If there is one word I hate more than any other word in the English language, it is the word “try.” Well, and the word “moist.” But today I’m talking about “try.”
In a business/office sense, I hate it because it is a sign of inability. Want to make everyone lose confidence in your competence? Start using it a ton.
In my opinion, you’re either going to get something done, or you are not going to get something done. When someone has said that they will try to get something to me or they are going to try to figure something out, it’s a guaranteed no-go. If you had any confidence at all whatsoever in your abilities, you would not say you’d try. You would say that you will.
Have you ever been planning an event/benefit/party/social and people were going to try to find time to volunteer? Try to attend? Try to bring an hors d’oeuvres? Events would be volunteer-less and guest-less, with starving attendants if you relied on people trying to accomplish tasks.
Moving from the North, where people don’t care if they offend you, to the South where it’s a cardinal sin, I’ve had to learn when a yes actually is code for a polite no. Usually it involves an “I’ll try…”
The polite decline of exercise
My annoyance of hearing this word peaked after hearing myself use it every day for about a month. Yep, I’m a culprit of the “I’ll try” syndrome.
Want to know how often I went to the gym after saying “I’ll try to make it after work,” or “I’ll try if I’m not too exhausted,” or (my personal favorite) “I’ll try to wake up in the morning.” It’s about the same number of times as I volunteer to take out the trash. (Psst here’s a hint. M and I have lived together since October. I have taken the trash out zero times in six months. No you cannot have him.)
Allowing myself to get trapped by the try resulted in total absence of physical activity for far too long. I’d wake up groggy and have no energy during the day because I didn’t get my workout in, and then I wouldn’t go to the gym because I was only going to try to go if I wasn’t too tired. Vicious circle.
In order to get through those days where I’d rather eat cake and watch reruns of Friends, I scheduled my workouts in my Outlook Calendar. And in my adorable Lilly Pulitzer agenda. And on my wall calendar. And on our dry erase board calendar in the hallway by the laundry room. And on a sticky note on my work computer. You get the picture.
If it was an official appointment, I couldn’t just ignore it. Time was saved each day, and I didn’t schedule things over it, mostly because it would have been far to much work to change all my calendars. See? Laziness can have its perks.
But in all seriousness, I did get to the point where when I scheduled my gym time/boxing class/etc. I would look forward to that appointment. It was the highlight of many days, especially if they were particularly stressful. I promise—stick to it and you may just find yourself looking forward to your 5:30pm boxing class. It sure beats that 8:00am staff meeting with that manager that makes you cringe. You know who I’m talking about.
Try not to spit in their coffee 😉