Jedi Advice (Another Five List)

Define Your Focus
Your focus determines your reality.” A tried and true Jedi quote given to us by George Lucas through Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. What you chose to focus on will ultimately define your life and outlook. So before you begin anything, take a moment to really define your focus. Where is it going to be spent? Why? How? To what end? Dig into it and explore where you are putting your focus currently and what you would like to focus on from this point forward. Jedi, School, Career, Relationships, make sure you truly understand where you focus is and how much it takes. You cannot do everything. You don’t have enough time to focus on everyone. You are going to have to adjust and make the necessary commitments to the things you can invest your time and energy into. And sacrifice (at least temporarily) those things you simply cannot afford to invest in. You only have so much time and energy, so chose wisely, because where you put your focus will impact your life.

Outline Your Practice
Control, control, you must learn control.” Yoda the Green Muppet Master was ever the preacher of training and repetition. Both of which take a lot of patience, after-all practice takes time. People will say, ‘practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.’ But that is a silly and absurd way to look at things. Practice is about learning from the ground up. It means you will make mistakes, you will be sloppy, you won’t be perfect, but you will be working to correct that. Take control of your practice by outlining it. Outline what your exact goals are, long term and short term. Outline the methods you feel will best help you obtain them. Make your practice gradual. Again, you are not a superstar from day one. No one is born a Jedi Master. It will take time and a lot of trial and error to work out the problems and get to that steady level of “perfect practice.” So practice, be patient, and take control of your schedule. Time management is critical to your success in anything you do. So outline, plan, and be prepared.

Trust Your Instincts
Stretch out with your feelings. Trust your instincts.” – “Feel, don’t think. Use your instincts.” Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn were great fictional mentors that inspired. When they spoke you felt you could block laser bolts blind-folded as well. These lines endure because we know them to be accurate. When we let go of the doubts, the over-thinking, and just take a deep breath and trust ourselves and that nameless force of the universe things tend to work out. When we are present within the moment and trust our training, study, and preparation we can let go and allow our feelings and instincts to help guide us to the right answers. Things don’t always go how we intended or hoped or deisred, but often we can feel good about the outcome and not have regrets over how we chose to live our lives.

Acknowledge Your Fear
There are many lines in which Jedi consider fear. But the main idea is not to ignore, banish, or bottle up your fear. You must acknowledge your fears. Then you need to seek to understand them. Why does public speaking terrify you? What can be done about it, if anything? Once you acknowledge your fear and face it head on, it loses a lot of its power. This isn’t to say you won’t feel it, or that you will stop sweating, shaking, or your heartbeat will return to normal. This simply means you are aware of it and as such in a much better place to act regardless of the chemicals coursing through your body. We can be afraid to try new things, because we are scared of failing or be laughed at. We can be afraid to trust someone because we are scared of being hurt and going through that emotional turmoil again. Without acknowledging this, we just blindly refuse these opportunities and let them pass us by. Yet if we acknowledge why we want to say no to these things, why we want to let them pass us by, then we can make a much more informed decision. And we can begin to make decision based upon knowledge and understanding rather than fear and ignorance.

Always More to Learn
Don’t get cocky kid.” A strong reminder by a grounded voice of experience. Han Solo was no Jedi, but certainly knew the price of over-confidence. He also knew the reward for trying new things and working from a confident state of mind. Sometimes you have to be willing to try new things and open to learning from experience. The character progression for Han Solo eventually shows him acknowledging that he had some things wrong. He learned the universe wasn’t exactly what he thought, but in that learning and growth he was in a position to help guide new heroes along their own journey. From Aayla Secura to Yoda the Jedi knew that learning never ended. And often when you thought you reached the top, life would kick you down to show how far you had yet to go. It is an on-going journey in which each days provides new opportunity to learning more, to experience something greater. Even if that lesson is simply when to slow down, relax, and enjoy the quiet moments.