Word Wednesday

How to Use the Art of Trying to Never Fail Again

What makes failure a reality? The way you look at failure and failing will determine how you take action (or even if you will take action). The only way to ever fail is to not try.

never fail again

Thom Rigsby discussed the secret to #neverfailagain in his broadcast on Wednesday morning. I shared my views on how to avoid failing and Thom challenged my choice of words.

Thom and I may think alike on many topics, but we do not always agree on everything.

He doesn’t like the word “try,” or at least he believes it makes it easier to quit. Quitting (short of a pivot, adjustment, or a redirect) turns towards failure and away from success.

As a mother of three boys, I’ve been using try for many years. To me, try is a challenge to take action, take the first step, or to do something new. For instance, until my middle son said he wanted to try broccoli. I confess that I had encountered the small trees at many parties and in stirfry dishes, but I had never tried it before. What does a mom do when her (then 10-year-old) son asks to try broccoli? She tries broccoli. Turns out, I like it. I really like it.

So try, is not always bad.

I did some research into “try” because I have found that many times the word doesn’t mean what we think it means. I needed to know if I was using the word right or if Thom was using the word right.

It turns out, we are both right, but I like to say I am more right in this case.

Broccoli – tiny trees are big bites of delicious?

Pretending or Trying

“Do or Don’t Do – there is no try.” – Yoda

The reference was made to this quote and to the situation that led to the words. I did a little research to confirm and loved what I found over on Quora where Wes Whiting offered his take on try: “Trying is the only way you ever get things done. Pretending to try is not the same thing as trying.”

I decided I needed to dig deeper into the idea and the word “try.” After all, you can’t try to open a door. You either open the door or you don’t open the door, right?

Deeper Into Trying

The Webster’s Dictionary from 1828 offers some great definitions (and sometimes includes Scripture references). I looked up “try” and the definitions kept on coming. There was a common theme, though. The transitive verb, as well as the intransitive verb, denote action.

I looked into the etymology of the word and found that it comes from the noun that was a “screen for sifting.” By the 1830’s the word was used to define an effort or an attempt.

The verb has been used since the 1300’s to talk about evaluation or test as well as “attempt to do.”

My favorite definition comes from a modern use of the word. In Rugby, “try” is the noun used when you touch the ball down behind the opposing goal line – which is what scores the points and entitles the team to kick a goal.

Which makes me wonder what reaction I will have during the upcoming football season in the South if I yell “TRY” when the teams make a touchdown.

How Will You Try?

As for the try that started this whole adventure, I still believe you can try and if you try you never fail because try moves you into a position of action (and it is the only way you will ever know if you like broccoli).

What do you think? Should you try or do you have to “do or not do” to avoid failure in your journey?

Be blessed,

Kathryn Lang signature

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