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May 4, 2021
Global Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be With You
The Star Wars franchise was born 44 years ago when a simple young farm boy got a magic sword from an old wizard so he could defeat evil, rescue a princess, and save the world.
George Lucas can’t have been the first person to have this idea. Many children create similar narratives. Although, the details may have been different depending on where we grew up. The heroes may have been cowboys, or samurai, or even doctors or nurses. Mythological stories are designed to teach children the rules of social order and human interaction. How should we treat each other. Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? What is virtue, what is courage, what is sacrifice?
Lucas was inspired by his good friend Joseph Campbell to create a new version of the perennial battle between good and evil. Campbell, a Professor of Comparative Religion, and a world authority on mythology had described a universal monomyth called “The Hero’s Journey”. This guided Lucas and has massively influenced many other film makers since.
When Lucas created Star Wars, most movies at that time, like the Deer Hunter, were gritty narratives and social commentaries. But Lucas decided to recreate a story that was rooted in the Flash Gordon series of his childhood. Part of Lucas’ genius was that he modernised the story by embracing diversity and inclusion. His story had knights, dragons, motorcycles, ray guns, teddy bears, pirates, gladiators and gangsters – the whole shebang.
With Campbell’s blueprint and Lucas’s inclusive diversity the story feels just as relevant today as it did 24 years ago. It deals with the entirety of life. It endures because it speaks to all of us.
Luke Skywalker, like Harry Potter, Frodo, Neo and Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz all follow Campbell’s 12 steps and four phases of change. If you want to know how to change anything – what you’re doing, how you relate to others or who you are, you must follow the same 12 steps.
If you want to walk in the footsteps of Luke or Rey Skywalker while a pandemic grips the galaxy and our world is awash with villains and threatened by wicked problems then my new book “Step Change: The Leaders Journey”, to be published by Routledge in November 2021, can help.
If you ‘feel the force’ and allow the book to be your Obi Wan Kenobi then ‘A New Hope’ can emerge again. May the 4th be with you.
A physician and neuroscientist, Dr. Alan Watkins is recognised as an international expert on leadership and human performance.
Over the years he has coached thousands of individuals to greater levels of performance, transformed organisational cultures and helped leaders discover new ways to succeed. Alan has become a confidant to many of the world’s top leaders over the past 22 years.Read bio