So, if you are looking for brilliant advice about business and running a new startup, you probably weren’t expecting to find it in one of the geekiest, most celebrated, and most popular film franchise of all time.
But Star Wars has it all – power and control, right and wrong, robots and a rather lovely woman in a bikini. Through the six films (and of course, there are about to be nine), good and bad decisions are made by almost every character, and there are definitely life lessons – as well as business lessons – to be learned here.
We have put together what we think are the five most important business lessons that you can learn from Star Wars, and it can be guaranteed that once you have read them, you will not only be a better business leader and startup founder, but you will also want to immediately go and watch them all again:
1. Learn to rest while you can
Do you remember in the Star Wars film The Phantom Menace when Qui-Gon Jinn is fighting the really creepy Sith Darth Maul? It is an incredibly tense scene, and it is made even more so by the fact that when Qui-Gon Jinn cannot physically reach Darth Maul, he sits, meditates, and takes some time out. Many generations have shouted at the screen at this point, wondering why on earth Qui-Gon Jinn isn’t doing anything. But that’s the point: he can’t. Qui-Gon Jinn has learned the impressive art of knowing when to take a break, and embracing the chance to rest while he can. If we applied this to our businesses, we would be a lot happier. There’s so much about the finance and economic worlds that we can’t do anything about – but instead of pacing, and wasting our energy like Darth Maul, we need to take a moment to chill.
2. Know your own strengths, and your weaknesses
The hero of the films, Luke Skywalker, is a brilliant character that is so perfect for audiences because he is so human: he has some incredible strengths, like his ability to use the force, and for some reason, understand droids, but he also has terrible weaknesses, like his inability to control himself when he believes his friends to be in trouble. Of course, you could argue that this is a great strength, but it actually leads him to act rashly, and endanger all their lives, leaving his friend Han Solo trapped in carbonite. Star Wars clearly teaches us that not everything we do we are good at, and it is this knowledge that in turn makes us strong. Learn this business lesson, and keep to your strengths.
3. Never underestimate your competition
Han Solo often underestimated his competition, throughout the Star Wars films, whether it was Jabba who would eventually get his flabby fingers on him, or Leia who was clearly a lot smarter than he was. Luckily, Han Solo always had luck on his side. The Emperor wasn’t so lucky – he underestimated the power of paternal love, and never realized that Darth Vader would one day betray him to save his son. In the world of business, it is imperative that you never underestimate your competitors. Never get lazy, and never think that they could never defeat you, because that is exactly when they will.
4. Don’t give in to the Dark Side
There will always be an easier way to make money, an easier way to sidestep that problem, an easier way to control and manipulate someone. But that doesn’t necessarily make it right. Both Skywalker men in the Star Wars films have the chance to do something wrong, but only one of them gives in to the Dark Side: Anakin. Throughout your business career, you will have opportunities to make the decisions which may be easy, but are more like the Dark Side of business. Learn your business lesson now, and say no to the Dark Side.
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5. There will always be someone ridiculous to make you smile
You can hate him or love him, but let’s be honest: C-3PO is a character within Star Wars that offers the most comic relief throughout the six films. He has some of the best lines, and is always the character that you are rooting for to win, even though so many people have to put up with him. He is the character that many people would like to be friends with, and have on their adventures. You need to make sure that there is always someone like that in your office. Whether it be you, or someone else, it is important to have someone that can lighten the mood, and make you smile even in a complicated situation. That is potentially the most important business lesson to learn from Star Wars that you will ever need.
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Have Star Wars tips of your own? Share in the comments.