There is a scene in the Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back that holds a lot of lessons. In the scene Jedi Master Yoda teaches young Luke Skywalker the principles of mastering the ways of the force. One of the assignments Yoda gives Luke is to lift the X-wing fighter from the Dagobah swamp using the power of his mind alone. Luke responds: ‘I’ll try’. Yoda then gets agitated and replies: ‘No! Do or do not…there is no try!’. Yoda is right (of course).
The power of words
Now we aren’t quite Jedi fighters now are we? So using the power of our mind alone to lift things sounds rather far fetched. Maybe so, but our mind is more powerful than most people realize. And like Yoda corrects Luke about the words he uses, we can use words to unleash the power of our minds. When we speak to ourselves (out loud or in our mind) we are essentially programming ourselves to execute an assignment. Our subconscious mind takes these assignments literally, so it’s important to give unambiguous assignments focussed at the desired results. And that’s where the verb try roars its ugly head.
Try…and you will fail
We use the verb try very much in our language. We use it to express a positive attitude towards executing something of which we’re not really sure about whether we’ll be successful at finishing it. At least, that’s the appearance it has. To try means to make an effort to do or accomplish something. With it we commit ourselves to the effort, but not to the result! Worse still the word try focuses more on failure than on success.
The message “I’ll try to do it” clearly sends a different message than “I’ll do this” or “I will do this”. When we try we anticipate failure, and send this message of failure to our subconscious mind. When we do we send a message focussed on success. Failure is still possible of course, however we don’t program ourselves for failure!
So next time when you catch yourself saying that you’ll try it, take a pause, and rephrase it to something else. Don’t try to do your MIT’s everyday, don’t try to drink enough water during the day, don’t try to do weight lifting exercises three times a week. Just do it! Remember Yoda: Do or do not…there is no try!