There is a particular scene that centres around Yoda and Luke Skywalker. Yoda is a master Jedi, and he is intent on passing on his skills to the young Luke. In the swamp, Yoda teaches his student how to move rocks and stones with the power of his mind. Luke struggles as first but then manages to do it. Yoda tells him to use the same powers to free his spacecraft, which had crashed and sunk in to the swamp.
“Moving stones around is one thing, master, but moving a spaceship? That’s something completely different!” he protests.
“It is only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned” replies Yoda.
“Alright” says Luke “I’ll give it a try!”
“No!” Yoda instructs “No try! Do or do not, there is no try!”
Skywalker gives it his best shot, but despite his efforts there is no sign of the spaceship. Yoda then takes over, using “the force” exactly as he had asked Luke. The spaceship rises up out of the swamp. Luke, clearly surprised by the result turns to Yoda
“I don’t believe it!” he exclaims, prompting Yoda’s famous response
“That is why you fail”
For anybody who is interested, you there are plenty of Yoda scenes and sayings posted on Youtube.
So what does all this mean? I know it’s only a film, but for me, that way of thinking has always been hugely important – and has become even more valuable over the past couple of years let me assure you! In my opinion, the point is that there is absolutely no basis in ‘trying’ to do anything at all. It’s very easy to say “I’ll try” to anything at all – but, in my opinion, it means nothing whatsoever. It’s about making a decision and a commitment – to yourself and/or to another person. The ‘try’ word is usually just that – a word. It negates the necessity for action. It’s a fluffy word that results in fluffy focus and fluffy results. A non-word, a non-decision, a non-commitment – heck, surely it becomes non-existent… doesn’t it?
I was fascinated to overhear a typically fluffy exchange between two people as I was waiting at a train station. I gathered that this pair were teachers, and they had been talking about organising a new project within the school. They’d clearly made some degree of progress, and they agreed they’d talk more about it tomorrow… or did they? This was how the conversation went:
“Thanks, I’ll try to give you a call tomorrow and we can discuss more options”
“Great, yes, ok, I’ll try to make sure I’m around, and if I don’t hear from you I’ll try to give you a call”
“Okay then, let’s try to get together tomorrow. I’ll hope to see you then!”
They parted with a smile and a wave – but were they really going to achieve what they said they wanted to do? I don’t know, but I’d be willing to take a guess. I do know that I couldn’t help giggling to myself at yet another example of the vague promises and commitments that people give to each other on a daily basis – no wonder so many of us wander around lacking direction and inspiration!
For me, this life is all about recognising and using our own power – for ourselves and also for the good of others. The first job is to become happy with who and what we are… then, and only then, can we really offer support or guidance to others. In any case, that’s my opinion and experience – and I can promise you it’s a lesson I’m constantly revising and developing! One class didn’t seem to do the job for me – neither did the homework or experiential workshop sessions. Nope, as I’ve said before, until relatively recently, I was perfectly happy to carry on giving and supporting others without a second thought about myself. Doh!
That way of being has changed for me – and is continuing to develop on a daily basis. It started with awareness, and continues to be built through intention and commitment to follow through.
Mind Over Matter
I believe that everything starts with an idea, or a thought if you like, which is then followed up by a decision. Talk can indeed be cheap, and ‘trying’ to do or be something is one thing – but doing or not doing is something completely different. It’s a commitment. My friend Judi made me chuckle last night. We were talking about weight loss (she has lost a staggering amount of weight since the beginning of this year) because of a comment made by somebody who hadn’t seen her in many months.
“You look amazing!” this lady had exclaimed on seeing Judi walking towards her “How on earth did you do it?”
“A personal decision and direct help from a nutritionalist” smiled Judi “and lots of positive thinking. It’s all mind over matter you know!”
“Yes, I’ve been thinking about losing weight, but it’s so hard” replied the other lady “I tried for a while last year and lost 4kg (about 10lbs) but it’s all gone back on again. Oh well, maybe one day eh?”
Is it really any wonder that this particular lady had not made any real progress? I think not! She’d “tried for a while” which is fluffy enough by itself, but add to that an underlying belief that it is difficult to lose weight… well, it was never going to happen was it?
This kind of ‘non-action’ I believe is part of the problem in the world we live in today. I don’t actually believe it’s deliberate – at least, not for the vast majority. The thing is, though, we’ve become brainwashed in to forgetting that we have power. It’s become normal to say “I’ll try” and to expect to fail “I told you so” “What’s the point?” “It’s useless trying” And it’s this kind of apathy that subconsciously invites manipulation and control. Think about the corporates – if the staff believe there’s nothing they can do, well, guess what? They’re right. On the other hand, when they start to wake up and realise that they can do more than they were thinking – just by changing their thoughts in the first place… well, then that’s when we start to get results. And that is very much along the lines I use when working with teams and individuals. It’s about reclaiming the power that is already within us, and then deciding what to do with it.
Pick Up That Lightsaber!
It’s like the many inspirational people who have overcome all manner of challenges and hardships to make something of themselves. I absolutely love real-life stories like these. They encourage the positive “me too” type of thinking that I adore. One of my friends is best-selling author Eileen Munro (“As I Lay Me Down To Sleep” and “If I Should Die Before I Wake”) Now there is a lady who has used Jedi thinking to get her through an incredibly tough and relentless set of challenges! Whenever I start to think I might be having a tough time, all I have to do is dip back in to her book and it puts everything in to perspective. Eileen, you see, refuses to give up or give in – and her relentless positive movement forward is an inspiration.
So far as I’m concerned, no matter our particular circumstances we all have the power to think like a Jedi…. There is no try, there is only do or do not. It’s a clear matter of choice. Once that choice is made, then you can pick up your lightsaber and prepare to make things happen. People tend to laugh when I point out that if you take the word JEDI and you imagine that the bottom line of the “E” could, with a little bit of imagination, represent a lightsaber (well, okay, a lot of imagination!) you could imagine picking it up ready for action. Having picked it up, the word JEDI changes to one of my favourite acronyms – JFDI which, as many will already know stands for Just Flippin Do It!! (There are other F-word options, of course, depending on your preference)
In conclusion, I am calling out for more of us to think like a JEDI. Forget ‘try’ and instead think only in terms of do or do not. And in doing so, remember to believe that a positive result is the outcome – because that’s what is going to make the difference.
So, come on, let’s get clear in our intentions, make a commitment, pick up our proverbial Lightsabre and do it.