Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try
Literally everyone has heard Yoda’s trademark phrase at this point. It is a meme that has completely infected our culture with its presence and for good reason. Not only is it a simple phrase that is attached to an extremely popular franchise, it is also a perfect reflection of the wisdom the ancient teacher was passing on to Luke while stuck on Dagobah.
Yet, I have found many people voice strong opinions about the words that came out of the little green man’s mouth. The core contention point being that in order to do something, there must first be an attempt, or a try. For some reason, this way of looking at the quote makes people get mad, as they feel it otherwise mars the philosophy of Yoda, or are otherwise just annoyed by the trope-y phrase.
I don’t really get their point of view, because it completely misses the underlaying point of the quote. When Yoda says this, he is helping Luke use his abilities to accomplish something that is well within his power, but does not believe he can do. Luke was doubting that he could pull his ship out of the swamp, and this then became a self-fulfilling prophesy. After Yoda reassures him of his ability, Luke is able to do so without much difficulty. All that mattered is his intention when making an attempt.
Intention Is Everything
What we hold to be true in our inner worlds ripples out into the outer world. This is esoteric wisdom: as above, so below; as within, so without. Our beliefs hold immense power over us. Being conscious of this, we can mindfully choose what we fill our inner world with in order to achieve our goals.
If we are delusional and believe that there is a wall in front of us, we will not make an attempt to move forward. This holds true for pretty much everything in life. If we do not believe we can do something, we will not have our whole heart and mind in the game. Those doubts will ripple across time, acting as an anchor holding us back from our full potential.
I used to run track, and I was often plagued by doubts and the anxiety that comes from competing. I psyched myself out on so many occasions where I knew I could have won, or put up a much more impressive time. In fact, I performed my best when there was no pressure. Those races where I knew I was the top dog were the ones where I could really dig in and let my confidence carry me to a personal record.
When we set out to do something, we should always be mindful about our intention moving forward. We must be aware of why we are doing something, what our motivation is, and how serious we are about seeing our effort through. If we are just going through the motions, we will be wasting our time; our most precious resource. We cannot sit content with the mindset of “I’m going to give it a try.” We become our best selves when we fully commit to our actions.
Doing something well requires us to be in complete alignment with that mission. We must give ourselves credit as human beings and admit that we are the closest thing to the divine on our blue marble. We have immense potential that is begging to be actualized. If we take the time to breathe and recalibrate our inner worlds, we can bring about incredible changes in our lives. It simply takes a willingness to let go of our doubts and faithfully adhere to our capacity to do.
Belief As A Tool
When we really deconstruct ourselves, we see that our minds are highly mechanical in nature. What I have posited above is more than just some new age mumbo jumbo. The tenets of our belief have a tangible impact on how our brains construct an algorithm, and how our attention will be placed moving forward.
This allows us to take advantage of our brains and manifest effects far greater than we would be able to achieve by default. For instance, during a particularly heinous work-out, I would begin to imagine myself in some alternate scenario. Instead of running up a steep hill for the 14th time in a row, I would get lost in my imagination and begin fantasizing that I was being chased, or that the fate of the world depended on me reaching the top before everyone else.
The use of these alternative realities had an objective impact on my performance. Despite not being congruent with the objective reality, my ability to get lost in these imaginary worlds allowed me to achieve more than I would have otherwise. The act of doing became easier as I had constructed a belief that helped me overcome the challenges in my path.
This wisdom holds true in most scenarios we face. I chuckle now as I remember a scene from The Waterboy, where Adam Sandler’s character is able to overcome his fear by imagining the other players as things that evoke a more useful response from him. However we are and whatever we face, we can always change how we perceive what must be done, and that in itself changes how well we can act.
Life As A Set Of Puzzles, Not Challenges
We can often feel intimidated by what life throws at us. It may even be common to believe that we can’t accomplish what comes our way. To acknowledge the difficulty we face any more than is consciously necessary only acts as a barrier between us and achieving our highest potential.
If we instead think of the task at hand as mandatory, something that simply will be done, then we remove from ourselves any nagging voices that act to tear us down and accept defeat as an option. Now focused on the path in front of us, we can properly navigate it by thinking through the various hurdles that stand between us our goals and brainstorming how we can contort ourselves best to overcome them.
In order to achieve this the best we can, we must let go of our attachments and be willing to lose ourselves in the moment. By choosing to be born again every moment, we can mold ourselves to be our ideal selves, actively doing what we set out to do, despite how challenging or impossible it may seem.
Instead of trying to ace that job interview, instead believe that you already have it and you’re just showing off how valuable of an employee you are.
Instead of trying to quit a bad habit, instead believe that you’re an undercover agent, and any indulgence in that habit would blow your cover.
Instead of trying to improve a skill, instead believe it as a game where you’re trying to rack up as high of a score as possible.
Even if we fail to achieve our end goal, the act of pushing ourselves to achieve as close to our highest possible potential strengthens us. By regularly stepping out of our comfort zone and experiencing our actual limits, we free ourselves from the limits of the past, constantly building our potential and rising to face greater and greater challenges.