“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….”
Every time those words pop up on a screen, my spine tingles. Excitement swells in me as the text fades to a starlit sky.
That fraction of a second before the horns blare the Star Wars theme… my heart skips a beat.
And then it happens.
Trumpets blare and I’m instantly transported to another galaxy.
Any time I watched Star Wars as a kid, it was like hitting the pause button. The homework I had due or the big Little League game I lost disappeared. The complexities of junior high (and figuring out how to navigate awkward hormones) took a back seat. The acne and braces stopped feeling so overwhelming.
This past weekend, I was one of the millions who saw the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, and life paused again. I was giddy through the entire movie. Several scenes filled my arms with goosebumps and I’m not afraid to admit I even teared up once or twice. Sitting there watching at 31 years old, I felt five again sitting on my living room floor. For a brief moment, nothing else mattered. I was on an adventure in galaxy far, far away.
Here’s the thing, though: my relationship with Star Wars is more than just a boyish crush. This saga has helped shape and mold the person I am today. It’s made me a better person.
Today I want to share this magic with you.
You Always Have a Choice.
In my research for my book Level Up Your Life, I stumbled across something that is now tattooed on the wall in my brain.
In the book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, the #1 regret voiced by those on their deathbeds, having the ability to look back at what they had done or not done in their lives, is that they wished they’d had the courage to live lives true to themselves, as opposed to the lives others expected of them.
Let that sink in for a moment.
These are not philosophical or hypothetical ponderings, but rather real-life reflections from people who know they’re down to their last quarter in the arcade, so to speak. These people didn’t live the lives they wanted to live; they felt a call to adventure or a call to a path that challenged and fulfilled them, and yet refused the call because they didn’t want to ruffle any feathers or were scared of what that path might reveal. They were the Lukes who never left home.
They chose the easy, safe, non-conflicting path; a life that others expected them to live, and they would give anything now for an extra life to try again and take the more adventurous route.
Until we develop time machines, older folks at the end of their lives will never have the luxury of trying again, but you can certainly learn from the wisdom of their words.
Start with this: stop thinking of what others want for you, and instead start asking what you want for yourself.
Regardless of where you are now, you have a choice. No matter how old you are, or far down a path you think you might be, you can always turn back or change course.
Whether or not you realize it, YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE:
Remember, Luke was initially considered too old to be trained as a Jedi according to Master Yoda.
Han Solo bailed on the Rebel Alliance before coming back to save Luke on his trench run.
Vader’s redemption at the end of The Return of the Jedi was only possible because he realized no matter how far down a path he had gone, he could change.
You might be overweight and in a job you hate and a relationship that sucks, simply because you’re worried that this is the best it’s going to get. Or that you should be thankful in this economy.
Choose to take care of yourself and live the life you feel you deserve. And you deserve better. I promise you.
You might think you’re too old for adventure. That you’re too out of shape to ever do the things you want to do. That you’re too far down a career path to ever change, even though it stopped being fulfilling a decade ago.
Be honest with yourself. What’s the life you really want?
What’s the choice you need to make? Yep, there will be consequences either way, but you always have a choice.
Fighting the Dark Side Is hard… But Worth it.
Here at Nerd Fitness, we don’t sugar-coat things. In fact, we DEFINITELY try to avoid sugar-coated things. So here it is:
Fighting back against the Dark Side is tough. There are no quick fixes, fad diets (that actually work), or magic bullets.
Being a member of the Rebellion isn’t an easy path, but the journey and the adventure is worth every ounce of struggle you will put into overcoming your own Dark Side.
For you it may be years of bad habits holding you back. It may be an addiction. It may be an unfulfilling career, a failed or unhappy relationship, overdue bills, medication, or depression. Yours may be mental… physical… professional… or personal.
And the faces of the Dark Side are always evolving. The Sith, the Empire, the First Order… you may have several hurdles to overcome on your adventure. This is a
marathon labyrinth, not a sprint.
If Han Solo taught me anything, it’s where ever you are now, how far down a certain path you might be, you can redeem yourself and find a way to succeed, just never listen to the odds.
Now, one of the key principles we help teach people is to think of what we call the “Very Next Step.”
If you would’ve pulled Luke from Tatooine and told him to duel Vader immediately, starting today… he would’ve been struck down in the first few seconds of the fight.
That’s why I’ve learned to ask myself, “Steve, if you want XXX result in the future… what’s the Very Next Step you can do today that will start you in that direction.”
For some that’s throwing out the junk food in their house. For others it’s researching gym options on their commute home from work. It may be just making it to your martial arts class tonight when you’ve had a hard day.
For many it’s making a list of the people who will make up your Rebel Alliance and have your back as you continue your journey.
Figure out your Very Next Step, because fighting the Dark Side is daunting and challenging. You can’t take the Empire on all at once.
Harness The Force
Star Wars captured the hearts and minds of the world because it had the power to stir something inside of us – hope.
Hope that a young boy on a farm could change the fate of the galaxy. That a scoundrel like Han Solo could surprise us and save the day. That an evil monster like Darth Vader could sacrifice himself to right the wrongs and save his son.
There was this magic to Star Wars that made it something more than just an epic action movie – the Force brought out a sense of awe and wonder. An idea that we CAN be what we want, that we CAN change the fate of the world, that no matter what, there’s hope.
I remember feeling the magic as a kid. The flashlight next to my bed was a freaking lightsaber. The tall trees in my back yard? Endor!
This feeling, this Force, it was magical. Filled with this child-like sense of awe and wonder, it felt like my possibilities were endless.
Then life happens, and we all know what happens when we age. We lose that spark. Our imaginations dull. The energy and the optimism become muffled. By the time we reach adulthood, this mentality is sucked out of us with each passing day of living a life we aren’t proud of.
Enter the REAL power of the Force – to wake us the @%#$ up!
Are you passively living an unhappy, unhealthy, unfulfilling life? Does life feel like it’s one big routine?
Sometimes we need to be shaken – pulled from the Dark Side and shown another option… shown that there is always hope
That’s what Star Wars means to me, and what The Force Awakens means for the Rebellion.
The new year marks a change – it’s time for the Rebellion to strike back at the Empire. And I’m giddy with being able to share that with you the tactics and systems I’ve used to turn myself and other Rebels in the community into real life Jedi doing big things.
This is what I love more than anything: helping people get to where they want to go. My upcoming book, Level Up Your Life, digs into all of this in great detail and I can’t wait to share it with the world. I know it’s going to help a lot of people and give you a plan to follow to start improving your life immediately.
It’s just the beginning, and I’m stoked you are along with us for the ride.
Leave a comment answering the two questions below:
1) What’s your first Star Wars memory you can remember as a kid? Be as descriptive as possible.
2) What’s a choice you’ve been running from for years, and you will commit to re-examine and take action on in 2016?
May the force be with you!
PS: Speaking of the book, we’re doing an EPIC mini adventure tour so I can meet as many members of this community as possible and we can have adventures TOGETHER. It starts in NYC at a Ninja Warrior training facility on January 12th, and I hope to see you there (or at the other 5 stops where we’re doing some other amazing activities!)
If you happened to have already pre-ordered the book, make sure you go to LevelUpYourLife.com to get your pre-order bonuses!
PPS: Members of the Holiday Watch, you better be holding your post!