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?”
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.
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:
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.