Trying vs Doing: Know The Difference

Article last updated on January 11, 2022

Often, we can fall into the trap of thinking that if we try hard enough, the results will come. This is another thing that is so easy to believe and yet so wrong.

We must remember that our thoughts create our reality. If we think about trying hard enough, we limit our ability to succeed.

Are you busy or effective?
If your revenue is growing at a snail's pace it's time for a reality check.
Are you busy or effective?
If your revenue is growing at a snail's pace it's time for a reality check.

We must be willing to take concrete action steps to make any real difference.

So, there’s an answer to your question. The difference between “trying” and “doing” is that “trying” gives us a cop-out option if we fail. We aren’t committed to going all in, and while “doing” means we are fully committed to making a change.

There’s more to it, and I think it is worthwhile to explore this topic because it can shine a light on some hidden self-sabotaging behaviors.

What Trying Actually Means

Trying implies that we are using effort to see what happens.

So, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t committed to taking action.

It does imply that we are testing something. In other words, we are exploring possibilities without committing to any specific course of action.

It isn’t until we commit to a particular course of action that we experience success.

Truth be told, if we want to get anywhere in life, we need to start experimenting.

What does that mean? Well, it means that we should be open-minded to new ideas and be willing to consider different ways of doing things.

It means that we should be willing to take risks.

If you have problem with this, usually you need to learn more about yourself.

What happens if we don’t try?

If we never try, then we will never know what could happen.

If we never try, how will we ever find out what we are capable of?

How will we learn? How will we grow? How will we improve?

If we never take a chance, we will never discover who we are. I’m sure you see where I’m going here.

When we say we are trying, we are saying that we aren’t ready to commit 100%. We are saying that we would rather play around with the idea than do something.

This is a very dangerous thing to do.

Why is trying so dangerous?

Because we are setting ourselves up for failure.

When we say we are trying to lose weight, we are essentially telling ourselves that we are only halfway through the process. We are saying that even though we are taking action, we are still not committed to losing weight.

We are saying that we are only halfway through the journey.

That is a recipe for disaster.

When we say we are only trying, we give up before even beginning.

We are saying that we are unwilling to put in the time necessary to succeed.

We are saying we are unwilling to do whatever it takes.

We are saying yes, but…

We are saying that we are going to hold back.

What Doing Actually Means

Doing so implies that our efforts are focused on achieving the desired result. 

So, it means that we are committed to making a change in our lives.

It means that our actions are designed to bring about a positive change.

It means that, no matter what happens, we will keep pushing forward.

It means that we are going to give it everything we’ve got.

What happens when we do that and commit?

When we do, we experience success. We feel good, and we feel accomplished. We feel like winners!

What happens when we don’t do?

When we don’t do, we usually end up feeling bad, frustrated, disappointed, or even ashamed.

The bottom line is that all hell breaks loose when we don’t do it.

Our emotions run wild, and our thoughts become negative. Our self-esteem drops.

And guess what? All this negativity tends to spill over into other areas of our lives.

We might even start thinking that we are too old to make any changes. All these thoughts and beliefs lead us down a path of self-destruction.

They lead us away from living life fully and they keep us stuck in a place of mediocrity.

But if we continue to do nothing, we will eventually end up right back at square one.

Is Doing and Commitment Dangerous?

Yes, it can be. But there is another side to this story, and here’s what I think.

When we decide to do something, we should be prepared to face some challenges.

I know that sounds pretty scary. I know that seems impossible.

But I also know that if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we often face obstacles along the way.

Sometimes they are significant, and sometimes they are small. But they are always there. And they are part of the process.

Here’s my question for you: Are you willing to go through the process of overcoming your fears?

Are you willing to take risks?

If so, then committing yourself to doing something is a great choice.

You’ll never regret it.

You’ll never look back and wish you had done more.

You’ll never wonder if you could have achieved more significant results.

Because by committing yourself to doing so, you are already starting out on the road to success.

Examples of Trying vs. Doing

Let me share two examples.

One of them comes from my own experiences.

The other example comes from someone who was once a friend of mine.

Both of these stories show how important commitment is.

My Story

I remember five years ago when I decided to build a system for online business growth.

I bought all the courses, joined online communities, read books, watched videos, attended seminars, and networked with people.

I was working hard and putting in long hours to understand what my customers really needed. I was pouring myself into this project.

Then one day, I woke up and realized that I wasn’t seeing any progress. I felt like I was spinning my wheels.

I was spending time doing things that weren’t getting me anywhere.

So I stopped.

I took a step back and asked myself, “Why am I doing all this?”

“Am I really committed to this?”

“Doesn’t it seem like I’m just going through the motions?”

“Maybe I should stop.”

I thought about it for a while. Then I made a decision.

I said to myself, “I’m not going to give up. I’m going to try again. I’m going to commit myself to do whatever it takes to succeed. If I need to put in longer hours, I will. If I need to spend more money, I will. If it means taking more risks, I will.

It doesn’t matter what it takes. I’m going to do it anyway. “

I started to see results almost immediately.

The first real paying clients started to report positive improvements, and momentum began to build.

If I “tried” to make the best product for my customers, I would have quit a long time ago. On that note, here’s a second example.

A Friend’s Story

When I first met him, he was doing multiple things simultaneously, trying to do it all.

He was running his two companies, selling products, making online content.

At the time, I knew nothing about him, and we were only friends, and we talked occasionally, but mostly about our families.

About six months later, I heard that he had lost everything.

His businesses had failed. And even though he tried to keep his head above water, he couldn’t hold on.

It was all because he was trying to do too much.

He was trying to be successful in every area.

He was chasing that entrepreneur hustle hype. But objectively, it was just a lot of talking and trying 100 different things.

Luckily, he managed to look in the mirror and realize that he was failing.

And so he changed course.

He started focusing on one thing at a time.

He cut down on his workload and focused on his core competency.

He started to work on one thing at a given moment.

He started to focus on what he could control.

And finally, he became committed.

FAQ about Trying and Doing

I could list more than seven questions about this topic, but I think these will clarify things for you.

Is trying different from doing?

Absolutely! Trying is doing something without committing yourself to it, and trying means experimenting.
You can try to lose weight, but if you don’t take action by eating less and exercising more, you’re still not losing any weight.
The same goes for your business. If you aren’t actively implementing what you learned from reading books, watching videos, etc., you’re just pretending of doing something.

Why would someone choose trying instead of doing?

Because it is more accessible and convenient, it gives you an out, allowing you to avoid accountability.
How many times have you heard, “Just try it.” or “Give it a shot.”?
This is the most common way people use the word ‘try.’ They mean to experiment and see how it works.
But they never follow through. They never commit themselves to doing anything.
They always find some reason to bail out.
“Oh well, I’ll just try it.” or “Maybe I’ll just try it for a while.” or worse yet, “I’ll just try it until I get bored.”
What happens next? Nothing. Because they never commit themselves to doing it.
So now, what should you do instead? Well, you need to do things, and you need to commit.

How can I instantly tell the difference between trying and doing?

If you say, “I’m going to try,” you’re probably not doing anything.
If you say, “I’m going to do it,” you’ve already done it.
If you take a class, you might say, “I’m going to try to learn this new skill.” This sentence doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything.
However, if you said, “I’m going to learn this new skill,” you’ve already done it, and you’re ready to move forward.

How can I stop trying and start doing?

By stopping saying, “I’m going to do it,” and starting saying, “I am doing it.”
When you say, “I am doing this,” you are making progress towards accomplishing your goal.
Ditch “going to” from your vocabulary.
It would help if you committed yourself to doing it.

Is it natural to have a fear of doing?

Yes. We all have fears. Some people are afraid to ask for money. Some people are afraid to speak up in meetings. And some people are afraid to be seen as weak.
We all have our own unique fears.
To overcome my fear of doing you need to start small. Start with one step. One step at a time.
One day at a time. Then build upon it. Don’t worry about failure, because you are doing it.

How does trying limit the growth potential?

Trying is putting a mental block on your potential. Whenever there’s a complicated and difficult situation by having  trying mindset, we would quit. To grow we need to break existing limits. There’s no way around it.

What lies do I tell myself to avoid committing to doing?

Most common is blaming other people or circumstances.
For example: “My family wouldn’t support me.” , “There were too many distractions.” , “I didn’t have enough resources.” or “I didn’ t have the right skills.” All these things are real, but let me shift your thinking about this. Do you know someone that had these problems and became committed to doing what they wanted to do?


This is where most entrepreneurs fall short. They start by saying they’re going to do it.

But then they find themselves doing many things simultaneously without any clear direction or purpose.

That’s when they lose their way.

They become unfocused.

And that’s when they can’t figure out how to move forward.

That’s when they feel stuck.

The key is to know the difference between trying and doing.

You must decide which one you are.

You must choose.

And if you choose to do so, then you must follow through.

Because if you don’t, you’ll never get anywhere.

I hope this helps you.

Marko Matijasevic

Marko is performance-based growth strategist, focusing on business growth while maintaining a strong emphasis on authenticity in every individual he works with.