The Difference Between Trying and Doing

I was on the road last week visiting with alums and FinTech companies. Between visits I had a little time to indulge in my podcast addiction. It’s a recent addiction, but appears to be a fairly strong one.

Among my favorite podcasts is The Art of Manliness and in the latest installment Brett McKay interviews Bernie Roth. Bernie is the cofounder of the Stanford Design School and has a new book out called the The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing and Take Command of Your Life. You can hear the podcast and see the show notes by clicking here.

One of my favorite pieces of advice in the interview involves having a bias toward doing (rather than thinking too much first in the hope of making it perfect). A key element of design thinking is learning by doing and it’s something I try to embrace. But my favorite part of the interview focuses on Bernie’s distinction between trying and doing. It’s about 28 minutes into the interview and the key distinction is this– When you are “trying” something, it may or may not happen because when you hit an obstacle it tends to stop you. When you are “doing” something, you find a way around that obstacle. It doesn’t stop you. The examples he gives are genius. So is his suggestion that you need to know which state of mind you are in and why.

Give a listen. Do it. Don’t just try.