Written by Katie Mock
There are a lot of ‘what are the traits of a Jedi’ lists. Most of them contain similar options: compassion, serenity, understanding, courage… the list goes on and on. So I thought I’d address some traits I find to be vital in a well-rounded Jedi that are often left off the traditional lists.
Confidence: A Jedi is supposed to be humble by most accounts; we don’t brag about our accomplishments, or put ourselves forward for recognition. Our goal is to serve others, not to seek glory, adventure, or excitement. None of this is incorrect; a Jedi must be mindful of their own ego and humility. However humility is not a one-size-fits-all response to success. We do a lot as Jedi: we help our communities, care for others, give money, work hard for the success of people we’ve never even met in person. We become better versions of ourselves not just for fun or because it feels good, but to prepare to help others better. But knowing that you are capable, and being confident in your demeanor and ideology is vital to a Jedi, especially to a Jedi Knight. Being able to look your peers in the eye and say “I can do this. Trust me.” or putting yourself forward as an ideal candidate for a job or task: these things are not boastful or egotistical; they are an accurate and confident portrayal of your abilities. One cannot give back to the fullest extent if one is constantly questioning or demurring your capability. Trust in your abilities so that others can trust you.
Trust: Above I spoke of confidence as trusting in yourself. But no Jedi is an island. We are individuals that are part of a wider community, working together for the same overarching goals, and we cannot accomplish anything on any sizeable scale without depending on one another. I must trust the people I work with, and, in a broader sense, trust all the Jedi I meet to have the good of the community and world at heart. I may disagree with their methods or ideas; they may even infuriate me with the way they go about their path.; I am certainly not saying one must deeply trust this or that person with everything. But we cannot move forward unless we take people’s actions and words in good faith, and pushing together towards our goals.
Intuition: There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. These are words we work hard to live by. We learn all we can and try to clear away the cobwebs of ignorance. Unfortunately we often trade our gut instincts away for intellectual surety. The truth is, there is ignorance; we are never in possession of all the facts. We cannot be omniscient. But if we trust ourselves and our guts in tandem with our knowledge and minds, we can approach each situation not just with reason, but with the passion to fuel our approach.
Passion: The code says “there is no passion”. But passion is the driving force of our species. Having something you care about deeply, something that lights a fire in your soul to share your opinions, make something, do something, be someone new and better is part of being a stable and happy human being, let alone a strong and motivated Jedi Knight. Letting your passion swamp you and transform into obsession is one thing, but to deny the fuel that makes us as Jedi burn so bright, to deny our attachment to making a better world for ourselves and others is both counterproductive and self-delusional. Be passionate and let others see the passion you have for the path and for our community, because it is what binds us together.
Vulnerability: This last one is the most important. The word ‘vulnerability’ etymologically means ‘able to be wounded’. For most people, this sounds like a terrible thing; none of us want to be hurt, and we train hard to protect ourselves and eachother from harm. But vulnerability is more than that; it’s about being courageous enough to open yourself up to the possibility of harm for the sake of knowledge, understanding, and personal transformation. We often cling so tightly to who we are and what we know because letting go of those fundamental pieces of ourselves can be deeply painful, as if they are being cut out of our selves. But fear of change and the pain that can come with it is lethal to personal growth. To improve ourselves in any way as Jedi, we must be open to possibility, willing to risk those “wounds” for the sake of becoming something more.