Luke and Yoda

Nancy Duarte, author of Resonate and Slide;ology, belives that we each have the power to change the world with our ideas.  She notices that when an idea is embedded in a story arc, the audience gets attached to ideas and they take root.  When a story is told, we physically react, and it is through this process that ideas take hold in us.

Any presentation, then, is about the story and the audience.  The story’s arc is grounded in the hero, but the hero is not the presenter, as we usually think: it is the audience.  In her TEDx EAST talk, Duarte offers the perfect metaphor: the presenter is not young Luke Skywalker out to save the world, but his mentor, Yoda.  The presenter is not the star of the show; the presenter is more like Yoda, who helps the audience move from one thing to another.

There is more to this metaphor than meets the eye:

  1. The world is full of Lukes.  There is not one Luke Skywalker that will save the world, but 7 billion.  It is not up to one hero to make a difference, but the hero in each of us.
  2. Yoda intelligence is everywhere.  There are, all around us, people with Yoda intelligence offering their wisdom to anyone willing to receive.
  3. The Luke in us works on inner well-being.  As was the case with young Luke, heros have moments when they are frustrated and do not believe in themselves. In this mode they have great difficulty hearing the messages of their mentors.  It is life’s journey to face difficulty and find peace and strength in such difficulty.
  4. The Yoda in us notices the right challenge at the right time for apprentices.  Each of us will at several points in life play the role of mentor or coach. Our default is to imagine that we must provide direction to our apprentices, but recall Yoda, who sits patiently, waiting for Luke to learn at his own pace.  He knows what challenge will, at the right time, best support Luke’s learning.  And he remains ever calm and patient with the apprentice while the angst of learning is taking place.

With so many Lukes and Yodas in the world, the odds are for us, not against us.

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