Most of my friends are Star Wars fans. Even the ones who aren’t fans still have a passing familiarity with the original trilogy. So today I want to talk about the awesome little guy that everyone loves to quote for inspiration and motivation.
NOT YOU! YOU GO TO HELL!!
In Episode IV we met Obi-Wan Kenobi – who was a pretty cool dude. He taught Luke about The Force and had a couple of good zingers in his doomed fight against Vader. When we watched the Empire Strikes Back and learned that Luke was going to go meet Obi-Wan’s mentor everyone got excited. And despite looking like a green overgrown Smurf the audience soon figured out that Yoda knew his shit. He taught Luke about anger and how destructive it can be. He taught Luke about overcoming fear. And most importantly he taught Luke about determination.
Determination seems to be the one lesson Yoda was trying to teach above all others. When he uttered his famous phrase “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try,” he wasn’t telling Luke not to try if he couldn’t succeed. He was telling him to approach every obstacle with 100% determination. He knew that doubt in one’s own abilities was more detrimental than fear or pain. Unfortunately a lot of us fanboys, myself included, misinterpreted this.
We took this from Yoda as carte blanche never to try anything we thought could not succeed. We thought he was telling us not to struggle against insurmountable odds, not to risk our own safety, not to put any effort if we thought we were going to fail. Do it or do not. If you can’t do it perfectly, don’t bother trying. Well, you can bet your ass that if Luke had decided not to even try raising his X-Wing from the swamp Yoda would have smacked him upside the head with his cane. Disagree? Fine look at this picture below and tell me if Yoda doesn’t look surprised.
That is his expression when Luke’s ship actually starts to rise out of the water. He is as amazed and excited as we are. He did not expect Luke to succeed. He only wanted to teach him about determination. So what does this mean for you? You fatsos that have been sitting on your couch playing video games and stuffing your face with Cheetos? Well it means you can’t fall back on the little green guy anymore. You can’t use Yoda as an excuse to not try. Yoda wants you to give it all you’ve got.
Or you could just remind yourself that he isn’t real. He’s just a hand puppet operated by a guy who spent his free time fisting Miss Piggy, reading lines written by a goiter-necked old goat.