Friday, October 21, 2011

Do or Do Not. There is No Try

OK so I admit to being a bit of a geek. If there is anyone reading this who isn't familiar with  "Do or do not. There is no try."  it is a very famous and often used quote from the great Jedi Master Yoda in the movie Star Wars, Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back.

Everyone loves Yoda. In the movie he is full of wisdom, mild mannered, gentle yet formidable. You just know you do not want to cross this gentle creature as he could probably vaporize you on the spot - you respect Yoda! You listen to Yoda.

I have no problem with Yoda. He is a wonderful fictional character in an extremely entertaining movie.

However, I do have a problem with this quote.

I hear it quite often, as apparently I am prone to say "I will try" this or that. That statement seems to be completely unacceptable to many people, who perceive it as being negative thinking. Those who ascribe to this quote - which seems like almost everybody in my circle of acquaintances all feel the necessity to correct me and quote Yoda when I say I will try something. It is just too negative for them.

Really? Negative?

I have a whole different take on this.

The word "try" is filled with positivity and potential - it holds forth opportunity to experiment, to goof around, to get into things I haven't done or - Should I say it? things I haven't tried before. The word itself is strong and full of energy. It means persistence and perseverance and commitment. At least to me it means those things...and more.

When I say I will try something it is coming from a place of hope, faith and belief. Try as I might to comply and conform I simply cannot bring myself to buy into thinking that "I'll try" is negative thinking.

For example I have a 1 year old grandson who is learning to walk. He gets up, he falls down, he gets up again and he falls down again. What is he doing? he is TRYING!  If I said to him - "Do or do not. There is no try" what would the outcome be? He would get up, fall down and STAY there - because he "did not," and after all there is no "try" - so no point in getting up again. The process would be repeated when it came time to learn to ride a bike, learn to read, play a sport, or anything else. (Of course that would all be rendered moot since he would never have learned to walk or do anything else in the first place if following this line of thinking) He would be trapped in failure  - with no hope of ever succeeding because - there is no "try."

Here is another example to prove that trying is based in hope, faith and/or belief. If someone told me I would not get hurt if I jumped off a tall building I would have to weigh my options before I made the decision to "Do or not do." I would choose 'Not do" of course  (as any sane person would) - because I have absolutely no hope, no faith and no belief that it is possible or true. In this case it would be "There is no try" and for good reason. However let's say it's a tree I was invited to jump from with out getting hurt - that would change the decision making process. I DO have hope, faith and belief that indeed I could possibly do it without getting hurt. There is risk of course, I could sprain an ankle, or break a leg or injure myself some other way but the risk may be worth the try. There IS a "try" - Yoda is wrong! (Oh my goodness - this is a blasphemous statement to a Star Wars fan!)

I can't help but think of Thomas Edison. Would we still be burning oil lamps if he ascribed to this quote? Here is a man who believed in trying - and continuing to try! He was a man of faith, perseverance and determination!

It has been reported that Edison failed (or might we say tried?) over 6,000 times before perfecting the first electric light bulb.

Perseverance pays. Trying and continuing to try is positive, faith and hope in action.

There is only "no try" without hope, faith and/or belief in the possibility of success. And repeated tries often lead to success. To keep trying is to persevere, to persist.

When I sin (miss the mark) do I sit down and give up, as a failure? Because there is "no try"? Absolutely not! Because I have faith, belief and hope that if I repent, ask for His help  and continue to practice (i.e try). I can and will get it right. I have hope, faith and belief that like the  Loving Parent that He is, YVHV my Father is once again picking me up, brushing me off and cheering me on.  I have hope, faith and belief that I can improve, I can get it right, I can succeed - IF i continue to try.

Sorry Yoda and all my Star Wars fans, I am not buying into this ultimately defeating and discouraging statement, I'll go with this  quote:  "Tis a lesson you should heed, Try, try again. If at first you don't succeed, Try, try again".
[1840 T. H. Palmer Teacher's Manual 223]

And so I will go back into my studio and try once again to create a new, interesting and meaningful painting. Whether I "do or do not", whether I succeed or fail, I will continue to try.

"Let us not become weary in doing good: for in due season we will reap, if we don't faint." (Galatians 6:9)

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