Anyone that has watched or heard of Star Wars knows about Yoda. In college, I found a poster that said “Everything I needed to learn in life, I learned from Yoda.” There are so many lessons we can learn from the Jedi Master, beyond the well-known “Do or do not. There is no try.” That one speaks for itself. While it is certainly one of my early favorites, I have discovered other Yoda-isms over the years that make for great life lessons.
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
It is highly unlikely that someone’s capability or potential can be determined just by looking at them. Looks can be deceiving. Actions, on the other hand, are much more telling.
Luke was looking for a “great Jedi Master” when he sought out Yoda in Empire Strikes Back. It was inconceivable that the wrinkled, little green guy with the walking stick could be the one he was looking for. That is, until Yoda was able to lift his ship out of the swamp using just the power of his mind. Then Luke realized he shouldn’t have underestimated him.
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”
Fight the Good Fight, Not the Dark One
Conflict is an inevitable part of human interaction, whether it’s verbal or physical in nature. While conflict may be inevitable, there is always a choice between winning at any cost and remaining true to core beliefs.
Seeing Master Yoda wield his light saber for the first time in Attack of the Clones against Lord Dooku was pure awesomeness. Until that point, Yoda was established as a Jedi that uses his mind, not his body, to fight the Dark Side. When it comes to protecting the galaxy from evil, however, Yoda didn’t hesitate to kick some serious Dooku butt. Yoda lost that fight, but it was only because Dooku did not value human life and Yoda valued it more than winning.
It was not a fair fight, but much in life isn’t fair. Yoda was willing to fight the good fight, but to him, fighting evil was useless if he lost his humanity along the way.
“To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not. In this war, a danger there is, of losing who we are.”
Have a Plan B
Much to the frustration of planners everywhere, individuals have free will. The best laid plans, when people are involved, must be adjusted to account for individual decisions and actions.
Yoda planned for Luke to be the one that would bring balance to the force and, basically, save the galaxy. Given that his father Anakin had failed to bring balance, it was a reasonable expectation that his son could be “the one.” The prophesy of “the one” is why Anakin was trained late in life, and his son Luke even later. While Yoda hoped for a positive outcome, he knew there was another possibility – that Luke would fall to the dark side as his father had. In comes Plan B.
Luke’s sister, Leia, may not have had the training Luke had, but she shared the same DNA. While it was not an ideal scenario, Yoda was prepared to introduce her to the ways of the Force if Luke ultimately fell to the Dark Side.
“There is another.”
Become What You Believe
If an individual sees him or herself as a failure, he or she will surely fail. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Conversely, seeing oneself as succeeding can go a long way to making it a reality.
Yoda is the truest representation of mind over matter in the galaxy. In his youth, if he had allowed the limitations of his body dictate his potential, he never would have become a Jedi Master. Instead, he embraced the Force and maximized the power of his mind over the power of his physical self.
Luke: “I don’t believe it.” Yoda: “That is why you fail”
Master Yoda’s job was to train young Jedi to use their minds to unlock the power of the Force within them. He was a leader, mentor, and sage advisor. Though Master Yoda is a fictional character and the Jedi do not exist, couldn’t we all use a little bit of his guidance to help us along our way?