Star Wars

Why I Hate the Jedi

Why I Hate the JediFor those of you who missed it, I’ve been having an…interesting few weeks. You can catch the pertinent details in my post I’m Having One of Those Weeks. Thank you to everyone who sent me kind messages and helped to cheer me up. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. Unfortunately, since I wrote that post, my grandma fell and fractured her pelvis. Because I’ve been caring for her, my wonderful husband (and resident Star Wars expert in our house) offered to write a guest post for me to prevent my blog from sitting dormant. So I’ll hand my blog over to him…

(P.S. For those of you who were wondering about the results of the poll I took last week, the results were overwhelming. Over 75% of you like both the writing and the “other” posts and don’t want me to change this blog. So I won’t :) )

Why I Hate the Jedi

And Why I Love the Mandalorians

By Marcy’s Husband Chris

For many Star Wars fans, Luke Skywalker is a hero. He’s the hometown boy who discovers himself and goes on to save the galaxy, starting with a two-meter-wide exhaust port on the Death Star I. But what makes Luke Skywalker able to do these things is that he’s a Jedi, maybe one of the greatest ever. In my mind, it’s quite possible that Luke Skywalker—not Darth Vader—was the Chosen One of the Jedi prophesies.

But he’s also whiny and indecisive. He spends too much time meditating and trying to peer into the Force to find guidance. He lacks the killer edge needed to finish a fight against a deadly enemy.

But the main reason I dislike him is simple–he’s a rotten, stinking Jedi.

You might be wondering whether I’ve had too much ale if I have such a view of the Jedi, and maybe on some counts you’d be right. But I’ve read too much about the Jedi to continue to have a view of them as heroes. So here’s a list of why I hate the Jedi—and why I love Boba Fett’s fellow Mandalorians.

Why I Hate the Jedi

They’re only special because of a random genetic manifestation. The Jedi are only able to do the things they do because the Force manifests itself in them. Take away the Force, and the Jedi are just regular beings like you and me. They generally do nothing that makes them special in the grand scheme of things—they don’t cure diseases, they don’t avert wars, they don’t create inventions that revolutionize the way the people of the galaxy live. In short, they’re only special because of their genetics, and that doesn’t make them very special in my book.

They rely too much on their feelings. From the time they’re young, Jedi are taught to trust the Force, to rely on their feelings. They aren’t encouraged to think for themselves or to develop their brainpower. They don’t know how to effectively analyze a situation and come up with the best solution. And they allow their feelings to drive them, rather than trying to strike a good balance between emotion driving them and logic directing them.

They are hypocrites. This point goes hand-in-hand with the next point. The Jedi profess to holding all life as being sacred, but they don’t seem to live up to that mantra very often. They’re too quick to pull out their lightsabers and lop off limbs or sever heads from bodies. With all their powers, they too often resort to violence. But the worst part of this was the way the Jedi accepted command of the clone army at the start of the Clone Wars. The clones were bred to fight; they had no choice. The clones had no rights, no freedoms, no possessions. The Jedi unthinkingly accepted command of this army, despite having little to no training at leading troops, and got untold numbers of clone troops killed during the war. And none of the members of the Jedi leadership cabal stopped to ask where the army came from, or questioned the use of the Jedi as generals in fighting a pointless war. This is the biggest reason I hate the Jedi.

They aren’t held accountable for their actions. Too many times, Jedi caused massive property damage or loss of life and weren’t held accountable for their actions. When they commit crimes, they don’t have to go to prison the way anyone else would. It’s almost like they feel being Jedi gives them a blank slate to do what they want without thinking about the consequences of their actions or having to deal with the consequences of their actions in any way. They’re above the law, and that makes them selfish and cavalier with the lives and possessions of others.

So there you have it: four reasons why I hate the Jedi. Now I’ll give four reasons why I love the Mandalorians instead—even though they’re almost universally considered to be thugs.

They aren’t afraid to love. Mandalorians love strongly and unflinchingly. They willingly adopt people as their own children, including those they would otherwise hate. They aren’t afraid to wear their emotions on their sleeves, but unlike the Jedi, they don’t let their emotions guild them. Emotions are the Mandalorians’ power source, but their brains remain the pilot. This is how the Jedi should operate.

Family is paramount. Mandalorians are very family-oriented. Their families and their clans are all that matters to them. Fathers take their sons out to teach them their trade, and everyone contributes to the effective running of the homestead. It is also common for a Mandalorian to formally adopt the child of a comrade that was killed in battle—no Mandalorian should be without a family to love them and care for them.

They are a united front. Regardless of their personal feuds, Mandalorians put aside their differences when facing a common enemy or threat. Antagonists become allies, and they apply all of their considerable ingenuity and martial skill to defeating their common enemy. Nobody wants to mess with a combat-ready force of Mandalorians—not even Jedi.

Cin vhetin. This is a phrase meaning “fresh start.” Regardless of who you are, no matter what your past is, once you join the Mandalorians, nobody cares about who you once were. You are now a Mandalorian, and that’s all that matters. This also applies to settling feuds between Mando’ade; once cin vhetin is declared, those two might become the best of friends.

What do you think? Do you still love the Jedi? Do you still think the Mandalorians are violent thugs? Or do you maybe think I’m right?

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What Star Wars Character Are You?

Star Wars The Empire Strikes BackBy Marcy Kennedy (@Marcy Kennedy)

Every few months I like to do a crazy personality quiz here. The first quiz (What Star Trek Race Are You?) started because of a disagreement my husband and I were having, and I had such fun with the quiz that since then I’ve also done What Lord of the Rings Character Are You? I have many more I’d like to do in the future, and this week that means What Star Wars Character Are You?

Here’s how it works. Read the descriptions below and write down the letter of the one that’s most like you. (Don’t look for it to be exact, since you might be a child of two of the characters.) At the end, I’ll tell you what character you picked

(A) You’re confident, sometimes to the point of arrogance, loyal to those who are loyal to you, and you believe the rules are often arbitrary or unnecessarily restrictive. Despite this, your motivation is always the greater good.

(B) You have a quiet strength and determination that people respect. When a tough situation arises, you deal with it with tact and diplomacy, and you believe the rules are there for a good reason. We should respect the people in authority and the rules they make.

(C) You struggle to make decisions, largely because you underestimate your own abilities. You see things in black and white and are uncomfortable with the grey areas. Seeing the world in black and white, as good and evil, also makes you willing to sacrifice yourself for what you believe is right.

(D) You’re a born creative who thinks outside the box. Rather than repeatedly beating against a barrier, you try to find a way around, under, or over it. Unfortunately, this can also make you impetuous and impulsive, and can sometimes get you into trouble.

(E) Your biggest flaw is that you worry too much, including about what other people think. This leaves you unable to stand up for yourself, but also comes with a benefit. You’re able to see the flaws in a plan and analyze the chances for success better than anyone else.

(F) You have a taste for the finer things in life. You’re a shrewd businessperson when it comes to forwarding your own interests. This means you sometimes hurt people, but you regret when you do and you strive to make it right.

ANSWER KEY:

Do not go farther until you’ve picked your letter!!

(A) You’re Han Solo. As a Corellian, Han has no use for the odds because he believes he can beat them. He’s also learned from experience that laws were made by people in ivory towers and don’t usually apply well to the rough world he lives in, so he lives by his own code. Under his roguish exterior hides a heart of gold.

(B) You’re Leia Organa. Not only was Leia a princess of Alderaan, but she was also a member of the Imperial Senate until Darth Vader realized she was actually working with the Rebel Alliance. Unlike Han, she believes in going through the proper, official channels whenever possible, but she also believes that, if evil people gain power, they should be unseated: The government is meant to rule for the best interest of all. She was an exemplary diplomat.

(C) You’re Luke Skywalker. Everyone knows Luke as the “hero” of the Star Wars movies, but Luke didn’t see himself as a hero. He didn’t want to be a Jedi at the beginning, and when he was training with Yoda he was constantly talking about what he couldn’t do. He had to get past that and learn to trust his abilities before he could succeed. His black-and-white view of the world was a strength, but also a weakness.

(D) You’re R2-D2. He might have been a droid, but he was arguably the most creative of the Star Wars characters. While the others stood around talking about what to do, he jumped in and started testing ideas. Sometimes that got him into close calls and put his friends in danger, but sometimes it also got them out of it.

(E) You’re C-3PO. C-3PO was always giving them the odds of success, to the point where Han admonished him, “Never tell me the odds!” What he might be most known for, though, is his groveling. He was always apologizing for someone else’s actions in the hope of avoiding repercussions, and he rarely stood up for himself.

(F) You’re Lando Calrissian. Lando betrayed Han, Leia, Chewie, and C-3PO into the hands of Darth Vader, even though Han was supposed to be his friend, in order to save his city, Bespin’s Cloud City (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back). But, when it really counted later, Lando made amends by helping save Han and the Rebels, and he and Han stayed friends throughout their lives.

Which Star Wars character (or combo) did you end up as?

Do the Odds of Success Really Matter?

Star Wars The Empire Strikes BackBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

I have a creative’s heart and a scientist’s mind. I like facts and formulas. I like logic. I like percentages and statistics.

I don’t like when the odds aren’t in my favor on something I really want. Because I have a strong rational side, odds that aren’t in my favor make me want to move on to something with a better chance of success.

I’ve been feeling that way lately listening to the talk about the publishing world. Traditionally, odds of success as a writer were terrible. According to the BEA’s industry analysis, as late as 2004 writers had a 93% failure rate. Most books published sold less than 1,000 copies, and authors were always told not to quit their day jobs because they wouldn’t be able to make a full-time living from their work.

Then the self-publishing boom hit, and for a little while, it seemed like things were changing. We fed our dreams on stories of people like Amanda Hocking and, more recently, Hugh Howey. We started to hear about writers who couldn’t have made a living in traditional publishing now bringing in full-time income as self-published authors.  

But how many? Behind the scenes, there were also a lot of writers who were frustrated and discouraged because they weren’t making a full-time living, especially now that the early gold rush season is past. In fact, a survey in 2011 of self-published authors found that the average amount earned was $10,000. Half of the authors surveyed made less than $500/year. That’s okay as a bonus but certainly not enough to live on.

So we have to ask ourselves if we’re going to listen to the odds, or if we’re going to be like a Corellian and flip the odds the bird.

In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Corellian Han Solo, Princess Leia, and the droid C-3PO are being chased by Empire ships intent on destroying them. Han decides to head into an asteroid field because the Empire ships won’t be able to follow them (at least not as easily).

“Sir,” C-3PO says, “the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to one.”

Han doesn’t even ease up on his speed. “Never tell me the odds!”

C-3PO telling Han the odds and Han ignoring them becomes a running joke in the movie, but it’s based in the idea that in the Star Wars universe, people from Han’s home world of Corellia don’t care about the odds.  

My husband, one of the biggest Star Wars fans I know, couldn’t tell me why Corellians ignore the odds, so I went digging to learn more about Corellians and see if I could solve the puzzle.

What I discovered was Corellians don’t just ignore the odds because they’re crazy or stupid. It’s not that the numbers don’t matter. (Because let’s face it, we’d be fool-hardy to completely ignore the numbers.)

So what makes Corellians feel like they can beat the odds? And what makes them succeed at beating the odds?

Corellians like a challenge.

If you’re the type of person who when someone says “you can’t,” replies with “watch me,” then you understand the love of a challenge. When Corellians look at a situation where they have a 10% chance of success, they hear that it’s not hopeless. As long as it’s not hopeless, they believe they’re the ones who’ll beat the odds, so they take a chance and try.  

Corellians trust their skills and abilities.

When Han Solo flew into the asteroid field, when he later made a direct attack on a Star Destroyer, he did it because he was an amazing pilot. He had years of practice. Corellians ignore and beat the odds because they know where their abilities lie, they’re prepared, and they know how to use their skills to the best of their advantage.

Corellians are extremely adaptable.

Corellians’ innovative natures are a large contributor to their disregard for the odds because they can adapt when it looks like the odds aren’t going to go in their favor and find a way to get around whatever the obstacle is.

When Han Solo made the direct attack on the Star Destroyer, he hid on top of the command tower so the Star Destroyer couldn’t detect them. The problem was they couldn’t move because as soon as they left their position, they’d be spotted. But Destroyers vent their waste before going to hyperspace. And that gave Han the opportunity to have their ship drift off with the waste.

What do you think? Should we let the odds discourage us? Or should we take a lesson from Corellians and find a way to beat them?

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Which Came First – Yoda or the Yoda Bat?

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

Just when we think every animal species in the world has been discovered, scientists find a new one.

In 2009, scientists Piotr Naskrecki and David Rentz traveled to Papua New Guinea’s Nakanai and Muller mountains, an area still relatively unexplored. Among the many creatures they discovered was what’s been colloquially dubbed the yoda bat thanks to its resemblance to Star Wars’ Yoda.

Star Wars YodaThe yoda bat is actually a nyctimene tube-nosed fruit bat. Nyctimene is just the scientific classification meaning they’re a genus of “megabats” in the Pteropodidae family. (Incidentally, megabats aren’t necessarily big. It’s just another classification that refers to fruit bats, old world fruit bats, and flying foxes.) All megabats eat only fruit or nectar.

The yoda bat uses the tubes on its nose as snorkels so it can breathe while its face is stuck inside a piece of fruit.

I don’t know about you, but I think this bat should be officially named the Yoda Tube-Nosed Fruit Bat.

If you didn’t know the yoda bat had only recently been discovered, would you think it was the inspiration for George Lukas’ Yoda?

This has been an episode of my Unbelievable Real Life series, where I showcase weird creatures and offbeat places on our planet that seem like they should belong in a fantasy. If you’re not already a subscriber, be sure to sign up below for free emailed posts so you don’t miss the next feature.

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Do You Like A Little Contradiction In Your Characters?

Jen Kirchner Urban Fantasy AuthorToday I’m pleased to welcome Jen Kirchner to my blog. I first “met” Jen through her Vote Your Own Adventure series on her blog. When I heard she had a book coming out, I knew I had to try to bring her here to meet all of you. And she agreed!

Jen is a writer, gamer, and coffee junkie who lives in Seattle. You can find her at her website, JenKirchner.com, on Twitter, and on Facebook. She recently released her first novel, an urban fantasy called The Fourth Channel.

Take it away, Jen…

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As a kid, I didn’t enjoy the story of Cinderella. That’s weird, right? What little girl doesn’t dream of being rescued from her chores and siblings and turned into a perfect princess in a gigantic fluffy dress, then swept off her feet by a rich prince?

Apparently this little girl.

Don’t get me wrong—I, like every other little girl, had fantasies of being a regal princess dressed in white. But I also liked lightsabers. Okay, the two concepts don’t really go together, but it gave me a little character. And, unfortunately, since Cinderella and Prince Charming had going for them other than dancing around and losing a shoe (not even close to being as cool as lightsabers) I declared them to be completely boring.

Seriously, now. Do you really mean to tell me that the prince, while waltzing around the dance floor in his tight pants, never once got a wedgie? Or that our lovely Cinderella, who had been overworked and in dire need of a vacation, wasn’t found hiding under the buffet table, guzzling champagne and stuffing her face with salmon asparagus canapés? Then, later, after she’s sufficiently drunk, chatting up an empty suit of armor on display down the hall?

What’s cookin’, good lookin’?

No? Too bad, because that would have been interesting.

Hey, what about that cute and pudgy fairy godmother who can fly and has the magic wand? Yeah. Sign me up for that instead. Those other two send me to Snoozeville.

If only the prince and Cinderella had been interesting. If only they each had a personality trait or two that was unexpected—something that contradicted their perfect natures.

The main character in my novel, The Fourth Channel, struggles with her own personal dichotomy. She’s as near to being a pacifist as she can be. She doesn’t like violence and will avoid a physical confrontation at all costs. As nice as that sounds, it’s incredibly boring. The only way to make her interesting was to give her a trait that was in direct opposition to her pacifist nature.

So I made her a necromancer, a magic user who sacrifices people in exchange for power.

Hey, don’t judge me–it works for a story. Interesting people are ones who have contradictory traits or desires. Unless you’re dull, you have them, too. So do your friends. There’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, it’s often what makes us like people a lot more.

Take Bilbo Baggins, for example. He’s a reputable hobbit of Bag End and wants nothing more than to stay that way through sensible living and three breakfasts a day. But deep in his heart is a yearning for adventure. He can’t have both at the same time, so what will he do? Thanks to a little trickery from Gandalf, adventure wins out.

Thank goodness, because unless you’re into food porn, The Hobbit would have been the most boring story of all time. Not to mention fattening.

 

“I don’t know, whaddya think? You think a princess and a guy like me…”

And what about Princess Leia? She’s a diplomat and a princess who wears white—as all princesses should. But she’s not your typical princess with flowery speech and a gentle nature. Princess Leia is sarcastic, shoots guns, and is solely responsible for getting her rescue party trapped in a garbage compactor. She’s a princess in title, and that’s about it. She can’t even fall in love properly! Instead of going with a reputable man of stature and poise, she falls for a criminal and a scoundrel and, regardless of what anyone tells you, he shoots first.

But let’s be honest. If you had to choose one friend, and your only options were Princess Leia and Cinderella, you’d go with Princess Leia every time. I know I would. At least Leia’s spontaneous and an interesting conversationalist. Plus, you never know what might happen when you meet up for coffee.

All Cinderella has going for her is freakishly small feet.

And there are many other examples of quirky, contradictory people we’d love to befriend—or even people we’d love to be. So why do we spend so much time hiding or apologizing for the traits that might be unexpected? It’s who we are, and like Bilbo Baggins and Princess Leia, it’s those opposing traits that draw people to us.

Real people are full of contradictions. I am. Your friends are. And you are, too. Embrace it.

Now who’s ready for a little adventure?

The Fourth Channel by Jen KirchnerAbout The Fourth Channel…

For years, Kari Hunter’s fooled the world into thinking she’s just an everyday girl. Sure, she’s the lead singer of world-renowned band Vis Viva, but outside of that, she recycles religiously, is an avid supporter of the environment, and she’s a certifiable coffee addict. But Kari has a secret she keeps from her family, friends, and fans.

Kari Hunter is a necromancer.

The rarest and most powerful of all magic-born, necromancers are notorious for leaving a trail of sacrifices in their wake. But Kari isn’t interested in hurting anyone. She works hard at being as un-necromancer-like as possible: everyone she stabs gets a bandage and a lollipop, and whenever her sacrificial knives get too excited by the prospect of violence, she puts them in time-out… in her lingerie drawer.

But when an agent of voodoo master Ruairí O’Bryne catches Kari using her powers, her secret’s out. And if Ruairí finds out who Kari is, he’ll stop at nothing to make her his next sacrifice.

Suit of Armor photo courtesy of Quinet (http://www.flickr.com/photos/quinet/)

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*Disclaimer from Marcy* The Amazon link to The Fourth Channel is my affiliate link.

Are Cellos and Star Wars the Next Peanut Butter and Jelly?

I love when someone is able to bring together two of my favorite things—in this case, science fiction and music.

This play on Star Wars is called Cello Wars. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, this video is fun to watch.

Some great music has actually come out of science fiction and fantasy movies.

Was there a movie (it doesn’t have to be SF/F) that surprised you with its great musical score?

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Four Ways We Should All be More like Star Wars’ Mandalorians

Tie Fighter - Star Wars MandaloriansYou might remember that I’m married to one of the world’s largest Star Wars’ fans. In the past, he’s written guest posts for me on Five Reasons I Wish I Was a Jedi and Ace Combat: Wedge Antilles vs. Kara Thrace. Since we were out of town most of last week, he agreed to visit my blog today with another Star Wars post. Please give him a warm welcome and some comment love.

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Mandalorians aren’t all bad guys—even Boba Fett.

In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett helps the Sith Lord Darth Vader freeze Han Solo in carbonite. He then loads the now-frozen Han into his ship, Slave I, for the flight to Tatooine, where he turns Han over to the crime lord Jabba the Hutt. The situation is made all the more poignant because it comes on the heels of Han and Leia finally coming to terms with their feelings for each other.

Thus begins a years-long feud of sorts between Boba Fett, considered a typical honorless Mandalorian, and Han and Leia, who become heroes to most of the civilized galaxy. Throughout the Expanded Universe books (and somewhat in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), Mandalorians are portrayed as violent, money-loving, honorless, uncultured brawlers who care more about their bounty commissions than about anything else.

But that perception of Mandalorians, long held by even major Star Wars nerds like myself, is wrong. It’s often said that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Mandalorians are a perfect example.

In fact, I’ve become quite a fan of Mandalorians because their culture, while seemingly at odds with the rest of the galaxy, embraces some of the attributes that I personally value and strive to incorporate into my life. I think there are four ways in which we should all be like Mandalorians.

A Mandalorian’s Word Is His Bond

It used to be true that, when a man gave his word, you could count on it. If a man told you he’d do something, he did it. Everybody was more or less able to trust everyone else. Mandalorians are the same way—their word (or contract) is always kept, exactly, no matter what. You can always trust a Mandalorian to keep his word to you.

Mandalorians Spend Time With Their Families

Mandalorians take their children into battle with them starting at age 8, and Mandalorian children are considered adults at 13. Both mothers and fathers teach their children how to fly, fight, cook, and perform the family trade. Mandalorians take an active role in raising their children, and they also take an active role in the greater good of Mandalore (their planet).

In fact…

Mandalorians Take Care of Their Own

Mandalorians have a very Marine Corps-like mentality when it comes to taking care of their own. Even though, in the heat of battle, they put their mission’s success above all else, when the fighting is done, they regroup, take stock, and take care of any of their casualties. Mandalorians don’t leave anyone behind on the battlefield. They also don’t shirk their responsibility to the dependents of those who die. It’s very common for a Mandalorian to adopt the children of a comrade who died in battle. In fact, Mandalorians are habitual adopters, and think nothing of enlarging their clans through adopting those in need.

And this leads me to my next point…

Mandalorians Don’t Discriminate

It doesn’t matter to a Mandalorian who you are, where you come from, what you did in the past, or even what species you are. Anybody who throws their lot in with the Mandalorians becomes Mandalorian, with no exceptions, no questions asked. All that matters to Mandalorians is what you do starting now. If you do right by your fellow Mandalorians, they’ll do right by you. Remember: a Mandalorian’s word is his bond.

Which Mandalorian quality do you think we need more of?

Photo Credit: Aksoy on www.sxc.hu

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Yoda Was Wrong

I’m risking nerd exile by even suggesting this but…I think Yoda was wrong.

In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker travels to the swampy planet of Dagobah to find Jedi Master Yoda. Luke’s X-Wing ends up sunk in a bog, and Luke doesn’t think he can get it out.

Yoda tells him the only difference between moving the ship and moving stones is the one in his mind. With a shrug, Luke turns back and says, “Alright, I’ll give it a try.”

Yoda replies, “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

In his post “The Difference between Trying and Doing,” Michael Hyatt, Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, talks about how he watched self-help author Tony Robbins use a chair to explain this concept. Robbins asked a woman to try to pick up the chair. When she picked it up, he told her she’d done it wrong. He asked her to try to pick it up, not to actually pick it up. When she left the chair in place, he told her that she wasn’t trying—she was simply not picking it up.

Hyatt goes on to explain, “The point is that when we say we are trying we don’t really have to do anything. It also provides us with an excuse for why we didn’t accomplish the outcome we say we want. Do you understand the difference? You either do something or you don’t do it. Trying is really the same as not doing it. It just makes it easier for us to let ourselves off the hook when we fail.”

Sometimes we do use I’ll try as an excuse. In some situations, there really is only a “do or do not.” You either exercise three times a week or you don’t. You either cheat on your spouse or you don’t. You either write or you don’t. Simple. You can’t try any more than the woman could try to pick up the chair.

But sometimes you can try. Sometimes trying is the best you can do.

(I know. I’m taking on Yoda and Michael Hyatt. I must be crazy.)

When Another Person Is Involved

Say someone was sitting on the chair in question. You might strain and plead, but the chair won’t move. Isn’t there a legitimate try in that case? You gave your all, but someone prevented you from accomplishing what you set out to do.

What about the spouse who goes to counseling, puts in to practice techniques to improve communication, and finds ways to truly show love to their husband or wife to save a troubled marriage, but their husband or wife walks away anyway?

They did everything they could to save their marriage, but someone else’s decision prevented them doing it.

When An Innate Ability Or Talent Is Involved

I’m 5-foot-2, and I’m strong for my size. But if you placed a 1,000-pound chair in front of me and told me to lift it, I couldn’t do it. I am physically incapable of lifting something that size alone.

As a child, I loved to sing. I sang every day. I still do. But it wouldn’t matter how many hours I practiced or how many lessons I took or how determined I was to become a professional singer, I don’t have the voice for it. I wasn’t born with it. No amount of determination can change that. (Want more proof? Look at some of the people who try out for American Idol.)

A neurosurgeon needs steady hands. What if you have a condition that causes yours to shake, and that no amount of physical therapy can rectify? Did you fail because your mindset was wrong? Or should you be applauded for trying to reach your dream even though you failed?

When It Just Isn’t Meant to Be

Occasionally the chair is just built into the floor.

As my husband was nearing the end of his five-year commitment to the Marine Corps, he submitted paperwork to go to the Navy, with the goal of eventually becoming a chaplain. He did everything right and believed he was working toward his goal. Three days after he submitted his paperwork, he had a stroke, resulting in his eventual discharge from the military and a medical ban on rejoining.

Some things just aren’t meant to be. Should a person be told to keep driving toward a dream that clearly isn’t going to happen? I think a time comes when we have to admit failure, grieve, and move on. To me, that’s a sign of true courage.

Saying “there is no try” implies we’re able to do anything if we set our minds to it. And that’s a lie. Sometimes we fail, and the value is in the trying rather than in the success.

We learn through trying and failing. We learn patience, persistence. We learn how to graciously accept defeat. We learn we had skills and strengths we didn’t dream of before. We also learn what isn’t right for us.

People who try, really try, give it their all, and fail, should be applauded. Their mindset was right. They fought hard. “Do or do not” just wasn’t an option.

Do you agree with me that Yoda was wrong (in this case at least)? Or do you still think Yoda was right?

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Slave Leia Public Service Announcement

Alright, ladies, what nerdy, geeky costume would you choose? Men, what costume would you chose for the woman in your life?

Five Reasons I Wish I Was a Jedi

Wish I Was A JediSince I was out of town this past weekend attending the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York, I asked my husband (a.k.a. one of the world’s biggest Star Wars fans) back to fill in today while I’m “recovering” :)

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I’m a huge science fiction fan, and Star Wars is nerd-indulgence of choice. Ever since I saw Top Gun for the first time, I knew I wanted to be a fighter pilot. And ever since I was a wee lad, I knew I wanted to join the military or be a police officer so I could protect and help those that needed help and protection.

When I saw Star Wars for the first time (when Empire Strikes Back was re-released in 1997), I knew that my ultimate fantasy was to be an ace Jedi pilot for five reasons.

Highly Trained and Extremely Disciplined

Jedi are highly trained and extremely disciplined individuals. Taught from an early age to deny themselves for the greater good of the galaxy and its people, Jedi constantly train in everything from combat to acrobatics and gymnastics, and practice tremendous self-discipline through self-denial and frequent meditation. Even their clothing helps cultivate self-discipline, as the rough material of their cloaks is chosen specifically to help them learn how to ignore hardship and life’s minor annoyances.

All Jedi practice both armed and unarmed combat techniques, with their armed training including lightsabers, blasters, and vibroblades (small, ultrasonic-vibrating knives). Most Jedi were also trained to be competent pilots. The self-discipline and work ethic displayed by Jedi is something I’m envious of.

Force Powers, of Course

Need I say more? The coolest part about being a Jedi is the Force powers. Being able to cloud people’s minds, levitate incredibly heavy objects, tell if a person is lying, or have superhuman strength, stamina, wisdom, and combat prowess would be fantastic. And let’s not forget about one of the most-overlooked parts of having Force powers: you’d never again be tormented by that itch in the center of your back that you just…can’t…quite…reach.

Honorable

Jedi remain true to their duties, often sacrificing their lives on the altar of freedom. Jedi don’t run from danger, and they always confronted evil when they saw it. A good example of this is when Obi-Wan Kenobi allowed Darth Vader to strike him down, giving Luke, Han, and Leia time to escape the Death Star in the Millennium Falcon. This appeals to me probably more than any other characteristic of the Jedi, because it accurately reflects what I feel is the most worthy personality trait a person can have.

Lightsabers and Starfighters

I would love to have a lightsaber. Lightsabers can deflect blaster fire, absorb incoming electricity or Force lightning, and cut through several meters of ultra-dense, extremely heavy composite metal doors—and they’re just so danged amazing. They’re so amazing, in fact, that I once tried to talk my physics teacher into building me one. Too bad he gave some excuse about lightsabers not being possible.

And don’t even get me started on being a starfighter pilot—being able to engage in fast and furious dogfights with enemy fighters, pulling off thrilling maneuvers, and independently pushing .7 past lightspeed would definitely satisfy my craving for doing all things adrenaline-producing.

Guardians of Peace and Justice

Jedi are the Star Wars equivalent of today’s police officers and military personnel. They frequently put their lives on the line in the face of great personal danger so that others would be safe and free from evil and tyranny.

During the time of the Old Republic, Jedi were often called upon to mediate disputes between groups or individuals that were at odds with each other, such as when Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Qui-Gon Jinn were sent to try to mediate a dispute between the pastoral planet of Naboo and the greedy Trade Federation. Although not technically part of any military or police force, the Jedi Order often took military action to eradicate evil and protect the innocent. To quote a very famous teacher, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

What do you think would be the best part about being a Jedi? If being a Jedi isn’t for you, what’s your ultimate fantasy career?

Chris

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