I was standing in line for the new Star Wars movie on opening night with my kids (I call them kids, but they are both in their 30’s now). My youngest turns to me and asks how old I was when the original Star Wars came out. All these young heads turned to look at me with renewed interest.
It was then I realized I was one of the few old relics at the theater, who at the age of 16 stood in those long lines in 1977 to see the latest phenomenon they called Star Wars.
Who could have predicted that 38 years later, the younger generation would still be fascinated with Luke Skywalker, wookies, Ewoks, Darth Vader, Yoda, the Millennium Falcon and all those cheesy jokes?
But make their triumphant return, they did!
Two weeks ago my granddaughter and niece, ages 9 and 8, started making plans for a party and chose Star Wars as the theme. So, Saturday I donned a Princess Leia costume at my grandchildren’s request.
The party got me to thinking about what we can learn from this classic movie. So, in honor of our Star Wars party, here are five lessons we can learn about happiness:
Don’t Allow Fear to Rule Your Life
Don’t let odds hold you back — even if an asteroid field is hurling towards you and your odds of success are 3,720 to 1.
People told me that less than one percent of submitted works are accepted for publication. They told me stories of how aspiring writers worked for years and years and had nothing to show for it besides a stack of rejection letters. That you had to have connections to get published.
Good thing I didn’t listen. Oh yes, I had that huge stack of rejection letters and it was years before I became published. Nonetheless, I overcame those odds even though I didn’t know anyone in the publishing business. I went on to have a book published by the prestigious publishing company, McGraw Hill, and hundreds of articles and short stories published in magazines. Even if I didn’t have any success, it would have been worth the effort. At least I wouldn’t go to my death bed with regrets of not pursuing my dream.
So commit, make a decision, and move forward. In other words, go for it! As Yoda said, “Do or do not… there is no try.”
No more procrastination. Don’t be afraid of failure which only freezes you into inaction, cripples you, and prevents you from the person you were meant to be.
Yoda’s advice reminds me of Thomas A. Edison’s famous quote when trying to invent the light bulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Clearly, Yoda was onto something.
The power that supportive relationships have in our lives is invaluable. Star Wars teaches us to have integrity and to be loyal to our family and friends through all their lows and highs.
Don’t forget, that lovable, small, scrappy group of friends took down a whole corrupt empire!
However, make sure you are choosing the right kinds of friends.
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” — Darth Vader
Don’t be fooled by appearances either.
“Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder,” Princess Leia said to Han Solo.
Lesson learned: Don’t discount or give up on that scruffy-looking nerd. If you have faith and believe in him, he just might turn out to be a hero one day.
Let Go of the Hate
Or as Luke Skywalker said plainly in Return of the Jedi, “Let go of your hate.”
Free yourself from fear, anger, and hate. Let the bitterness, resentment, and thoughts of vengeance go. Forgive so you can have inner peace, feel free, and be happy.
“Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny,” Yoda said.
Focus on the Positive
“Your focus determines your reality,” Qui-Gon Jinn told Anakin.
This concept is so empowering, yet many people tend to overlook it. Your perception of life is affected by what you choose to focus your mind on. Focusing on even small and seemingly insignificant things that give you joy helps you to be present in the moment and absorb the beauty in the world.
This kind of positive thinking helps you be creative, search for solutions, and consider possibilities you can’t envision when your head is clouded with hopelessness, frustration, and self-pity. Don’t focus on everything that is going wrong in your life or negative people or disappointments. Make the best out of every precious moment. Concentrate on fun and exciting goals for the future.
Who can forget Han Solo’s line as a massive garbage compactor closes in on our heroes. “One thing’s for sure, we’re all gonna be a lot thinner,” he said with a wry look on his face.
Humor lightens the mood and allows everyone time to regroup and reassess the situation. Share your humor with others. Everyone needs more laughter in their lives, so spread it around. A sense of humor keeps spirits high and empowers people to do what needs to be done.
So there’s your five nuggets of wisdom from the Star War franchise. I’ll leave you with one last piece of wisdom from Yoda: “Twilight is upon me, and soon night must fall. That is the way of things.”
So it is. Therefore seize the day and cherish each moment you have with those you love.