By Lydia Hansen
For many, a college career is basically a hunt for wisdom, knowledge, and truth. (Also free pizza.) The greatest truth of my college career is best summed up in the words of a well-known life coach and diplomat: none other than Jedi Master Yoda.
“Do, or do not. There is no try.”
I used to believe in trying. Trying was what it meant when I put some effort into my actions and made a good attempt. I tried to get a job. I tried to write a blog and a newspaper column and graduate high school with a perfect GPA.
Some of that worked out—I have four jobs right now and I’m still blogging. But when I earned my first B in high school, I wasn’t very worried. Why?
Because I had tried. I had put in some effort. And I thought that was good enough.
But as Yoda said, “There is no try.” The concept of trying is an excuse, an easy way out of committing to success.
Trying is fine for things you don’t really care about, like adventurous new foods or activities. Trying is great when you want to explore or just dip your toes. But when it involves things important to you, never fool yourself into believing that trying is good enough. You have to take Nike’s slogan to heart and “Just do it.”
“Just do it” is my college motto. Where trying fails me, doing never does. I no longer try to pass my classes or get that job or internship I want. I’ve stopped allowing myself the option of failing at what I care about.
Of course, I understand that no one can approach every single thing in life with a “Just do it” attitude without burning out. You have to choose your battles, prioritize what you’ll try and what you’ll do. I do school because I care about it deeply. I’m paying $5,000 for this education. I can’t afford to do less than succeed.
Teachers respect students who put in the effort and make an attempt to finish assignments. They understand that not every student will love the subject they’re teaching or care about it. But “putting in the effort” is still just trying. Doing, as Yoda and Nike recommend, is different. It requires commitment and dedication.
Saying “I’ll try” requires very little effort and gives you an easy way out when you fail. Saying “I’ll try” shows that you don’t believe you’ll succeed. But when you say “I’ll do it,” you’re making a promise to yourself to commit like crazy and make it happen.
Triers are everywhere. Doers are the ones who stand out. Doers have identified their priorities and committed themselves to seeing them through. This attitude helps them succeed in school, in the workplace, and in their relationships.
I thank RCTC’s excellent communication department (and in particular, instructors Annie Clement and Taresa Tweeten) for showing the importance of commitment in relationships. Telling a significant other you’ll try to be there for the next date is a good way to lose his or her trust. That’s why people commit. They say they will be there, and do what needs to be done.
These same principles apply to work, school, and everything else one does. Doers don’t accept a C when they could have gotten an A. Doers don’t settle for a job that doesn’t fulfill them or doesn’t get them one step closer to where they hope to someday be. They don’t accept “I tried” as an excuse for not being there yet.
Yoda and Nike got it right. If there’s something you want, and if you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way. You will do it.
Or you’ll find an excuse. And excuses are what we call trying.