In my experience as a performance coach and sports psychologist, one of the key areas that can affect peoples success is how well they set their goals and targets, and in particular the language they use when setting them. When we set aims and objectives, either for ourselves or for others, how often did we use the word ‘try’?
There is a famous quote from Yoda, Luke Skywalkers’ mentor in Star Wars.
‘There is no such thing as try – just do or don’t do.’
If you think about it he’s right. ‘Trying’ is just a concept that exists in language. It doesn’t exist in the real world because after the event you have either done what you intended or you haven’t.
Take a moment now to think about doing something well that stretches you towards your limit in your performance (if you’re a sports person it could be something from soccer, golf, athletics, tennis, swimming, adventure sports, cycling – if you’re a musician it could be a fast run of notes or a demanding technical piece – it really doesn’t matter)- something demanding but something you can do…… Notice any feelings and sensations you have. It feels good doesn’t it?
Clear your mind for a minute. What did you have for breakfast today? Toast? Cereal? It doesn’t matter, but now think of trying to do the same thing that stretches you – go on, really try hard. What’s the difference in how this feels? Most people process ‘trying’ more negatively. Maybe there’s some extra muscle tension there, or you associate it with effort and gritted teeth.
Above all, the word ‘trying’ introduces the possibility of failure, even if this is at an unconscious level. And remember, when your unconscious mind has the concept of failure linked to something, you can easily get drawn towards it even if you consciously don’t want to (See the Power of Positive Language).
Since ‘trying’ is only in the mind, and is associated with difficulties, effort and permission to fail, then it would be really useful to eliminate it from our vocabulary. So from now on, develop a Jedi mindset and ‘just do’.
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