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Stop Doing. Start Trying.

A heartfelt try shows a far stronger commitment than an ill-considered will do.

A small Yoda sits on the roof of a courthouse
In Defence of Trying
"I try to say goodbye and I choke Try to walk away and I stumble Though I try to hide it, it’s clear My world crumbles when you are not near."

It’s hard to believe it’s now 21 years since Macy Gray’s Grammy-winning I Try was released. For those who can remember back then - a time when the upcoming Millennium held some promise - it’s impossible to read those words without hearing the raw emotion in Gray’s voice.


It was the sound of the thick tar of hope trying to cover the gravel of heartbreak. Many of us empathised with the memory of a time when we were just as broken, but equally determined through the tears. Certain that we would get through this. If we try.


But for some, the song represents all that is weak about humankind. Rather than relate to Macy, they will first pity, and then deride, her display of weakness.


You will probably be one of this angry group of people if you have ever:


  • Read a self-help book called “Be Your Outside from the Inside” or “You are the Key that Opens the Success Door – Don’t Keep it Locked

  • Been to more than two workshops that promised to Bring out the Business Leader in You

  • Stumbled over a post on LinkedIn that began “I failed many times in business before becoming the multi-billionaire I am now”, continued reading and ended up connecting with the author, who you think of as insightful

  • Watched Star Wars and believe that Yoda is more than just an early animatronic with a cod-spiritual script.


If any of those sound like you, then you will be angered by Macy for only trying. You will say that this attitude shows she has already accepted failure. That she is prepared for, and is excusing, this failure by making it one of the two potential solutions open to her.


That she doesn’t have the mental commitment required for success.

A miniature Yoda
Photo by Alberto Bigoni at Unsplash

Do or do not. There is no try.

As George Lucas wrote.


In a work of fiction...


For a glorified puppet.


(With apologies to fans of the Star Wars Multiverse, but come on, you know, it's not really real.)


The quote's fictional origin doesn't stop it being used to satisfy the self-publicising needs of self-help gurus and self-aggrandising, self-made, self-defined, successful folk.


You see it quoted in two different contexts; to proudly summarise their approach to life and how they made gazillions, and to angrily attack the weaklings around them who don't heed the words already.


The sentiment seems to be much hold more aggression than seems fitting for a Jedi mantra:

"Trying is an excuse that gives you a way out of committing."

Or exaggerated cl