Advisor Breakdown: Yoda


Great Advisor Yoda is...?

Through a very informal poll, when the Flerish team got together to discuss who or what an Advisor was, one name kept coming up—Yoda.

Since appearing in The Empire Strikes Back in 1981, Yoda's become synonymous with mentorship and training. He’s almost universally admired as a bastion of wisdom and guidance, but is it a deserved reputation? 

With that said, we wanted to dive deeper into Yoda, and how he rates as an Advisor (and justify the hours of "research" aka watching the original trilogy, during office hours.) So, we’d like to introduce our newest series of blog posts, the Advisor Breakdown, where we break down well-known Advisor/Advisee relationships in pop culture and evaluate if the Advisor really did help the Advisee achieve success.

The answer might surprise you.

Yoda: The Background

Luke Skywalker, a one-time mopey farm boy from Tatooine, was told to go to Dagobah by a vision of his dead mentor Obi-Wan, and find Yoda. A story as old as time.

In Flerish-speak, Luke had reached the end of the road with his previous Advisor and was recommended one who could help him continue on his journey (the previous Advisor’s sudden unavailability was due to an unfortunate workplace conflict with another one-time Advisee that ended poorly. Ed Note: We recommend thoroughly vetting all Advisees to the best of your ability, and not entering into public lightsaber battles with them on a floating Death Star. Bad things tend to happen with this sequence of events. Your results may vary with this advice. )

Obviously, getting a referral for an Advisor is a great way to find someone who can work with you, and help you along your path—although it's best if that recommendation is given by someone with a physical presence.

Yoda: The Introduction

Luke high-tails it to Dagobah and makes a mess of his landing. He immediately sinks his ship in a Dagobah-ian swamp and proceeds to argue with a local weirdo, who starts rummaging through Luke's salvaged kit for food immediately upon encountering Luke. Luke's having a bad day, and not knowing who the local oddball is, Luke takes it out on him...only to find out that it’s Yoda. Hey, it happens!

Ed Note: Prior to meeting an Advisor for the first time, we recommend doing your due diligence to understand what your Advisor looks like. As a general rule of thumb, if you encounter a short, weird-looking green alien that is rummaging through your things, we encourage you to go with it.

Yoda: Initial Conflict

Yoda, for several reasons, didn’t get the memo that Luke was who he was. So he reacts how we all would, and loudly communicates to the still-dead Obi-Wan that Luke wasn’t ready for Yoda's guidance.

This is where the communication started to break down (everything else leading up to this point was completely normal, obviously.) Obi-Wan, in his referral, should have clearly communicated why Luke was being sent to Yoda. Luke should have been on better behavior since he was going to Yoda's home turf. Luke also should maybe not have sunk his plane in a swamp, which for all he knew, could have been Yoda's front yard. Finally, Yoda should have properly set expectations with Luke from the get-go.

Ed Note: As a Los Angeles-based company, we know traffic and the horrors of finding a parking space. Flerish ALWAYS encourages you to ask about the parking situation for a Meeting BEFORE you go there. Crashing your vehicle before you meet your Advisor will not only make you late but most likely make a bad impression. This advice goes double if your vehicle is an X-wing.

From a cinematic standpoint, obviously the tension propels the story along; but in a working, healthy Advisor/Advisee relationship, tension and misunderstandings should be few and far between.

Since Luke was the junior, and Yoda was supposedly a Jedi Master(not to mention about 800-years old, which should hopefully come with a little more patience) it basically falls on Yoda (the Advisor) to set healthy expectations and boundaries ...and not, perhaps, steal anyone else’s food.

This should have been the first example Yoda set for Luke on how to behave properly and professionally.

Yoda: The Lessons

Yoda got over his initial problems with Luke and decided to teach him the ways of the Force, which involved some weird lessons Luke had to be taught but was not allowed to question.

Look, Yoda for all his wisdom and idiosyncratic speech patterns is not big on communication. His lessons, while undoubtedly geared towards mastering the Force, are never given an explanation as to why they help Luke. Luke isn’t in the wrong to ask why he’s balancing upside-down on one hand, while Yoda stands on top of one of Luke’s legs, and Luke has to levitate objects with his mind—it’s a weird ask. Surely if you were in a similar position, you’d ask why, too.

For every pearl of wisdom that Yoda drops, like “Try not. Do or do not, there is no try” there’s an “If you end your training now — if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did — you will become an agent of evil.”

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! He threatens Luke with absolute destruction if Luke doesn’t ALWAYS heed his words, not to mention he withholds some pretty key details for reasons—hello identity of long-lost family members. 

That doesn’t seem like a particularly healthy relationship, especially if Yoda is willfully withholding facts that would give Luke more information from which to operate with. Also, for whatever reason, Yoda could have levitated Luke's ship out of the swamp on the first day he met him but didn't until much later. Can you imagine the smell after that amount of time?

Yoda: The Outcome for Luke

Ok, spoiler alert: Luke doesn’t heed Yoda’s above caution to stay on Dagobah and do the next weird thing Yoda has him do (we somehow think this was all leading up to Yoda having Luke build an addition on to Yoda's hut, or something...) So Luke leaves because the Force told him his friends are in danger.

Furthermore, it’s unclear if any of Yoda’s teachings actually helped Luke. As far as we know, Luke only returns to say goodbye to Yoda when Yoda is on his deathbed (in the next movie, of course.)Yet we all celebrate Yoda as the pinnacle of mentorship. Why!?

Undoubtedly some of Yoda’s teachings stuck with Luke (because he can control minds in the next movie) and others flagrantly disregarded (we never again see Luke balancing upside-down levitating things with his mind, again, which is a loss for us all.)

Clearly Luke left in the middle of Yoda’s curriculum, so it’s hard to gauge if this was Yoda’s plan, or Luke subsequently subsisted solely on dumb luck. 

Yoda, Improvement You Need

From a cinematic standpoint, Yoda is still top notch, and we love him—but reviewing his actions in this blog has made us seriously reconsider whether we want his name synonymous with being an Advisor. Yes, he was able to lift the X-Wing out of the swamp using the power of the Force, but that doesn’t make up for the lack of communication, unorthodox activities that could not be questioned, and the willful withholding of extremely personal and pertinent information from Luke.

Our Assessment: Improvement, he needs. Healthy communication he must have.

Disagree? Have your own thoughts? Let us know!