Saturday, May 17, 2008

Trying and trying and... (My Sacred Life, Sunday)

If you examine the life cycle of an excuse, the period before you start owning the excuse you have planned in the back of your mind is known as "trying".

Before the event which you fear you may not be able to step up to, to perform as needed, to execute on the agreed-upon plan, to simply do what you have assured others you will do, you determine that you will try. You have just germinated an excuse seed. The result is predictable, and the illustration above portrays it. Need to get to the other side of the fence? Trying won't get you there.

The event comes to pass, and you don't get your part done. Now, the 'trying' goes past tense in the form of a fully mature excuse: "I tried. I really did!"

Excuses are the fear inside us attempting to survive by making it alright to fall short of getting our part done. It's not failure if you tried, right? Right?? (is the fear palpable here?)

'Trying' is our attempt to set up a situation where we have a valid excuse. Talk about an oxymoronic phrase...

I remember years ago being part of a demonstration of the invalid nature of the entire concept of trying. In the front row of the audience, I was an easy target of the motivational speaker. She asked me to come up and try to move her microphone stand. I confidently hopped onto the stage and picked up the stand, only to have her say, "No, I did not ask you to move it. I asked you to try to move it."

My confidence vanished as I knew I was caught in a trap. I put the stand down, then reached for it again, only holding it but not moving it. She said, "I did not ask you to fail to move the stand. I asked you to try to move it!"

Thankfully, she only left me twisting slowly in the soft breeze for a few seconds before she decided the point was made. I was allowed to return to the anonymity of the audience.

When you make it real like this, take 'trying' out for a walk, it is so easy to see the fallacy. 'Trying' is nothing more than a construct inside our heads which our ego or our little selves use as a way to escape responsibility.

In the world of microphone stands and lawns needing mowing and computers needing fixing, there is no such thing as trying. You either mow the lawn or you don't. You fix the computer, or you don't.

A point of clarification: it is perfectly fine to practice what you wish to become better at doing. It is a good idea to repeat a process as you are learning. This is not trying, though, because the learning process involves movement and intent to improve.

Trying, on the other hand, involves being stuck in one spot and fearing what it will take to move from there.

It is time to stop trying to capture my thoughts on this concept and publish what I have to offer. My Sacred Life, Sunday, completed the day prior.

A side note to those who stop by and see this: I'm grateful for your time, and it is my great pleasure to read and respond to your comments. Thanks for sticking with me, you who have, for many posts...some noteworthy, some not so much. Over the months of the existence of this blog, I have come to know that I write it for my own joy, *and* to offer a respite from the daily grind of anyone who is willing to invest a moment to read an entry or two. Thank you a thousand times for making my intention a reality!


Olivia said...


This post, as well as your email to me in which you discussed this topic, are provocative. It reminds me of an interest I have in what is being called "transformational language arts". I'm not very familiar with it, but am checking it out, and I believe it has to do with how the words we choose affect us. The specific words, like "trying". Or "should". Or "can't". So important, and profound, I think!

Have a wonderful Sacred Sunday,

Olivia said...

PS. You posts are always interesting to read, and much anticipated and enjoyed, even when I just visit and don't comment :)

Rick Hamrick said...

There is no question, Olivia, that how we couch our comments about our own lives, as well as how we phrase things for others, is profoundly influential.

Admittedly, I'm sort of a word geek, but that only means I'm more sensitive than some to the affects. The affects, themselves, are real and substantial. They act as energy capsules, contents of which are determined by the originator as they choose how to say what they have to say. Stringing the bow, and then loosing the arrow carrying the energy...

That whole "sticks and stones" thing? Bunk. Words can hurt, soothe, wound, heal, injure, encourage. I'm leaving out a few hundred other things words can do.

Thanks so much, O!

Rick Hamrick said...

To add my own "PS" here, I'm not ignoring the fact that each individual has the power within themselves to toss off any attempt to injure that words are sent to effect. The average person, though, is not yet to that place of grace. I don't pretend to be, other than in moments which remind me how fun it will be to live there all the time.

Lisa said...

Your wonderful post reminds me of the words uttered from a very wise Star Wars creature;

"Do or do not. There is no try."

Thanks for reminding me of one of my best (and easiest to use) excuses. Happy Sacred Life Early Sunday to you, Rick!


Rick Hamrick said...

Lisa--I have not seen any of the Star Wars saga (I know...the geek police are after me for this clear violation), but I have come to know Yoda indirectly.

For a short guy with no hair, he is really smart.

Thanks for stopping by!

GreenishLady said...

Hi, Rick. That is a powerfully wise piece of writing. I notice that I don't try much any more, as I've begun to do more in my life, so you're right. As to where we begin to create excuses... yes. You've hit the nail on th head.

(PS... i don't know if you like to do memes, but I'm tagging you for one on my blog. Participation is entirely optional.

Julie said...

Yeah, i have been a real comment slacker, (thinking of posting a photo of me with fake wrist casts) but I always find your posts interesting. I am checking on you today to make sure you survived the tornado!

Rick Hamrick said...

Imelda--thanks for the kind words. I'll pass on the meme, as I gave them up for [insert religious/cultural/philosophical reason here]. I'm not sure why, but memes and me? We don't hit it off. I don't do them at all anymore, so it is no criticism of yours, please note!

Julie--we not only survived the tornado, we survived seven of them (so far). That's the count this afternoon to this moment. The one you are referring to hit Windsor, a town about an hour's drive north and a bit west of Denver.

Colorado has so much space which is unpopulated that we often have tornadoes which do almost no damage at all to man-made structures. Today was different: millions in damage in Windsor, and thankfully, no injuries at all! Given the damage, that's simply a miracle.

Angela said...

Oh, this is good, Rick. I'm a consumate "tryer" with some things. I needed to read this today, so THANK YOU!