If at first you don’t succeed…stop trying!

Many of you will remember being told as children to “just try your best!” and to “try, try again”. But is that really the best possible option when you’re intent on accomplishing something worthwhile? Years ago, Mike saw the following sign on the wall of a martial arts studio:


It all sounds very noble, doesn’t it? But as this video demonstrates, trying is one of the least productive things you can do, and it often leads to abject failure. Stop trying, and start succeeding!

Here’s a video that we pulled out of our online training for you to enjoy. Share your comments below!

19 Responses to If at first you don’t succeed…stop trying!

  1. John Wessels May 10, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for this wise lesson.
    I have never looked at it this way.
    You have made it clear now.

    Thanks again.

    Greetings, John

  2. Ally May 22, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    Thank you, very nicely explained,
    have a nice day

  3. Michael July 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    I’ll ‘try’ to remember that great lesson! 😉

  4. Peter July 26, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    I remember Gil Boyne emphasising this point 25 years ago. I can’t say I was good at following this wise advice. Mike, you’ve reignited this for me. I will now ‘succeed’ in using this with my clients. Thanks

  5. Tanja July 26, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

    Hi Mike

    Excellent yet so funny or is it the other way around.
    But the truth!

  6. pam September 9, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    hi mike ye that was good nice way to put it

  7. Fabiola Catalina Martinez September 29, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

    Hi Mike, great lesson, I am learning about hypnosis,always exited about your teachings.

    Feeling so happy to get first time information from the best.

  8. Scott December 6, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    It’s good to drill that one home again.

    I think I might start saying to myself that I will “try” to not finish this thing I start and “try” to screw it up, and maybe “try” to not enjoy it, either.

    My “tries” can be pretty lousy and reap the opposite of accomplishment or enjoyment, so maybe i’ll flip it so the opposite is the most positive out come.


    I could just say “Do”. “I will do this” is a pretty powerful statement too!

  9. Steve April 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    Hi Mike,

    ” If you don’t suceed try,try again! ” Well, that has always been said to me as a child. I have now changed

    that saying around to read, ” If you don’t suceed, redefine success! ”

    You are so right. Try, Try again will really hold you back.

    • Mike Mandel April 22, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

      Awesome! Glad somebody listens…

  10. Charles Meier May 11, 2016 at 3:40 am #

    In the words of Yoda . Either DO! or DO NOT! never try.

    • Herve March 9, 2017 at 11:24 am #


      • Chris Thompson April 7, 2017 at 9:33 am #

        We do this as a joke often. “Try not to totally obsess over this problem and try not to have insomnia all night long because of all the worry”

  11. Felipe Nunes Nápoles Moreira May 24, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

    Already work with this idea of “Try meaning failing”.
    On my work, “If” is another hypnotic word that poisons plans and hopes, contitioning our doings to others, not to our own effort.

  12. Chet July 19, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    I loved this. Whenever someone pulls the “I will try” at work, I channel my inner Yoda and say, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

  13. Fu Kiu September 2, 2016 at 4:22 am #

    I drop a pen on the floor and tell my clients to try and pick it up. They bend down and pick it up. I say, no, don’t Just do it, I told you to try! That usually makes the understand. Same goes for “intend”. That is why there is a “highway to hell” and only a “stairway to heaven”.

  14. Frankie Elder September 15, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    I’ve been sharing this with clients for some time now and I always enjoy the enlightenment that happens. Such a simple way to create such a huge shift!

    I very much appreciate your perspective and story as it relates. Thank you!

  15. Hannes February 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

    Makes perfect sense! If the Nike slogan was “Just try it”…. someone over there knew how to help convince the sheeple to buy their products.

    Thank you so much Mike

  16. Herve March 11, 2017 at 9:04 am #

    Hey thanks for the video. I got a question: what happens if you stack “try” with a negative, as in “try not to fall asleep”?