I have a confession.
I am a bit of a closet Sci-Fi geek.
Okay, not a closet geek, pretty much an openly unabashed Star Wars geek. And Master Yoda is among my favorite characters. He was simple yet profound in his counsel; consistently making his point with minimal dialogue and maximal impact. I often find myself wishing I had my own personal Yoda to guide me through life’s muddy waters. And then I realize that my nerd is showing. Oops.
If we could, however, learn to embody this sentiment, I truly believe we would take significantly greater steps towards the ultimate version of ourselves. There are a great many life lessons we can extract from the miracle that is the Star Wars Saga, but for today I will focus on the notion of try, given this is the idea that has been weighing on my heart as of late.
In this particular instance, Yoda was preparing Luke to take on the Empire; teaching him to imbibe the force and master the ways of the Jedi. Let’s face it though, Luke was kind of a pansy. And by kind of, I mean he was legit the most annoyingly exasperating character in the series. Well, maybe second to
In fact, Luke lacked so much patience and discipline that Yoda initially told Obi-Wan he could not be trained. Alas, Luke found himself engaged in Jedi training within Yoda’s slimy mudhole (my home this is!), repeatedly failing to levitate his X-Wing. True to form, he whined, lamenting that he was trying but he just couldn’t do it. In order to set his pansy ass straight, Yoda dropped what was arguably his most potent knowledge bomb: Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.
But either way, shut your mouth and quit whining, boy. The fate of the galaxy is at stake! Sheesh.
So long story short, pansy or not, Luke prevailed and went forth to help restore peace to the Galaxy. He certainly reverted, every now and again, to his sniveling nature along his path towards full Jedi status.
He stumbled, made epic mistakes, and annoyed the crap out of me on the regular. But eventually, he did
come into his own. Ultimately, Luke was able to embody the way of the Jedi, Vader was given his opportunity to redeem himself by killing the Emperor, and the Galaxy was declared impervious to the Dark Side. For now.
I will do my best to not go on a Star Wars rant, and instead fulfill my original purpose, which was to relate the concept of “try not” to training and nutrition related endeavors. It’ll be hard to do. The nerd inside me is fighting! But I will certainly try (insert maniacal laugh).
Within the context of iron
, there is no such thing as trying. In the weight room, the moment you “try” instead of “do,” you are indicating and accepting that there is an opportunity for failure
-a chance that you simply will not succeed. You let that nasty little voice
in your head (you know, the one that says “you’re going to miss this lift”?) grow louder and more pronounced. You cultivate defeat.
Within the context of sustenance, there is, again, no such thing as trying. You either eat in a way that supports your goals, or you don’t. You simply do not try to eat better. You do. Or you don’t. And when you don’t, that’s okay, too. Heck, we’ve all seen the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s before.
What if you strategically adjust your inner dialogue?
What if you implore determination instead of hesitation?
Change your paradigm from try to do?
You will make a choice. You WILL show up to training sessions, on time and in the right frame of mind. You WILL press that kettlebell. You WILL learn to use your damn lats. You WILL sprint as fast as you can. You WILL engage your glutes. You WILL get your eating habits under control.
Or else you won’t. But either way, there is no in between. Will is the power to control one’s actions, impulses or emotions, regardless of the environment or the task at hand. Will is self discipline. Certitude. Confidence.
If you approach the bar
(the one with the weights, not the one with the bottles) with said certitude and confidence, you will move the weight. You absolutely will succeed, provided you’re adhering to intelligent training progressions, of course. On the contrary, approaching the bar with uncertainty or indecisiveness significantly reduces the chances of completing the lift. Anyone who has ever missed a lift can tell you that somewhere, in the back of their mind, there was that nasty little voice telling them they might
Eff this voice. This is the trying voice.
There is no room for this voice in the pursuit of success. Success requires legitimate backbone.
Successful people are tenacious, persistent, self-disciplined. Successful people don’t try. They do. And when they fail, they do again. And again. And again. Changing your paradigm from one of “trying” to one of “doing” isn’t easy to accomplish, but then again, easily obtained things aren’t usually worth much. Ever notice how much you don’t enjoy the free songs on iTunes? Yeah, it’s because they suck. You gotta pay for the good stuff.
When presented with a challenge, either take it, or don’t. Lift or don’t lift. Sprint, or stop. Succeed or fail. Go hard, or go home, right? Luke Skywalker was a straight up sissy until he stopped whining about trying, and started morphing himself into a (moderate) badass.
Do you want to be sissy farm boy Luke from Tatooine, or hardcore Jedi Luke who brought balance to the force?