Mindset Lessons from Star Wars

Star Wars is one of Aristotle’s favourite shows. I love it because the “way of the Jedi” offers so many terrific teaching opportunities on developing the growth mindset and character development. Take, for example, the following dialogue between Luke Skywalker (our hero) and Yoda (his master)…

Luke Skywalker: Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different.
Yoda: No! No different. Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.
Luke Skywalker: Alright, I’ll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.

Luke Skywalker: I can’t. It’s too big.
Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hm? And well you should not. For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it. Makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Here between you, me, the rock, the tree, everywhere. Yes, even between land and ship.
Luke Skywalker: You want the impossible.

(Yoda salvages the sunken x-wing using the Force)

Luke Skywalker: I don’t… I don’t believe it!
Yoda: That is why you failed.

Examples are a great way to communicate a message to your child. Better still, are the examples from stories he reveres. Aristotle loves Star Wars and he’s always emulating Yoda and Luke – his two most favoured characters – so what better example to study than this poignant dialogue between master and padawan (for the Star Wars laymen, that means disciple or student of the Force).

With older kids, you can always ask them to analyse the conversation for themselves then tell you what they think it all means. Younger children may require a bit of prompting…

  • “Only different in your mind” – sometimes the thing that stops us is our mind because we make the assumption that it is too hard or too difficult before we’ve even tried it.
  • “You must unlearn what you have learned” – our beliefs can hinder our progress forward and sometimes we need to let go of what we believe to be so.
  • “Do or do not. There is no try” – I love this one because it communicates the idea that agreeing to try to do something is not enough when you’ve already given up in your heart. Sometimes we say we’ll try when we already expect failure to follow – that is not trying.
  • “Size matters not… Judge me by my size, do you?” – Anyone who is a fan of Star Wars will know that Master Yoda’s skills are mind-blowing. If he were a chili, he would be a chili padi – small, but packed with a lot of fire power.
  • Luke says, “I don’t believe it!” To which, Yoda replies, “That is why you failed.” – indeed, the power of our beliefs can make or break our success.

Where he may reject the examples from a story he cannot identify with, he is more likely to accept the teachings from one he likes.

Now that Aristotle has completed the Brainology program, I felt that exploring stories of characters he idolises, that demonstrate good mindset lessons are a great way to move forward and reinforce the lessons he has learned from Brainology.

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Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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