Yoda, of Star Wars fame, famously said,
Or do not.
There is no try.”
Saying we’re “trying” can be an excuse for why we don’t accomplish the outcomes we want in various areas of our lives.
Yoda is saying you either do something or you don’t do it.
Trying is really the same as not doing it.
It just makes it easier for us to let ourselves off the hook.
Where are you trying to improve?
- Are you trying to get in shape—or are you getting in shape?
- Are you trying to improve your marriage—or are you improving your marriage?
- Are you trying to be more organized—or are you becoming more organized?
- Are you trying to be a better Christian–or are you becoming a better Christian?
These may sound like small distinctions, but they have huge ramifications.
Three suggestions you can try (ummm, that’s kind of funny isn’t it?)
1. Eliminate the word “try” from your vocabulary. Language is subtle. The words we use can program us to perform certain ways. Using the wrong language can create an outcome we don’t intend.
For example, when I say “I can’t walk today, I’m too tired,” I turn that around to “because I am tired, that’s exactly the reason I need to take my walk.”
“Try” is a worthless word that accomplishes nothing when we use it as an excuse. It might make us feel better when we can say, “Hey, at least I tried.” But did you? Really?
(A caveat here. The word “try” can be used constructively but I’m addressing those times when we use it as an excuse.)
2. Decide either to do or not do. If you don’t want to do something, fine. Don’t do it. But don’t pretend that trying is the same as doing. They are two completely different actions.
This is what Yoda was telling Luke. Everything important we accomplish begins with a decision. We don’t just fall into our greatest achievements. We commit and then make them happen.
Tonight I really didn’t feel like walking because I was so tired from the last week. See yesterday’s post. But I’ve made a commitment to myself to walk at least six out of seven days. If I start to give in to days when I’m tired, I’ll soon lose momentum. I can say, “Well, I tried?” How did I try? By saying I tried? The only way I could say I tried would have been if I had started to walk and then had to turn around because I couldn’t go on. (By the way, I have said that and have yet not been able to complete my walk.)
3. Commit 100 percent to the outcome you want. Like the project manager in Apollo 13 said, “Failure is not an option.” Don’t settle for merely trying.
But what about “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”? Doesn’t that seem like a contradiction to what I’ve been saying?
Because this kind of “trying” is followed by decisive action. There is a big difference between saying we’re trying and really trying.
How many marriages have gone down the tubes because each partner was saying they were “trying” to make the marriage work and it was all just “words.” There was no constructive action.
How many people have tried to lose weight and said they really “tried” but never changed the way they ate? Never cleaned out the cupboards of junk food? Never gave up the late night snack?
I know people who think if they talk about something long enough, they convince themselves they’ve actually done it.
For example, we have neighbors who let their dogs do their “duty” in our yard. When we approach them about it, they’ve said, “We’re trying to make sure they don’t”.
The next time I’m going to ask, “Well, exactly how are you trying? Are you watching them to make sure they stay in your yard? Are you carrying a bag to pick up their “goodies”? Are you taking them out on a leash?”
Trying isn’t a bad concept at all. Trying is a good thing. Trying is what gets us to the “doing”. But let’s make sure we are not just giving it lip service. Let’s make sure our “trying” has solid feet, solid intentions, solid plans.
DOING DOES IT. NOT THINKING ABOUT IT. NOT TALKING ABOUT IT. BUT DOING IT.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.