May 4 never really held much significance in the annals of history. That is, until 1979, when a clever wordsmith first gave a knowing nod to the Star Wars salutation, “May the Force Be with You.” Now, 36 years later, the crafty play on words has evolved into the grassroots holiday, Star Wars Day.
To celebrate, we offer up these pearls of wisdom from the epic to help you harness the Force and guide you in your daily self-development—unless you just want to spend the day quoting your favorite Star Wars lines, which is cool, too…
First a little prequel backstory, according to author Alan Arnold, who chronicled the making of The Empire Strikes Back for Lucasfilm. After Britain’s first female prime minister Margaret Thatcher had won election that day, May 4, her political party placed a half page ad in the London Evening News that read, “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations.”
Once the Internet began connecting fans across the globe, the clever pun began to gather momentum as a diehard’s underground anthem. The first official celebration of Star Wars Day didn’t take place until 2011, when Canadian fans held a slew of festivities to commemorate the day. Nerds worldwide followed suit, and a bona fide holiday was born.
Here are 5 jedi mind tricks, okay, lessons you can share this Star Wars Day.
1. Don’t give in to negativity.
Yoda issued this stern warning to Anakin Skywalker, who lost his mother to a tribe of savages and feared losing his wife, Padme, and unborn twins from an early death as predicted in his visions: “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
But that’s exactly what happened: Anakin’s constant fear of not wanting to live without her manifested more negative emotions—paranoia, jealousy, wrath—which lead to a craving for power, and ultimately her death at his hands.
Take Yoda’s words to heart and note whether your own negative thoughts and emotions have spiraled out of your control. Practice techniques to stop them—meditation, taking a timeout, mentally listing all the positive things in your life—before negativity gets the better of you.
2. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
The moral of this oft-quoted line, which Yoda tells a young Luke Skywalker while training him in the ways of the Force, is to approach any challenge with the mindset that you will succeed—not merely try.
Go into challenges with confidence and positivity by visualizing your achievement before attempting it. With confidence, you’re more likely to accomplish great feats, whether nailing that new job or levitating your space craft from the swamp of Dagobah. Try some visualization techniques and power poses before your next challenge.
3. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
That person could be a key individual in your life. Take the case of Princess Leia Organa and smuggler Han Solo. She initially wrote him off as a ruffian at best, a criminal at worst. But Solo didn’t let that flag his interest.
Through their adventures, he proves to be loyal, brave, sensitive and charming, and he won her heart. They wind up getting married and having kids … providing us with more characters for the upcoming Disney-produced sequels (whether or not that’s a good thing is your call).
When you meet people, consciously avoid making snap judgments based on their appearance. It’s human nature and sometimes gut instinct (the force, if you will) to make quick assessments of people based on the information at hand. But don’t stop at your first judgment. Keep gathering more information about individuals and let your opinion of them form as you truly get to know them.
4. “Let go your conscious self and act on instinct.”
Cosmic cool-cat Obi Wan Kenobi tried to teach Luke Skywalker this. To demonstrate, Skywalker practices combat drills with a flying remote robot and his lightsaber—first using plain sight and then by channeling the Force while blindfolded.
When Skywalker does better the second time, Kenobi explains: “Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.”
Sometimes we have to abandon the mental back-and-forth that emerges when appearances don’t jibe with your instinct. When your inner voice is louder than the outside voices trying to influence you, just go with your gut.
5. Don’t let your size stop you from doing great things.
Even as a kid, Anakin Skywalker was full of moxie (blame it on the Midichlorians) and didn’t shy away from competing with a motley crew of aliens in a dangerous pod race to help his friends.
Nearly everyone doubted him, but his perseverance, agility and natural control of the Force help him win the race and his freedom—while others wound up Bantha fodder on the side of the road. Adopt this mindset in your life, whether you are diminutive in stature or in corporate status. It’ll take you a long way.
We know the Force is strong with you. What lessons do you take away and what would you debate? Share and comment below.
Chelsea Greenwood has been contributing to print and online publications as an editor and writer for more than 10 years. A University of Florida graduate, she is the editor of a lifestyle magazine in South Florida.