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The Minimalists
The Minimalists are Emmy-nominated Netflix stars and New York Times–bestselling authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Alongside their podcast cohost, T.K. Coleman, this simple-living trio helps millions of people eliminate clutter and live meaningfully with less. Learn More.

Stop Trying

There you are, standing at the center of a capacious warehouse in an abandoned building somewhere at the edge of the city, empty except for a single wooden chair that sits on the dusty concrete floor underneath your feet. You look around. It’s just you and the chair and the scattered fragments of debris from several different decades and the muted sounds of the city.

Your mission: try to pick up the chair.

But this presents a unique problem, doesn’t it? You see, you can’t try to pick it up, either you pick it up or you don’t, you can or you can’t, you succeed or you fail, but you don’t try. It is impossible to try to pick up that chair.

So instead of try, you lift the chair and smile triumphantly. Success. There was no try, you just did it. You didn’t try to accomplish your goal, you took action and you accomplished it.

And yet you’ve failed in the past, you’ve set out to do something and you didn’t do it.

“But I tried really, really hard,” you say.

And therein lies the problem. Trying is the problem.

Stop trying; start doing…

Are you trying to live a simpler, more meaningful life? Stop trying; start living it.

Are you trying to declutter your life? Stop trying; get rid of it.

Are you trying to start a profitable business or write a book or lose weight or be a more positive person or travel more often or donate more time to charity? Stop trying; start taking action.

What else are you trying? What do you want?

And do yourself a favor, try not to use the word try for a week, or better yet make a conscious effort to not use the word, catch yourself when you slip, notice the difference.