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Do or Do Not; There Is No Try

October 18, 2012

Yes I do intend to do more movie quote titles. I know you were wondering.

This phrase has annoyed me for years, often because people parrot it so much. It’s one of those phrases that makes less sense the more times you hear it, but it recently finally clicked with me. My problem was I was taking it too literally. Too PHYSICALLY.

When Yoda instructed a not-as-whiny-as-the-first-film Luke to use the Force to lift the X Wing, Luke replies, “I’ll try.” And Yoda utters those enfuriating words, “Do, or do not; there is no try.”

Certain pressure, I think you’ll appreciate, to put on someone with little confidence, and this thinking has .. I cannot EXPRESS how it’s dogged me, for years. To misunderstand this phrase as I did was to interpret it as “either do something well, or don’t bother doing it at all.” But anyone who’s ever tried something new will quickly discover it’s impossible to not suck for a while as your body gets used to it. This has kept me from going back to karate for over a year, stopped me from going to the gym, and other such things I know are good for me and I want to do, using the logic “I’m not fit enough to justify the cost, I’ll have to sit out halfway through a lesson and waste the teacher’s time and my own.”

Thankfully for me, this advice is not physical – it’s mental. And that changes the entire game completely.

Com… wait for it… pleat lee. Whoever Lee is.

When this is applied to the mental arena things make more sense. Too often I let fear get to me, and think if I’m not the best person in the room there’s no point doing something. But something I’ve learned from Batman is, the training is nothing – the will is everything. Fact is, whether you do something badly or well, you’re still doing it. There really IS no “try.” The mindbending simplicity of this makes me chuckle now, and I hope I’m not being ridiculous when I so revel in this realisation.

I was gonna quote Miyagi’s grape-squish speech but you all know it already (if you don’t, go see the Karate Kid immediately!) so I’ll follow that and take an example from martial arts that everyone knows: board breaking. I’ve done a little of this, and seen it done plenty. All it takes is the will to put everything into your action. If you hesitate, if you bottle it at the last minute, if you let fear of injury to gain a hold in your mind, you decrease your chances. But if you throw that punch at the board with the intention to hit the guy holding it, and don’t flinch, I can damn near guarantee you that board will not be there when you open your eyes. Or at least, it’ll be in more pieces than it started in.

For the more religiously minded, I believe “knock and the door shall be opened unto you” is a more easily digested image. The point is that anything you want to do, anything you want to change, you can’t half-ass it. If you want to lose weight you have to change your diet and exercise, you can’t do one or the other, that’s not punching, that’s just extending your arm (an effective punch requires the hips, proper alignment and focus.. you gotta do more than one thing, is my point.)

Coming soon: “There Is No Spoon”, and “Don’t Forget to Breathe.”

I watch too many movies. 🙂


From → Empowerment

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