Everyday we are drawn into fictional worlds with characters that are no more real than the threesome my friends think I had last night (I was tired, wanted sleep and didn’t just want to tell them to leave me alone, so I said I was having sex. It worked, and they left me alone for the rest of the night!)
Yet, somehow, even though the characters in these books/series/movies aren’t real, we still build connections with them just by interacting with them. When, for example, Hans reveals his true colors in Frozen, I sat in a theater watching viewers filled with anger and hate, people crying and shocked… we had barely known these characters for an hour yet the emotion we felt in that moment made it feel like WE had been betrayed by this beefcake.
Fictional characters and the stories they weave can be as real as our flesh and blood friends. I have devoured books since an early age and re-read some of my favorite books 3/4 times. It feels like some characters are more then just words on a page, but rather individuals who I can relate to, but also learn from.
Yesterday saw yet another annual celebration of Star Wars Day and so, in the spirit of this epic space opera, I want to give you some insight into what I have learnt about life from the movies, series and characters.
Yeah, yeah, starting with pretty much thee main focus of the entire franchise, Anakin was a character with a lot of room for development, but his portrayal by Hayden Christensen left a lot to be desired. Now, I could go on and on about the acting itself, but let’s examine the character.
Looking at the prequels (Episodes I – III) Anakin is a reminder to me that we are all destined for something greater than we might think. There are those of us who may believe that right now, this is as good as life will get. We want something more out of life, but are unsure of how to obtain it. Anakin was given the opportunity to break his shackles and become more than he was. He saw the opportunity and even though it was risky, dangerous and uncertain, he took the chance to build a better life. He wasn’t just satisfied with being a Jedi, he wanted to be the best. He worked hard, trained hard, learned from his mistakes and became one of the greatest Jedi who ever lived, chosen one or not. Watching the Clone Wars TV show is one of the greatest things you can do if you’re a Star Wars fan, as this show is where we finally get to see great character development for our favorite characters from the prequels and you understand Anakin on a much deeper level. No matter how bad you may think life is or how uncertain you are about the future, your time will come and then it is up to you as to whether you want to the chance or keep living in chains.
In the original trilogy (Episodes IV – VI), Anakin shows me, as Darth Vader, that no matter what things you may have done in life, you are still redeemable. You have the ability to change your direction at any time and with the right support, you can do just that. Your past does not define your future. Instead of focusing on the negatives that plague us from days gone by, focusing on shaping the future to be better and caring for those around you. Anakin’s last action is to save his children and ensure that his mistakes from the past don’t come back to haunt them now. At the end of the day, he managed to become the person he always was. Just because we step out into the darkness doesn’t mean we can’t still return to the light. Look to the future and stop fixating on the past.
Sheev Palpatine (a.k.a Darth Sidious)
What the fuck can we learn from the Emperor, a man who cast a shadow over the galaxy and brought about an age of chaos and darkness? Well, actually quite a bit.
Palpatine taught me that I need to focus all my energy and plan properly if I want to achieve my goals. Many of us seek instant gratification; we want something and we want it now. We lack the discipline to wait long term and instead focus on other things that we feel are easier to achieve.
He waited years for his plans to come full circle. He planned out Order 66 part by part, little by little, achieving small victories over the years that eventually led to something bigger. Surely, that is something we all want?
We want to make it in life and have a great standard of living with someone we love. We want to raise a family right, make a difference in this world and yet while we know what we want, we fail to plan properly with regards to how to do it.
The Dark Lord of the Sith teaches us that with proper planning, a great support structure and smaller milestones that we can celebrate, any long term goal is achievable no matter how hard it seems. Palpatine, unlike the Jedi, knew clearly what he wanted and focused his energy on it. Focus on your goals just like he did and you’ll see just how high you can climb.
I’ve saved the best for last.
Now, many of you have no idea who Ahsoka is, and I don’t blame you. Ahsoka is a character from the Star Wars: Clone Wars TV show (and a couple of other places), yet she has no mention in the movies. Yet, she was Anakin’s padawan and played a major role at his side throughout the Clone Wars.
Ahsoka is a passionate and strong-willed individual who is not afraid to speak her mind. She has some great development in the TV show and is my favorite character in the Star Wars canon to date. Watching her transition over 6 seasons, she has taught me a few things.
Firstly, never be afraid to speak your mind, no matter what others may think of your opinion. Call people out on their hypocritical bullshit and let them know how you feel. Ahsoka, many times, has to be reigned in by Anakin because of her open and honest form of communication. In the past few months, I’ve adopted a similar approach. I’m going to talk, whether you want to listen or not. The important thing we need to remember is that saying something is always better, whether people want to to listen or not. You don’t want to walk around life regretting things that you didn’t do. Tell that person you love them before its to late. Tell that other person to fuck off. Tell the waitress at McDonalds you want a threesome with her and her manager. You have a voice. Use it.
Ahsoka is also an independent person, relying on her own skills to get her out of a few situations when no one was able or willing to help her. She taught me that at the end of the day, making connections and having deep friendships and relationships are important, but you need to be capable of taking care of yourself without any help. Relying on other people for strength is not a good idea, because what are you supposed to do if those people are not around?
We need to all find our inner strengths, our talents, our abilities and cultivate them to help us survive. The people around us are their to enhance what we ALREADY have, not give us something we are lacking. Some people might say this sounds like I’m saying we need to throw someone to the wolves and tell them to survive. That’s bullshit.
You need to gain independence, freedom and strength. You need to be ready for the day that you are thrown to wolves, because it’s coming. There will be a day when you have nothing but your own skills to get out of situation. What are you going to do if you are always reliant on other people to lend you their strength?
It takes time and effort, but look at yourself and groom your strengths. Work on your weakness. Discover what really makes you tick. And find people who can enhance those qualities you have to make them stand out even more.
A parting word…
I could go on and on about at least another 20 characters from the Star Wars canon that we can learn from.
However, I hope that you see my point here. Everybody we come across, whether they be real or fictional, can help us learn more. They can help us discover more about ourselves and strengthen our resolve to build a better life for ourselves.
I know this a long shot, but I’m hoping that at least someone will read this and comment. Do you have any Star Wars characters that you love that have taught you something? If you do, please comment down below and let’s get a discussion going! (This is probably going to fail dismally, especially since this sounds really desperate).
Thanks for reading, and as always, may the force be with you.
All images belong to their respective owners and I take no credit for them. They are used her simply to enhance the post and topics discussed and are not used for any commercial purpose. Please contact me if there is an issue and we can discuss the matter further.