Movies—and a variety of other art forms—are powerful platforms for promoting (or discouraging) a myriad of principles, beliefs, habits, lifestyles, etc. In today's blog post, I discuss THREE (3) of my favorite movies, and the ways in which they have inspired me toward higher levels of Self-Action Leadership and life management.
Nearly 20 years ago, I worked with a leader and supervisor who was well aware of the difficulties I faced with OCD. In fact, he even referred me to a counselor who proved very helpful during the time I served under his tutelage. When our working relationship came to an end, this man said something very interesting to me that I'll never forget.
He said: "You know, Jordan, OCD hasn't been all bad for you."
I knew instantly what he was talking about. While my OCD symptoms caused me a great deal of anxiety, stress, grief, and social unease (for me and others), they also contributed to my capacity for focus, hard work, achieving targeted objectives, and remaining faithfully dedicated to whatever I set out to do. My Supervisor greatly appreciated the positive "symptoms" of my OCD-oriented personality because it helped him accomplish his goals as well.
Fortunately, I have come a long way when it comes to managing my symptoms of OCD and its accompanying comorbid depression. In fact, after 23 years of personal hard work combined with the help of counselors, psychiatrists, family members, and others, I would estimate that I only suffer about 10% of the negative symptoms I had to endure 20 years ago, and my life is infinitely better as a result! Even better, the habits I developed for focus, hard work, goal setting, and devotion to duty have remained with me, and are sharper and more balanced than ever before.
So... what does this have to do with my THREE (3) favorite movies? Good question!
One of my positive "obsessions" in life is a productive fixation I have on drawing out "life lessons" and "character development strategies" from virtually everything I see or experience.
This includes MOVIES!
As such, it probably won't surprise you that my THREE (3) favorite movies all involve "life lessons" and "character development strategies." I love movies that fill my mind with ideas on how I can be a better and more capable and caring person. I adore cinema that captures historical periods worth studying. And I savor shows that inspire thoughts, words, and deeds that contribute meaningfully to other people and make the world a better place.
Interestingly enough, my THREE (3) favorite movies are all directed by the same director—Kevin Reynolds. I do not personally know Kevin. Nor do I know anything about his upbringing or personal history. But I greatly admire three of his greatest and most successful film projects, as follows:
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1990)
The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
I saw the first of these three films—Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves—when I was just 11 years old and in fifth grade. Never before (or since) has a single film had more of an impact on me and my life.
As a teenager, this film influenced me in a different way. As a 14-year old, I dedicated my 8th grade science project to measuring the potential and kinetic energy of an arrow's flight. Later on, at age 18, I directed 17 of my friends in planning a Robin-Hood themed group date on land my Dad owned. I did it all to impress one girl in particular. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) she wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped she might be. But boy did my friends and I have FUN planning and executing that DATE!
(Pictured above is "Robin Hood" (JJ) in his "Lincoln Green" the night of the Robin Hood Date: August 1, 1998)
(Pictured above is "Will Scarlet" (AT) in his scarlet garb delivering invitations on horseback with "Robin Hood" (JJ) a week or so before the big date)
As an adult, I spend less time pretending to actually be Robin Hood than I did when I was 11 or 18. However, many of the lessons I learned from that film still reverberate powerfully and meaningfully in my mind, heart, and soul. In fact, you might say that in many ways I still strive to model a Robin Hood character as a leader and entrepreneur.
You have probably experienced seeing yourself in a movie character. I have always seen myself in Kevin Costner's portrayal of Robin Hood back in 1990. It didn't matter to me that Costner didn't use a British accent or that his performance may have been panned by some critics. After all, Theodore Roosevelt rightly taught that it is not the critic who counts; it is the person who is actually in the arena who counts. Thus, I don't care much about what movie critics have to say. I make my own judgments on a show's value.
The screenplay of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was written by Pen Densham and John Watson. I don't know Pen or John, nor am I familiar with what the critics had to say about their work. But in my opinion, it was masterful—almost perfect. Perhaps this is because my favorite lines from the script are often pregnant with life lessons and other character development gold, such as:
"There are no perfect men in this world; only perfect intentions."
"One man defending his home is worth more than ten hired soldiers."
— Robin Hood to his Merry Men
"Do you want to be free? Then we must stop fighting amongst ourselves and face the fact that the price for it may be dear!"
— Robin Hood to his Merry Men
"Nobility is not a birthright; it is determined by one's actions."
— Robin to Marian
"I would die for you."
— Robin to Marian
Of the many character attributes highlighted in the film—such as: loyalty, patriotism, leadership, love, devotion, service, friendship, hard work, discipline, and daring—it is perhaps its exhibition of COURAGE that sticks out most prominently. I have always admired the attribute of courage—and people who act courageously in their lives and careers.
Tune in next Wednesday, October 7th, to learn why Dr. JJ LOVES The Count of Monte Cristo and the life lessons it teaches.