Get Inspired: Silence Your Cell Phone

Dr. Purushothaman
December 17, 2013


Watch Out For Rants, But Movies Can Really Inspire

We're blessed to be able to spend some of the winter in our second home in California, and here, it's time for the Palm Springs Film Festival. There are few indoor activities as fun as watching movies (I didn't say there were none), and we often think of early January as "cinema season." And for those seeking inspiration, the movie theater may be just the place.

These days, it's a sad fact (to my way of thinking) that the terms "Hollywood" and "liberal" are often mentioned almost synonymously; certainly, the entertainment industry - from the TV in every home to the big screen at the theater - has been overrun by people who insist on embedding left-leaning messages in almost every show we watch. They pepper "Avatar" with global-warming alarmism... They use the bad guys in "The Sum Of All Fears" to continue pushing the popular myth that "Naziism" is "right-wing"... they teach young adults to expect a roommate-based society (and economy), even as professionals, in "Just Go With It." So you have to balance your mental diet (with things like books and internet research) to ensure your values are strong enough to look past the embedded propaganda. But if you can do that, thanks to the eternal human love for a good story (and the commercial demand that love creates), you can still find great inspiration at the movie house.

Even in the most blatantly-liberal movies, you can find something to appreciate. Who doesn't love the amazing effects in "Avatar?" "The Sum Of All Fears" is a gripping roller-coaster-ride of tension and action, and the love stories in "Just Go With It" (as well as some of the performances) can lift your spirits. The fact is, there's an Entrepreneur and a Victim inside each of us, as I've said and written many times... and you'll be dominated by whichever side of your nature you feed most. In every movie, your inner Victim will find nourishment (if you let it)... but so will your inner Entrepreneur.

We saw two movies yesterday that both offered a feast of inspiration for my inner Entrepreneur. Because such a feast is out there, available for the ("How much? Really?" ) price of a theater admission, I certainly recommend looking for inspiration at the movies. My clients, many of whom are striving to become more inspirational as leaders, could take a good lesson from many of the stories you'll find on the big screen.

I loved the inspiring story in "We Bought A Zoo." Matt Damon plays a widower and father of two, and his family needs a new start. As the story suggests, they buy a zoo, and Damon's character has to learn what all business owners have to learn: how to perservere with courage when times are tough. The movie is mostly about the relationships; it's almost an afterthought that Damon's character, a guy who's always been a newspaper writer, has suddenly made the huge decision to own a business. But since that's a major part of the wonderful story, it can't be hidden or deleted, and it's there for the nourishment of your inner Entrepreneur.

And "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" is a wonderful example of teamwork. I won't spoil it for you, but the themes of courage and risk-taking are huge in that flick, and your inner Entrepreneur will love it. Be advised, this one's a LOT more violent than "Zoo," as you'd expect... but it's a good movie wherein you can find inspiration.

So get to the theater this winter, and don't leave until you find something inspiring. Talk to your date or buddy about the themes you saw, and how they affected you. It's an election year, and a lot of what you'll see in the real-world of infotainment will depress you, and seek to draw out your inner Victim. You need all the inspiration you can get, even if it costs you twelve bucks a ticket and forces you to turn off that dang cell phone for a couple hours.

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