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5 Important Business Lessons You Can Learn From Star Wars

Updated on September 7, 2012

Unless you've been living under a very large, very remote rock somewhere, you've undoubtedly heard of George Lucas' epic saga "Star Wars". Aside from being one of the most popular movie franchises in history, Star Wars is also a fairly powerful educational tool for business.

From philosophy, to marketing practices, customer service, brand management, and even employee relations, there is a lesson for just about any aspect of business you an imagine, if you know where to look.

So here now are 5 Important Business Lessons You Can Learn From Star Wars, and how you can apply them to your industry.

So let's get started...

"A Long Time Ago On A Hub Far, Far Away..."

Your Perception Defines Your Reality

Who It’s From: Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Quote: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to, depend greatly on our own point of view"

Where To Find It: "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi"

The Lesson: Our perception determines our reality. While this philosophy has been around long before Star Wars, it’s still an often misunderstood theory. In Business (as well as in life), the way approach a given situation depends greatly on our perception of the facts at hand, for better or worse. Understanding the role our perceptions play in our decision making, can be a huge advantage.

Altering your perception of a situation can lead to new ideas and creativity that you'd never have thought possible. You may gain the insight to enter into a new market segment that you hadn't previously been aware of, or be able to craft a marketing plan that better meets your needs by appealing to a wider demographic than what you're currently focusing on; the possibilities are endless.

"Never Tell Me The Odds!"

Who It’s From: Han Solo

The Quote: C3P0: "But Sir, the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field are approximately 3,720 to 1"

Han Solo: "Never tell me the odds!"

Where To Find It: "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back"

The Lesson: The lesson here is all about following your gut. In business, numbers and facts and figures are great, but there is also a great deal to be said about intuition and skill. Never be afraid to trust your instincts, the worst that can happen is you're wrong. By doubting yourself, and over thinking things, you will inevitably cause more problems than you prevent, it’s a harsh reality.

The most successful people I know, are the ones that are not afraid to go "against the grain" when their instincts tell them it’s the right thing to do. Now I'm not saying that you should never look at data, or study a situation, but you need to be able to look beyond the numbers. Remember, no matter how convincing the statistic, percentages mean nothing to the individual.

Fear Is A Dangerous Thing

Who It’s From: Several Jedi throughout the series, but most notably, Master Yoda.

The Quote: "Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

Where To Find It: "Episode I: The Phantom Menace"

The Lesson: The biggest obstacle you will ever have to face in this life, is fear; fear is the most debilitating thing on the planet, hands down. Fear can literally paralyze you and have you make foolish decisions. Studies have proven time, and time again, that people fear making a bad decision more than they desire to make a good decision. It’s the reasons why the "Fear of Loss" close is so effective in sales.

Letting fear creep in can kill you in the business world. You need to be able to think clearly and act decisively, and fear will prevent that. One of the best ways to combat fear (really the only effective way I've found) is to confront it head on. Do what scares you, over and over, until it doesn't scare you anymore.

If you're afraid of talking to customers (like the sales associate I mention in my article: How To Make A Ton Of Money: What They Should Really Be Teaching In College), then you need to put yourself in a position where that's all you do all day. If you're afraid of public speaking, then you need to volunteer for every opportunity to do so that comes along. Once you master your fear, you can dominate in life, as well as business.

"Do, Or Do Not. There Is No Try"

Who It’s From: Master Yoda

The Quote: "No! Try not. Do, or do not... there is no try."

Where To Find It: "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi"

The Lesson: If there is one thing in this world that I hate, its hearing people say: "I'll give it a shot", or "I'll try". My kids hate it when I lecture them about this, but to me, it’s one of the most fundamental principals in life. When you say "I'll try", what you're really saying is: "I'll do this, but I don't think it’s going to work, so I'm not going to commit". How can you ever expect to succeed with an attitude like that?

When you set out to do something, do it! I understand that failure is a part of life, and that occasional failures are inevitable, but you should never go into a situation willing to accept failure as an option. To an overwhelming majority, people will generally take the path of least resistance to accomplish a goal, and nothing is easier than failure.

Focus Is Your Friend

Who Its From: Qui-Gon Jinn

The Quote: Qui-Gon: "Don't center on your anxiety, Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration here and now where it belongs."

Obi-Wan: "Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future..."

Qui-Gon: "...but not at the expense of the moment."

Where To Find It: "Episode I: The Phantom Menace"

The Lesson: If you only learn one lesson from Star Wars, then this should be it. As a consultant, I can't tell you how many times I've had to give this warning to clients; it’s almost become cliché. One of the most common, and usually fatal, mistakes that most businesses make is to spend so much time planning for the future that they become unfocused on the moment.

Planning for the future is important; it pushes you to constantly improve and gives you the determination to achieve great things. At some point however, planning must give way to action, and your actions require you to be focused.

This can be a huge problem for sales professionals who spend such a great deal of time thinking about all of the sales they're going to make, that they become unfocused on the here and now. The next thing you know, it’s the end of the week/month/quarter and their sales are nowhere near what they were expecting.

Now, they have a problem with confidence because they laid out their plans and did their research, but it didn't translate into sales. This is when most of them go into "panic mode". The real problem is however, because they spent so much time "looking away to the future", they don't notice that they never actually did anything to make their plans come to fruition.


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    • Billy Hicks profile image

      Billy Hicks 5 years ago

      Mitch Alan, thanks for reading.

      I'm waiting for the sequels now that Lucas has finally signed off on them getting made.

    • Mitch Alan profile image

      Mitch Alan 5 years ago from South Jersey

      Having been in sales and marketing for 20+ years and a Star Wars fan (especially the original trilogy) it was both a fun and interesting journey through your Hub. Insightful and creative. Keep Hubbing. Vote Useful, Funny and Interesting.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Ha ha! Good comeback Billy. Not sure about the horse head in the bed! Cheers Michael

    • Billy Hicks profile image

      Billy Hicks 5 years ago

      charmike4, Thanks for stopping by,

      I'd definitely leave out the "Yoda voice", but I think there are a few nuggets that can translate. In my opinion, I think everything you need to know about life, and business, can come from either Star Wars, or The Godfather.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks Billy for this entertaining piece. I can definately see the links from the quotes to real business experience. I'm not sure if my team would take me serious if I spoke about the business lessons from Star Wars, but I can definately see that the Sci-Fi people would see the lesson perfectly.

      Thanks so much for sharing both the quotes & the insights. Really entertaining. Cheers Michael