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Source: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Speaker: Yoda

"Do…or do not. There is no try."

Luke: Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different.

Yoda: No. No different. Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.

You are watching: Do or do not there is no try meaning

Luke: All right, I"ll give it a try.

Yoda: No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.


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Context

This line is spoken by Yoda, played by Frank Oz, in the film Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, directed by Irvin Kershner (1980).

Luke Skywalker is on Dagobah trying to learn to use the Force and become a Jedi with the help of a little green puppet named Yoda. Sorry, excuse us, an ancient Jedi Master named Yoda. Anyway, Jedi training is going kind of… slowly. Today, Luke is trying to lift his X-wing fighter out of the swamp he crashed it into and is not having much luck.

Did we mention he"s trying to do all it with his mind?

Luke is pretty discouraged. This is tough stuff he"s attempting here and Yoda isn"t impressed by his effort. When Luke tells Yoda that he"ll try his darnedest, Yoda scolds him. Don"t just give it a try, Luke. Do it. Or don"t do it.

Basically, to Yoda, "trying" doesn"t accomplish much. Luke should either decide that he can lift the X-wing fighter out and do it, or make up his mind to quit. Learning to use the Force is a mental game, so your state of mind is what matters most. That"s Jedi School 101 right there.

Where you"ve heard it

This pearl of wisdom has probably come up in every motivational speech. Ever.

And, unless you"ve been living under a rock, you"ve probably heard it whenever anyone is quoting Star Wars. It"s definitely one of Yoda"s most memorable lines.

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Pretentious Factor

If you were to drop this quote at a dinner party, would you get an in-unison "awww" or would everyone roll their eyes and never invite you back? Here it is, on a scale of 1-10.

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Okay, we love Yoda as much as the next person, but you"ve gotta admit, the little green guy is pretty pretentious sometimes. Dropping this bit of wisdom anytime someone says they"ll "try" something is probably gonna cause some pretty serious eye rolls.