The Last Starfighter


When you’re a restless teen living with your single mom and annoying little brother in a podunk trailer park in the middle of nowhere, it’s hard to greet each new day with feelings of optimism and unmixed delight. For Alex Rogan, a vintage arcade game represents the only escape from tedium. To that end – and much to the raised eyebrows of those around him – Alex has made the interstellar battle game his obsession. He knows nothing about the game’s inventor nor does he know anything about the players that came before him except for the high scores they racked up, scores which Alex is determined to beat.  Yet on the fateful evening when he finally achieves this goal, there’s a sense of bittersweet, short-lived jubilation. Okay, so now what? Once you’ve grabbed that coveted brass ring, what are you supposed to do with yourself?

In the case of Alex, the answer literally comes from out of this world. The game, it turns out, has been a proving ground to identify the most accomplished starfighter who will be up to the task of defending a galaxy far, far away that’s in jeopardy. Although he initially rejects this “honor” on the excuse that it’s not really his problem to solve, Alex soon realizes he has already passed a point of no return. For as zealously as he had committed to be the best of the best, what meaning does it really have if he’s not equally committed to now put those skill sets to their highest possible use?

The Last Starfighter (1984) may not spring to mind as an object lesson for today’s business owners but there’s actually a lot to be learned about embracing a competitive mindset, especially if you’re a sole proprietor. If day after day you sit in your home office or your one-person shop and focus on strategies to be successful, how different are you from the insularity of Alex playing the arcade game? You know you have competitors out there and maybe you even know how well they’re scoring compared to you because you’re probably reading about them or listening to what others have to say. At the same time, you’re also competing with yourself and striving to make each day more profitable than the one before. If, for instance, you made 10 sales by the close of business this afternoon, life will be that much sweeter if you can make 20 sales this time tomorrow.  Maybe you set your benchmarks of growth on a monthly or yearly basis or even go so far as to identify a specific number (i.e., $500,000 net) as a measure of ultimate achievement.

Like Alex Rogan, though, what are you going to do after that?

Too often, we can become so settled by disappointments, failures and setbacks that when success beyond our wildest dreams actually shows up, we’re thrown for a loop on how to deal with it and immediately make excuses that we’re just not ready. As 2014 draws to a close and you start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions, the one at the top of the list should be the unabashed acceptance of staying the course, persistently pushing yourself toward betterment each day, and knowing that every goal you reach is not only hard-won but well deserved.

Now go collect your starfighter wits and get a good night’s sleep; your ride will be here before you know it.


Here’s this month’s line-up of guest blogs:

Do You Run Out of Clients? – by Anthony Kirlew

Office Perks That Will Actually Bring In Returns – by Fred Schebesta

Influential Speakers Create Influential Opportunities – by Chris Picone