“Do or do not, there is no try.” –Yoda
He’s the size of a small dog, green, and talks funny. But he’s also a wise master, and a great warrior. He took the world by surprise in 1980 in The Empire Strikes Back, and has been shaping culture ever since.
He may be old, but he’s a badass.
He has a fun sense of humor, and he’s a great mentor.
Here are some lessons you can learn from one of the greatest Jedi Masters of all time.
1. Give Your Full Effort In Everything You Do
Yoda coaches Luke and helps him raise an X-Wing out of a swamp on Dagobah in Episode V. He teaches Luke to do, not try.
Trying is a very important part of learning. But the lesson here is not to do anything poorly.
Everything you do is important. Whether it’s big or small, do it with care. Always make your best effort.
2. Size Matters Not
Yoda is obviously very old, and he appears weak—limping and using a walking stick. But nonetheless, he is one of the wisest and most powerful Jedi in Star Wars.
Neither your physical appearance nor your limitations dictate the quality of your life. Accept who you are. Enjoy the things that make you unique.
You have strengths. Find out what they are. And use them to your advantage.
3. Unlearn What You Have Learned
While mentoring Luke on Dagobah, Yoda says, “You must unlearn what you have learned” during an exercise.
What he means is, you have to change your attitude and perspective.
Your attitude can make all the difference in a given circumstance.
Stir things up, don’t listen to the status quo—leave your comfort zone.
Get rid of “I can’t”.
Sometimes you have to do more unlearning than learning.
And it will lead to growth.
4. Focus On The Moment
While considering whether or not to train Luke, Yoda blamed him for always dreaming about the future and never focusing on what he was doing.
Thinking about the future is important for finding direction, but don’t do it at the expense of what you are currently doing.
Focus on the task at hand. Spend time in the moment. Be present. It will make you more efficient, and you’ll notice more.
5. Leaders Get Their Hands Dirty
Yoda is a very wise leader. It’s obvious that he takes great pride in teaching. But he also regularly puts himself on the frontline of battle.
A great leader empowers people. He is both a teacher and a sergeant.
It’s important to give your students chances to step up. But you should still take responsibility.
You shouldn’t expect your followers to do anything you’re not willing to do yourself.
6. Patience Pays Off
At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda decides to go into exile. He could choose to spend his time fighting the new Empire, running around participating in small skirmishes all over the galaxy, but he chooses to wait.
After a few years Luke shows up, and Yoda creates a huge win for the good side by training him.
Patience is a virtue, you’ve heard it many times before. And it’s true. Especially in our day and age. You and everyone else are constantly moving.
Transportation has been completely revolutionized—you can go where you want when you want.
You can eat whenever you’re hungry. There isn’t even a need to hunt or gather anymore—heck you don’t even have to cook!
Infinite information lies at your fingertips, at the push of a button.
You’ve been conditioned to get what you want. You have a ridiculous sense of entitlement to anything and everything. Because of that, you’re often impatient.
But everything takes time, especially good things. If you’re able to wait, you’ll often find reward.
7. You’re Never Too Wise Or Too Old To Learn Something New
Count Dooku and Yoda face off in Attack of the Clones. As the fight begins, Dooku says, “I’ve become more powerful than any Jedi.”
Yoda replies with, “Much to learn you still have.”
It’s obvious that Dooku is very skillful and wise, but Yoda is a forever learner.
You’ll never be too smart or too good at anything. And there will always be someone better than you. You always have room to grow.
And it’s never too late to learn something new.
8. The Best Way to Learn is by Experience
Yoda often teaches his pupils by involving them in the action. He let the younglings help Obi-Wan solve a problem in Star Wars Episode II, and he lets Luke face the dark side cave as well as leave the system in The Empire Strikes Back.
If you’re too afraid to take risks and make mistakes it’s very difficult to learn anything.
Studying and training is important, but hands-on experience is where real growth happens.
Challenges push and mature you.
Treat them like an experiment or prototype—don’t be so fixated on the outcome, but focus on learning something new.
9. Sometimes What You’re Looking For is Right in Front of You
The Sith hid in plain sight for many years to the dismay of the Jedi. Yoda even worked directly with the Sith Lord he was searching for on occasion, not knowing any better.
Luke went searching for Yoda on Dagobah, but didn’t even realize it when he found him.
Often times you think about how life could be so much better. You get caught up with chasing after the next best thing. It’s stressful, and wears you out.
When in reality, what you’re looking for you already have.
If your happiness relies on whether certain expectations are met, you might often find yourself feeling down.
But you already have many reasons to be happy.
10. Death Is a Natural Part of Life
During a talk with Anakin in Episode III, Yoda says, “Death is a natural part of life.”
And he’s right. Everyone dies. It’s one of the only guaranteed things.
Though losing someone is hard, and death can be painful, make sure to celebrate the lives of people who die. Be thankful that you have known them.
11. Let Go
In the same talk with Anakin, Yoda also says, “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
Attachment can lead to great pain.
That doesn’t mean avoid getting close to anyone, relationships are very important.
But thoughts of jealousy and greed can lead to hurtful situations.
Make sure you’re not harmfully holding onto something you should let go of.
12. Focus On Helping Others Succeed
Yoda spends most of his career coaching and mentoring others. He’s arguably the most powerful Jedi on the council. He could spend all his time on his own agenda and growing his own strength, but he doesn’t.
Often times he could just do the task at hand himself, but he includes others to help them learn.
One skillful or knowledgeable person is strong. But a group can accomplish amazing things.
Your growth and success is important, but don’t forget to teach others what you know. And to help others succeed along the way.
13. Your World Is A Reflection of Yourself
Before Luke goes into a dark cave on Dagobah, Yoda tells him, “you will only find what you bring in.” Luke ends up finding a likeness of his own self.
In life, you attract the same energy that you create.
If you are constantly negative all the time, you’ll find yourself struggling often. But if you have a positive outlook, things will be generally easier for you.
Bad things still happen to good people, and you can still get hurt if you’re always happy.
But having a good attitude is definitely powerful.
14. Believe In What You Are Doing
When Luke said, “I can’t believe it” during training, Yoda responded with, “That is why you fail.”
If you don’t believe you will be successful then you won’t be—you have already failed. You’re fighting against yourself, so how can you win?
Why even try in the first place?
You need to create an attitude of success.
No matter what you do, make sure it’s something that you believe in.
15. Never Give Up Hope
The end of the Clone Wars brought destruction for the Jedi Order. Nearly everyone Yoda cared for died, and everything he had worked for was ruined.
He could have just given up, but he gave it one last try and attempted to stop Darth Sideous. And even though he failed, Yoda went into exile, waiting for a new opportunity.
Even when you think all is lost, there is still hope.
Even when you hit rock bottom and lose all motivation—when you lose everything and wish to simply give up, you still have a chance.
There is hope, even in the hardest circumstance.
Tell me about your favorite lessons from Yoda or Star Wars in the comments below.
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Author: Eli Seekins
Eli is an entrepreneur and artist. If he could choose a superpower it would be teleportation. He believes that everyone has a passion—that YOU can Launch Your Dream and make an impact.