The Do or Do Not Outlook
77 Steps to Living an Extraordinary Life
by Nick Maley
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Pub Date 01 Nov 2019 | Archive Date 16 Dec 2019
Future Horizons, Light World Publications
The Do or Do Not Outlook is an indispensable aid to personal growth. Nick Maley, renowned worldwide as “That Yoda Guy” for his involvement in the Star Wars original trilogy, turns traditional wisdom on its head and examines the fears and obstacles that discourage us from taking the risk of reaching for the stars. His main message? You can’t live an exceptional life by being “normal.”
Nick Maley’s book isn’t a typical book, because Maley isn’t a typical guy. Each page discusses one of 70 pointers that mentor readers, daily, through the journey toward living their dream. The inspirational pages do include some hidden gems about the movies he’s worked on, but his main focus is on achievement and the work it takes to make that happen—whatever someone’s goal may be. It’s the Jedi’s guide to self-empowerment!
In the final third of the book, Maley details how this book's main themes (including determination, persistence, hard work, and celebrating individuality) helped rocket him from the low-income housing of his youth to the sets of some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. If you’re a movie buff, he also includes a compelling filmography giving a behind-the-scenes look into the sets he’s worked on, including The Shining, Superman, Highlander, and more.
With an unconventional take on traditional attitudes, this book is filled with simple truths showing how the author experienced life on his own terms—all because he dared to be that little guy who thought BIG. The Do or Do Not Outlook is your guide to do the same.
Average rating from 6 members
Who wouldn't want to read the story of the guy who made Yoda work in Empire Strikes back? But this book is way, way more than that. It is a very down-to-earth tale of extreme perseverance which I am hoping many young people will read. Why? Because it's not really about Yoda at-all - it's about the legwork, perseverance and flexibility needed to succeed - all laid out in an extremely practical way. There's no fluff and I feel, even at 46, my own perspective on success and what it takes has been expanded in a very real way. Do or do not. There is no entitlement.
I'll be honest, at first this book of motivational lessons seemed like it had many brilliant quotes, but lacked being grounded in reality. Happily, as the book went on, I discovered I was wrong. However, I would recommend that you read the sections in a different order so you get Nick Maley's autobiographical chapter first to lay all the necessary groundwork for how he came up with these "#protip" quotes. Skip to "A LIFE BEYOND THE BOX: APPLYING THOSE PRINCIPLES FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON'T BELIEVE A MAN CAN FLY." After that, depending what draws you, go back to the beginning for all the advice or read through Maley's long history in the film and music industries.
"You need to develop a thick skin and have an ego big enough to keep smiling despite frequent disappointment."
My reasons for suggesting this is that the autobiography section shows all the steps of how Maley grew up in poverty. His mother was a bookkeeper and his father, an entertainer who was well-versed in theater makeup application. Before reading through those details, I kept thinking Maley was out of touch and spouting great meme-worthy tips without acknowledging that affluence and influence do exist in every business. The truth is Maley busted his ass from his teen years to break into the make-up/special FX and directing roles that earned him acclaim. He may be known as "That Yoda Guy" since his backup puppet ended up being used in 90% of The Empire Strikes Back, but he has done so much work. He took just about any job, no matter how far he had to travel nor how awful the tasks were. Adding fake tans to "pasty white Englishmen's legs and feet" for example, were among the less than glamorous jobs. He was a professional by age seventeen.
This young age ambition struck me as inspirational, but then I had to wonder why Maley went on to then hire young people (sixteen years old and the like) when he had his own hiring responsibilities. He said it's to help people who were like him and give them the experience. Aren't there labor laws? His work was more than part-time and even more than full-time hours. Maley described periods where he went without sleep, food, or even showers because the work days were so long and deadlines so short. One tip is "Sleep Faster: Most people generally accept that they should get eight hours of sleep each night. This is the amount largely recommended in order to be alert and rested." So, here Maley knows the importance of rest, but then he advises against it; sleep less and work more.
I have highlighted an absolute ton of Maley's great quotes because on a superficial level, they are motivating. BUT, I cannot endorse avoiding rest, nutritional intake, and a healthy career/personal life balance. Plenty of his advice I do endorse such as focusing on one job at a time. In the 1980s the almighty buzzword "multitasking" came into the zeitgeist. It was everywhere. In schools. In job applications. It was a word that I could not personally escape until this last decade of job hunting (20-teens). Finally, health advocates are being heard that multitasking is a load of shit. It was Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation who said it best: "Never half ass two things. Whole ass one thing."
Another area where Maley and I agree is that normal is overrated. Be weird. Be different. If your personal ambition seems to be diverting you from the popular (happily mediocre) crowd, that's a great thing. It should be celebrated.
"As a youngster, I was underrated for being dyslexic, with a degree of attention deficit, too. Look at me. I did okay. And you can, too, if you don't let other people's small-minded views limit your perception of your own self-worth and the possibilities life has in store for you."
Maley strongly implies that age-old philosophy that if you believe you can do something, then you truly can. It's cheery advice. It's poetic. But believing that someone who uses a wheelchair is going to someday run the Boston Marathon is unrealistic. Could they find ways to get a sports-adapted wheelchair? Possibly. If they can fund it. Despite coming from poverty, Maley seems to truly want everyone to think that they can be exceptional and seems to believe that everyone has his energy.
"A cutting-edge apprenticeship is worth much more than any college course."
Maley talks about the importance of starting at the bottom. He returns to this often so it sinks in. Maybe you start at the mailroom, but if it gets you into the office to drop an envelope with the person you want to someday work for (or have working for you), you put in the time.
What I want readers to know is that this is a book that's going to energize you, but PLEASE know that you should not sacrifice your health for work even when it's your dream job. There are serious reasons people can't follow their dreams. They have someone to care for. They may be the breadwinner of the house already struggling. They may have a health condition or illness. While disabilities can be something people overcome -- like artists who paint using their toes to hold brushes or musicians who are blind -- support systems are critical. Absolutely critical.
You can thoroughly enjoy the behind-the-scenes tales of how Sir Anthony Hopkins is a delight but director Michael Mann is the type of horrible boss you want to avoid. You can read about how he got to befriend Graham Freeborn and his masterful make-up FX father, Stuart Freeborn. Maley faced resentment for being a union member for makeup not directing so some felt he had no business running a second unit.
"And yes, I did some pretty menial jobs to get through until the next significant opportunity arose. When cash was really low, I filled my old car with gasoline so I could get to the next job. Then I walked everywhere or took the bus. I would show up at friends' houses at meal times and hope they took pity on me by sharing a little food. While my friend were finishing college and getting married, their new wives thought I was a flake and a dreamer. But they helped me with one edible handout after another."
Lastly, one of the nicest and most insightful pieces of advice is that you have to find the right life partner (or whoever is your support system). His wife Gloria has been a fundamental part of his success and now that they live in Sint Maarten, they have a life of paradise.
"You need to share your life with someone who supports your madness. Not someone thinks you should be normal."
The Do or Do Not Outlook is meant to be read in bits and pieces. As I already suggested, go to the autobiography part first. It's not a long read. Maley suggests picking up the book and taking a piece of advice daily to digest. There are spaces for your own journaling or note-taking. There are some great BTS photos for the Star Wars fans too.
Rating: 5 stars
In this book, Nick Maley generously shares his career experience of becoming a successful and illustrious special effects make-up artist, with movies like Starwars and The Hunchback of Notre Dame to his name. He shares 77 principles he derived from his career and then goes on to tell his career story beginning from childhood and then gives a chronology of his career and interesting snippets and reflections from it.
This book is different from others because he speaks to you like a grandfather, someone who has been there and done that, and wishes to pass his knowledge to young ones like us so we too can be successful. As such, the tone is serious yet encouraging.
I enjoyed this book because it gave me an intimate look into the entertainment industry and one man's hard work in mastering it. Before reading the book, I knew nothing about make up artists and special effects in the entertainment industry and it is fascinating to hear all these inside stories from a man who has climbed up the ladder with his mind, body and soul.
The book's organization can be improved to aid the reader, however, its unique organization is also a testament to the creativity of the author and also makes the book special. It reads like his gift of himself to the world.