Today’s blog post is the first in a monthly series that I plan to post for the rest of 2012. I hope all the readers of this blog find as much inspiration, value, & encouragement in these as I plan there to be 🙂
July’s movie recommendation from the vault for eagles ( eagles soar = leaders ) & rascals ( those climbers who strive to be part of the 5-10% riding the success curve of LIFE ) is 2006’s 6th & final movie in the series which in the mid ’70s, ‘Rocky Balboa‘
There are many other detailed reviews of this inspirational, heart warming, & edifying movie out there online, so my review is limited in scope to discussing how Stallone’s script ties in with growing personally, proactive change, service to others, dreaming big, and turning rejection into energy (fuel from critics & skeptics).
Stallone’s Rocky is in his mid to late 50’s, with the movie set 15+ years after ‘Rocky V‘ & 20+ years after ‘Rocky IV‘ – it seems clear that there was expectation that Balboa would ever again fight in the ring, show raw courage & determination, or chase down any more dreams. However, in a chance encounter with a lady, Marie, whom he hadn’t seen since they were kids, her son (Steps), and through his restaurant’s community, his life would end up taking an unexpected turn towards being a leader once again.
While at the restaurant, Paulie, his brother-in-law, came in one night & said that he wanted to watch a “cartoon” fight before going into his job for the night. Turns out, this fight was between Mason ‘the Line’ Dixon, current heavyweight champion, and a younger version of Rocky from his championship prime when Mickey was still alive/his manager. Rocky wins the simulated fight!
This leads to a real fight, a “glorified sparring session/exhibition”, eventually being scheduled in Las Vegas. Before he agreed to do so, his passionate speech to the PA State Athletic Commission + a talk with Marie, convinced him that it was his passion rekindled & his legacy reborn, to get back in the ring one final time.
What does this movie teach us about positive/self growth, personal development, dreaming, & servant leadership? Plenty! Let us count the ways …
1. Positive change begins with your own personal example. Rocky modeled this to his son, who had gotten ‘lost’ in the mass media/consumerist world of living for the weekend and not for something greater than oneself.
2. Self growth and personal development do not move in direct proportion to age. As Marie said in a memorable line, ‘The last thing to age on somebody is their heart.’ – if you change your thinking, you can change your life.
3. Dreaming big is crucially important and has priceless value regardless of your age, gender, economic background/history, geography, or any other measure.
4. The ‘American way’ and the ‘American dream’ are completely divergent paths. Rocky’s son, Robert, was on the former, and Rocky, having re-discovered his passion, began to again live the latter, as he had in his past.
5. Servant leadership is putting others ahead of yourself, excellence before ego, & service before self. Rocky served his son by challenging him head on with that gold medal talk in the street; he served Marie’s son, Steps, by becoming his mentor; he served Marie by offering her a better life through his job offer to come work for him; he served his customers/community in his restaurant; and, he served Spider by giving back to him years & years after their fight by offering him food and shelter.
In short, without spoiling this excellent movie by saying any more about the plot, script details, or its well rounded characters, I post this blog in the hopes that this movie’s sterling example will inspire even one person in the blogosphere to watch/re-watch it, and be inspired to step out, detect their purpose/passion, build a legacy that outlives him/her, and dreams great dreams.