Do, or do not. There is no try.
By Rafi M. Ali, M.D.
Director of DarusSalam Seminary’s Tadrīs Integrated High School Program
Few sages have uttered truer words than little green Yoda when he said his famous lines, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” Anyone who begins an action, however begrudgingly, may be said to be trying. The lethargic try. The indifferent try. The irresolute try. The spiritless try. There is nothing special about trying. The successful individual does not try: he does, or he fails while doing.
You might think that this is a trivial distinction. I remember the following patient as vividly as if the incident occurred yesterday, although some years have elapsed since. The poor soul, through much marauding of his body by alcohol and neglect, was in the intensive care unit and deathly ill. Before my eyes, as I was examining him, he started to throw up blood — a bad omen. He started choking in his own blood. Then, his heart stopped. He stopped breathing. Alarms started ringing. A “CODE BLUE” was broadcasted via the hospital speakers. Chaos ensued. Seemingly, the entire hospital staff assembles in one patient’s room during these emergencies.
This patient would need an emergency procedure to stop the bleeding, although the odds of his survival were slim — very slim. The patient’s bewildered and anxiety-stricken wife was waiting in the hallway a few rooms removed. I went to give her an update and to request consent for the urgent procedure.
She pleaded, “Doctor, you must save him! He is all I got!”
It is tempting in such circumstances, when odds are stacked against you, to preempt your failure by foreshadowing its possibility and say, “We will try our best ma’am.” In my mind, that would be the wrong thing to say.
Who wants to be told that you will try?
An Excellent Teacher establishes goals that are worth striving for, however difficult they may seem. Then, they find a way of accomplishing them. Excellent Teachers Do; they do not try.
. StarWars.com Team, “The StarWars.com 10: Best Yoda Quotes,” StarWars.com, September 12, 2014, https://www.starwars.com/news/the-starwars-com-10-best-yoda-quotes.
. CODE BLUE is announced in patient emergencies such as a cardiopulmonary arrest to summon the team of health care providers assigned to the CODE BLUE team.
. Note: this story is not meant to be an endorsement of the STAR WARS franchise.