I recall that Jack Johnson said, "maybe, it pretty much always means no." Isn't that usually the case? Well, maybe...maybe not.
Maybe, people say "maybe" because they're lazy, or maybe they really are unsure, or maybe they don't want to be direct and have you think they're harsh, but rather flaky. Or maybe they're intimidated.
But when you're at work, you don't want to come across as flaky, so you use the word "try." I came across a great quote the other day:
The word "try" implies weakness in the face of challenge.
I asked someone to do something today, I even used the the good 'ol "Will you" commitment-pattern approach and looked them straight in the eyes. Their reply was, "I'll try," with a head nod.
Here's a little advice: the key to a better work life is by saying, "Absolutely, I will." That would make someone (like your boss) feel confident in you and your abilities (and deserving of the raise that you so desperately think you deserve for trying so hard). The thing is, even if you don't get it done for some reason or another, your boss will still believe that you at least honestly tried because you answered confidently in the affirmative.
I don't believe anyone who says they'll "try." Either you will or you won't, and you already know what you're going to do.
Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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