Why Yoda Had It All Wrong: There Is Value In Trying
"Do or do not. There is no try". Yoda
If you are a Star Wars geek like me, you are not only familiar with this quote but you have seen the movie so many times you can recite the exact scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back almost word for word.
Young Luke Skywalker is in training with the wise Jedi master Yoda. His starship has sunk into an abyss of swamp and he is trying to use energy from the Force to save it. As he watches it sink out of sight he says with frustration "we'll never get it out now". Yoda informs the young Skywalker that its all in his mind. Luke reluctantly replies with "I'll try" and Yoda sternly tells him "Do or do not. There is no try".
This quote is a popular one, especially in the world of entrepreneurship and I admit, I used to firmly believe this statement. I have even shared this quote in the past. I recently saw a post on Facebook where someone was referring to this quote and the tone was a bit harsh, that those who say they are "trying" is the same thing as "making excuses". It was a post that stopped me in my tracks. I felt a strong need to reflect upon it from a deeper perspective.
While I love the movie Star Wars and Yoda is one of my favorite characters I had a revelation after reading that person's Facebook post and many of the comments...
Yoda was wrong.
As moms, women and entrepreneurs we are not in grueling Jedi training on a remote planet with an old furry green creature with the future of the galaxy riding on our shoulders. This is real life where trying should be okay. Where it should not only be acceptable but also valued.
Mr. Webster defines "try" as "make an attempt or effort to do something; exert oneself, strive, do one's best, do one's utmost"
Every day we show up for our families, our relationships and our businesses. We show up for ourselves. We work hard on our personal growth. We fail. We stumble. We get back up, to keep trying. We fight to keep moving forward. To put one foot in front of the other, even on days when it would be easier to just say "the Hell with it!" and pull the covers over our heads. We work hard to try to inspire others. To make a difference in the world. We strive to do the best we can with what we have.
Social media has given people a bold outlet to judge one another. Where it's became acceptable to say:
"I don't think you are doing enough".
"I think you could be doing more and trying harder"
"It sounds like you are just making excuses".
That Facebook post and remarks from others who were quick to jump on the "people need to get their shit together and hustle harder" bandwagon reminded me how important it is to honor people where they are, not where we think they should be.
I believe trying holds priceless value in our personal growth. A worthy part of the journey to get where we want to be. As long as we are trying we are making progress. We are showing the world that we are willing. We may not be where we want to be but we are bravely picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off to keep going.
My amazing friend Melissa Bolton, owner of The Mogul Mom posted this Brené Brown quote in the Power MOB Facebook group recently and it really spoke to my soul:
"A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we're defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you're not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback."
There IS value in trying. In showing up to be in the arena. To keep putting ourselves out there despite the fear of what other people will think and say. To be vulnerable. Trying is empowering. As long as we are trying we are refusing to be defeated. Yes, there is disappointment in failure but there is an even greater disappointment in not trying at all. To try means to take risks. It is what leads to beautiful uncharted territory and new adventures.
The reality is that we will spend a great deal of our life trying in order to reach our goals. To fulfill our purpose. To pursue our passions. To be good parents to our children. To be good at our relationships. What's important is that we love ourselves through the process. That we show those around us compassion and encouragement for the individual journey they are on. That we value the pursuit more than the destination.
Keep dreaming. Keep fighting for the life you want to live and to become the person you want to be. Keep having the courage to continue. And yes, to fiercely keep trying. xo
April Williams is a Creative Momista and Soulpreneur of 2 boys + whimsical wavemaker + creative expressive + Texas country girl + branding junkie who loves green mint tea + horses + fuzzy socks + surrounding herself with high achieving amazing women + peppermint anything + the color red + cozy coffee shops. She is a branding and social media strategist for creative small business owners, founder of Creative Brandista™ and co-founder of Socially Tailored Marketing.