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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

There is No Try

In the Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda says, “There is no try.”

Try is such a strange word.   Try means to make an attempt or effort to do something.  In other words, “to try” something implies the possibility of failure.  And nobody wants to fail.

When I was 8 years old, I learned about the difference between “trying” and “doing.”  A part of the curriculum of my summer camp was to learn how to dive from a very high diving board.  I was petrified.  That first day, I slowly began to climb the long ladder up to the board.  At one point I was so scared that I told the counselor I couldn’t do it anymore.  He had told us previously that we should “Never say, ‘I can’t.’ Always say, ‘I’ll try.’” 


At that moment, he agreed that I could stop climbing because at least I “had tried.”   The next day I did the same.  I really “tried,” but felt I just couldn’t make it to the top.  And then I caught on.  As long as I “tried,” I would never have to actually jump off that scary diving board.  And guess what?  I never did.

If you “try” to change a habit, you either change it in a given moment or you don’t.  We sometimes attempt to create the perception of action by “talking about trying” but the truth is, it’s only once action has been taken that anything has been accomplished.

And thus, I agree with Yoda: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”


By Deborah Planting, L.P.A. at Grew, Morter & Hartye in Raleigh, NC. She works with individuals using cognitive behavioral therapy and solution-focused techniques.  She is a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and has received extensive training in Neurofeedback.
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