The George Lucas Star Wars franchise started in 1977 and is still sweeping the planet nearly 35 years later. Like most pop/cultural phenomenon’s, the Star Wars series has spawned many memorable quotes. This article explores how Yoda's wisdom can be applied to everyday life – on planet earth.
“No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”
This is perhaps the best known of Yoda’s sayings. We learn to say “try” when we are very young. As adults, we continue to say we will try to do something. Generally though the reality is, either we will – or we won't – do it. As Yoda sagely points out – there really is no “trying” – you will either get up for a run in the morning – or you will not. Which leads us on to…
“To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose. Give off light, or darkness, Padawan. Be a candle, or the night, Padawan: but choose!”
As we go through life, we make many decisions from moment to moment – most are inconsequential, though some will have momentous consequences – perhaps even life or death. In some circumstances, we may do absolutely nothing; we may not recognise It, but we just made a conscious decision (specifically, to do nothing).
In the previous example, if we do not go for the morning run, it is not because we did not ‘try’ – rather because we actively decided not to! So – be conscious and mindful of all the decisions that you make – and do not beat yourself up for not doing something, when you positively made the choice that you did! Accept that you made the right decision for you at that point in time.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
Many negative emotions arise as a result of our fears. Understanding – and starting to face our fears, allows us to overcome those fears, often the source of our anger and hatred. A lack of understanding – whether at work or in our relationships, can turn into a fear of that which is unknown. Our defence against fear and confusion could cause us to start ‘hating’ the situation we find ourselves in – ultimately causing ourselves and those around us to suffer. Facing and overcoming our fear can lead to greater insight and a sense of wellbeing.
“You will find only what you bring in.”
Our lives are full of external stimuli that nourish, guide and educate us. However, the ‘answers’ provided by others (whether it be Social Media advice, SEO tips, career guidance or a medical prognosis) can only go so far as they are based on an external – i.e. observers – view of reality. Our own personal view of reality is what counts – we should definitely listen to others – but must ultimately look within ourselves to find the answers that are most appropriate to us.
“Always in motion is the future.”
“Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.”
Time marches on and refuses to stand still. Change is inevitable….an eternal flow from the present to the future, leaving the past in the glow of our tail-lights.
It is all too easy to spend the present time fretting and fearful about what may or may not happen in the future – or what we did in the past – which of course we cannot change. Be aware that you cannot live in the future or the past. The only thing you can experience is the present moment – so always endeavour to be present in each moment. Enjoy or make the most of each and every second – because you will never get it back.
“So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?”
“You do not believe. That is why you fail.”
Did you not listen to your parents when they were telling you “there is no such word as can’t”?! Instead of listening to your own negative self-talk, try changing the record (sorry, CD….) to a more positive “How can I achieve this?” Or are others dragging you down? Do not listen to them! Change the people around you!
“But when the day comes that even old Yoda does not learn something from his students – then truly, he shall be a teacher no more.”
Every one of us, no matter how close to the ‘top of our game’ we are – can learn from others. Keep seeking out people to stimulate new ideas, to extend your knowledge base, to enlighten you in new and exciting ways.
As Yoda says, when we stop extending ourselves, we may as well hang up our boots/hat and go home – we will not be remaining at the top of our game for long. Interestingly, some of our best teachers are often children or the inexperienced – who bring fresh, simple and untainted questions, thoughts, opinions and outlooks to subjects that are otherwise jaded, hackneyed or just plain over-complicated and full of jargon.
“If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are … a different game you should play.”
“No different; only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.”
“Many truths we cling to, greatly to our own point of view they depend.”
Stuck in a rut, repeating the same thing again and again – and STILL expecting different results?! Try something different! Look for another path! Find an alternative solution! Start having fun mixing things up.
“Honour life by living, Padawan. Killing honours only death: only the dark side.”
This is your life – so Live It! Do those things you’ve always dreamt of:
- run away and join the circus (my brother did!)
- start that business
- sell up and sail round the world (watch this space!)
- look at what others are doing (Srinivas Rao heading off to Costa Rica for example) and think – I can do that!
If you have a dream – surf the ‘net and find out others with the same dream managed to do it – buy books if necessary (both The 4-Hour Workweek and Sell Up and Sail: Pursue the Dream are on my bookshelf!). Research, plan and Just Do It!
As a minimum, get off the computer, go outside, play with the kids, do some sport, sing, party, have a good time! The kids will grow up so quickly – and you will grow old so quickly.
What are you waiting for?! Go!! Start “Livin' la Vida Loca!”
The plethora of quotable material reflects the wide range of themes cleverly woven into the Star Wars storylines – themes ranging from the Legends of Arthur, through the Greek tragedies, Roman mythology to the Japanese chambara (or “sword-fighting period drama”) genre of film, television, and theatre. Chambara is actually a sub-group of the Jidaigeki genre – presumably the inspiration for the term Jedi.
Religious influences are also apparent in Star Wars – the strongest coming from Taoist philosophy, and also Zen Buddhism.