Business Lessons from a Jedi Master

Performance Tip of the Week – July 13, 2011

Whether you are a fan of Star Wars or not, you can’t deny the wisdom packed into the eight simple words uttered by Master Yoda:

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

So often in business, we think that the point is to try —

  • Try something new.
  • Try to grow the business.
  • Try to succeed.

But the secret to success is not in the trying, it’s in the doing.

Care to explore this logic with me?

To try, means to attempt something.  Unfortunately, this type of mindset leaves you open to the possibility of not succeeding.  Your thoughts easily drift to doubt, or fear, or the “what if’s” of not winning.

Elite performers are committed to a mindset that victory is a foregone conclusion.  There is a huge difference.  Do they always win?  No.  But their mindset prepares them to win, eliminating even the remotest option of failing.  Rather than trying their hardest, they do their best every time.

When you focus on the outcome you desire, and your commitment level excludes any other possible outcome, you become a doer.  And doers achieve greatness.  Though it may not happen the 1st, 10th or even 100th time, they continue to DO, not merely try.  And that is why in the end, they succeed.

The question is, are you trying, or are you doing in your business?

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  1. Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    I have never heard this concept expressed in such a succinct and powerful way, Shannon!

    Is there really a difference between the expressions “Try your best” and “Do your best”? For me personally, I don’t think that there is – if I’ve made up my mind to try something, I have already decided that I am going to give it my best effort. But I’ll have to mull this over, as I don’t disagree in principle with what you’ve presented here. Definitely food for thought!

    • Posted July 15, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Monique! Thanks for your comment. My two cents is that when it comes to performance, there are two ways of describing one’s approach and mindset — “trying your hardest” versus “doing your best.” The performer described as “trying his hardest” is the one who approaches a task believing he has a 50/50 chance of succeeding, and though he may exert himself at full capacity, doesn’t really take the time to plan the steps necessary to actually achieve the desired outcome. On the other hand, the performer described as “doing his best” has already determined a the clear path to victory in his mind, and is approaching the challenge with a well-designed plan of attack. Another example of this mindset comes from Sun Zhu, (to paraphrase) the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won.

      Those who work to do their best, as those who see a smart, clear path to victory, focus on the things over which they have direct control, and are committed to the desired outcome, and nothing else. There is a distinct difference between working harder, and working smarter (ie., doing your best) in my book. 🙂

  2. Posted July 13, 2011 at 5:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    As a Realtor, I often hear people say they are going to ‘try’ real estate. Try, really? As in you are going to put in a little effort and see if a little effort works? I have news for you….leave. ‘Try’ means you haven’t the commitment to give your best. ‘Try’ means you are giving yourself an escape route.

    “Do. Or don’t do. I’d rather be a complete failure or a complete success any day.

    • Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:31 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Randy! Excellent example, and how can you expect to succeed if you give something less than 100% effort, and commitment. Thank you for sharing!

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