Life Advice From Obi-Wan Kenobi

Posted: May 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm

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Last weekend marked the 35th anniversary of the release of George Lucas cultural phenomenon Star Wars. How I got to age 50 without seeing it I dont know, but I decided to finally watch the famed trilogy because a kindred spirit told me I would particularly enjoy it at this point in my life.

He was absolutely correct. The spiritual aspects were like a golden sermon from a wise preacher and, frankly, would have been lost on me 35 years ago. Or maybe Im selling myself a little short.

If you strike me down Ill become more powerful than you could possibly imagine, Obi-Wan Kenobi says to Darth Vader.

That kind of thinking has been motivating me for a long time. I just had never thought to actually voice it in such a spectacular way. It ebbs and flows, comes and goes.

Star Wars was a reminder, but this feeling came roaring back over the last week from another source, too. I received a request from a sweet high school student to be interviewed for a project she was working on about a career as a journalist/columnist. She sent me 10 questions to answer and I really enjoyed providing her with thoughtful, informative answers.

But what also emerged from the project, in reading between the lines of how some of her questions were worded, was a distinct feeling she was being discouraged from a writing career by one or more of the adults in her life. Suddenly it brought to mind that feeling of charting my own career path over the years and how I had to keep doing what I thought best despite those who -- lets be real -- had no idea what was best for me and my life.

Make no mistake about it, I have had some stellar mentoring and nurturing support in my career, and I have immense gratitude around that. But I learned very early on that its crucial to take all the counsel under advisement and then do what you want really, need to do. This is about big moments, big picture, and big decisions that ultimately rest with us. I can tick off choices I made that didnt seem all that smart to anyone else. I regret not one of them.

That is what I was thinking about when I hit send on the email to that student. I hoped she would read between my lines and follow her gut regardless of what anyone else thought. Further, the more I pondered it, I hoped my dear student would take that Obi-Wan Kenobi quote, print it in big bold letters and hang it next to her desk. Or wear it on a shirt. Maybe memorize it and unholster it like a light saber when someone questions why she wants to be a writer when there are better paying jobs. Or discourages her in any way from pursuing what clearly interests her.

What a fun club that is, the well-paid, miserable, slave to material possessions set. Cruise through some neighborhoods with perfect lawns and 2.3 cars in the driveway and take a peek behind the walls there are some sad, stuck souls behind them. Theyre the ones who went the societal or parental pressure route instead of the guy next door who became an accountant because he actually has a mind for numbers.

The key is to pursue a life purpose, to develop a natural skill or interest and see where it takes you. It doesnt have to all be mapped out in advance. It doesnt have to follow anyone elses prescribed route. When I was in college and even working in my field already, there was no Internet. I could not have prepared for the precise work I am doing now because I couldnt have known it would even exist. Who knows what technology will bring 20 to 30 years after todays students graduate?

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Life Advice From Obi-Wan Kenobi

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May 30th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Posted in Life Coaching