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May The Force Be With You In 2016

Since my husband and I were big Star Wars fans as children, I guess it should have been no surprise when we realized our young children are practically obsessed. We are not a big media household so I was initially a little concerned at our decision to let our young children watch A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. As I was re-watching these childhood favorites with them, I thought about all of the life lessons Star Wars has to offer all of us.

1. Mindfulness– The Jedi Knight power is centered on awareness of our emotions, a strong mind and not letting our fear take over the best part of ourselves (and driving us to the dark side). The research grows daily on the importance of mindfulness as key part of individual and organizational success yet too many people see it as a “nice-to-have” or “I’ll do that when I have more time” strategy.

2. Belief in Others– Luke said to Obi Wan about Darth Vader, “There is still good in him.”  My daughter and I act out over and over again the scene when Darth Vader returns to the good side of the force and becomes Anakin again just before he dies. Luke says, “I’ll not leave you here. I’ve got to save you.”  Anakin replies, “You already have, Luke.”  I think sometimes we too easily write people off as toxic rather than seeing their good and believing in their potential. The amount of articles I’ve seen about letting go of toxic people largely miss the point that life is hard and only befriending those who are always at their best is short-sighted at best.

3. The Positive and Negative Power of Perception– Often times our points of view become “truth”.  This stops us from seeing things from different angles and possibly adjusting our thinking.  When used positively, relationships amongst individuals and systems can thrive.  When used negatively, conflict is inevitable.  Obi Wan says to Luke, “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

4. Following Our Dreams  – Luke knows from a young age that he yearns for more adventure.  As he decides to be a Jedi Knight, we are able to watch him follow his dreams and the hard work required to get there. He never gives up regardless of mistakes made along the way.

5. The Importance of Emotion & Intuition – Similar to mindfulness above, the Jedi Knights derive their strength from being in tune with their emotions and intuition.  We see this strength many times throughout the early movies such as when Obi Wan has Luke train with a helmet covering his eyesight or when Luke pleads with Darth Vader to search his feelings and let go of the hate. In this world of big data, we too often put our emotions and intuition on the backburner when they are a strong and often reliable data point.

As we emerge into this new year, may you also find the power of the force and your inner Jedi Knight to guide you in 2016!

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” 

    – Yoda