If Your Goal is Personal Growth, Don’t ‘Do’ or ‘Try,’ ‘Train’ Instead

Written by Lyssa Menard

January 24, 2022

Yoda, my favorite spiritual advisor, espoused a simple dictum: “Do or do not. There is no try.” 

I’ve blindly adhered to this message since the day I first heard it. On the surface, it’s simply a statement about the power of commitment. Like any developing Jedi, though, I’m challenging my liege.

This command was a truism for young Luke Skywalker, of Star Wars fame, but for anyone other than a genetically predisposed ninja warrior, it’s a recipe for failure 

Yoda’s Disgust With ‘Trying’ Is Well-Founded

For some, “I’m trying,” really means, “I’m not willing to make this commitment. Nor am I willing to be truthful about it.” 

Personally, I’d rather those folks just said the latter. There’s nothing kind or helpful about pretending to commit to something with no intention of following through.

For many, though, ‘trying hard’ is the very definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

This is what trying looks like: I practice a scale 300 times with no input from a benevolent and skilled teacher. By doing so, I’m engraving a pattern of action into my neural networks that won’t change or improve. 

You Cannot ‘Do’ If You Haven’t Been Trained

If you don’t have a Yoda in your court, all you can do is try. 

If mastery is what you seek, you must find an ally. Someone who can teach you how to do the thing with finesse and in a style that’s suited to your unique configuration. This is true for learning scales and everything else – including new behavior patterns and new ways of seeing yourself. 

If it’s personal growth you’re after, stop ‘trying,’ seek an ally and ‘train.’

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