Career Lessons from Star Wars: The Last Jedi - 133T
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Career Lessons from Star Wars: The Last Jedi

December 15, 2017

It’s five o’clock in the morning, and I just returned from viewing Star Wars: The Last Jedi in theaters.

133T is always looking for fresh sources of inspiration, and my boss thought that seeing the latest Star Wars movie would get my brain juices pumping. What lessons were there to be learned from these characters in a galaxy “far, far away?”

I ran into two problems during my viewing though:

  1. I didn’t like the movie.
  2. It’s almost impossible to write an in-depth character study without revealing spoilers.

That said, I did like one aspect of the film… and I will try my best to talk about it (him) without revealing any spoilers.

Kylo Ren: The Businessman

My favorite character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was Kylo Ren.

While everyone else fell flat for me, Kylo continued to hold my interest every time he was on screen. Although a “villain,” he felt the most “human” — he was constantly emoting! — and; therefore, was the most relateable.

Looking at it from a “What career lessons can be learned from this movie?” standpoint, I think Kylo had the most to offer.

Minor spoilers: Kylo gets a bit of a promotion in this movie from his role in the last film — all through hard work and taking action. I can admire that in a guy. I like someone with drive.

Kylo Ren was all about taking action and getting what he wanted out of life and his career.

He took his internal drive to the extreme at times, but, if toned down a bit for reality (and not a heightened movie-going experience in a fantasy world), I think the lessons he espoused could be viable to all of us looking to move forward…

Lesson One: “Let the past die. Kill it.”

This is something that Kylo definitely took to an extreme. (The above quote is his, by the way).

Don’t murder people from your past in order to cleanse it. That won’t end well for you in the real world.

However, DO let your past go if it’s holding you back.

I’ve never met a single person who doesn’t have baggage. We all have things from our past that we regret or that simply didn’t go as planned. It’s time to let go.

Your fear of failure? Your fear of success? Your guilt? Your shame? It’s time to let all that go. “Kill” it.

I held myself back for years — starting and quitting project after project — because of my own personal hang-ups. It wasn’t until I let go of my past that I was finally able to start moving forward.

And Kylo Ren might be a villain, but it’s hard to walk away from The Last Jedi without thinking “That guy’s doing pretty well for himself!”

The methods he uses to rid himself of his past hang-ups are often too literal, but the basic principle is sound. You’ll never move forward with your career (or your life) if you’re constantly dwelling on past errors — it’s time to move on.

Lesson Two: Mentors Will Often Let You Down

Sometimes it’s better to go at it on your own. Take ACTION and do what YOU know is right for YOU and your career.

Kylo Ren was constantly let down by the mentors in his life. One former mentor even tried to kill him (talk about a breach of trust!).

However, our pal Kylo decided that he no longer needed mentors — and he took ACTION! And it was through these actions that he (minor spoilers) ends up becoming a leader.

When you can’t depend on others, it’s time to depend on YOURSELF.

If you want to start a business: start one. If you want to move forward with your career, take the steps that will get you where you want to be.

Meanwhile, Rey, the so-called “heroine” of the movie, kept floating from mentor after mentor — constantly seeking out parental figures and guidance — and got practically nowhere.

If Rey had followed Kylo’s advice and taken action rather than just puttering around from mentor-to-mentor, she probably could have won the rebellion by now!

The only reason Kylo Ren (and his “business” — The First Order) is such a threat is because he takes action where the other characters won’t. He actually gets stuff done. He’s put his past hang-ups (mostly) behind him and his moving quickly forward with his life and career.

This actually reminds me of something musician Marilyn Manson once said:

“The hero always stays the same, there’s no character arc, he’s always the hero. The villain is the person who has the chance to change something. They might break the rules, but that’s the thing, sometimes if you don’t f*cking break the rules, you’re not going to save anything, you’re not going to change anything.”

It’s time to stop trying to be “The Last Jedi” and start being a “Born Villain.”

Break a few rules. Let go of the guilt. Take ACTION!

Your career will thank you for it.