Tuesday, August 21, 2012


(Thanks for the inspiration Julie!)

If you have not seen the newest/latest/last Batman movie, than this post may not make much sense to you.  I assume you have.

The movie deals with a lot of complex emotional issues, but in this post I want to focus on a central message and a great takeaway from the film.

Assuming you saw it, you know that an ill-prepared Batman returns from seclusion and faces Bane, an opponent he cannot defeat through physical strength or fighting ability alone.  Bane tells Batman he will "break him" and does so literally, dropping him onto his knee in WWF fashion.

He casts Batman into the same prison he arose from, to force Batman to watch as he destroys Gotham City.
This prison is said to be inescapable, and batman has a dislocated vertebra in his back to boot - not a very optimistic situation.

I like the plot, since it sets up a very important lesson.
As Batman is bedridden in agony, facing a TV which shows the news of how Bane is tearing Gotham apart, he must face and overcome the first of his fears ---  the paralysis of inaction.
Bruce Wayne must overcome the inertia of inaction and refuse to give up.  He is crippled, and the chance of recovery is slim.  It would be far easier to accept his defeat and let go of any chance to save Gotham.
Instead, he summons up his courage and tries to stand and walk.  The other prisoners, recognizing his courage, fix his back.  He begins to train and redevelop his willpower to escape and make the climb out.

Bruce Wayne: I do fear death. I fear dying in here while my city burns.
Blind Prisoner: Then make the climb.
Bruce Wayne: How?
Blind Prisoner: As the child did. Without the rope. Then fear will find you again

What is important here is that Bruce accepts his fear but does not give in to it or be paralyzed by it.  He realizes there is still something he can do, even  if at that moment he does not know how to escape the prison.  All too often in our training (and in our life), we are confronted by difficulty and we retreat into the "pain cave", becoming overwhelmed into paralysis by our fear, our doubt, our pain.  We forget that there is always SOMETHING you can do, as long as you are still alive.  Do not succumb to the Pain Cave.

Bruce begins to try to climb the wall to freedom, and discovers the major obstacle is a big jump.  Again and again he tries the jump and fails, dangling from the safety rope around his waist.  In desperation, he tries again.

What is important here is that ultimately Bruce cannot succeed the jump until he climbs WITHOUT THE ROPE, just as the last person to scale the wall and escape did.  This is crucial.  Unless there is a risk of failure, there can be no chance of success.  Of course it is important to be careful and prudent in our lives.  At the same time, it is also important to let go of fear and go after something with our full ability - to commit to the result when there is no safety net below us.  People who cannot take risk deny themselves the truly great victories and are often resigned to small steps forward, rather than the quantum leaps of the bold.
Of course you could fall.  However, the other key lesson here is to trust your training and trust yourself.

Bruce knew he had the willpower.  He knew he had the training.  But to finally succeed, he had to let go of any possibility of failure.  This is a very important part of goalsetting.

Overall, it is an interesting movie, with high entertainment value, but there are some good lessons also to be learned from it.  Watch it again and see what you think.


1 comment:

Julie+++ said...

This is a very well written article and I "urged" John to credit me for the inspiration:)John, you need to come to London more often and teach me Martial Arts!