A Few Lessons from Yoda

As a young man searching for guidance and direction, Luke Skywalker was sent to the Degobah System, a far distant place in Space, to search for the oldest and wisest Jedi Knight named Yoda. (Stick with me for a second).  Skywalker sought training to become a Jedi, which is a protector of universal peace and a master of self-discipline.If you haven’t seen Star Wars, my explanation of the first movie (or fourth, if you want to get technical, but let’s not get crazy) probably sounds pretty nerdy.  You haven’t seen nerdy until you talk to a “trekkie,” but again, I digress. However, whether you are a fan of Star Wars or not, we can all learn a bit from the original Jedi Master – Yoda.

Yoda says, “Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Fear is the enemy of progress and success.  When we give in to fear, we don’t take risks.  When we fail to take risks, we don’t live up to our potential.  Take, for example, a college student who wants to go to graduate school, but doesn’t think she can successfully pass the admissions test.  Even if she does decide to take on the admissions test, she is afraid that she won’t get into a school in her home state, so she’ll have to move to a new city, if not a new state, to complete her studies.  Then she thinks, “even if I get in, take on student loan debt and finish school, who is to say that someone will hire me?”  She may have ambition to become a great college professor, doctor, lawyer or business woman, but for now, fear is standing in the way between her and her potential.

Now, I am not advocating that everyone go to grad school, or even college.  That’s not my point.  Fear can deter us from progressing in many ways, such as leaving your steady paycheck at the job you hate to head out on your own and start a business. A fear of speaking to people could deter you from putting on your nicest suit, walking through the front door and personally presenting your resume to the hiring manager at the place you want to work.  “Named must your fear be before banish it you can,” he says.  Yoda is known for his strange form of speech,  but what he is basically saying is that you must know what your afraid of before you can move beyond it. 

Once you name your fear, “train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose,” says the Jedi.  Have confidence.  It may sound a bit cliche, but you really can do what you put your mind to.  If grad school is your goal, realize that there have been thousands of others who have gone before you that have done the same thing.  There is no attribute that they had that you don’t have.  If you have a physical fear, such as a fear of speaking to others, for example, then train yourself to get passed it.  You aren’t going to completely change overnight, but to get passed a fear that is holding you back, then you have to face your fear by actually doing whatever it is.  If your fear is talking to people, then set a goal to talk to 1 or 2 new people today, and even if it’s awkward and doesn’t go well, no worries!  You might never see them again, and you’re gaining confidence. “Do or do not, there is no try.”

It is totally natural to fear change and risk.  Your going to feel apprehension at some point, especially as millennials.  Millennials are at an age where we are trying to decide what we want to do with our lives and what career paths we want to take.  The key is getting passed those fears.  Besides, fear leads to the dark side, and who wants to hang out there?


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