June 19, 2012 at 6:54 am, by Carl
Today’s blog post is more of a warning and comes to us from the annals of history. . .in a galaxy far, far away. There’s a great scene in Star Wars when Luke Skywalker and Han Solo are trying to fight their way out of trouble against 4 enemy fighter planes. The group of rag-tag rebels has only just gotten their ship, the Millenium Falcon out of the clutches of the Empire’s Darth Vadar on his Death Star. Now, 4 Tie fighters have come out to confront them. Remember that?
Is Han just mean?
During the fighting, Luke, the kid from the rural planet that no one had really ever heard of, successfully takes down one of the fighters. He rejoices, along with the rest of the team. Han, the grizzled veteran of several running space fights, gives him a cheer, a “way to go.” Then, he does something brusque.
Han, knowing that the fight was still in doubt, shouts back to Luke—“Don’t get cocky.” Now, why would he do that? The poor young man has just shot down his first enemy fighter; he is just now entering into the world and in this moment, he has achieved a goal. Shouldn’t Han be more supportive? More kind?
Actually, Han is doing the most important thing he can do at that second—warn Luke of the danger of not staying focused on the larger goal. Far too often, we achieve some milestone and then get so into our success that we get sloppy. We passed the hard midterm and then blow off the next 3-4 class days getting ourselves withdrawn from the class. We have a great month in sales, but then act far too casual with the boss putting our success in jeopardy.
Failure of a King
This concept is perhaps brought home no better than the story of a king in the Middle East. During the 10th century of the BC era, the small nation of Israel was emerging as a player in the geopolitics of the region. Previously a mere collection of tribes, now the united kingdom was becoming a force. As King, David has successfully led the country through internal issues, an “almost-civil war,” and at the same time, dealt with external threats on his various borders.
At the pinnacle of his success, with economic growth at home and stability coming abroad, he missed the advice of Han Solo. He got cocky. He made a huge mistake, took his eye off the ball for a momentary emotional high, and ruined his country.
While you and I may not see our mistakes, our cockiness, end with death or civil war as David did, we can see our hopes and dreams derailed. It just takes a that momentary decision to drop our focus.
Had Luke just continued to shout and be in an emotional tingle because of his one victory, the other fighters could have damaged the Millenium Falcon or perhaps even destroyed the ship, ending the real hope of the rebellion.
As you move deeper into the fall, with your goals before you and your plan of action in motion, don’t allow any cockiness to seep into your mind. This can come when you’ve had your first success, just as Luke did, or it could come after hitting several goals. You are “on a run;” you can’t seem to lose and you look brilliant to everyone around you. So did David.
Stay aware. Stay humble. Stay focused. You’d hate to ruin your chance for future glory destroying the Death Star by getting cocky.