Stop trying to hit me and hit me

I am still a little suspicious of Plinky. It strikes me as a celebrity reporter blended with a talk show host with an agony aunt with an agenda of asking people to ‘tell me your feelings’. Considering that a significant portion of this suspicion is rooted in my distinctly introverted and indistinctly anti-social nature just being suspicious of questions in general, I’m willing (for now) to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Today Plinky (I have to find a better name for it) asks of me “What is the best advice you have ever received?”

thought provocation?

Being smarter than most people, I receive very little good advice. So it wasn’t that hard to figure which was the best. Contrary to popular opinion, good advice does not come from a) conventional wisdom, b) relatives c)Oprah d)your mechanic. Good advice comes not from those who hand out advice ad nauseum, but from those who live by their code and advise by example. Intelligence notwithstanding, the conformity directive ensures that there are very few examples of humanity living a life of an example-setting quality. So when seeking guidance and guru-ism, we modern mammals turn to, of course, pop-kulture and the never-ending rebels-without-a-cause and their accompanying wise sages.

My favorite advice, as the title of this post gives away, comes from the Great Bald One, Morpheus himself.

Morpheus

Open your mind. To the Ba(l)dness.

The scene is the Kung-Fu dojo. (Or should I say the Nebuchadnezzar? but that’s too existential a question).  Neo is still his unbelievably confused self, attempting to separate robots, Trinity, Duracell and pills from the horrific-looking slop they keep eating outside the Matrix; and Morpheus is still the Epic Badass. (Since Smith hasn’t HULK-SMASHED!! him as yet.). Neo has, by now, learned more Kung Fu than Kung Fu Panda, and throws a flurry of funky moves at Morpheus, who promptly (languidly, rather) dodges. Morpheus strikes a cool pose for the camera and comes up with the quote of the entire trilogy:

“Stop trying to hit me and hit me”

Wow. Just. Wow. For every time I am assailed by self-doubt, for every time I feel despair, hopelessness, helplessness and just generally daunted at the sheer impossibility of life, this line has come to my rescue. It is a potent mantra to stop trying, to stop thinking of the level of effort, the difficulties, the costs and risks and just do. I think of this line as a dose of concentrated willpower shot right into the heart. Want to get promoted? get a raise? get a girlfriend? get a Nobel prize? Stop trying and go get it.

If I may carry this line to its ultimate logical conclusion, it would be:

“Stop trying to live and live”

So go live.

This post would be remiss without some credit going to this guy:

Yoda

Mind your free

This guy once said:

“Do. Or do not. There is no try”

Very similar a sentiment to Morpheus.

To both Great Sages, I raise a cup and toast them. And I do not try.

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137 responses to “Stop trying to hit me and hit me

  1. Loved this. Short and sweet. And makes a great point. Stop trying! Just do it! I guess Nike takes your statement to the most simple conclusion.

    I got a good chuckle out of this…”Being smarter than most people, I receive very little good advice.”

    Thanks for the read!

  2. wow. seriously. wow. freakin post of the year…it’s what i’ve wanted to say and would’ve said if i were…you. thanks for the post that popped me right out of groggy morning into inspired day. take care, heather

  3. This is awesome. I was hoping to see that Yoda quote in their at the end. I think it might be worth mentioning that people often-times go far beyond their aim. They accomplish more than they set out to. They do more than they try. Etc. I like to throw out the notion ‘shoot for the stars and you’ll land in the clouds’ and bring in the idea of ‘aim for the clouds and you just might hit the stars’. Or, better yet, ‘aim for the stars and exceed the boundaries of the universe’. I may have over-thought this. I tend to do that quite often. Good post.

  4. Nori susikurtį blogą su unikaliu dizainu į kurį galėtum talpinti reklamines nuorodas iš kurių galėtum uždirbti, bei turėti blogą su unikaliu vardu? Tai pradėk kurti pats!!! Skaityk ir mokykis 🙂

  5. Hello, just thought I’d leave a post to say, I thought this post was funny and true, and how all advice one gets seems to lead to that point of stop trying and start doing…but I guess it’s the background noise we humans find so hard to eliminate when we ‘try’ to do things.

  6. I always wondered what that niggling feeling was whenever I heard myself utter the lament, “I’m tryyyinnng!” Trying to finish my novel, trying to break up with Bad Boyfriend for the twenty-seventh time, trying to eat less carbs, trying to move to New York… Ugh.

    “Try” is hereby banished from my vocabulary. Except in the case of hipster try-hards, whom I find infinitely trying.

  7. I get so niche-nauseated that sometimes I don’t look around much at what other people are doing on the web. It can spin me into kultural vertigo, give me aphasia like bad gas. So. I found your post a reassuring respite. I’m glad I got pulled in once again by Freshly Pressed. 🙂 Thank you,
    Sofi

  8. Ah… The Matrix Trilogy. Probably one of the most “spiritual” set of movies without intentionally being “spiritual.” I really liked what Ken Wilber had to say about the Trilogy as it relates to Integral Theory.

    As for his line – yes. I can feel what you are saying. Whenever I happen to be re-watching that line (or replaying it in my head), I do feel a shot of willpower has been injected into me.

    It’s ironic that for “great wisdom,” we turn not to the great religions of the East that are steeped in tradition, but to Pop Culture… it almost makes you laugh out loud. Regardless, I think that it’s important to “obtain” wisdom, so if they must get it from Pop Culture than – “on go there getting it.” 😉

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

    • Thanks. 🙂 . I do find it amazing though, how much ‘pop-wisdum’ is derived from the philosophy and wisdom of the East. Particularly The Matrix, which derives a lot of Hindu Vedanta and Zen.

    • for me ‘just do it’ is kinda weak on its own without the ‘stop trying’ bit that the lines i brought up have. there’s “Just Do It” and there’s “Stop trying, Just Do It”. Big difference, imho.

  9. Jeezuz, guys! Doesn’t anybody here appreciate the drawn-out delights of procrastination?

    Just “don’t it” and hear the Nike ‘swoosh’ pass you by.

    (With apologies to Douglas Adams)

      • Sorry for not getting back earlier, but I’ve been procrastinating about procrastinating, which is probably why I’m not putting off replying to you anymore.

        And yes, the gassy snap of a beer bottle is one of the few things that I’m seldom dilatory about.

        Cheers!

  10. It’s scary how often I catch myself saying “i”ll try” and deep down know that what I mean is that I won’t …. our words give us away if we would only listen.
    Thanks for this post …

  11. Impressive post!!! Lol. I enjoyed it very much… Not that I don’t appreciate Morpheus’s and Yoda’s sayings, because I do… but I think my favorite “advice” now is the first image you have posted, “Be Yourself, everbody else is taken.” It’s funny and oh so true!

    Cheers, Niconica
    http://niconica.wordpress.com

  12. Great post and very timely. I was having a discussion with a colleague in which we were discussing when folks say ‘I can’t’ and how often that simply means ‘I won’t’. We also talked about ‘I will try’ which often means ‘I have no intention of doing what you ask, but I am not willing or comfortable to say that to you.’

  13. I love how you claim to be intelligent, yet your reason for living comes from fictitious mediums; that isn’t all bad, because I sometimes do the same myself. I’m sure many do.

    Is it just me or do all the truly “intelligent” people hide behind a mask, a wall, a door? Anti-social. If one claims to be intelligent, don’t you believe s/he would discover ways to remove all insecurities and befriend others?!

    What I’m getting at is that I once was socially inept. Somehow I’ve inverted this downfall, unknowingly. I guess I stopped trying to live and lived. Reading this post resurrects questions I’ve unintentionally avoided. For years, I’d shield myself from the finer things in life; to me, these would be playing sports (although I was active prior to late-teen years), generosity, benevolence, automobile, music, art, etc. Could it be that by following passions, God has given me the opportunity to become happy, more energized, hopeful, comfortable, and open-minded?

      • Boredom? Bored with society? Maybe, then, a relocation would be in order. I know when ever I’m bored with those around me, I look for a new place or, simply, a vacation.

        I live in a pretty wealthy suburb of Detroit, so I tend to become easily irritated by these pretentious, pompous, ingrates, who feel the value of life is measured by a bank account; I live with my parents. I recently graduated from NMU (located in MI’s Upper Peninsula–one of the most spectacular places in the world). Marquette is a decent-sized town surrounded by wilderness, a place where most people don’t have a whole lot of $$$. I love that.

        I love Michigan, so I don’t want to leave. I just want to leave the city. I shall do so once a reliable position is found! 😉

  14. Pingback: Stop trying to hit me and hit me (via Bridge Over Everywhere) « Petitemuscle's Blog

  15. My older brother always told me – don’t think, just do. Sometimes it makes sense, but i’ve found during other times you might want to take a minute and think about it 🙂

  16. Loved the intro on Plinky…answered the same question myself….but it just got me in trouble with my sister and didn’t give me a whole lot of insight like yours did.

    Thanks for reminding me of the Matrix, I forgot how awesome it was 🙂

  17. Hmmmm…
    I always lived by…
    “Follow the yellow brick road.”

    and daily reminding my kids of life’s finer moments with,
    “Have fun stormin’ the castle!”
    But I like yours better!

  18. The cause to do or not do can be easily construed with a re social conditioning of patterns and behaviors. The water is warm for human beings to step into the dimension of consciousness. A world where humans stop thinking what do I need to do or not do but a Dimension where human beings consciously practice a healthy relationship with Earth.

    Our breath is the nature of our being. Our being is made up of many living things. Those living things inside our being have their own activities and life. Together we are feed and nurtured by Earth. When did we change the relationship with Earth?

    Practice. Practice. Practice.

    It is up to us to make the trueness come through by practicing a healthy relationship with Earth.

    Thanks.

    matthewcreates

  19. Haha I love Yoda and the way he talks:) Good post I am not going to try go to the gym, I am going to GO!:P

  20. wow. no doubt,it took me some time to get myself into it but when i comes out,i realized that the thing was worth the time. liked that ..;)

  21. Loved the post. Have similar sentiments attached to Adidas’s punchline “Impossible is Nothing”. I may not be able to articulate it very well, but a mere reversal of words from the often heard “Nothing is Impossible” infuses a life and force of will into the punchline.

  22. But when you live with a somewhat unpredictable disability – and most of our disabilities are somewhat unpredictable – you live by ‘try’. Because you don’t know when you’ll be able to do something and when you can only try and fail.

    It’s a bit of an ableist notion you’ve got there, my friend.

    ~Kali

    • The way I see it, and the value I get from it, has _nothing_ to do with what I can or cannot do. It’s a state of mind. When you set out to do something, whatever it may be, whatever may be your abilities, are you going to see it through without taking no for an answer? Or you going to quit? Are you going to contemplate quitting? That’s what this is about.

      • But sometimes quitting is wiser.

        For example – let’s say I decide to take 4 classes in the fall. That’s really more than I can manage, and I know it, but it’s hard to let go of things like that. So I take 4 classes.

        Halfway through the semester, I’m on the verge of failing classes, I’m exhausted and stressed, and I’ve run through all of my physical reserves.

        At that point, I can say ‘Well, I decided to ‘do’, so I am going to!’ or I can say ‘This was a bad choice, I’m going to quit 1 class’. And in choosing to quit, I will do better, because I’m able to focus my energy and abilities on just 3 classes. I did not ‘do’ 4 classes, as I had aimed, but by quitting, I was able to continue most of my classes.

        Sometimes the decision to quit is wisdom.

        The decision to do something too ambitious can bite us other ways. What if I decide to do something and realize the costs of what I do today will hit me tomorrow, and hit me hard? While it may have seemed like I could do this at the start, and while I could theoretically do it, the costs get too high.

        One of the nice things about being ablebodied is that costs tend to be more predictable. You know what your body will feel like the next day if you go hiking for an hour. Me, well, on a good day I might be able to do that same hike without high consequences, but on a bad day, I may get halfway there and realize the cost is going to be too high if I continue.

        ~Kali

  23. Great post.

    But how is taking advice from characters any different from taking advice from an ordinary person. Or Oprah. Characters are created and given lines from their writers. Those writers have given them the lines for the viewers to contemplate on. If Oprah was a writer, would it be better to take advice from a character she created?

    I do agree that it is great advice, but I’d work on the modesty. 😉
    Beautifully written.

    • If Oprah was a writer, would her characters say things more worth listening to than Oprah herself? I dunno. What works for me is deriving advice/learning/growth from attitudes rather than “offered” advice. But that’s what works for me.

      take advice from whoever, whenever and where-ever you please. Fictional or not. Whatever floats your boat.

      Modesty is for those who fear pride in who they are. imho. 😉

  24. Carl Jung said “I do not believe, I know.” Having just had a cancer experience, this speaks hugely to my own journey…. death is about 4 minutes away (even if it’s 40 years, it is going to seem like 40 minutes) so LIVE NOW.

    I am curious about yoru journey….do you have the courage to live, to do, to stop trying? It’s a gift to see the path; a greater one to walk it.

  25. Pingback: Morpheus and Yoda? Double Wow! « Lorettashelton's Blog

  26. “Being smarter than most people, I receive very little good advice. So it wasn’t that hard to figure which was the best. Contrary to popular opinion, good advice does not come from a) conventional wisdom, b) relatives c)Oprah”

    You are hilarious.

    -Alessandra

  27. Pingback: Self Confidence « Blog Archive «

  28. Our breath is the nature of our being. Our being is made up of many living things. Those living things inside our being have their own activities and life. Together we are feed and nurtured by Earth. When did we change the relationship with Earth?

  29. From what little I’ve managed to glean I think this theme crops up a lot in Eastern philosophy ie- the notion of not resisting, of just being calm (meditation) and at one with the universe. Basically, go with the flow. I think this can be really useful as it helps you to focus and focus is the single most important thing you need to achieve anything. As for Yoda, what always puzzles me about him is… when he revamped the original Star Wars movies why the hell didn’t George Lucas superimpose onto Yoda a mouth that actually makes the shapes of words instead of doing that meh meh meh puppet thing? Just a thought. Love the blog by the way. Please please please please subscribe to mine as I only get 3 hits a decade.

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  32. ***Applause***
    Here in the South, everyone is always “fixin’ to do something”, or trying to be like someone else. This is a great “get off your butt and do it!” post. Went well with this morning’s coffee.

    (which reminds me…I need to get off mine and head to work…)

  33. wow! good post.. i like it! I’d better stop trying to learn and yes just learn. thanks to you and this post.

  34. “Stop trying to live and live”

    I’m not sure many people would come to that logical conclusion from the original quote. But I am certainly glad you did. Great post, and your conclusion is great advice.

  35. A problem I see when it comes to people trying to accomplish things is that they usually have a story or a deep program as to why they can’t. People seem to think that their lives are in the hands of external influences.

    The best advice for anyone is to look inside. A Buddhist quotation (paraphrased) is to not believe anything anyone tells you unless it is in line with your own self and reason. When I seek advice from friends or books I always take it back to center. I have incredibly insightful friends, but their advice is always through their experience and sometimes it doesn’t line up with my story.

  36. You can’t go wrong with Morpheus!

    A great definition from the Feldenkrais Method: “Effort” is work performed without result. Reducing the amount of “efforting” allows one to stop acting in habitual ways and improve the outcome in ways previously unimagined. You expressed this principle beautifully. I’ll be quoting you in my lessons in the coming week!

    • watch me breaking down your assertion into several layers
      first: “amazingly how we (now) live”. it’s amazing from many points of view, biologically and philosophically.
      second” advice comes from fictional characters. wrong. it comes from the writers, mentioned at the beginning and the end of the movie under ‘screenplay by’.
      next: fictional characterst in movie: any character in a movie is somehow fictional. even if it’s inspired by a living or historic person. even if it’s a cameo.
      last, but not least: the keyword here is ‘fictional’. you can find wisdom in anything, if you’re seeking it on purpose. you can even perceive or convince yourself you see wisdom even where there isn’t any. for instance, in this reply 😀

  37. Dude, Morpheus and Yoda quoted in a single blog post? Yes! It can be done. Thanks for tying together those similar words of wisdom from these Jedi/Sci-Fi/Matrix masters. I like the wisdom. Forget trying. Just do. Thanks for the post, grasshopper.

  38. Pingback: Amongst other random things « sanity kills.

  39. I often wonder about Yoda’s sentence construction. Is he Lysdexic or something?…er…hang on, that can’t be right!

    • English uses a subject-verb/descriptor-object sentence construction (Barry manana – swallowed – a fly). this is rare. many languages (Spanish for one, most Indian languages for another) use a subject-object-verb sentence construction. yoda i obviously thinks in Yodese and speaks in English . :p

      • Yodan’t know that for sure. Maybe he’s verbing on the ridiculous for added kudos?

        (Perhaps puns enough think I)

  40. “@ isendmyselfflowers: Your comment reminded me of the Marianne Williamson quote (below). I think we are programmed while still sucking the primordial fluids in the cocoon to a false sense of modesty that undermines a healthy confidence in our natural gifts and innate. This contributes to our “try” attitude rather that “do” attitude.

    I am a why person, so here’s why I think this is. Much of our foundational culture/traditon is based on the consrevative faith tenants of former generations. We moved so far away from that time that we don’t readily identify where the ideas come from I am a Christian, but unfortunately I think the culture of false modesty and self-deprecation has stemmed in great part from an adulteration of biblical teachings. The bible teaches humbleness and servititude, but there’s no example in it of wimpiness….. Jesus, the disciples, Paul, etc. – they WENT, they DID, they had POWER, they LOVED, the SERVED, they RAISED THE DEAD, they even DIED. They didn’t try. We could learn from those examples.

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

  41. Wow! How awesome is that. They say, when the student is ready the master will appear – these two fictional characters (Morpheus and Yoda) were successful in their (virtual-reality) teachings only because their respective students (Luke and Neo) were ready and willing – to actualise their purpose and fulfil their destiny. And so too must we.

  42. i really feel sorry for the people who keep trying to do what they want to, though I myself am among them at times:P

    This is mostly when we ‘try to’ become what we are not.

    I don’t deny your point for I too feel the same. Still a thought comes to me which i would like to put here…..
    Don’t you feel that as we are human and imperfection is our birthright, we, at times miss on what we want to do. So, when we fail to do, it becomes a ‘try’. You can be damn confident but there are many things working around you to make your trial a success or a failure. A few times back I read ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell, where he has very well described all that acted as an circumstance for great men to be great.

    Further, I feel that I can’t say,”I’m trying” for that shows my wrong attitude. But ya, I can definitely say,”I tried” when the thing didn’t work. That’s just a thought! Anyways, loved your style of writing and the way you made me ponder over the topic.

    Ooops! I also liked the pix shown with the post. Wud surely come back.

    • thanks for the words. 🙂
      In realistic terms, you are right. We are human, imperfection and a lack of absolute control over events is a defining aspect of our reality. But, as humans, our greatest strength has always been to go beyond our perceived limitations, the limits of our perceptions and ‘cross the horizon’, as it were. This is just a mental trick which works for me. Whether accurate to reality or not, climbing a mountain is a lot simpler without cognitively acknowledging the possibility of getting halfway and turning back.

  43. Pingback: “Do. Or do not. There is no try” « Soi Via Calle

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  45. Food for thought-
    I have read that “Upa’ means nearby. ‘Desam’ means Sthanam-place- centre of a place. ‘Upadesam’ (Advice) means being near the place. Which means all advice_upadesam is directed towards the achievement of this place. And what is that place one must aim for- ramnam is sure to know.

    • A perfect place to start; or end? the centre of all places (or quests?) has to be “who wants to be?; or, who wants to know? Seek the seeker – this upadesam – has triggered more journeys towards the centre; and paraphrasing sage Yoda, “mind your let go” truly happens; and upadesams seem no more necessary…

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