Is Yoda Right?

April 7, 2009 · 4 comments

“So a try-mind is more important than any Zen master.  If you say “I can,” then you can do something.  If you say “I cannot,” then you cannot do anything.  Which do you like?”  –Seung Sahn

“Do or do not, there is no try.”  -Jedi Master Yoda

The title of this blog and Didi’s incorrect assumption aside, we’ve all heard Yoda’s statement at one point or another.

So the question here is, who’s more correct, Yoda or Seung Sahn?  Do we need a try-mind, or should the concept of “try” not even be in our vocabulary?

I don’t know that the two are necessarily incompatible.  I think both are saying the same thing.  Yoda doesn’t put a time-limit on “do”.  As much as I hate to do it, I’m going to quote one of my old man’s coffee mugs: “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  If I assume that something isn’t worth trying – that the inevitable outcome will be “failure” – then I’ve effectively failed before even beginning.

If I assume the opposite, and put failure out of my mind, I’ve succeeded no matter the result.  I learn from each attempt, which is a kind of success in itself.

I’m not necessarily saying that if I attempt enough times, I’ll succeed in pulling an X-Wing out of the swamp with my mind.  But I am saying that the more calls I make, the better I’ll get at closing a client; the more shots I take from the foul line, the more often I’ll make them – I’ll have learned what not to say; how not to shoot the ball.

I don’t learn but by making mistakes.  If I don’t get out there and try something, I’ll never succeed at it.  And sometimes, I even succeed on the first try.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie April 7, 2009 at 07:47

I do agree that taking the shot is important. but I would like to point out that Dad also had a mug that said “shit happens.”
As much as it will hurt Mom to know (considering that is Yoda’s quote is one of her favorites) I truly feel that trying is the most important, not necessarily the “doing.” Success doesn’t always happen but experience is always gained.


niceguyted April 7, 2009 at 11:36

And let’s not forget some of dad’s other classics: “Come on in, my day was ruined anyway” or (my personal favorite) “I’m so happy I could shit”.


Didi April 7, 2009 at 10:06


You know what? I actually wrote a bit about the “Do or do not, there is no try” quote some time back. Except that I somehow got it into my head that Gandhi was the dude that said that. Don’t ask. It happens, that sometimes my mind goes absent.

I was corrected of course, but she was too nice to say so on my blog.

Anyways, I am a champion “trier” and I’ve spent too much of my life “trying”. Usually, when I say I’ll try, I know I’ll never get anything done. So I’m trying now to just “DO”. Is it working? Well… at least I’m trying! :D


$@bs April 7, 2009 at 14:07

It’s a numbers game – increases your chances when you have as many leads in your pipeline as poss


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