I’ll never forget those last few minutes of Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
Luke Skywalker stares off helplessly into the distance as Chewie and Lando leave in the Millenium Faclon in an attempt to begin reconnaissance for a new mission to find Solo. The look on his face is dim, as the entire fate of the Rebellion seems bleak.
At this point, Luke is at an all time low in his life.
His friend Han Solo was ruthlessly tortured for no other reason than to be bait for Luke, and to make matters worse he was frozen and shipped off to a relentless Hut Lord who wants nothing more than to destroy him. Luke now knows that his arch rival, Darth Vader is his father, and “Dad” just chopped off his hand. All of these things would be more than enough to drive a person crazy, but it gets worse. Luke causes all of this by abandoning the only thing that might have helped him avoid this entire encounter; his training with Jedi Master Yoda.
This is probably what Luke would have looked like, if he could afford a Lamborghini.
Luckily, most of us can’t spend our way out of problems. Any neither could Luke.
Not much is said about what Luke Skywalker did between Episode IV and Episode V. What we do know is that Luke came back as the most powerful Jedi that ever lived, ready to confront his problems face on.
He saves his best friend, confronts his father, and ultimately helps save the Rebellion by redeeming his father and killing the Emperor. One thing is certain. Luke had a plan.
Here are the top five things to remember when you’re dealing with something in life that seems unmanageable:
5.) The only things you cannot overcome, are the things you think you cannot overcome.
Everyone deals with problems. Life is full of them. The key to overcoming them is to first realize that a problem only controls your life when you give it control. This realization will give you the ability to reallocate the power from your problem, and place it into the energy you will need to overcome it.
Luke: “I don’t believe it!” Yoda: “That is why you failed.”
4.) Your problem probably isn’t as bad as you think.
After Vader chopped off Luke’s hand, Luke had two choices. The first would be to give in, and let Vader take control of his life. The second, would be to have enough faith to know that the Force was on his side, and let go so he could fight another day.
We all know what choice he made.
He let go.
There was a time in my life when I was foraging for food and sleeping behind a garbage dumpster. When it first happened, I was terrified. It seemed like there was no way out. It’s completely natural to feel like that when you first encounter an overwhelming problem. We all feel that way.
The good news is that it’s only a feeling.
It’s a lot like the first time you see a really scary scene in a movie. Over time, it loses its shock factor and you realize it’s not really that scary. Life’s problems are no different. The quicker you overcome the shock factor, the quicker you can come up with new plans to overcome your problem.
3.) I love it when a plan comes together.
Problems can leave you completely decimated. It’s that feeling that there isn’t much hope and you have nothing left to hold on to. Sometimes it can feel like you have been stripped of everything. However, there is still one thing that you have. The ability to make a plan. It’s really easy to forget, but it probably took a long time for your problem to become as bad as it is. Maybe you should take a deep breath, and put some time into coming up with a plan to get yourself out. No matter what the problem has taken from you, it hasn’t taken your ability to sit down and sketch out plans to beat it. There is always a way to win. Plans help you get there.
General Dodonna: Well, the Empire doesn’t consider a small one-man fighter to be any threat, or they’d have a tighter defense. An analysis of the plans provided by Princess Leia has demonstrated a weakness in the battle station. But the approach will not be easy. You are required to maneuver straight down this trench and skim the surface to this point. The target area is only two meters wide. It’s a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port. The shaft leads directly to the reactor system. A precise hit will start a chain reaction which should destroy the station. Only a precise hit will set off a chain reaction. The shaft is ray-shielded, so you’ll have to use proton torpedoes.
Wedge Antilles (Red 2): That’s impossible! Even for a computer.
Luke: It’s not impossible. I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they’re not much bigger than two meters.
You can bullseye that womp rat! You’ve probably done it before, and totally forgot. You can handle what life dishes out. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in the plan.
2.) Failure is natural.
Failure does not define you. How you deal with failure will.
Your plans will and can save you – even if they fail at first. Know that each failure brings you once step closer to your success. Open your mind to the possibility that you can overcome anything if you try long and hard enough.
Don’t be afraid to fail over and over again. After all, your failures got you into the situation you’re in, so you should be used to failing by now. If not, you should get used to failing. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to save your friends, your Republic and yourself.
1.) Be ready for success.
The most important part to coming up with a plan is to visualize your success. If you can see what it’s like to overcome your problem, you are one step closer to winning. If you don’t know what it would like like to overcome your problem, imagine what it would be like after you already won. You must see what it will be like to overcome your problem, and to live life after your success.
After all, defeating Vader was only one of Luke’s problems. If he had given into the Emperor afterwards, his struggle would have been for nothing. He knew who he was, and stayed true to himself after Vader was defeated.
It was the only way to justify what he had been through.
You can do it too. I know you can.
May the Force be with you. Always.