Duel of the Fates

Are you a Sith or a Jedi? The lifestyle, the power, the fame and fortune of the Sith can be intoxicating. But it doesn't last. The only way to achieve long-term success is through the ways of the Jedi.
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Are you a Sith, bending the world to your will and forcing transactions on your clients? Or are you a Jedi, raising up your disciples to become stewards of the power at their fingertips?

It's a simple decision once you realize the consequences and outcomes that result from each path. The lifestyle, the power, the fame and fortune of the Sith can be intoxicating. But it doesn't last. The only way to achieve long-term success is through the ways of the Jedi.

When I was a kid, I loved playing with Legos. The real fun was never playing with the base models that Lego sent me. Once I amassed enough of the base models I would have enough blocks, enough parts to create my own ships, characters, and creations. My own world of possibilities and adventures.

My friends and I spent many hours making Star Wars ships and battling them against each other. Flying around my basement, The Phantom Menace soundtrack blasting Duel of the Fates as my fighter dodged lasers from the horde of enemy fighters trying to chase me down. My ship was kitted out and they didn’t stand a chance. I would pull a quick maneuver and fire a proton torpedo to take them out.

Duel of the Fates (Darth Maul's Theme) is the song that plays during the final lightsaber duel in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, as Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon face off against Darth Maul. This song was so popular, that it defined the theme for the rest of the prequel movies and was seen as the shining light of the series for many.

At the time, I had no idea what Duel of the Fates was really about. I was just a 7 year old star wars fanboy, imagination going wild. If it wasn't the Lego starships, it was lightsaber dueling my friends in the back yard, pretending to be the hero who saves the world.

But, the significance of this moment: Qui-Gon Jinn versus Darth Maul, cannot be understated. This duel determines the fate of the young padawan Anakin Skywalker and the fate of the universe.

If Qui-Gon wins, Anakin will become a Jedi and will not be corrupted by Palpatine to the dark side.

If Maul wins, Anakin will be helpless against the pull of the dark side. He will become Darth Vader and train in the ways of the Sith, ultimately destroying the Jedi Order.

And as they say, the rest is history.

This battle isn't just a fun scene in a movie. For many aspiring entrepreneurs, this Duel of the Fates is being fought as we speak, in the corridors of the mind.

On one hand you have the instant gratification, the fame, the flashy lifestyle. On the other, you have significance and purpose. The battle between the Sith and the Jedi.

The Sith propagate the instant gratification, millionaire mindset type of entrepreneurship focusing on money and fame and struggling. The Master achieves the money and fame. The apprentice achieves the struggling.

The Jedi propagate balance. By building relationships with your customers and challenging them to become stronger, both master and apprentice grow. Master teaches apprentice, and apprentice teaches master.

So the question is this:

Will you become a Sith, bending the world to your will and forcing transactions on your clients? Or will you become a Jedi, raising up your disciples to become stewards of the power at their fingertips?

I've written about the long-term effects of this tradeoff as it relates to your business in Minimalism for Entrepreneurs. When you focus on transactions you build a linear model that requires more hustling and effort to keep it afloat. But when you invest in relationships and build a continuity program, you can deliver a better result to you clients and methodically grow your business.

So in this article we will explore the effects on your mind through the lens of the Duel of the Fates. And the person you become based on who wins the battle.

Honesty:

The white lies told by marketers to get sales bother me. Timer spam on a prerecorded webinar, limited time offers that last for years, copying other people's headlines, and "$ecret$ for $ucce$$" plague the playbook for how to design an offer and a funnel. Because, frankly, they work.

These tactics teach prospects that business is complicated - but it can be easy if they buy your solution.

Unfortunately, these tactics contribute to the dark side in the battle for your prospect's mind. They tip the scales in favor of sensational get rich quick offers and dreams of overnight success. They force your prospects into reactionary, impulse buying.

And the cycle repeats, with your client becoming the master and training new disciples in the ways of Sith.

To be a Jedi, you must approach your prospects with honesty and integrity. Foster success by teaching them discipline and focus.

This may mean sacrificing some of the easy sales that you can get by selling to dopamine junkies, but it also means that the quality of customers that you curate will be much higher. Your customers will do the work, get better results, refer more, and stay longer.

Not only will your business be better off for it but you will be happier and more fulfilled.

Honesty trains honesty. Dishonesty trains dishonesty and disloyalty.

At this point you might be thinking that the Sith created many powerful, successful warriors. Darth Maul is a formidable opponent. So what's wrong with a few white lies?

Sith have only one apprentice at a time. They hide the fact that Anakin kills the younglings in his rage. The same is true with the sensational coaches and infomarketers. A few formidable success stories cover the graveyard that is the majority of their students.

All for the sake of power.

Power:

The Sith seek power through control over their customers and prospects.  And they will do anything to get it: Dishonesty, sensationalism, and fearmongering cultivate the struggling and hustling mindset that enslaves these prospects to their masters.

Darth Malak even went so far as to kill several Jedi in the Star Forge in order to capture their power for himself. This is not far from how opportunistic business coaches manipulate your dreams to tap your energy and your wallets to fuel the expansion of their empires.

The Jedi seek influence through respect. Their power is sourced through the strength of their relationships with their customers. You see this in some communities online, where customers will defend the honor of their teachers in forums and social media debates.

Influence is forged through respect. True leadership comes from mutual respect. Fake leadership, fake influence is born out of fear and scarcity.

Fear:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.” — Yoda

Let's talk about competition. When you follow the sensationalizing gurus, you become susceptible to competition. You follow a preset content calendar, you "model" other people's videos and infographics for your content. You never have an original, interesting thought in your life. And this leaves you looking the same as every other average joe in your market. Fear of failure leads to anger and frustration when you see others around you getting clients. "How is he doing it?!" "How can she sell weight loss when she looks like that?" These thoughts poison you. (Don't kid yourself. We've all had these thoughts.)

So you avoid competition. You block people in your industry. You become secretive and paranoid.

And it's pretty straight forward from here: Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. And ultimately, your business fails and your life crumbles.

The truth is this: everyone in your industry is working collectively to increase the awareness and desire for the solutions and the lifestyle that you can help them achieve. When your "competition" succeeds, it increases the total size of your industry and the number of potential people who will want to work with you.

And so the Jedi way is to suffocate fear with faith. Faith in yourself. Your ability to lead your tribe.  Your ability to create interesting and engaging content. A true Jedi knows that he or she cannot be copied. Maybe someone can rip off an idea or two but no competitor can keep up with the consistent, unique output of a fully operational Star Forge.

And so faith gives you reassurance. Calm. Peace. It gives you the mental space to continue taking one step forward each day without worrying about what others are doing or feeling guilty for not hustling.

Anxiety and Neediness:

As a Sith, you're desperately trying to keep up with the Joneses, doing anything in your power to not be the next one on the chopping block. Stress and anxiety are high. You have to struggle and hustle 24/7 in order to keep up.

You practically beg prospects to sign up. You give away all your best info for free. you engage in pointless chest pounding and virtue signaling on social media. And the more aggressively you pursue clients, the faster they flee from you. The only person you fool is yourself. No amount of ego can mask the scent of desperation, no matter how deep you hide it.

The Jedi is patient and calm, attracting clients to him. No energy is wasted. No movement is unintentional. This patience exudes self-confidence and self-leadership.

You see this in the Duel of the Fates. Darth Maul waves his lightsaber around as if to taunt Obi-Wan, his confidence and ego sweating out of his pores. He expends energy with unnecessary flips and kicks. He paces back and forth like a dog on a leash. But Obi-Wan meditates. His breath, his emotions are controlled, waiting patiently for the forcefield to drop.

And Obi-Wan is the survivor. He lives to fight another battle.

Anxiety is a choice. So is patience. Focus. Happiness.

Anakin was too young to have a say in his fate. It was decided by the warriors fighting on his behalf. And so it is for the chosen one.

But you have a choice. If you feed the dark side by scrolling your Instagram feed and daydreaming about becoming an overnight success, the Sith will become stronger, overpowering the Jedi. You will become anxious, paranoid, and funnel all your dollars and energy into making your master's platform bigger.

But if you focus on the essentials, ignore the tactics and tricks, and invest in your own health and happiness instead of hustling all the time, the Jedi within you will become stronger.

You will find a sense of peace, happiness, and purpose in serving the next generation of leaders who will carry your banner by your side for years to come.

It's as simple as choosing which path you will follow, and ignoring everything else.

May the force be with you.

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