Swamp Finance

I wrote this post was as a guest post a year ago, to answer the question, “What is the best financial advice or tool you have found or been given?”

Once upon a time, there was a young man–an arrogant man barely out of childhood–who thought he new more than anyone he had ever known, trusted, or respected. In his arrogance, he left his family and friends behind to enter the wilderness in search of a long lost teacher.

He found the teacher. He even managed to convince the teacher to accept him as his pupil.

However, he didn’t change his ways. He insolently ignored the fundamental lessons, assuming he already understood them. When he was rebuked by his teacher, his only defense was to whine that he was “trying”.

“Do or do not. There is no ‘try’,” replied Yoda.

These words of wisdom represent one of the most fundamental rules of personal finance, or even life, itself. If the best you have to offer is a half-hearted “try”, you will never succeed.

When my wife and I decided that it was time for our debt to die the death of a sad specter of self-loathing hiding in a cave, we went at it with a relish that would have launched a poor astromech droid to the freakin’ moon!

We never said we’d give it a shot for a month and see how it went. We knew that we either needed to succeed or we’d have to file bankruptcy. We didn’t try, we did it. Rather, we are doing it. Friends told us it was impossible to live without credit; that we were foolish to try. They were right, so we didn’t try.

Similarly, when it was time to get started on a college fund instead of hanging our hopes on scholarships, we just did it. Sure, we started the fund with just $10, and it is only growing by $10 per month, but it’s there and it’s growing. When we get our debt paid off, we’ll see exactly how close we can get to giving our kids a self-funded full ride to college.

When it comes time to get the things done that you know need to be done, the trick is to do it. Don’t make excuses. Don’t “try” to find time. Just make it happen. Cut up your credit cards, make your budget, or sell the stuff you don’t need. Whatever it is, do it.

There is no try. There is only DO!

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    1. I love Yoda and this quote quite frequently especially with my kids. Do you make the kermit voice at the same time? I do.

    2. I see you’re participating in share Star Wars day. Yay!

    3. Hear hear. I think people that say they will ‘try’ are really just offering verbal appeasement to someone elses suggestions.

    4. Love the reference and point. The only things I’ve accomplished in life are the ones that I just did. Anything I “tried” at usually ended in abject failure…


    1. […] the second annual Share Star Wars day and Jason over at Live Real, Now participated by showing how Yoda’s iconic advice “Do or do not. There is no try.” applies to the personal finance […]

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