There are a handful of overly used words in the English language that I hate so much, that anytime I type them, I type them in quotes. Any time I say them, I feel like such a loser. Anytime I hear someone else say them, I correct them and tell them not to say it.

One of those words is “wait” … but an even worse word is “try.” You know that word. I’ll “try” to work on this report tomorrow. I’ll “try” to record those videos. Whenever I deal with someone who uses that word more than once or twice in a conversation, I get mad… because it’s a cop-out!

It reminds me of a series of commercials I used to see on TV. One of those commercials showed a guy missing one leg, on crutches, hopping up a very long series of concrete stairs in a crappy neighborhood. The narrator of the commercial said that the recreation center that was being shown “almost” received funding to install a wheelchair-accessible ramp because someone “almost” cared… almost.

It’s the same deal with the word “try” … when you promise that you’ll try to do something, you’re not really promising to do it. The only thing you need to promise is: can you do it or not? If you are only “trying” to do it, you are saying you won’t do it, as far as I’m concerned… and if that’s the case, just say you won’t do it! Be honest with yourself at least.

I took my cat to the vet one day and the vet told me they needed to reschedule the appointment. I’d taken time off work to take the cat in, and I asked why they couldn’t have told me about this sooner. The receptionist told me they “tried” to call me to reschedule. Immediately I grabbed my phone out of my pocket, flipped it open and looked at the voicemails and recent call list. They hadn’t called and they hadn’t left a voicemail. They “tried” to call… I guess they just couldn’t reach the phone. You either call or you don’t call, plain and simple.

Never say the word “try” … if for no other reason than to avoid looking like an idiot like those veterinary receptionists did. But promising to do something gets you in the habit of commitment and consistency, which means you’re more likely to finish something if you say you will do it, instead of saying you’ll “try” to do it.

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