May 4, 2017

Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try.

That’s right, it’s May 4th and we are doing this. To quote a friend, today is, the “high, holy holiday” for Star Wars nerds. (Here’s a treat for fellow fans.)


I have been doing a lot of reading lately. Most of what I read is science-fiction written for teenagers (don’t judge, it’s fun and I can read it in a weekend), but I have been trying to sprinkle in a few books that force me to stop and think. One such book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This book has been on my list for a long time and I am glad I finally took the time to read it. This is a story about life lessons that we all know going in, but the Alchemist says them in a way that inspires us to live them more truly. The plot revolves around a shepard boy, Santiago, who has a recurring dream about finding hidden treasure. He asks a gypsy to interpret his dream and she informs him his dream is prophetic and he should go on a quest for his treasure. Along the way he meets and learns from several characters, the most important being the Alchemist. It is the Alchemist who encourages Santiago to pay attention to omens (opportunities) and that following your dreams requires sacrifice (focus) and action (setting goals and achieving them).


What does a riddle-spinning, desert-dwelling magician have to do with a big-eared green alien? The truth. They are both spouting life’s little nuggets of wisdom. “Do or do not. There is no try.” says Yoda. “There is only one way to learn. It’s through action.” says the Alchemist.


In my last post, I talked about designing my “bucket”, and the importance of goals. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want and I still believe this is the hardest part. (Remember how hard it was for Luke to lift his ship from the swamps of Dagobah? It’s hard to listen to your “force”). Finding your inner voice and listening to what it (you) need is only the first step. Do or do not. Talking about doing things gets you nowhere fast, the reward is in the doing. Realizing this is liberating. The moment you take action, you are doing. You probably won’t be doing it well on your first go, but you are doing and learning and that is awesome. And scary. (Who doesn’t have fear of failure at some point?) In an effort to hold myself accountable, I have decided to put my goals out there for the universe (you) to read. I won’t list all of my goals, only the ones that might benefit the collective you.


  1. Make time for a fun activity at least once a week. (Starts tonight. I will be painting R2-D2 and drinking wine with a lovely friend to celebrate our high, holy holiday.)
  2. Track my time for at least two weeks and use this data to develop a tailor-made time-management system. I have started tracking every second of my work day and I hope to do the same at home although this is much more difficult. The idea here is to figure out how to make the most of every day and free up time to be open to serendipity, not to schedule myself down to the minute.
  3. Learn a new skill. I still have to decide which skill. Playing piano? Calligraphy? Learn a new UI/UX app? Fencing with lightsabers while blindfolded?
  4. Read a nonfiction book. I have started Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky.


I will keep you posted on my progress and I would love to hear about goals others have set and what they have learned. (A thinly-veiled plea for advice and encouragement). I hope that others will read this and find encouragement and inspiration. We are all on a journey, let’s enjoy it. May the force be with you.



Find The Alchemist here.

If you are one of the last people on Earth that has never seen Star Wars, find the movies here.

Photo of Valecia

Valecia Hopper, Thinker and Maker at Fifth Letter, is a neurotic bookworm with dirty sense of humor. She likes helping others and finding creative solutions to problems. Contact Valecia at