I remember a project from some years ago that did not going well. It was a new direction for the company and it started with excitement and enthusiasm. We staffed up, bought equipment, hired contractors, and launched into the work. After some time had passed, the work grew harder and things started to go sideways, and then backwards (or so it seemed). However, despite all the challenges and delays, the project leaders decided to just keep trying.

To be honest, I found that approach a bit weak. I wanted the team to DO and not just TRY!! I wanted things to be DONE!! I was convinced that Trying was Lying!!

In the end, after multiple pivots in focus, market, requirements, and team we were able to bring a product to market that was a first for the company and went on to become an essential part of ongoing revenue.

Even so, I have continued to wrestle with the connection between Trying and Lying. Is Trying ALWAYS Lying, or does it depend? If it depends, then what does it depend on?

A recent article in Reader’s Digest about Jadav “Molai” Payeng (more info – Wikipedia) helped shed some light for me.

Payeng started in 1979 with a barren sandbar created by flooding near his home in Assam, India. The forest department told him that nothing would grow there, except maybe bamboo. He wanted a forest, so he took on the challenge. He found the work painful, but he did it. There was nobody to help. Nobody was interested. Fast forward 30+ years and Payeng has singlehandedly planted a 1,360-acre forest containing variety of flora and fauna, now including endangered animals like the one-horned rhino and Royal Bengal tiger.

This story has convinced me that Trying is NOT always Lying. After all, Payeng succeeded by Trying.

I now believe that Trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results is Lying (some say this is also the definition of insanity).

On the other hand … Trying, and being willing to Try harder, and being willing to Try differently, and being willing to persevere, is never Lying in my book.