Yoda Was Wrong

 “Do or do not. There is no try.” These memorable words from Jedi Master Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back” always bugged me a little. Actually of the original Star Wars movies, this one was a yawn for me.

 “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Think about that for a moment. On the surface, it seems like Yoda is telling Luke to either put up or shut up. Maybe he is. We aren’t given any other context for the rather blunt statement. But what is Yoda really saying? Maybe…

  • Your faith in, your connection to “the force” is not strong enough. I’ve heard this a time or two on late night religious TV shows. It’s bad theology in the Christian context, but also untrue for our Star Wars hero. Darth Vader uses the same kind of impersonal force, albeit from the Dark Side, and succeeds pretty well at messing up the galaxy with it. But he has the edge, in that he absorbs dead Jedi. Yuck!
  • If you want it badly enough, it’ll happen. Who says? There are no guarantees in life. I could train for, let’s say, five years. I’m still not going to beat the four minute mile or bench press 400 pounds. Some things are just out of our reach, so we should accept that and move on. There are enough challenges in life without getting stuck 
  • If at first you don’t succeed, give up and go home! Okay, so I haven’t done it yet, does that mean I never will?
  • The Alliance needs a hero and they send me this guy? (Actually he would have sounded more like: A hero the Alliance needs and this guy they send me! Ha! I think Yoda is channeling Mel Brooks!) Yoda’s 896 years old – he’s been practicing this Jedi stuff for a very long time. I wonder if his coach ever had doubts.

Yoda is just a really tough old coach whose wacky syntax is supposed to make him sound wise. I’ve had a tough coach. Dang, every time I achieved a goal he added more weights. Every time! But at least I could understand what he was saying, and he never berated me when it was just too much.

It’s not as if Luke suddenly achieved success because he thought, “oh, yeah, just do it!” No, he tried harder!

What it boils down to for me is that to try is the important thing. Success is not guaranteed. But failure is a certainty when one doesn’t try.I’m going to try to keep opening Hole in the Wall Books in the morning, and keep trying to inspire people to read.

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