Every student knows the #1 rule at Dawn Barnes Karate Kids is to Always Try Your Best. I remember an older gentleman once puling me aside after a belt test to tell me I had it all wrong. He said, “The first rule shouldn’t be to try your best, it should be to DO your best.”

Jedi Master and Sensei Yoda

Jedi Master and Sensei Yoda

I understand what he meant. Like Yoda, he was thinking, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Ah, yes. A very wise and empowering philosophy. Except for one thing…

You’ll never know what you can do until you try!

Trying comes first. Especially for children. Children don’t know what they’re capable of yet. Their life is a period of exploration…trial and error…and learning. And the greatest lessons to learn are what they CAN and CAN’T do.

Wait–what’s that? There’s something we CAN’T do? But that flies in the face of all those positive thinking posters and uplifting bumper stickers I see everywhere!

Sorry to break the news, but we are all different. Very different. We have different talents and capabilities. Different habits and preferences. And because we are not the same, it’s a fact that we can’t all do the same things!

If you tell a child to do something expecting success every time, you will be disappointed. And you’ll stress the child out as well! The fact is some children can do what you ask and some cannot. And that’s okay!

It’s okay if you’re not the best singer in the world. It’s okay if you can’t break 10 bricks with your head. It’s okay if someone can jump higher than you. Not only is it okay, I say if you find out you can’t do something and want to quit, that’s okay, too! Why?

Because at least you tried!

Let’s be honest. Even when we’re patient and make our best efforts, over and over again, we can never do everything we want. Once we accept that, life gets easier. How? Because we can develop and play our strengths and ask for help to make up for our shortcomings.

In other words, DO what you can do, and DO NOT do what you can’t do.

Hey wait–maybe that’s what Yoda meant when he said, “Do or do not.” Maybe that’s the ultimate wisdom he discovered after living for 900 years. Hmm. We may never know what Yoda meant for sure, but for us, the lesson is clear…

To believe you or anyone can do it all is foolish. But to encourage everyone to try is a step towards self-knowledge and success. That’s why at Dawn Barnes Karate Kids, we say–

Always Try Your Best!