Try (updated and expanded)

Posted: March 4, 2015 in Uncategorized


Let me start with a quote- “Do or do not, there is no try.”  Was this a famous saying of some great philosopher? Nope. Not even close. The quote is from Yoda. Yes, the Star Wars character. Taking life advice from a fictional character is not always the best way to go. That said, can you believe I was in a group therapy setting where the moderator taught this as a principle of life to be followed? Well it was. And for me it triggered despair. You see I have illnesses that can make me prone to all or nothing thinking. That if you aren’t guaranteed success, why bother. Hearing this moderator say ‘…there is no try.’ made me even more prone to not even try at things. Despair is a harsh combination of feeling and/ or being helpless and hopeless. And I believe that only doing or not doing with no such thing as try is a despair maker. It certainly was for me.

I want us to know that not everyone believes that there is no try. In fact, trying can be a very good thing. Webster defines try like this- 1) to make an effort to do something, to attempt to accomplish or complete something. 2) to do or use something in order to see if it works or will be successful. 3) to do or use something in order to find out if you like it. To try using these definitions is to be smart. For instance, free trials of products can save us from paying for and continuing with things that are harmful or useless.

A song I love contains this lyric- “If I limp then I will run with a limp, I’ll win some and lose some but I’ll make my attempt.” Often to try is an act of courage. I like to think of it as concede and proceed. Concede you don’t know everything then proceed trying until you can truly see if it’s a good idea or bad one. By not trying many locked doors will stay locked. I dare us to at least knock on those locked doors and see what happens.

I want to add that I believe there is one form of try that can be unhelpful and even harmful. It is when we know we have the capability to succeed at something but you’re content to not put your best effort in. To be happy with mediocre. This form of “try” is no try at all. Instead it is relinquishing the good you’re capable of.

In closing, this writing wouldn’t exist if I was not willing to try. This came together as I worked on it. Started with that Yoda quote in my head. And now, I have benefitted by completing this. I hope it may encourage a reader or two along the way.

I leave you with lyrics from another song I love that I think reinforces the sentiment of this essay-

It’s not about success

Life is not a test

You don’t pass or fail you just do your best

To see the view from wings of courage

To push on through when we’re discouraged

It’s all about the try all about the ride

Learning how you were meant to touch the sky

Failures are fliers who touch down

Only they know what it’s like to leave the ground


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