The other day I was having a conversation with a friend. We were talking about famous or significant people. I mentioned one quote that has inspired me has been “Till all are one” said by Optimus Prime in Transformers. She was a bit baffled that I mentioned a fictitious character inspired me. I started thinking about it and realized there are so many fictional characters who have shaped my life in such a positive way. Are they real? No, but they have taught me so much about my principles and how I want to live my life. It is too difficult for me to rank them so I will just mention the top five in no particular order.
I can’t not start with Master Yoda. As a child I was a bit scared of the Jedi Master from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi; probably because I (then) recently watched Gremlins and was a bit traumatized by that. One of the scenes I vividly remember is in Empire when Yoda is training Luke. Luke says “I’ll try” and Yoda quickly corrects him: “No! Do, or do not. There is no try.”
This is a very Nike-esque “Just Do It” mentality that I’ve always held on to. Either do something, or don’t do it. Trying is just half-assing it. It is simple as that. This famous quote is something I always keep in mind even today, when I decided to quit my job and form my own company, or decided to book a one-way flight to travel to Europe. I am forever in debt to Master Yoda and he has taught me so many lessons.
“Do, or do not. There is no try.”
I was born in 1983 so remember watching the later seasons of Transformers: G1 as a child. I definitely remember watching the animated movie when it came out. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots, and is often portrait of having a strong sense of justice and righteousness, putting himself before everyone; a great leader and protector. Though he wasn’t my favorite transformer (I like Grimlock, Soundwave, Vortex, and Metroplex), Optimus was a person I really looked up to—as someone would to a respected teacher.
We can’t stand by and watch the destruction of this beautiful planet.
There is so much I can say about my relationship with Batman, from reading the DC comics, the TIm Burton movies, the animated series, and now the Nolan masterpiece. Batman has always been a character I really connected with; the idea of becoming a symbol to do something great for the good of your city. On the flip side of that, I feel like I have personally struggled with some relationships because of this burden I put on myself. This is something I’ve learned from Bruce Wayne as well; the balance of obligation and personal joys.
“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I DO that defines me.”
I know what you’re thinking…two Star Wars characters on the same list? Sorry, I can’t help it. I actually saw Return of the Jedi before any movie and always wondered “Who is that green guy who doesn’t say anything and stand there like a bad ass?” Because of seeing Jedi before Empire, I never knew he even talked. When I finally saw Empire, I was fascinated by the simplicity of Fett. He never talked, only took action. I always laugh when they freeze Han Solo and Boba Fett actually was about to shoot Chewbacca until Darth Vader stops him. I also love how he doesn’t take any shit from anyone, including Vader. When I co-founded Xhatch, I looked towards inspiration for how we wanted to operate and run…Boba Fett was one of the characters on our mood board.
“I’m done. When do I get paid?”
If I was ever a father I would want to be like Atticus Finch. Atticus is the father of the protagonist in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird. What I learned most from him was to really stand up for your principles, understand context through other people’s perspectives and stand up for what you believe in.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
- Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Gandolf, Lord of the Rings
- Ender, Ender’s Game
- Jack Ryan, Tom Clancy Novels
- Rocky Balboa
How about you?
I’d love to know some characters who have inspired you as a person, and why. Leave a comment!