Sermon #7 – Try Again!
TRY! That is the sublime motto of the immortal Dr. Paschal Beverly Randolph. It was given to him as a child by the spirit of his dear departed mother who told him: “Let thy motto be – Try! Despond not, but ever remember that how bitter soever our lot may be, that despite it all WE MAY BE HAPPY YET!”
He describes this motto in more detail in the introduction to his book Ravelette: “All Rosicrucians are practical men who believe in progress, law and order, and in self-development. They believe that God helps those that try to help themselves; and consequently adopt as the motto of the Order the word TRY, and they believe that this little word of three letters may become a significant bridge over which a man may travel from bad to better and from better to best – from ignorance to knowledge, from poverty to wealth and from weakness to power.”
In short, “TRY!” is a magical formula to increase happiness, the very mission of the Church of Good Luck. But what we know of Fate and Fortune shows that the "sure thing" is never sure and sometimes the "long shot" is the winner. That is because, by and large, we live in a world of small numbers. Think of the dice. We know that 7 will come up more often than 2. But if you only roll the dice a couple of times you really can get anything. The odds against rolling a 7 on a single throw are actually 5 to 1 and we know "snake eyes" can and do come up. But if you roll the dice many times 7 will come up much more often than 2.
In many things in life we have to deal with very small numbers, so our results can really get skewed. For instance most people only ever have a few "real jobs". We know that chance and luck play a major role in the success of any business,and even more so for the individuals in the business. Sometimes a person with a lot of ability will not succeed while another person of much lesser ability does. Over a large number of people, or a large number of jobs, ability will tend to triumph over incompetence, but that is not ours to experience. We may be stuck in a dead-end job with a nincompoop for a boss, or we may find ourselves in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife, asking ourselves “how did I get here?”
Well, how DO we “get there”? What can we do to increase happiness? In order to overcome the effect of small numbers we need to make the number of trials larger. The first thing is to “TRY!” but if that is not successful we may need to TRY AGAIN! This is especially true if you are attempting to obtain a rare result, like writing a successful book, discovering a useful invention, or uncovering a scientific breakthrough. But even the simplest success is often beyond our initial grasp.
Every failed attempt, every unsuccessful TRY is worthwhile because we can learn from it and then TRY AGAIN. If we came close in our attempt we may simply TRY AGAIN...and AGAIN until we succeed. Sometimes we can use what we’ve learned to improve our next attempt - so we TRY AGAIN with something better. Even if we need to abandon our approach completely we still need to TRY AGAIN, but with a totally different approach.
At its most basic level, every TRY is an action that reaches into the Unseen world, the World of Possibilities, and manifests results in the Seen World. We do not know in advance if we will succeed or fail, it is only by making the attempt that the result becomes visible. Each roll of the dice, each new project, each day’s work are all about taking the unknown and making it known. TRY AGAIN is one strategy that can help produce the results you desire.
Some folks say there’s no such thing as Luck - only statistical probabilities we don’t understand. The fact is, however, rare things happen ALL THE TIME! Even a nincompoop can succeed if he tries often enough, so just think what a talented person like you can do - if you will only TRY AGAIN! Lady Luck does exist and one way to win her favor is to keep trying.
In a nutshell: the new motto of the Church of Good Luck is: “TRY AGAIN!”