Monday, June 3, 2013

Why I Love Yoda

     I was never a big fan of the Star Wars movies, but there was a wonderful scene I loved in The Empire Strikes Back. It's when the Jedi master, Yoda, a tiny Gremlin-like character, is training his whiny pupil, Luke Skywalker.
     Luke's spaceship has been lodged in the swamp and Luke must summon his Jedi powers to get it out. Luke has never moved anything larger than a few stones this way. He complains that moving a whole spaceship is impossible. Yoda tells him the only difference is in his mind.
     "I'll give it a try," Luke offers.
     "No," says Yoda emphatically. "Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try."
     I love these words, even if they did come from a syntax-challenged gnome pushing 900 years of age. "Try" is such a non-comittal word. It implies effort while divesting itself of results. Would we remember the names of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Alexander Fleming and Jonas Salk if they merely tried to accomplish their achievements?
     Try is good. Every great achievement has many tries behind it. But try has no currency in itself. Try is the warm up to "do." I tell my kids this all the time. I tell myself this, too.
     Then again, Yoda had more than eight centuries to perfect his wisdom. Now, if he could just work on his grammar.
     I will not "try" to write today. I will just do it!

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