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Anime And Manga
- Everything Ichigo does, ever, in Bleach.
Films — Animated
- Used by Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda when he finally figures out how to train Po. Makes sense, really, since he - at times - seems just a
gallonhalf-pint of green dye short of being Yoda.
- Mulan has the titular character taking her father's place in the army, and failing miserably in training. After Shang essentially tells her she's too weak to make it, she becomes determined enough to do what no one else could. Retrieving the arrow atop a pole while wearing heavy weights around her wrists, from there her abilities are shown to be better than everyone else in the army. This also seems to inspire the rest of the trainees into Taking A Level In Badass.
Films — Live-Action
- Silent Bob tries to quote this in Chasing Amy, but Jay punches him in the arm before he can complete it.
- The Karate Kid:
Miyagi: Now, ready?Daniel: Yeah, I guess so.Miyagi: Daniel-san, must talk. Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, (makes squish gesture) get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do "yes", or karate do "no". You karate do "guess so", (makes squish gesture) just like grape. Understand?
- In Kill Bill Vol. 2 Pai Mei tells Black Mamba, in response to her inability to punch through a thick board at close range, "It is the wood that should fear your hand, not the other way around! No wonder you can't do it; you acquiesce to defeat before you even begin."
- In The Matrix, Morpheus's "Stop trying to hit me and hit me!" line he delivered while sparring with Neo.
- Yoda's force training of Luke in ''The Empire Strikes Back". Oddly, this subverts the very trope it names, as Luke fails to rise to the occasion of using the Force to move his sunken X-wing out of a lake. He gives up until Yoda demonstrates how Badass he is by raising the X-wing out of the water.
Luke: ...I don't believe it!Yoda: And that is why you fail.
- The Trope Namer example highlights the problem; Luke doesn't believe he can do it, and because he doesn't, he can't.
- The children's story of The Little Engine that Could also illustrates this mindset: "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can... I thought I could, I thought I could," etc.
- An expected subversion in a The Far Side cartoon, with The Little Engine looking the worse for wear, leaning against a building with a beggar's hat in front of him, and a sign reading "I thought I could, I thought I could..."
- Richard of the Sword of Truth is restricted to this to prevent him from being a total Game Breaker.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Jon Snow tells Sam to be brave.
Jon: I can't command you to be brave, but I can command you to hide your fears. You said the words, Sam. Remember?Sam: I... I'll try.Jon: You won't try. You will obey.
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry repeatedly tries and fails to summon a corporeal Patronus. He only gains the ability to do so due to a Stable Time Loop; the first time around, he witnesses what he believes to be his father protecting him from Dementors with a corporeal Patronus. When he re-experiences the moment, he realizes his father isn't going to show up to save him, but realizes he was/is there and therefore can. Dumbledore points out that he has thus discovered an element of his father inside himself. And having done it once, he can do it whenever he wants - For the rest of the series, he thus has access to an ability that usually qualifies one as an Auror.
- In a hilarious exchange in the original The Mysterious Benedict Society book, the crabby Constance Contraire snaps this at George "Sticky" Washington when he uses his nervousness as an excuse for the fidgety gestures he makes that she mistakes for gestures that are supposed to indicate test answers in their cheating on the tests created by the Big Bad of the series, Mr. Ledroptha Curtain.
Constance: Every time you have a real itch, I get the wrong answer.Sticky: Sorry, I get itchy when I'm nervous. I'll try to do better.Constance: Don't just try. Actually do better.Sticky: Hey, my fidgeting isn't the only problem, you know! It would help if you had practiced your Morse Code at all!Kate: Now, children. Let's not quibble about who's to blame. Blaming is wrong. The important thing is to get along with one another, so we may have better success cheating.
Live Action Television
- Averted in the final episode of season 1 of Andromeda where Dylan demands of his XO Beka Valentine that 'All that matters in life is that you try, promise me you'll try.' as she confesses she isn't sure if she can make it to the overrun command center of the ship.
- Peter Petrelli's training in Heroes.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Toph's attitude to Aang whilst learning Earthbending is a definite "There is no try" attitude: "If you're not tough enough to stop the rock, then you could at least give it the pleasure of smooshing you instead of jumping out of the way like a jelly-boned wimp!!" This is because each of the bending discplines requires a particular quality in the bender, in this case stubborn, willful hard-headedness.
- From the Animaniacs episode "Taming of the Screwy".
Dr. Scratchansniff: Okay, I'll try.Mr. Plotz: Trying is not good enough, Scratchansniff. DO IT!
- Star Wars Rebels: Examines the trope when Kanan tells Ezra "Do or do not, There Is No Try!" and Ezra retorts that it makes no sense: "How can I do something if I don't try to do it?" Kanan admits he always had trouble with that one, too, but "Master Yoda sure used to say it a lot!" Later they come back to the mental hang-up explanation for the advice.