Three Letter Words

Written by Wally Amos

There is one three letter word that I refuse to use.  That word is “try.”  If I had my way, it would be removed from the English language.

When we use the word “try,” even in our heads, we’re giving ourselves unconscious permission to fail.  Leaving the door open for failure means we don’t have to take responsibility for that failure.  After all, we tried, right?  Wasn’t that enough?  Beyond childhood we no longer get bonus points for “trying.”

So stop trying and start doing.  Stop saying, “I will try,” and start saying, “I will do.”  But the job doesn’t stop there, because once you have set your mind to do a thing you have to take responsibility for it.  Once you have done this, you will be surprised at how easy it is to accomplish something that you thought was impossible.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you will never fail.  Failure is something that comes with the territory.  But don’t give yourself permission to fail before you even start.  Give yourself permission to succeed, and you will succeed.  Maybe not the first time.  Maybe not even the second time.  But each crisis you get through makes you stronger.  With each mistake, you learn something that will prevent you from making that mistake again.  The secret is to not give up.  Just keep moving forward.  Keep “doing” and one day you will discover that what once seemed impossible has now been accomplished.

All day long, every day, we are presented with choices. We can HELP life happen or we can HOPE life will happen.  It’s up to you.  To HELP is to be proactive.

Are you a can-do person?  Have you ever surprised yourself by doing something you didn’t think you could do?


  1. Liz Rigney   |  Tuesday, 05 April 2011 at 1:14 am

    Trying leaves you with an escape to fail. It provides a way out of a situation that might not go the way that you have intended it to go. When you “try” your heart and soul are not completely into the task at hand. When the word try becomes “I will succeed” something inside our very being changes shape and gives us the power that we did not know existed. Only then do we take responsibiltiy for our own lives and our decisions and the course that we are on changes.

    My passion is raising money for non-profit agencies. I have been successful because I say “I will succeed!” The tiny word try is not even an option because it automatically produces negativity. A friend once told me that excited people make things happen. Most excited people do, and they do with a fiery passion that leads to success. I have recently changed jobs and have become an account executive for a credit card processing. Yes, it is a little different from what I am used to doing, but they give to non-profit agencies through an awesome GiveBack program. It is exciting that I still get to be a part of making things happen in a big way. I will succeed at this job because I have a fierce determination to make it work and be successful. I will not try, I will do!

    I want to show your company the value in our company. I will show you savings and make your company better as a result. I will provide what you are looking for and then some. I will not try, I will do!

  2. Kay Lorraine   |  Tuesday, 05 April 2011 at 2:17 am

    I know Wally well enough to know that he really DOES refuse to use the word “try.” I’m not sure that I will ever be as good a “person” as Wally, but I can try. LOL

  3. Brian M.   |  Thursday, 07 April 2011 at 3:13 am

    Here in the UK, we understand the value of developing positive mental imagery as a way to accomplish goals. Just as you have said here, one of the secrets to accomplishment is the ability to see yourself as having a successful conclusion to a problem rather than just trying to solve the problem.

    We tend to use our training in the area of sports, but the techniques are helpful in any situation. Positive mental attitude is the first step toward making your dreams come true.

    Mr. Amos, you seem to be a man who has a very positive mental attitude all the time. I commend you for that. It is a rare quality. The world would be a better place if there were more people like you, with your attitude. Have a lovely life, Mr. Amos.

    From Brian in the UK

  4. John Rapidan   |  Tuesday, 12 April 2011 at 8:57 am

    I think that it’s very good to do and not try. It’s also important to keep positive.

    Here are a couple of things that I like to practice when I’m feeling blue:

    1. I like to spend time with the people in my life who bring me joy. That is uplifting all on its own! It’s nice to know that no matter how tough things get, there is someone there to listen and hold my hand and offer a hug or two. :)

    2. I like to treat myself with small things, like bubble baths and hot tea (like lovelyme!), reading a good book, or soothing music selection.

    3. I also like to spend time in regular meditation. It’s helpful to ground and center yourself.

    4. Lastly, there is a mantra I like to repeat when I’m feeling overwhelmed: “This too shall pass.” It’s true. No bad feelings can last forever, and that is so comforting.

    Do you ever mediatate, Wally?

    Your friend,

  5. Malke   |  Tuesday, 12 April 2011 at 11:17 pm

    In “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” Luke Skywalker was training with Jedi Master Yoda. He was learning telekinetic challenges of the will and body and was unable to “unlearn” his preconceptions. When asked to raise his sunken starfighter from the Dagobah swamps with the power of his mind alone, he responded he would try.

    “No,” scolded Yoda. “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

    I think Wally Amos is our own personal Yoda.

  6. Nurse Shauna   |  Monday, 18 April 2011 at 8:21 am

    Actually the exact quote is “Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.” — Yoda.

    I am happy to see that I am not the only Star Wars fanatic reading this blog. I have been a nurse for almost 25 years. My students sometimes call me Yoda. I didn’t get it at first having only seen snippets of Star Wars movies over the years. But the boys explained it to me.

    I LOVE what I do and I am so honored to work with children and families who need my expertise. It is a gift to work with critically ill children and I am counting on my FORCE to help my new graduate students be competent, successful and a FORCE to be reckoned with in the PICU.

    Please read my blog Gratitude With Grace, Wally. We have much in common.

  7. Johanna Hosteling   |  Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 7:01 am

    I have been reading a lot about this lately and it seems that there have been many studies done on the power of positive thought and the conclusions show a mass amount of health benefits, without having to take medication. Positive thinking has been proven to reduce stress, help people live longer, and improve your overall well-being and ability to cope. So why doesn’t everybody just do it? Why don’t we all just agree to stop trying and start doing? Why is it so difficult when we realize that the benefits are so great?

  8. Arthur   |  Sunday, 08 May 2011 at 1:02 am

    The power of positive thinking is one of the greatest tools we can ever use. Clearly you use this tool every day of your life. That’s amazing, man. How did you get so wise? I have read some of your books and I have found them to be highly motivational. Keep writing and keep thinking those positive thoughts. You da man, Wally!!!

  9. Becca Dizi   |  Tuesday, 14 June 2011 at 10:42 am

    This article was interesting to me because I am in the middle of trying to quit smoking. No matter what you say, it is hard to quit smoking and just saying that I will do it doesn’t make it just happen. I am trying to quit smoking, really means I want to quit, but am now merely thinking about it and have simply cut back. Yet the act of quitting actually means that I no longer smoke. So, which is it?

    I have been strugging with this for weeks now. I see here that it comes down to a question of: Have you quit or are you still a smoker? If you listen carefully, you can see the difference here between trying and doing. The person that has cut back on his/her smoking is trying. The one that isn’t smoking anymore is obviously doing. But it’s hard.

  10. Mary Dawnes   |  Friday, 07 October 2011 at 6:35 pm

    OK, I’m convinced. I’ll try to do better. LOL

  11. PeppyGirl   |  Friday, 14 October 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Hey there and thank you for your information – I’ve certainly picked up something new from this post. I will definately be more positive from now on.

  12. Cowboy Jack   |  Sunday, 16 October 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Nice post. Thanks.

  13. Kathy   |  Monday, 17 October 2011 at 12:06 am

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