Jon Filitti

Jon Filitti


I love quoting the Great Green Philosopher. The greatest science fiction philosopher of all time. The one and only, Yoda.

In one of the best scenes from “The Empire Strikes Back”, Yoda is training Luke the ways of the Force. But at this point in his character development Luke is whiny and unmotivated.

To train someone in the force you apparently start with teaching them how to move rocks with their mind and do one-handed handstands while you sit atop their feet. I don’t know the exact reasons for this method of training, but hey, who am I to argue with the great Jedi Master.

But before the training begins, in fact before Luke even meets Yoda, he crashes his X-Wing in the swamps on the planet Dagohba. The planet has no civilization to speak of, so when the X-Wing almost completely sinks, Luke is really in some trouble.

Yoda first teaches Luke to raise some rocks with his mind. All fine and dandy. But then they eventually move on to the next level and Luke attempts to raise his X-Wing out from the swampy depths.

Photograph via Lucas Films

This is when the “Okay, I’ll try” and “No. Do or do not. There is no try.” exchange occurs. Luke tries to raise the X-Wing out of the swamp with a lack of self belief heavy on his mind. And of course, he fails. Dejected, he stomps off to pout.

Yoda, frustrated with his young apprentice, but needing to show him what is possible with the force, slowly raises the X-Wing out of the swamp with a twitch of his hand and sets it down softly on dry land.

Luke, who has come back to watch the entire scene unfold walks around the ship to examine it and then walks over to Yoda to say, “I don’t…I don’t believe it.”

Yoda simply responds, “That…is why you fail.”

Recently, I’ve been focusing a lot on self belief and it’s ugly opposite, self doubt. Doubts can change a person’s judgment of themselves and keep them focused only on their negative attributes. Doubts keep us from believing in ourselves.

When we don’t believe in ourselves we don’t achieve. And I’m not talking about achieving monetarily or achieving in the business sense. I mean achieving the biggest goal of life; happiness.

So ask yourself this; do you believe in yourself? If not, why? Do you not believe in yourself because of past relationships or because of past experiences?

Take a moment to write down the names of the people and the experiences that you’ve allowed to chip away at your belief in yourself. Reflect on those individuals and experiences and the negative impact they’ve had on your life.

I’m assuming you don’t want these people and these experiences deciding your future. So make sure to weed them out of your life. Because if this pattern continues and you believe in yourself less and less, you will fail in your ability to be happy. The more we allow the outside world to reinforce our inner self doubts the faster we lose our sense of self.

Photograph via Daniel Cheung

Now, on the contrary, take a moment to write down the people and the experiences that increase your belief in yourself. Write down the moments you feel the happiest. The moments you feel most alive. These are the people and the experiences you want helping steer your future.

The more positive people and experiences you have surrounding you, the easier it will be to defend yourself from the all natural, all human self doubt that begins from within. Then, when you detect self doubt creeping up you can more easily disrupt the negative belief and go about your day unscathed.

Believe in yourself. You will not fail.

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More about Jon Filitti: First I became a counselor. Then a dad. I created some comic books and started a mental health private practice. Now I talk to interesting people on Mindsoak and Twitter.