First of all, it’s patently untrue. Of course there is “try.” That’s why we have the word, Yoda. We even have an abundance of synonyms for it: attempt, endeavor, take a stab at, etc. Don’t tell me there is no try. I try all the time. Don’t invalidate my efforts, you 26-inch puppet, you.
Also, trying and doing/not doing are not mutually exclusive. I could try to make a chocolate soufflé and end up with a tall, fluffy masterpiece; I could try to make that same soufflé and end up with an odd mutant dessert omelet. Either way, I have tried.
The Yoda meme, beyond being false, encourages terrible black-and-white thinking. You know, like: You’re either with me or against me. It says that if you don’t succeed, you fail—and that those are your only two choices.
Ugh. What terrible nonsense.
Trying is where the best things happen. If your chocolate soufflé doesn’t rise, you might learn the benefit of adding cream of tartar or using a copper bowl to whip your egg whites. Or you might create a delicious new protein-packed breakfast treat. You might simply enjoy some leisure time in the kitchen.
When you try, you demonstrate to yourself that you’re capable of trying, of taking risks, of experimenting and adjusting your path forward. You discover what works and what doesn’t. You learn. You grow. You get better.
But people just love that stupid Yoda line because it sounds so absolute and hard-core. They claim that if you so much as contemplate the tiny word “try,” you are swinging open the door for failure to rush in and ruin everything. They believe that you must possess complete conviction or you will surely sabotage yourself.
Balderdash! You can acknowledge risks and still succeed. In fact, that’s often the wisest way to go. “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” I often ask myself when something feels intimidating. And if I answer myself honestly, I can see that “the worst” isn’t nearly so objectionable as inaction and the potential regret of what might have been. So I try, and quite a lot of the time, I “do.”
Think twice before believing Yoda’s terrible pronouncement. The full-blown, deaf-to-distraction, self-delusional certitude that he advocates gets people into an awful lot of trouble. I’m thinking of Elizabeth Holmes. I’m thinking of The Secret. I’m thinking of countless cults. Just because you really, really, really, really want something to happen does not—can not—not make it so.
Will this little rant on my little blog stop the legions of people who continue to share this horrible quote and use it to guide their lives? Nope. Can I make a few people think twice about doing so? Maybe.
I can surely try.