Happy Star Wars Day! Yes, it’s May The 4th so I thought I’d use that as an excuse to bring my two favourite things together – Science Fiction and Productivity.
Now, I know that a lot of you who read this are hardcore productivity guys, and a lot will also be hardcore sci-fi fans so I hope that I can entertain – and not overly offend – both parties with my (somewhat lighthearted) take on a famous Star Wars Quote:
Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try
In the 1980 Star Wars film “The Empire Strikes Back”, Luke Skywalker is faced the with the seemingly impossible task of learning the ways of the force. Feeling overwhelmed the young Skywalker tells his Jedi master Yoda that he’ll try his best. Yoda responds with “Do or do not, there is no try”.
Seriously Yoda? No Try?
Basically what Yoda’s telling Luke here is that if you don’t think you can do it why bother trying in the first place? Is that something that we want to be teaching our children? In fact, is that even a Jedi way of looking at a problem?
Okay, so some of you may argue it’s Yoda’s way of saying “Hey Luke, suck it up and get on with it”, in fact the quote seems to be one of the more popular ones in the Star Wars franchise (anyone fancy this quote as a toilet decal?) but I think that Yoda’s missing a trick here and disenfranchising those of us who need a few attempts to get something started, get it right or at least feel happy with with it.
Sorry Guys, Yoda Was Wrong
Is there anything wrong with trying? If we never try anything how do we know if we like it, can achieve it or with practice get better?
Saying that you can only “Do” something is very limiting whereas saying you can try something is (I think) very freeing.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
I think that W.E Hickson had the right idea. He popularised the following proverb:
Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
try, try, try again.
Think of what we may have missed out on if people didn’t try because they couldn’t succeed immediately: No Shakespeare, Mona Lisa, computers, space flight – the list is almost endless.
Hang on that’s not what Yoda meant, Katy!
Okay, yes I understand that Yoda wasn’t exactly saying “don’t bother” but he’s certainly saying “make sure you’re going to succeed”. If you think about it, it could have taken Luke years to lift his X-Wing out of the swamp. Everyday he would have got slightly better but, had he taken Yoda’s words completely to heart he may have not even bothered to try in the first place.
Success comes from failiure
Think of the things that we would have missed out on thanks to a percieved “faliure”: penicillin, Worcestershire sauce, Ford motor cars, in fact there’s a large number of famous people who failed before they became a success. Does this fit in with Yoda’s “Do or do not, there is no try”? All of these people tried and didn’t “do” the first time.
We learn from our mistakes. I think it’s important to try, to put ourselves “out there” away from our comfort zones so sorry Yoda, I think that despite your advanced years and wisdom you were wrong on this occassion.
May the 4th Be With You!
What do you think? Am I taking Yoda’s words to heart too much? Am I missing the point he’s making or do you agree that we should all give it a try sometimes? Let us know in the comments.