As we love the Geek universe, we decided to put two of our biggest passions together: Entrepreneurship and Star Wars. Looks magical, doesn’t it?
If you are a Star Wars fan, you have probably found many teachings in the films, hidden between the lines. As admirers of this universe and enthusiasts of entrepreneurship, we have listed some important lessons learned from the films and that can be very useful for those who have decided to start their own business. Read on and learn from each of them::
1. Accept defeat and go get better prepared to face the challenges.
At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke has been defeated, his hand cut off by his main enemy, who, it turns out, is his father. At that very moment, he is rescued and goes back to finish his training. Not totally different from his father, when, in Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan, with a precise strike, cuts off one of Anakin’s arm and his two legs, leaving him on the banks of a lava river.
A defeat may be a very hard goal that you didn’t manage to achieve after a lot of dedication, or maybe a wrong decision that led to unfortunate consequences, or even the lack of experience that prevented you from putting an idea into practice.
There is no shame in being defeated. This is the moment you turn back to yourself, improve your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and be better prepared to face the problems in your career. The lesson here is: losing is not the problem. The problem is to lose and not get prepared to win in a future opportunity.
Remember: Anakin Skywalker was a slave for his entire childhood, lost his mother, his wife, his children, his legs, an arm, and had over 90% of this body burned by lava, but he still managed to rule the whole galaxy.
2. It’s never late to change.
Stormtrooper FN-2187 was raised to be a soldier of the First Order. This did not stand in his way, when, after a battle, he realized that that way of life was not for him and he had to find a way to escape. That’s when Finn, from the Force Awakens, is born.
And of course we wouldn’t leave the most beloved smuggler in the whole saga out of this: Han Solo, the captain of the Millennium Falcon. An opportunist, selfish man, incapable of holding a team together, but who ended up joining and becoming an integral part of the Rebel Alliance through Obi-Wan and Luke, and, of course, Princess Leia Organa.
Working with something we don’t like is the best way of dying in life. If you work with something you have no pleasure in doing, face it like it is a temporary thing, and start looking for a way of making a living out of what you like. We are not saying that doing what you like is to wake up every day in a radiant state of happiness. Not even Finn looked so sure about fighting on the light side of the force. And Han Solo, was even less sure about risking his life for people he didn’t know or didn’t care about. They also had doubts. But the motivation was there. The motivation for Finn was to save Rey (but, in honesty, she never needed saving), and Han Solo wanted to win over the most beloved Princess in the Rebel Alliance. And what about your motivation? What is it?
3. “Always pass on what you have learned.”
Before dying in the Return of the Jedi, master Yoda teaches a great many things to Luke Skywalker. But possibly the most relevant of them all is in his final words. Not exactly the last ones, which were “there is another Skywalker”, referring to Leia, but these: “Always pass on what you have learned”.
One of the main legacies of great leaders or specialists is their knowledge. And, contrary to what most people believe, it isn’t retaining all the information that makes this person special, but the ability to pass on what was learned. We are all finite, flawed beings, and passing on our knowledge to other people or firms makes this knowledge immortal. If even Yoda, at 900 years of age, could train a (not so young) Padawan, so can you.
4.“Do or do not, there is no try.”
One of the most important moments of Luke’s training, in Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, is when Yoda tells Luke to use the force to raise the spaceship that has sunk into the swamp. When he hears Luke’s answer – “OK, I will try”, Yoda says: “Do or do not, there is no try”.
The best excuse we give ourselves when we think we might fail is to say we will try. By saying this, we are anticipating the possibility of failure. Failure happens, but we should never start based on the assumption that we will fail. The starting point should always be “I will do it”. If you don’t, go back to #1.
5. “The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.”
Jar Jar Binks… Let’s try to speak about Jar Jar Binks without falling into the trap of the fans. When Jar Jar is introduced in Episode I, he is saved by Qui Gon Jin, after almost getting both of them killed. Qui Gon then gets mad, and says this almost cruel line: “The ability to speak does not make you intelligent”.
But this is a great tip for the job market. Just because we are able to express ourselves, it doesn’t mean we should do it all the time. At work, it is more important that you know when to be silent than when to speak. The moments of silence say more about your personality than when you walk around jibber jabbing.
6. Even great geniuses make mistakes.
Here, we could talk about Qui Gon choosing Anakin Skywalker to be his apprentice. Or even Luke Skywalker’s greatest pupil, Ben Solo (aka Kylo Ren). But we are not going to talk about their choices. This tip doesn’t come from the films, but from the experience of George Lucas. He was the mastermind behind the passion shared by millions and millions Star Wars fans.
Different cultures, distinct languages, and, shared by all of these people, the love for the Skywalker story and everything around it. Even though he created two of the most successful franchises in the history of cinema, George Lucas also had problems when he developed the story that came before the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. Without mentioning the failed attempt at a comic relief for the story, Jar Jar Binks, which brought aversion by the fans up to this day. If even Lucas made mistakes, so can you. Don’t beat yourself for it.
7. Blaming someone else will not make your plan work.
We have lost track of how many admirals, captains or leaders in general Darth Vader kills in the original trilogy. When he realises something did not go as he expected, Vader kills the person in charge and promotes the one who was below.
This is a solution from mediocrity. The problem was never in the leaders of the Empire, but in Vader himself. It was his children that he couldn’t find and control. As much as it seems like the ideal solution, when you lead people, avoid the temptation of blaming someone else. Ask yourself if the problem isn’t, in reality, in you.
There is a wide array of valuable information from Star Wars that can be applied to our lives, and, mostly, to our business enterprises. Form approach strategies and content conceptualization to even the way the battles are faced, be it dealing with defeat or celebrating a small victory at a time. And, of course, it also teaches us to persevere and always keep the best values well defined so it is more difficult to get lost in the middle of a mission.
Never give up on an ideal, as much as it seems crazy fro the point of view of others. Have courage. Take risks. And just like old Ben Kenobi would say: “I suggest you try again. Only this time, let go your conscious self and act on instinct”.
Remember these lessons in your entrepreneurial journey and make sure you learn from the hits and misses of someone who has walked this arduous path.
Text written by two people who truly love Star Wars: Bruna Rodrigues and Alexandre Abramo.
May the force be with you!