Mother: Ayan, can you get a pack of biscuits on the way back home.

Ayan: Ok mummy, I will try.

Ravi: Shruti, you need to take up running. It will surely help you.

Shruti: Ok, I will try to start running.

Akruti: You need to really give meditation a chance.

Priyanka: sure, I will try.

What is common in the responses from Ayan, Shruti and Priyanka, is the word ‘try‘. What is also common is the lack of conviction or commitment in their responses. The request and suggestions made by Mother, Ravi and Akruti are important, or perceived to be important by the speakers, but the listener has his/her own view on those and are given the due consideration based on their own judgement capabilities.

Now See the conversations below:

Boss: Ayan, for the meeting with Reliance, make sure you get the presentation ready  in the next 30 mins.

Ayan: Sure sir, will send it.

Father: Shruti, you have been falling behind on your tasks and I do not appreciate it. Please go and give this document to Mr Sharma.

Shruti: sure Dad. I will do it right away.

Aryan: I need to wake up in 30 mins. Will you please wake me up.

Priyanka: Sure, I will do it.

No prize for guessing which is the missing word in the three responses above. It is the magical word ‘try’. And the difference the word ‘sure’ is making here. Now you might say that its the nature of activities and the tasks that has changed the responses (and the conviction, consideration, blah, blah) of messers Ayan, Shruti, and Priyanka. 

But the fact is that all three had replied in the affirmative in both the examples but had less conviction in the first case and more in the second, on their abilities to do what they were committing.

And the tasks I chose are pretty much random ones. I also admit, that the first case had tasks where the actual ‘effort’ involved is lot lesser, and hence are in the ‘try’ category. But even if  the perceived and actual effort in the second case was much more, it would still have been in the ‘I will do it’ category.

Why is this so? Why are we less committed on tasks which we say we will ‘try’ doing? These are cases where we demonstrate an obvious lack of interest in doing it and are just being respectful (read not being rude/mean) by flatly saying ‘no’ and instead saying that we will ‘try’.

There have been instances where I have suggested (read thrusted, insisted with brute verbal force) to many people to read a book or take up running (yes, its fair to assume that the authors and the running shoes making companies give me commission for getting them more readers and sales 😉 !!) and the response has been, yeah, you guessed it (your smartness quotient just shot up significantly :-)) – I will try.

And my immediate response to that always is – Don’t Try – Be sure (it was an alternative title to the post, but I thought it would be a strong give away at that point!!).

So its these very activities, where we say ‘I will try’ that need your focus and attention. If the pack of biscuits is being given a low priority by mother and she is not INSISTING that Ayaan get them, its because she is cognisant and considerate of his time and its not a pack of medicines that she needs urgently. She will survive if she does not get those biscuits. She is leaving the judgement to buy/no buy on Ayaan, as she does not want him to stretch or compromise on his time (invariably parents are worried that the child will drive fast to include the additional tasks in the same time).

When it comes to running and meditation, activities which do not interest us, it’s prima facie the fear of turning out to be mediocre runner or not ‘getting it’ in case of meditation (just examples, it cld be other reasons as well, like we are too busy, we do not have time, we have failed in the past, etc. etc.) that make us say ‘ I Will try’ instead of “I will do it’. 

If all this is sounding similarly to the resolutions story and how they do not hold much importance by Jan 19 (or was it Jan 15, as mentioned in a few articles!), then it is mildly true. The conviction comes from the importance associated with it. Rarely has a dire warning by the doc (reduce weight and do 1 hour or rigorous exercise daily) been ignored. But the same person having a new year resolution to do even either (forget both) of the exercise, will rarely come be exercised.

We have been told in childhood ‘try try again, till you succeed’. This mantra used to work as our minds were not mature at that stage and we believed that ‘trying’ was the best way to do a tough task. As we grow older, we know ‘trying’ is the sweet way to excuse ourselves from committing to a task.

“Look, I tried, honestly, I swear.” 

“It’s not that I did not mean to do it. I honestly tried.”

“At least you should be happy that I tried.” – yeah, that surely helps 🙁

In summary, what I would say is this. Give the activity the importance it deserves, or trash it then and there and indicate that it has no value for you and say a straightforward ‘no’ either to yourself or the other person. Stop fooling yourself or worst, others, by making half hearted commitments to a task, either for your benefit or for others. The sooner you get clearer in this approach, the better it would be for you.