it: “I’ll try to make it to the party” or “I don’t know, but I’ll try to get that done.” There are endless variations on the theme, but at their core they all have one thing in common: dishonesty, with corollaries disrespect, laziness, and fear.

Try is a throw-away word. It’s like wish; we all use it but it has no action attached to it. In fairness, there is an actionable try as in I will try to clear that high bar, but it’s still an abstraction. You run down the runway and leap at the bar with the intention of clearing it. You either do or you don’t. Try is like making the leap but with one foot anchored to the ground. “I tried” is vague; “I did not succeed in my attempt” is much more accurate.

Try only exists in the quantum world, where superposition creates both success and failure at the same time – the foot on the ground has not yet left the ground and so is in a state of “try.” It might or might not. But in our Newtonian existence there is no superposition there is only motion, the endless stream of probabilities leading to the point of wave function collapse and reality.

Erase the word try from your vocabulary, let your yes be yes and your no be no. Make a commitment one way or the other. Get off the fence. Pickets hurt when jammed up one’s arse.

2 thoughts on ““Try”

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  1. Having kids in the house, the word “try” can also be about initiation, attempting something new, despite the fear of the unknown. Perhaps this is its original meaning, only to be manipulated into a term of non-commitment, as in “I’ll initiate, but I do not commit to following through.” When kids try, it’s about development, because that is their goal. When adults try, they are essentially excusing themselves from responsibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent observation! I think, based on your comment, that it has to do with intention. My gripe is that adults use the word with no intention of following through. The word has no meaning, whereas a child has both intention and meaning. I almost went down a rabbit hole about fear but I’ll save that for another time lol. I wonder though, how to create a sense of honesty in expression and action in a child, so that try does not devolve into the avoidant but is expressed in “I will.”


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