“Try”: A little Word that Means a Lot

All of their responses were something like, “I just needed to try.”

Before coming on the show, instead dazzling audiences, these uniquely blessed and talented singers sold cell phones and delivered pizzas. They were in their 40s and let their talent sit for years, even decades. Fortunately for them, and us, they found the courage to take the leap of faith and reaped the rewards of trying.

The word ‘try’, only three letters long, can be a tough one for ADDers to swallow. We can be ultra-creative with all of the energy and enthusiasm in the world, but the reality is that we may suffer more failures than successes for a time. We may give up on trying, and all of that brilliance burns out.

In a hilarious bit, my favorite comedian Brian Regan admits that he stunk at spelling. The worst for him were spelling bees, which he says made him look stupid. Then there was always The Cool Kid in class who didn’t want to look stupid, so he would blow the first word just to get kicked out of the bee.

Teacher: “Spell ‘cat’.”

Cool Kid: “K-A-T. Alright, I’m outta here…”

And the Cool Kid struts off back to his seat. I’m sorry, but the Cool Kid is actually the one who looks stupid. While he gives up without even trying, Brian’s the cool one for trying even though he might fail (and for being an insanely brilliant comedian even though he didn’t know that when he was misspelling ‘box’).

People often tell me that they’ve always wanted to try art or speaking. One gentleman in his 50s confessed, “I’ve always wanted to try art. Watching you draw made me regret not getting into it.”

“What kept you from trying?” I asked him.

His honest answer: “I’ve always been afraid of failing; what people would think if I didn’t do something well.”

When you try, there’s always potential for failure. But how much more would you regret looking back as an old man or woman, knowing you didn’t give it a shot?

To everyone with ADHD who are weary and worried about failing: that’s part of the journey of life. You have to make the hard choices today – including the choice to try – to make tomorrow better. It’s far worse to not try and fail than fail to try.

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2 thoughts on ““Try”: A little Word that Means a Lot

  1. Banging post Ben.

    More often than not, it is the paralysing fear of failure that keeps people from trying. For some people, viewing situations as win/lose may be inspiring… for others it’s just plain crippling.

    By changing the focus from ‘win or lose’ to ‘what will happen if I do this?’, the outcome focus is completely changed. The action is no longer about a particular result, but rather is about experimentation. Experimentation helps us to see what works and what doesn’t from an objective view point, and to recognise failure as an integral part of the learning curve.

    It takes time to develop this perspective, but over time, like a muscle in the gym, it can be worked on and buffed up.

  2. Experimentation! Going into something with the idea of “let’s see what happens”…That’s a great point! Thanks Rob!

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