Yoda had it right. I often find myself feeling somewhere between mildly annoyed and completely frustrated when someone tells me “I will try.” But until recently I have been unable to explain why I feel Yoda’s advice is so right.
“Do or do not… there is no try.”
Why is trying so bad or so wrong? It isn’t that it is wrong, it is the intent, the hidden meaning, behind the idea. When someone says “I am trying” or “I will try” they are either admitting that they might not succeed, that they may not be able to do what they are attempting. It is all about attitude, confidence and perhaps a little arrogance. Someone that approaches a task with “I will try” on their lips has hobbled themselves at the starting post, sowing the seeds of doubt in their own mind, even if only subconsciously. They have already told themselves that it is okay if I don’t succeed, because I have tried.
Now, I am a parent and a realist and I don’t expect a person to succeed at everything they do. I certainly don’t. I don’t think you’re a failure if you don’t achieve your objective, and if you have given something your very best shot then you have done alright.
In my mind (and it is a fractured sort of place) I see “I will try” as an excuse. And perhaps it is it’s use as an excuse that bothers me most. I have had people tell my “I will try” when they had no intent to even begin a task. This is where Yoda’s wisdom comes into it’s own. It is totally okay to say “I don’t want to”. If you tell me that, I may not understand your reasons, or I may not agree with your actions but at least you have made a choice, taken a stand and done something (even by not doing it, if that makes sense).
So, whether you are training to be a Jedi, learning to play the guitar, or writing a novel in a month – Do or do not… there is no try.