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11 June 2010 @ 03:45 pm
Feed Your Head: Right, Yoda Was!  
Something at work last night reminded me...

Do. Or do not.

There is no "try".

Edit: The full lesson:

"I don't believe it!"

"That is why you fail."

one in a billionsiege on June 12th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
Pause, a breath, center. Prepare. Then act! Move with the entirety of your soul, all the power, sensitivity, wisdom, and knowledge you have. And then rest.
Paka: pied crowpaka on June 12th, 2010 06:32 am (UTC)
I utterly despise that teaching. (I loathe Yoda, too, but that's only somewhat related to the point.)

Failed attempts still teach. Failed attempts still provide data. Failures ramp up to success. If one does not try because one cannot try and fail and have it yet be okay, then you can never truly succeed except by talent - or by sheer luck. I spent my entire childhood expected to succeed and all the time, and I can tell you it taught me far more paralysis than skills.

Try or try not. Do will come in time.
Your Obedient Serpent: big ideasathelind on June 12th, 2010 07:39 am (UTC)
I had much the same reaction to that scene, until last night's epiphany:

I have a bad tendency to say, "well, I tried", and treat that as enough. Failed attempts don't provide me withdata so much as excuses.

"Always with you it cannot be done."

When the Oven Mitt says "do, or do not; there is no try", he's not saying "get it right the first time"; he's saying "persist until you succeed".

To Yoda, an unsuccessful attempt isn't part of trying. It's part of doing.

The lesson is as much or more in Luke's demeanor as in Yoda's. He says, "that's impossible", and then "I'll try", and then "I told you it was impossible." He's given himself any number of reasons to fail, and so, when he "tries", the only thing he's really determined to do is to prove his own point, and demonstrate that Yoda and his expectations are unreasonable.

And he moves the ship. He actually moves the damned ship. He doesn't lift it all the way, no; but it moves.

And does he say, "holy crap, it moved! I made it move!"?

No. He says, "I can't. It's too big."

If he'd had the other reaction, though—if he'd said, "Wow, I moved it, this can be done"—I think Yoda would reacted accordingly, and with encouragement.

That's why I ended the post with the two lines that come after the end of the first clip.

"I don't believe it!"
"That is why you fail."

The difference between "try" and "do" is ... embracing failure.

"You have not done it."
"Well, I tried."


"You have not done it."
"I have not finished doing it."
Paka: pied crowpaka on June 15th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
sort of tangential
Huh! I still hate the character and the quote, but that makes the philosophy a lot more humane, nurturing, and optimistic. Things are a little different in languages like, say, Russian, where one verb form carries the weight of completion.

Not sure how to explain this one, but it's an internalized thing. The failed attempt is an unquestionably extant event. I did fail to get into grad school. I did fail to produce a solid drawing. But whether it becomes a reason for me to bang myself over the skull, or useful input, is all my perception. This is one way in which becoming an artist has been a really good experience for me - there's no way you can get around failures being both inevitable and educational, instead of being these big monolithic horrible things which one is taught to avoid at all cost.

This actually connects to some real pertinent stuff in my life lately. I've been finding that one big crisis in my personality is whether I actually want something. Did I really truly want to go to grad school? Kinda, sorta, maybe, but even applying is a gigantic commitment of effort and money. I know that I was expected to say yes. Do I really, truly, want to make better drawings? The answer, without a second thought, is a very sincere "yes!" That very basic thing is the real difference between what makes a failure an excuse versus what makes it a learning experience, for me.