Trying vs. Training

Many of us spend a bulk of our time on this planet stranded atop the plateaus of life. Despite our busy schedules and exhaustive efforts to accomplish something beyond the ordinary, we make very little progress.

It’s common to chalk this all up to a busy life, which is partially true, but there’s something else preventing us from making sustainable and meaningful gains.

From our earliest memories, we were taught to merely “Try” things. Food, sports, classes, and even careers. This proves a wholesome way to sample life, but a useless way to live it.

What keeps us stuck is that we keep “trying” to do things rather than “training” to achieve them.

To break this frustrating cycle of stagnation, we must get really good at discerning between the two.


Trying Vs. Training:

To “try” is to attempt to achieve something with our existing skills, knowledge, or structures. If what we were "born" with doesn’t cut it, we just move on.

Trying is a 1/2 step more than just wanting something. It’s a toe dipped in the pool, a nibble of broccoli, or the purchase of a single lottery ticket. When we try something, we are actually just hoping to get lucky and receive the benefit without paying the price.

To “train” is to commit to achieving something by developing the skills, acquiring the knowledge, and obtaining the required structures through sustained and intentional effort and practice.

When we train, we’re committing to taking all of the necessary steps until the result we’re after is produced.

You'll know you're training for something when you can point to its time commitment on your calendar.


Why It's Required:

We can’t just wake up one morning and “try” to run a 100-mile foot race, or try to be a doctor, any more than we can just wake up one day and try to be a successful executive, a wealthy entrepreneur, or an effective parent or a SEAL sniper. We must train for things such as these.

At some point in life, hopefully before it’s too late, we all realize that nothing of value happens just because we gave it a good try. Powerful results require powerful commitments.

Additionally, at some point in life, hopefully before it’s too late, we all realize that we are required to produce valuable outcomes if we are to live a good life and lead others to do the same.


Next Steps:

The other day my 9 year-old daughter said something that really connected. She said “I just want to be so many things!”. This made me think about how hard it is for us all to grow out of that.

I will absolutely enjoy watching her “try” many things as she grows up, but I also look forward to the day when she realizes that the fun of wanting to “be so many things” is nothing compared to the freedom of choosing to train to be something.

[_] In the comment section below ANSWER these two questions:

  1. What do you think most people TRY to do rather than TRAIN to do?

  2. What have YOU been TRYING to do and will now TRAIN to do?



Eric Davis

Eric Davis served our country as a U.S. Navy SEAL and decorated veteran of the Global War on Terror. Eric has been recognized as one of the premier sniper instructors in the U.S. military and has served as a Master Training Specialist at the SEAL sniper school in Coronado, CA.

He is an expert of technical and physical surveillance and was part of an elite group hand-selected to perform intelligence collection in denied areas around the world.

Eric has spent years developing, writing and executing curriculum for the SEAL Teams. By leveraging his expertise in the development of systems, structures, processes and practices Eric was instrumental in significantly reducing the failure rate, of Naval Special Warfare’s internationally recognized Sniper course. 

Since departing from the SEAL teams, Eric has worked in corporate performance, sales and leadership training bringing an unprecedented amount of innovation, efficiency and structure to the domain of business and performance.