Do or Do Not. There is No Try.

It’s no secret that I’ve been a Star Wars fan ever since I was a kid. I was hooked when my dad took me to see the first installment, A New Hope, when it hit the big screen in 1977. And it wasn’t difficult to immediately like Yoda, the Jedi Master, when he first appeared in Empire Strikes Back. What is not to love about a short green Jedi who spouts off amazing wisdom in an unusual way?

If you really listen to the philosophical insights of Yoda, you will realize there are many truths to what he presents. But this post isn’t about Star Wars … it’s about taking action.


Let me get straight to the point without sugar coating my message. You either need to DO or DO NOT when it comes to following through on those ideas. Maybe you’ve had an idea to launch a new eBook or to start an online course. Perhaps you want to launch a lifestyle business or build a WordPress product. Whatever the case is, there might be something you’ve planned to do for a while that you have failed to act on. It’s time to crap or to get off the pot! Totally abrasive way to say it, but being bluntly honest.

There is No Try.

In the United States, we live in a society that has been taught we are all winners … as long as we try to make an effort. This is the most asinine belief and is not true. People win and people lose. You will never achieve business success or launch that product idea with a lackadaisical attitude towards trying. It is only when you have the absolute determination that you are either going to do it or die trying that will make a difference in the outcome. Wishful thinking and excuses are where the losers hang their shingles.

There is No Wait.

We are waiting for the perfect time. I need the capital to get started. Lets keep talking about the possibilities. I want my product to be perfect before launching …

There is a pattern that I see in people who DO or DO NOT. People who DO, will act on their ideas and make things happen. They don’t sit around thinking of the many reasons why they shouldn’t do something. They don’t wait for miraculous signs or market conditions or collaborative partners to step up. They perform and launch, even if it means the end result is failure. And they will repeat the process over and over again. People who DO NOT, well, they just talk and wait. Crap or get off the pot. That’s what I say.

You have everything, I have nothing.

This has been said to me in a variety of ways over the last ten years. From family members to friends to colleagues to people I’ve coached. To be honest, I’ve even said it to others myself in the course of my lifetime. How shameful! As long as you are able to breathe, you have something.

Years ago I had a family member tell me how rough it must be to be in my shoes. Recently someone told me it must be rough to be able to take the trips I’ve taken and will take this year. This is painful because not many people know all of my story.

My grade-school teacher told me I would never make anything of my life because I drew in class all the time. I went through abuse as a kid. Over ten years ago I was a drug addict and an alcoholic. I’ve gone through bankruptcy and losing almost everything I owned. I lost my dad at an early age in life and it was the most absolute hell I’ve ever gone through. I watched several friends die as a teenager due to alcohol related accidents. I sucked so much at business that I had to feed my family MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and Ramen Noodles because I couldn’t charge what I was worth. I was depressed, suicidal, and without hope. Yeah, it must be rough.

If anyone has excuses to DO NOT, I would certainly be first in line as a candidate. And there are many of you who have been through worse. The only reason I have it so “rough” besides God’s blessing in my life is because I refused to let ANY of these circumstances stop me from doing.

What are YOU going to do?

I’ve been totally transparent with you through this entire post because I am sad to see how many people refuse to do. Hell, so many people don’t even try. I hear their stories, I hear their dreams. But they will never experience what they desire because they simply DO NOT.

My story isn’t special at all, but I will tell you what I’ve told others — if I can do it, you can do it too!

The truth is that all of us have opportunities in our lives every day to make a difference or to fulfill a dream. There is nothing truly holding you back other than your desire to make it happen at all costs. I’ll tell you another piece of valuable advice … success never happens overnight and never without failures. Ever.

When you are tired of your situation or ready to complete that idea, you just need to do. You need to take action every single day to see your goals realized. You need to tune out the rest of the world and the excuses holding you back.

Raise the X-Wing out of the swamp, Luke. You must unlearn what you have learned. Do or Do Not. There is No Try!


  1. saddington on May 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    fighting words, my friend!

  2. Tom Arillotta on May 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Where do I begin? Your post raised so MANY points that piques one interest that I don’t know where to begin to comment on your post; so I’ll just touch briefly on one or two. Yes, ACT NOW. Like Napoleon Hill, author of Think And Grow Rich, said in so many words, “begin to put your plan in ACTION whether you are ready or not”. What he, and YOU meant is “get going”! Napoleon Hill said that some people stand around with a drink in their hand and talk about what they’re “going” to do. The successful person doesn’t stand around, they take action. Years ago when I was discussing going back to school part time just for the heck of it, my friend told me, “Tom, think of it this way; in two years, two years will have past. You can let those two years just pass you by or you can make them work for you and you can PROFIT from them.” It’s like when I was a sign painter/maker years ago. I’d go see a potential customer who has needed a sign for eons! I’d give him a quote on the price and they’d say, “Heck I could just make the sign myself!” And my reply would be, “You could’ve done that years ago, but you didn’t. You had a business with no sign all this time and your business suffered. I’m the guy that will make it come to be.” Nine times out of ten I’d get the sign order. And now I’m using the type of advice you’re discussing here to apply it to my Word Press web design business that I will have SOON enough. And, by the way, James; two saying me and you have BOTH heard in our Armed Services days. One; nothing to do, but to do it. And my favorite one that I say to myself when I find myself tired and dishearted and not really wanting to study my Word Press tutorials for that day, “You don’t have to like it, you just gotta do it.” There goes the lesson IMHO. – Tom

  3. Tom Arillotta on May 3, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Correction: Sorry, “Nothing to it, but to do it”.

  4. Suzette Franck on May 4, 2013 at 10:08 am

    What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Thank you so much for sharing your story, I thought I was the only one! 😉

    • James Dalman on May 4, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Suzette, thanks for stopping by and you’re welcome. Despite the hard challenges I’ve gone through, I am thankful for them. It’s these times that shape and mold us. Hopefully for the better!

      You are definitely not the only one. 😉

  5. Cheryl Sneed (@justsneed) on May 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks so much for this post! My younger years were challenging as well and with new challenges cropping up it can be hard to focus, but I’ve never found solace in the words “at least I tried” when it comes to project completion. I’ll bookmark this post and refer to it in the future when I’m thinking of waiting because the stars aren’t properly aligned or when I find myself looking at everything at once and wondering where to start. Often the answer is to just DO!

    • James Dalman on May 5, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      You’re welcome Cheryl and thank you for sharing as well. It can be challenging to push ourselves to DO but that should never stop us from achieving what we dream of doing. I like that attitude of not finding solace in “at least I tried!” 🙂

  6. Dan Green on May 27, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Brain Tracey says waiting for all conditions to be favorable before getting started is like planning a drive cross county and sitting in your driveway waiting for all the traffic lights along the way to turn green. My experience is that my most difficult times were the most valuable, and contributed to my greatest successes. The hardest step is the first one – and the most important. It the one that gets you on your way. Despite plenty of mistakes, embarrassing moments and bad decisions, my only lasting regrets are not about things I’ve done but about things I did not do.
    I’m looking forward to our call.

    • James Dalman on May 27, 2013 at 10:38 am

      Great thoughts Dan! I agree that the first step is always the hardest step. Our journey may not get easier beyond that, but at least we took a step in the right direction – forward.

      Live with no regrets has become a valuable motto for me. 🙂

      Look forward to our call as well!

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