As a proud member of the “nerd culture,” I find it is my duty to love all things Star Wars. I’m talking about the ’70s and ’80s era (we can pretend the prequels never happened). There are a lot of things to appreciate about the films themselves, but what I really like about Star Wars is the fact that there is something in it for everyone. There is a strong-willed princess, a handsome swashbuckling anti-hero, the hero farm boy, and of course a talking metal trash can. Ok, so that last one is kinda hard to relate to, but you can see what I’m getting at. So, I thought it might be fun to try and relate Star Wars to the business world and see what kind of wit and wisdom we can come up with.
One of my favorite characters is the shortest Jedi knight in the galaxy, Yoda. He’s insightful, patient, and even has a sense of humor. What’s not to love? During Luke’s training with Yoda on Dagoba, Yoda instructs Luke to lift a spaceship with the power of his mind. Luke’s reply is simply, “Ok, I’ll try.” Yoda follows this up with one of the most valuable phrases ever uttered in cinematic history: “No. Do or do not. There is no try.” It’s brilliant! What he’s essentially telling Luke is that he needs to have the confidence and faith in himself to be able to accomplish the task set out in front of him. If you just try something, you’re setting yourself up to potentially fail. Get in there and “do it.” You would be amazed at what people can achieve if they would just merely believe in themselves. I use this same sort of approach when I train new employees. Know that you will be able to learn the job, do the tasks that are required of you, and you can achieve great things!
When most people think of Star Wars, they conjure up images of the dark lord of the Sith, Darth Vader. It’s true, he is the villain of the story. But, at the end of Return of the Jedi, he finds redemption. Why? It’s easy! Luke never gave up on him. He insisted that he saw good in Vader and that he could change as a person, if only he walked away from the bad influences. I think that we can draw a connection to our co-workers, as well as the employees who work for us. We have all had to deal with the “troublemaker” from time to time. How many of us give up on them? How often do we complain about them, rather than actually talk to the person? I feel that if we had the persistence Luke had (with one of the most sinister beings), then we might be surprised at the changes people are capable of making. People are going to make mistakes and, unfortunately, it can be often. But sometimes they just need a little encouragement. Sometimes they just need someone to believe in them.
As a kid, I thought it would be the coolest thing if I was actually able to use the Force. Ok, as an adult I still think that would be pretty awesome. The only difference is that I have stopped trying to make the remote control for my T.V. fly across the room with my mind. The Force is an invisible energy that binds all living things. It’s in everything from the trees, to the water. It influences decisions, but also obeys commands (if you’re a Jedi). It is essentially life. For us, I think the Force is really knowledge. In order to be successful in business, you have to know what you are doing. Plain and simple. But in order to know what you are doing, you have to draw from experience and things that you have learned in classrooms or training sessions. The more knowledgeable you are about something, the more powerful you can become. If you want to be successful in business, or anything else in life, learn more about it. You’re never too old to learn something new! And it will take you to some fun and interesting places.
Well, I could bore you with more facts about how many parsecs the falcon can make the kessel run in, or the significance of the numbers 1138. I could even tell you the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field (3,720 to 1), but you don’t want me telling you odds. I would rather hear from you on how extremely nerdy you think I am, or how much this actually makes sense. And if you’re feeling geeky yourself, add in your own reference or analogy below. Remember, the Force will be with you…always.