Jedi Productivity 11 of 11: We need you. The Jedi must Prevail over the Evil Empire and why you matter

This post is part of the Star Wars Jedi Productivity blog post series.  There will be 11 posts coming weekly every Tuesday for… yes… just counted it… the next 11 weeks.  These posts will guide your journey from a wilful, novice young pretender who is controlled by time…  into a magnificent Jedi who uses time as her own power.  The full set of posts are available from here.

We need you. The Jedi must Prevail over the Evil Empire and why you matter

“Carpe Diem; Memento Mori” the salute to the victorious roman generals (“Seize this day; for tomorrow you may die”)

This is the last post in the series of 11 posts about Jedi Productivity.  We have looked at setting goals, reducing distractions like email, being effective with other people and the use of time slicing to make small, steady steps of progress.  Today, I want to talk about what happens if you don’t make the choice of the path of Jedi Productivity.

We face a stark choice – discipline myself or be a slave to others who have discipline.

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can set us free” Bob Marley

In the very act of reading this: you are making a choice.  You are searching.  You are seeking to improve yourself, to stay relevant.  You are on the good path.

I spoke last week about cynical apathy being cool as a teenager.  The path of the critic.  It is not cool as a grown adult.  Excuses are a way of not facing up to reality, for pulling out when things get a bit difficult.

Accept Consequences

I take decisions every day, every hour. The decision to play it safe. The decision to be like all the others. The decision to copy how someone else would do it. The decision to work hard at being the same.  These are perfectly fine decisions, but they have consequences.

My grandfather’s competition were the other males living in his town. My competition is every Irish, Indian, Chinese, Brazilian, Spaniard in the world. There will always be somebody able and willing to do the simple, commodity tasks for less pay. This is inevitable. There is no escape. A sinking ship will eventually sink. I can bail a little. I can pray. I can put up bigger borders. But I cannot stop that the boat will eventually sink. The effort that I put into delaying the sinking is effort that could have gone into making myself not a commodity, into being valuable for me.

I used to feel that I was more intelligent than the other kids at school. I felt special.  However, there is no value in my purely being intelligent. Raw, unused talent is a sad waste. Only action matters. It is nothing to be intelligent, it is everything when I act intelligent. A decision without action is a wasted decision.  Only action changes the future. Only action creates something new. Over time, habitual, disciplined action completes the miracle.

Honestly expressing yourself.

“You can’t free anybody else and you can’t serve anybody else unless you free yourself” Nelson Mandela

You are not an accident.  You are a singular piece in the giant jigsaw puzzle that is this world.  This jigsaw puzzle is not a 50 piece puzzle, nor a 250 piece puzzle…  it is a 7 billion piece puzzle.  I find it frustrating when my daughter and I put together a 50 piece puzzle and find that there are only 49 pieces.  We can’t finish the game.  The great puzzle needs your piece.  Whatever you are given, you need to pass it on with integrity, humility and generosity.

You are not a Cog in a Machine.  Photo: iansand
You are not a Cog in a Machine. Photo: iansand

The greatest anger is the anger at ourselves for not living up to what we know we are capable of.  Hell is not after death, hell is the moment before death when a human being looks back on all the wasted potential.

The greatest gift you can give to those around you is your own shining self belief and glorious sense of meaning in what you do.  If you don’t have it, only you can do the work to get it.  If you have it, only you can keep doing what it takes to keep it.

The opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy.  Love is not easy.  Love is hard.  Doing the work that needs to get done, overcoming the devil in me that avoids the work is the course of love.  Allowing the resistance, the procrastination to win is the course of apathy.  Apathy leads to self-hate, which builds to resentment and then is shared with others in bitterness and cruelty.

This self-hate, this resentment is the true Evil Empire.  This is the Death Star.  This is the deadly destructive machine that can kill your soul.  Not just kill the beating heart life of you, but kill the soul of you.

Natural Un-Naturalness

“The natural instinct and control need to be combined in harmony – one to the extreme you become very unscientific, the other you become a mechanical man… no longer a human being – the ideal is unnatural naturalness, or natural unnaturalness… yin yang” Bruce Lee

A beautiful garden looks natural, but is un-natural.  It looks easy, but it is hard.  Bruce Lee speaks of mastery of martial art as something that looks very easy, but is very hard.  Mastery of teaching looks easy, but it is very hard.  Mastery of writing makes the words look like they come easily, but it is hard.

Jedi Productivity is the path of Natural Un-Naturalness.  It is the path of the duck swimming on the pond.  Above water, It looks to the human observer that this is a peaceful duck moving gracefully on the surface of the pond.  Below the water, it looks to the fish like a pair of flippered feet flapping away like crazy.

“Give up on yourself. Begin taking action now while being neurotic, imperfect, procrastinator. Go ahead and be the best imperfect person you can be. Get started on those things that you want to accomplish before you die.” Shoma Morita

This is our time.


Jedi Productivity is Natural Un-Naturalness. Photo: JD Hancock



That’s it.  This series is done.  It has been an interesting process for me.  I thought it would be simple to bash out 11 simple posts on productivity…  but it ended up being harder than I had first imagined to put into words what I intuitively felt that I know about getting important things done.

Here’s what we covered…

  1. Jedi Productivity Presentation
  2. Jedi Productivity 11 of 11: We need you. The Jedi must Prevail over the Evil Empire and why you matter
  3. Jedi Productivity 10 of 11: ”Luke! you switched off your targeting computer!” making time for yourself
  4. Jedi Productivity 9 of 11: Yoda’s first rule: Do or do not, there is no try
  5. Jedi Productivity 8 of 11: How the Death Star commander runs his Hyper-effective Meetings
  6. Jedi Productivity 7 of 11: R2D2, C3PO and the Power of Delegation
  7. Jedi Productivity 6 of 11: “Use the phone Luke…” Master the telephone
  8. Jedi Productivity 5 of 11: Han Solo’s guide to Getting on top of the Email Inbox (a.k.a. Jabba the Hutt)
  9. Jedi Productivity 4 of 11: Obi-Wan’s guide to say “No”, (these are not the droids you are looking for…)
  10. Jedi Productivity 3 of 11: Deal with Darth Vader’s Evil “Urgent” Interruptions
  11. Jedi Productivity 2 of 11: The Emperor’s guide to Goal Setting and the 20 Mile March (LT, ST, habits)

Are you a Jedi guided missile?  Are you systematic in how you set goals and make daily progress on what is important?  Or, are you more of an ad-hoc novice? 

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Author: Conor Neill

Hi, I’m Conor Neill, an Entrepreneur and Teacher at IESE Business School. I speak about Moving People to Action.

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