There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny.” Han Solo “Episode IV: A New Hope”.

The Ultimate Lovable  Rogue

Han Solo was truly an enigma and if anything a stroke of genius by George Lucas. Solo was the real symbol of “The Hero” in the Star Wars saga, everyone else was just doing their duty. Solo did things because he thought “What the Heck, why not!”.  The name Solo described a personality that was ruggedly individual and self reliant, like a wild west cowboy. Rough around the edges but a heart of gold, someone you can depend on when “sh#t got real”, someone who is always there. Han is a character who is often overlooked as an example of an independent personality and a free thinker, he is the Lovable Rogue.

During the original trilogy we see Han Solo portrayed as a selfish and self centered mercenary become a man with some strong traditional values. Han Solo displays many qualities; he is loyal, reliable, resourceful, brave, patient, smart and compassionate. The image he puts out as being a rogue without scruples or allegiances is dismissed as he puts his own personal gain and safety at risk for others on numerous occasions. In an act of selflessness Han Solo forgives a friend who betrayed him to the Empire and got him carbon frozen. He risks his own life to save Luke Skywalker not once but twice.

That’s two you owe me, junior.” – Han Solo

The Romantic

Han Solo is a romantic and through the original trilogy we watch the on screen chemistry between the characters that continues off screen.

You have your moments. Not many of them, but you do have them.” – Princess Leia Organa “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”.

The romance that builds between Princess Leia and Han Solo reveals a character who is as sensitive and caring as he is spontaneous, obstinate and reckless. The polarity in character that exists between two strong minded individuals was what made the Leia-Solo romance so compelling and memorable.

Why, you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!” – Princess Leia Organa
Who’s scruffy-looking?” – Han Solo

The Rock

During the saga Han Solo also grows up and begins to challenge many of the prejudices and beliefs that he had. In “A New Hope” we see a character who is dismissive of the Force and inflexible in his views. Before the Battle of Yavin, Han Solo farewells Luke Skywalker and reveals a chink in his armor.

“May the Force be with you”Han Solo to Luke Skywalker on Yavin 4

Han Solo continues to defy expectations in “Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi” and wins the hand of Princess Leia. In “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” we learn he has had a son with Leia, Kylo Ren, who has fallen to the dark side. Seeking to return his son to Leia, Han Solo seeks out Kylo Ren and begs him to come home. The outcome is tragic, from Rogue Smuggler and Mercenary to loving Father Han Solo reveals his vulnerability to his insane son and is killed by him.

Han Solo reminds us that we are never rooted forever in one place. We change and our ideas and beliefs invariably evolve and change. Old ideas are cast aside and new ones are accepted before eventually being replaced as we learn from experience and gather more knowledge.

For all his obstinacy and strong will Han Solo was refreshingly open minded and often demonstrated Jedi-like virtues that were lacking in some actual Jedi. Han Solo was able to adapt quickly and fluidly and using judgement and life experience he could adjust his views without struggle. He was not encumbered with attachments despite his stated views and love of money but took a Stoic approach of keeping true to virtue and accepting what came his way. Even in his later years, Han Solo was an old dog who could easily be taught new tricks. In “The Force Awakens” Solo reveals to Rey his views on the Force and the Jedi:

I thought it was all a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, the crazy thing is that it’s true. All of it.” – Han Solo “Episode VII: The Force Awakens”

The Solo Effect

Being willing to drop our prejudices and adopt an open mind is critical for recovery. That willingness allows us to start to consider that we may have been misled or wrong and opens the way for us to make changes in our way of thinking and living. To be stubborn and inflexible in one’s life and accept only one world view or submit to dogma does not allow growth to happen. We must be willing to spread our roots out and go deep.

If you train an Oak to grow in a certain way, prune back the branches and restrict root growth it will conform to a desired shape and size that is unnatural. Place it in an open field and it will grow in to a grand old tree. That is what recovery is like, we must be willing to accept new things and new ideas and move with the flow of life, if we refuse to evolve we become stuck and we cannot move forward. Being willing is being Free to grow while at the same time letting dead wood fall off.

Be Like Han

Ask yourself today, where am I holding myself back? What is one thing I can do different today to free myself from that? Be a little like Han Solo, here are some quotes to help guide you:

“ Don’t tell me the odds” – Han Solo

Han Solo refused to let  C3PO’s grim calculations get in the way of doing what needed to get done. Don’t let others sabotage your truth: In life we meet naysayers and people who criticize the things we want to do. People tell us what we can and cannot achieve, often they are projecting their own set of self doubts on us. We can hear them out but we do not have to live our life to validate the opinions of others. If you believe in what you are doing that should be enough.

“I Love You” – Princess Leia

“I know” – Han Solo

This is a cliché but believe in yourself and never doubt that  you are worthy and deserving of love. Han Solo stuck to his convictions and he believed in his inherent abilities. Being a smuggler did not stop him from chasing his hearts desire and he got the girl.

Uh, everything’s under control. Situation normal.” – Han Solo

Even though things may not appear to be going the we way we want, we still have a choice on how to respond to it. We may not pull out a blaster and let a console have it but we can make decisions that are mindful and proactive rather than reactive. To paraphrase Epictetus, it is not the thing that upsets us but our reaction to it. As Ferdinand Foch once relayed before winning a crucial battle (The Marne Miracle) “My center is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking”. Sometimes it’s when things go to hell is when we are at our best.  Keep a cool head.

“I don’t know, Chewie… fly casual!” – Han Solo

Remember the slogan “Easy does It”. We can always do something without getting worked up about it. A boss of mine once said “busy” is subjective and “stress” is a choice, which was pertinent as he regularly worked 20 hours a day and never appeared tired or stressed, he was always calm and composed. We do it but we “do it easy”.

“Don’t get Cocky” – Han Solo

Han Solo could appear to be cocky and self assured but he had his head in the game and knew when to get serious. People that get over confident and cocky often stumble and then face a crisis of confidence. The Han Solo’s of the world play their best game and if they lose they brush themselves off and don’t let it get them down. They learn from mistakes. Han Solos are confident but never get cocky to the point of believing they are bullet proof. Being cocky in recovery is a red flag, we become so over confident of our ability to weather any storm under any conditions without ever worrying about slipping, until we do and then our world caves in. Han Solo rolled with it, he did not seem like a humble guy but in many ways he was.

Han Solo is an unlikely role model but he continues to inspire people in all walks of life. We can take a lot from the fictional character in our recovery.

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