The Power of Not Trying

Melanie - Katy, Texas
Entered on December 8, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in Yoda’s philosophy of “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

This past summer I went to the Dominican Republic for eight weeks and before I boarded the plane leaving behind all that was familiar to me, I thought to myself, all I can do is try my best this summer to make it worthwhile. The overwhelming idea of living with a host family and working with the community on public health and community development project throughout my stay hit me hard when I arrived in country and I just kept reminding myself to try my best.

I failed to realize that the tasks set forth weren’t any to simply “try my best” at. I couldn’t try to assemble a meeting, I had to physically knock on each door, present myself with a huge smile and coax each of the community members (and hopefully their families) to come out and attend the meeting. Then, I had to trek down the highway to the “centro” where all the meetings were generally held and for the next hour or so ramble on about community involvement throughout the forth coming weeks. Meetings weren’t the only hardship that entailed me doing stuff rather than simply trying though, the weekly summer camps me and my partners ran for the kids of the community were quite the challenge as well. Every morning I’d wake p to the sound of a million and one different giggling voices that were ready to march down to the “locale” (local school house) and begin the day’s session. They were only about two hours maximum, but sometimes they felt like two hours from hell as mini-fights would break out over who got what crayon, at which point you didn’t try to find an extra crayon, you did everything and anything you could to find that troublesome color. Despite some days seeming grueling and never ending though, at the end of the day, when the kids unanimously sang the “goodbye song” you’d taught only days earlier, and each charged over to give you the type of hug only a kid can give you—you realize it was worth it.

You grasp the fact that doing rather than trying is worth every ounce of energy you have. That in fact, you can’t try something, because that’s like only filling your glass full of your favorite drink halfway. Trying is only 50% or less of the effort, actually doing it amounts to 100% of the result.