Greetings family! Christmas is over, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are coming to an end and the New Year is right around the corner. With the New Year comes one of the most painful rituals known to mankind; making a New Year’s Resolution. Some of us pledge every year that we are going to lose weight, save some money, find a new job, or go to church EVERY Sunday. Some of us even go so far as to say we are going to quit a relationship or give a relationship a chance. Of course, we say we are going to TRY which is why we are doomed from the start. Before we engage in the false promise ritual, we should first call ourselves out on previous broke promises. Let’s Go There….
The reality is that you have never been successful at anything you have ever tried to do. I repeat; you have never been successful at anything you have ever TRIED to do. As you are reading this, do me a favor and try to raise your right hand. If you raised your right hand, put it down, and follow my instructions carefully. TRY to raise your right hand. If you raised your hand again you are still not following instructions. If you kept your hand down it may have been with some look of confusion. The point is that your brain only understands intentional direction. You cannot physically demonstrate what it means to try. You either raise your hand or you keep it down, simple as that. In the absence of intention your brain will do what it feels comfortable doing even if it is not what you meant. To TRY is to presuppose failure or conveniently build yourself an excuse if something goes wrong. If you cannot physically demonstrate the clear instruction, then you cannot honestly expect your brain to respond correctly every time. Since you cannot show me what ‘trying’ looks like, I suggest you stop using this noncommittal word entirely. You can’t try to be successful any more than you can try to raise your right hand.
Think about it, how comfortable are you with the doctor saying, ‘I’m going to try and operate on the correct organ’, or your boss telling you ‘I’m going to try and make sure you get paid on time’? Ever heard an author say what they are trying to do with their book or a nonprofit say what they are trying to do with their mission? Why are they not willing to commit to saying what the book IS doing and what service the nonprofit IS delivering? The owner manual in my truck does not tell me how to try to change a flat tire. The bottom line is that leaders are clear in their intent, understand that words create action, and avoid presupposing failure on matters of importance.
As a result of most of us not understanding how the words we use have a corresponding physical response (or lack thereof), here are the things I am no longer comfortable hearing or believing ever again;
• Teachers saying they are trying to educate our children (either educate or find a new job!)
• Kids who say they are trying to be respectful in public (either grow up or stay home!)
• A government that says it is trying to create jobs (either create the jobs or stop talking about it!)
• Relatives who vow that are trying to quit drinking (either seek some help or accept my disappointment!)
• A community that professes to trying to take back their streets (either say enough is enough and do something about it or accept that we’ll be having ‘rallies for peace’ for the same issues for the rest of our lives!)
I suppose it is because I’m exhausted with broken promises or I’m simply tired of watching us make promises every January first that we have no intention of keeping. Stop telling yourself and the rest of us what you are going to try to do and tell us what you are going to do; Period. When someone tells you what they are going to TRY to do for you, stop them and force them to commit to something one way or the other. It can be as simple as not allowing someone to say they are going to try to call you back.
I invite you to join me on creating a movement of intentional language. Make your New Year’s Resolution that you are not going to TRY to do anything in 2012. Either commit to doing what you say you are going to do or keep the New Year’s Resolution to yourself.
© 2011 – 2013, Alonzo M. Kelly. All rights reserved.