I Would Rather Die Trying (Prefiero Morir en el Intento)

A man with a hand of ace and king of hearts ready to go all in because he believes he will be successful
The action people take is based on their beliefs about reality.

One of my favorite Spanish expressions is prefiero morir en el intento (que no intentar) translated I would rather die trying (than not try at all). Prefiero morir en el intento is the mentality that anyone who wants to create change has to adopt. It’s the determination that the only path to follow is the one that leads forward. Human beings have mastered the art of survival. There’s no limit to what someone will do in the interest of staying alive. (If you don’t believe me, google Aron Ralston, the guy who survived a canyoneering accident by cutting off his own arm.) But there’s a big difference between survival and prosperity. And human beings are far less adept at the latter.

The biggest obstacle to change is the belief that it’s not possible. As Tony Robbins always says, certainty (extreme confidence in an outcome) is often the difference between success and failure. Without certainty we probably won’t start. And if we do start, we probably won’t finish. It’s why people don’t apply for that job, start up that business, pursue that relationship, or make that commitment to being the best version of themselves.

A second obstacle is the fear of failure. Fear of failure owes to a lack of certainty in oneself and/or in the outcome. People who fear failure may believe it’s possible, but have doubts about their capabilities. If I fail, what will others think? More importantly, what will I think?

How do we generate certainty in a world full of uncertainty? Certainty is an evidence-based assessment of reality. It boils down to belief. And our beliefs are based on the knowledge that we have. The three main sources of knowledge are experience, observation, and science. I believe certainty is an accurate assessment of reality because I’ve experienced healing in my mind and body; I’ve observed people start with little and end with much–building families, relationships, businesses, and characters; and I’ve read up on the science of neuroplasticity (the brain’s remarkable ability ability to change itself).

Certainty is a force of positive energy that gets us started and keeps us going. And it’s always about the long run when reality has had time to settle. Certainty says, “My systemic knowledge of how things are gives me confidence that I will get what I’m after even if I don’t see the results today or tomorrow.”

Certainty is why people keep studying hard even after failing an exam. Certainty is why people keep going to the gym even after seeing no results the first week. Certainty is why people keep putting in job applications and striking up conversations even after being rejected. Certainty is why people continue meditating and working on emotional mastery even after an angry outburst. Certainty may be why you’re here reading this article instead of doing the 101 other things you could be doing.

The goal of all personal growth is the development of an inner set of beliefs that transcend immediate environmental limitations. With that I’ll leave you with a quote from Tony Robbins that only someone with a prefiero-morir-en-el-intento mindset can live out.

Tony Robbins on certainty and the power of positive thinking
Life coach, Tony Robbins

The power of positive thinking is the ability to generate a feeling of certainty in yourself when nothing in the environment supports you.

Tony Robbins


  1. Hey thank you so much for this site and your content. I recently stumbled upon your site and love the wisdom you provide. As a millennial we need more wise men stepping up like this and offering a different perspective than the cheap narratives our generation tends to attach to. Keep it up, I’ll be reading and critically thinking along the way.

    Regarding Prefiero Morir en el Intento, I struggle with this myself. I never thought I would still be single at 37. Some days negative thoughts creep in. But thank you for the post, it reminds me not to give in or to give up.

    • @Justyn Thank you for the encouragement! If If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s to keep moving forward regardless of circumstance. Things always change–which is why I choose faith over fear. Stay in the game and your opportunity will come.

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