There Is Try

My friend cackled as I lay on the ground, frozen. My shoulder ached. I was losing our game of ice basketball. Badly.

Don’t feel bad for me, though. I deserved the agony. In frustration, I’d just thrown my 170 lb, 5’10” frame into his 225 lb, 6’2″ one—pebble bouncing off a brick wall. I was fortunate not to have snapped my collarbone.

I thought, “Is this what Yoda meant when he said, ‘There is no try.’?”

It’s true that “try and you shall succeed” seems like hollow advice. I could hire Eric Orton to coach me for a year, and Eliud Kipchoge will still toast me in a marathon.

Yet, don’t we want to follow Theodore Roosevelt into “the arena”?

Isn’t the point of experimentation, living with less, diet adjustments, or even this 30-for-30 challenge to learn to live a little better.

It’s progress over success. The miserable failure of my “date marathon” was as instructive as the marathon in which I PR’ed.

I’ve read that to achieve, to build habits, to find that elusive flow state that helps us do great things, I need to push. Hard. Perhaps this is what often makes trying so tricky. “Success” comes from a process that should be just outside of reason.

Maybe even painful.

Too far, though, and the process becomes useless — like throwing a pebble against a brick wall.

Sorry, Yoda, there is try.

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