Do or do not. There is no try.
My mom asked if I had completed a task on my to-do list the other day, and I had responded to her by saying that I would “try.” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I winced a bit. There was something about the use of the word “try” that felt placating—almost equivocating—coming from my lips. It made me stop and wonder:
What do we really mean when we say we’ll “try” to do something...?
The impending task left on my to-do list was to call Delta Airlines in order to change a few flights to match my ever-changing schedule within this unpredictable sea of current events. My mom—with her orientation toward her logistical superpowers—was concerned that I do it quickly, so as not to cut it too close to my original departure date, and thus suffer the exorbitant penalty of change fees, etc.
Objectively, her point of view made total sense. I knew I needed to make the call, I understood her concern, and yet, whenever I had gone to pick up phone and call the airline, I had stopped myself. For the previous two days, I had sabotaged my follow-through with some sort of distraction. I could feel my beautiful mother’s impatience with what appeared to be my utter procrastination. So, what was at the root of my delay? I put my hand over my heart, and breathed deeply. The answer came quickly:
The flights needed to be changed, but in my heart, it didn’t feel like the right time for me to call.
With my hand still over my heart, I delved further into why it didn’t feel like the right time for me to call. As I explored the trip in its entirety, I realized that I was a bit reluctant to modify the trip in general. I had not fully decided what it was that I truly wanted to do, or where I wanted to go, or when I wanted to leave. I had not wrapped my heart around this trip in its entirety, nor had I found the solid feeling place of my desire to do it in the first place. The emotional blurriness of my reticence pulled like a weighted drag on my tactical desire to take care of the situation with a simple phone call. I needed to get clarity on what I wanted.
After some reflection, I realized that it wasn’t the right time to take this trip at all. Rather than modify my flights, I cancelled them altogether, had a wonderful conversation with an airline employee, and incurred no penalty or change fee—even though it ended up being mere days before my original departure.
If our delay in doing something just represents the split energy that we have yet to reconcile, then procrastination is, simply, that: An opportunity to pause and figure out what we really want.
That said, if we use the word “try” to placate the feeling of obligation, to ease the uncomfortable drag, to soothe the lacerating split energy, then perhaps Yoda was right when he said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Even if we fall short of we originally set out to do, the continuum of life allows for multiple attempts, a myriad of opportunity to fulfill our dreams, an endless painter’s palate of color from which we can create a spectrum of pieces to satisfy what we desire. Within this so called ‘trying’ is the actual pursuit. We DO whether we have resistance or not, so why not enjoy what we choose to do...?
We have all felt the feeling of wanting to DO something. We have all felt the feeling of having been so aligned with our desire that we have naturally gravitated in the direction of it; we have just done it. We have all had times when the motion towards what we decided—resolutely—was smooth, even if it was a challenging task. We have all experienced the momentum created by lining up with a particular desire, and reveling in the capability and accomplishment that it built. We have all felt the flow of having been fully present while doing something; synced completely in body, mind and spirit. We have all felt the feeling of having been all-in on performing a task.
Achieving alignment between how we feel, what we want, and what we do creates pure ecstasy. It feels amazing, tends to be much more efficient, productive, and employs the universal power of the present moment.
We all deserve to feel that flow. We all deserve to feel the ecstasy of alignment. We all deserve to search our hearts, decide what we want and pursue it—to not just try, but DO.