4 Life Lessons from Stars Wars 1: The Phantom Menace
As my roommates and I were planning out our weekend and weighing the options, none of us wanted to go out, and there were no good house parties going on…so naturally, the only solution was to have a Star Wars marathon; 6 movies of 1 timeless series = 1 epic night.
Unfortunately, other things like exercise, pizza, phone calls, and a late night snack trip got in the way and we only finished the first movie. With all the time I saved not watching the rest of the series, I figured I would take a few minutes to be a bit of a nerd and give my 2 cents on the wisdom shared by George Lucas through Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn.
Lesson #1 – Trust your instincts, stay focused in the moment. Be mindful of the future, but not at the expense of the moment.
This advice is given by Qui-Gon to both Anakin Skywalker (before his pod-race) and Obi-Wan (before they escape from the ship at the beginning), and is critical for high performance and enjoyment of life. For a more in depth look, sophisticated, and life-changing look at this concept read The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle.
Lesson #2 - “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate…leads to suffering.”
One of the most famous movie quotes of all time, this is an easy one, but nonetheless it deserves deep reflection. How much does fear rule our lives and culture? When we watch the news, what sentiments are portrayed? When we drive to work, enter a new social situation, or even walk around during the day, are we conscious of what’s going through our heads?
Lesson #3 – When you learn to quiet your mind, you will hear the will of the force.
As Qui-Gon explains to young Anakin how the force works, he makes this powerful statement. We are exposed to more than 3600 messages/day (I just saw this stat on someone’s website, I seem to recall hearing 10,000/day somewhere else…regardless, it’s a lot!). Stop to think about that for a second. When we were placed on the planet, we had other people to communicate with and tell us what to do, that’s it. Now we are LITERALLY BOMBARDED by messages telling us what to do, how to think, and what’s cool. This topic deserves much more discussion, but the point is that we NEED to spend time quieting our mind (aka – meditating) in order to function even close to our peak potential…
For some simple, free meditation audios to get started, check out
(I’ve tried some of them, and although I don’t currently use them, they are a good starting point for beginners looking to try out meditation)
Lesson #4 – With patience, a solution will present itself
Probably the biggest thing I got out of this movie is the incredible calm and patience the Jedi Knights have in face of danger or difficult situations. When their ship is broken and they can’t afford parts, Qui-Gon is simply patient, waiting for a solution to come about. A hundred droids are shooting at them and they deflect the lasers and get out unscathed…no big deal.
How many times do we panic and lose sleep because we have a 25% midterm the next day, or 4 assignments due Monday? What the heck am I going to do if I get lost downtown and have no other choice but to drive in circles, hoping I find my destination before I’m late?
Granted, Jedi Knights have years of training to deal with their movie-worthy dilemmas, but then, what was our education for? (that’s a whole other bag of worms though).
The point is how “dead” are you really in any of your “deadly” situations? Maybe we’re all just a little too serious, sometimes. What would happen if you pulled over and checked google maps on your blackberry to get directions rather than keep driving in circles and panicking, or took a 15 minute break to meditate rather than keep studying when really all you’re doing is reading the same thing over and over again?
Ponder and meditate on this, young Padawans. I know I will be, may the Force be with you…