Epic Lessons Trainers Can Derive from The Force
Do or do not. There is no try:
Like the Chinese book, The I Ching, that everyone simply had to read in the “free-thinking” era of the sixties and seventies, the lessons that can be drawn from Star Wars are astronomical in both number and importance. Not that the I Ching or Star Wars were intended to teach or to learn from, and yet, here we are, with nothing but valuable training-the-trainer modules that we can think of in our context of here and now.
The first lesson that can be derived from The Force has to do with the trainer’s need for balance. Like the tennis professional who cannot always see the angle the incoming ball comes from, you are not always able to predict the frame of mind or worldly obstacles your charge shows up with.
The Force has always told us that in order to overcome external adversity, we must first defeat those issues within us that hold us back. It’s a theme that delivers a meaningful lesson for trainers. You need to balance your own mind and do your share of the necessary preparation before wielding influence on those who come to you for guidance.
The noise within:
Balance first requires the ditching of the noise that emanates from within. If it is not at least partly suppressed, the incessant thinking process that the mind generates can be deafening. In our minds, we are constantly evaluating, judging, lamenting, regurgitating matters from the past, and even rehearsing hypothetical dialogues that we either had or intend to have.
Imagine the bliss you can attain if you could beckon an hour or two of deep quiet within you—or even a few minutes. In his gem of a book titled The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle gives us an exalting response to our hypothetical. “In those peak moments,” he writes, “extraordinary capacities evolve: of love, bodily awareness, vitality, intuition, perception…”
Something bigger than the self:
Trainers—willing and wise teachers and development leaders—you have to therefore first clear your minds and prepare to give all you can to your pupils. It is a demanding task, a day-in and day-out grind, and attaining the right balance is frequently fraught with hurdles. That’s where The Force comes into play, a metaphysical source of inspiration to draw upon, akin to a higher power—something worthy out there that is bigger than the self.
The power for good:
Luke is repeatedly reminded to allow The Force to flow through him using the power for good, with abundant warnings against empowering The Force for evil purposes. The “high road” is the most potent virtue to embrace, not just in life generally, but for trainers in particular, since trainers yield such significant influence over their students.
The high road is a mindset, a guiding light, a way of life, and a set of doctrines that become engraved, as one mantra, on the intuitive mind. You are truly liberated when you embrace the high road, when the difference between good and bad be in everyone else’s mind—hardly ever in yours.
For the teacher and development leader, it is vital to be amenable to wearing the trainee’s shoes and viewing things from his or her perspective. The Star Wars universe is full of people from across the galaxy coming together and working as one to achieve a common goal, something that requires seeing things from its many angles.
Trainers also know well that to mold the apprentice’s frequently young mind is a responsibility as no other. And yet, it serves them well to be reminded of that sacred duty, lest they be carried away, as humans often do, into their own self-righteousness. The trainer-trainee bond should invariably lead to a minimizing of the trainer and a magnifying of the trainee.
No one is forlorn:
Many characters have appeared as lost causes in the Star Wars universe, although The Force enabled them to find a way forward and achieve their objectives. That should prove to you that there truly is no such thing as a no-hoper. When someone comes to you to be trained, it’s up to you to find a way to help them and get them to where they want to be.
Your students may come to you with dreams and aspirations, although those are often opaque and not easy to discern. Their aspirations are also frequently of changing looks—confusing. They thus lose confidence, causing good ambitions to get discarded. It is up to the trainer to help the apprentice regain their confidence and lock into the mindset that empowers them to focus positively on their purpose in life.
How many times have we witnessed situations in Star Wars episodes that taught us to laugh in the face of adversity? The lessons there are simple yet effective: it’s ever so feasible to have a laugh and have a good time while also doing serious and important work. Keeping things pleasant improves the learning process and students with relief from the pressure they exert on themselves as they long to learn.
Laughter is recognized as a great antidote to stress. Laughter goes beyond giving one a short term and more palatable perspective on menacing issues, it actually produces physical changes in the body. It brings about an increased relaxation response by generating a boost of the endorphins and dopamine neurotransmitters to the brain.
Lastly, Positive Thinking:
It is an old and timeless adage that says: “Change your thoughts, change your life”. Our basic attitude to life has a lot to do with how we handle our personal growth and potential to thrive and be happy. We may bring undue negativity upon us involuntarily by upholding a pessimistic outlook in our minds and walking around dejected and with low self-esteem.
The effective trainer has to spot that negative inclination in young pupils and strive to correct it. Teach your students to make it a habit, even if that is strenuous at the beginning, to frame events in a positive manner. Teach them to once and for all shed that destructive and incessant self-criticism that they may harbor and replace it instead with forgiveness and acceptance of who they are. Teach them to focus on the goodness that resides within them, for we all have in us the capacity to love and be loved. That’s what the Jedi would council.
There’s more depth to Star Wars than most people know. So, make the most of the lessons Luke and the gang have taught you over the last 40-odd years (yes, it’s been that long since the very first episode!) Think of it this way: your training sessions would be ten times more effective if you embrace all that The Force has to teach.
For more training lessons, read ’14 Learning and Development Lessons from Stranger Things’
Image Source: Star Wars, www.starwars.com