May the 4th be with you. It’s Star Wars Day, and I’m kind of a nerd, so I thought maybe I’d share some advice from one of the most powerful Jedi ever, Yoda. Sure, he was a hermit, and he talked funny (fun fact: Frank Oz did the voice for both Yoda and Miss Piggy, which is why Yoda sounds like Miss Piggy with a chest cold), he was one of the weirdest Muppets ever, and he was small, but he was powerful and wise. And, as Yoda himself, said, “Size matters not.”
The cultural impact of the Star Wars movies in North America can’t really be overstated; everyone knows what “May the Force be with you.” means, and we all know what a Wookiee is. And while the movies themselves are mostly just a great space opera, there is genunine wisdom buried in the teachings of the Jedi. Here are some of the most useful bits.
“Ohhh. Great warrior. Wars not make one great.”
This one may be controversial, but it’s an idea that is paradoxically central to virtually every martial art (such as the Jedi Order). You ought to know how to fight, and to defend yourself, but you should not take the path of aggression. It’s up to you to decide if it’s good business advice, but it’s definitely good advice for life: the best fight is the one you don’t have.
“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future…”
You don’t know what the future holds. It could be great things. There will be change. Try not to worry about it. Take actions to make the future as bright as you can, but you can’t control everything.
“Always pass on what you have learned.”
Don’t hoard knowledge. Got a tip? Help someone out. See someone who needs advice? Offer it. Do you have a skill that could benefit someone? Share it. We’re all in this together, and while we may be in competition for something (a sale, a job, a cookie), collaboration is a better way to go. At the same time, reach out for help. If you need information, ask those who have it. If you can’t proofread your own cover letter, ask a friend. If there are experts in the field you want to enter, ask their advice. If you need help narrowing down your career options, find it (WIL can help). People love to feel useful.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
You’re going to need to take action. You won’t get a job with good intentions. Send the email. Make the call. Write the cover letter. Ask the questions. Take the shot. Especially in a job search. The payoff is possibly incredible and the risk is often very small.
“Patience you must have, my young padawan.”
Things don’t always happen right away. If you’ve been looking for work for two weeks, and haven’t found anything yet, it’s not time to give up. Keep at it. Monitor your progress. See what’s working and what isn’t and adjust your strategies accordingly. So much is dependant on sustained effort. This isn’t to say you can’t take a break, but understand that what’s valuable isn’t always easy, and what’s easy isn’t always valuable.
“If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are … a different game you should play”
While you shouldn’t give up right away, you should be willing to abandon the futile. Some things cannot be done. By all means, keep trying, but you should probably know when to quit. “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” If you’ve been trying for months to get a job at a company, and you’re not getting in the door, then maybe it’s time to consider other options. Don’t give up too quickly, though. Try to find balance.
“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.”
This one’s actually not Yoda. These words of wisdom come from another great Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. It sounds like postmodernism (and this is the truth at the heart of postmodernism and intersectionality), but everyone is different, we are all shaped by our experiences and desires, and we all act accordingly. Once you understand this truth, empathy follows (I hope). Whenever possible, be kind. Help. Offer support. As I said above, we’re all in this together.
It may seem odd that “a great warrior” as Luke described him had so much to say about empathy and compassion, but, like all great philosophies, the Jedi spent most of the time talking about how we can be kind to one another.
Take care out there. And may the Force be with you.