God Loves A Trier

Much as I like Twitter and find it to be very useful as an source of up to date HR and Employment Law debate and information, there is one really irritating thing about it as a business tool – the urge of some people to tweet “inspirational” or “motivational” quotes which are normally no more than platitudes. One that particularly annoys me, and which bizarrely seems extremely popular among HR people, comes from Yoda in Star Wars


(As an aside, it does bemuse me that people find inspiration from a swamp-dwelling homunculus with the voice of Fozzie Bear and a lack of knowledge of English sentence structure).

Let’s just examine that. Firstly – Do or Do Not. Well if those are my options, I think I’ll do not, thanks. After all, doing seems like a bit of effort.

And then “There is no try”. Nonsense (unless Yoda is referring to the video ref in a rugby match). We try all the time, and encourage others to do the same. What is the standard response when a child won’t eat a new food? “Just give it a try”.

Trying new things is an essential part of being human. It combines the excitement of doing something new, with the risk that it might not be successful. But even if it’s not successful, we learn something from it – even if it’s our own limitations. Look at a programme like Strictly Come Dancing. People who are famous for other things try to learn to dance. Some of them become extremely accomplished. Others find it a real effort and plod around the dancefloor. Occasionally one or two are so hopeless that it becomes difficult to watch without embarrassment. But the key thing is that they all try. And indeed some of the plodders become extremely popular with the viewers because they are seen to be making the effort, even if they don’t succeed.

No try means no learning, no development, no change, no possibilities, no growth. Trying is understanding that “failure” is sometimes the right outcome – and that if you do nothing unless you’re certain of the outcome then nothing is what you’ll do.

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