Posted on | May 21, 2008 | Comments Off
If you have ever watched Star Wars, you’re likely familiar with the Yoda character. Yoda is a Jedi, what Lucas might have envisioned the Samurai to be in an ancient but advanced society.
Yoda is famous for saying “Do or do not, there is no try”. A lot of people seem to miss out what “do or do not” really entails.
When you try to do something, you create what is known as a blocking condition. A blocking condition is very easy to explain, something must wait for the results of something else before continuing. For instance, try to pick up a car and have the next part of your plan assume that you’ve done so.
When you try to do something, you wait to see if your efforts pay off before trying something else. This could be getting rich, moving a couch up a spiral staircase or anything else. If you are an intelligent human being, you can (with reasonable certainty) predict when your efforts will not pay off. You use negatives as useful indicators and keep trying. If something looks like it won’t work, don’t wait for it to fail, try something else. Who knows, the prior attempt may pay off .. don’t wait for it to do so just be content if it does.
At some point, “it hasn’t worked yet” must become “it isn’t going to work“. Sure, your effort might work, but can you afford to wait and see?
Some classic examples and their likely outcomes:
- I’m trying to get a job (you’ll get evicted)
- I’m trying to stop smoking (you’ll die of lung cancer)
- I’m trying to quit drugs (you’ll alienate everyone who cares about you)
- I’m trying to use free software (you’ll be a slave to Microsoft forever)
What remains is your resolve, is is strong enough to keep trying? Do you want to reach your goal or just show proof that you tried to do so?
Yoda was correct, “Do or do not, there is no try” .. but he forgot to mention that there is no shame in “do not”. Do not take failure personally, just learn from it. Above all, do not use a previous failure as an excuse to say “I tried” while wallowing in the all comforting blanket known as self pity.
When trying drives you to the point of going coo-coo, stop. Until then, keep going. If you find yourself going nuts, document what you did so that others can pick up your work.. if the eventual goal is worth its letters in the alphabet this is the only way to go Others could be fellow hackers or your therapist. There is no shame in saying “This is worthwhile and I need help”, someone will help you if you can demonstrate that your ego is held at bay.