Learning

Yoda was Wrong

I asked my daughter to help me remember something. She said she’d try. I did a bad Yoda impersonation, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

She said she didn’t agree with that statement. She felt there was do or try. There was no do not.

I said there was certainly a do not. What if you asked me to kill someone. I would opt for do not.

She said well there certainly is a try. What if I asked you to try catfish and you never had catfish before. You should try it.

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She’s right. There’s a ton a benefit to trying.

In the context of Yoda’s quote, he was really challenging Luke about his level of commitment. Are you in this or not? That quote gets taken out of context too often, and my daughter is right. There are many benefits to trying.

Later that same night I was talking with my friend who signed up to run a 100k. The race is in 5 days, but he’s having knee issues. He’s not sure he’s going to run in the race. He’s going to travel to it and see how he feels. I tried to encouraged him by saying a DNF (did not finish) is better than a DNS (did not start).

DNF > DNS

DNF > DNS

Even later that same night I was reading Dean Karnazes book Ultramarathon Man. He was detailing the start of his first Western States, and he shared this quote from a speech at the starting line:

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Many of you will not reach the finish line. I applaud your efforts and your determination. Even though you do not finish this event, you will walk away a winner for having the courage to have tried.

DNF > DNS. There is a try. Learn. Refine. Try again. Repeat as necessary. That process leads to doing.

Seven Seconds to Make Your Point

Have you ever been thrown off your rhythm in a conversation with someone else? Perhaps you’re in a meeting and trying to make a point, someone interrupts with a comedic quip, others laugh, and you have a tough time recovering. You come across stumped or stiff.

Okay, so if if hasn’t happened to you, maybe you’ve seen it happen to “a friend of yours.”

In a recent interview with Alan Alda, Neil deGrasse Tyson shared how he prepped for his first interview with Jon Steward. His approach was smart and helpful for dealing with similar situations in the workplace.

On my very first invitation to Jon Stewart when he was on The Daily Show, he’s a comedian, he’s smart. He’s very current events literate. Famous for having people, deer in the headlights, the politician would want to come and want to give their boilerplate, and he would ask them questions through the backdoor, around the side, and they would just be stumped. I said, I am not going to be stumped. And he’d be throwing comedic quips in the middle, and people would be stumbling over the comedic quips. I said, that is not going to happen to me. I watch a series of his shows. I timed how many seconds he would give you to talk before he would interrupt with a comedic quip.

It was about seven seconds. Yeah. One, two, three, four, five, six, about seven. That was the average. Of course, there was variation.

I said, I’ve got to put out a soundbite that fits in seven seconds, then he interrupts it with the quip, and then we have the funny quip and a complete thought that are on the table. I’m not going back trying to fill it in, I’m not flustered that I didn’t get my point across. The rhythm of the host is everything. Otherwise, you’re going to go there and just give your boilerplate. You don’t fit in with the moment.

Brilliant preparation! Know your audience. Prepare and plan. Adjust your style accordingly. Fit in with the moment.

Above and Beyond

When, why and how would you want to deliver above and beyond expectations? You can add extra value by completing it faster than expected, provide an extra deliverable, produce higher quality, or come in under budget. Todd Averett and I explore ways to add value to all your projects.

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