As an assignment this past week we were asked to watch one of 4 movie choices and look for the 4 necessary components that make up the admirable habit of persistence. The movie I chose was “Cool Runnings”. Though I had seen it many years before, I had forgotten what a fun, inspiring film it was – a definite example of the hero’s journey. I was coming from a different perspective this time, being recently enlightened of the fact that persistence is a HABIT that must be developed (rather than a quality that some people simply possess). The habit of persistence consists of the following 4 smaller habits, which were easy to identify in the film:
Definite Major Purpose (DMP) backed by a burning desire
Positive Mental Attitude
Detailed Plan of Action
Cool Runnings is the inspiring story of Derice Bannock, a Jamaican runner who has a burning desire to compete in the Olympics as his father did. When his chances of qualifying for Jamaica’s track team are dashed in the trials, he and his islander friends attempt to form a bobsled team. His persistence is demonstrated over and over in this movie as he runs into obstacle after obstacle to achieving his goal. Initially he has to convince every one of his potential team mates, which is not an easy job. Everyone thinks he’s crazy, but he is eternally committed to his vision, his positive mental attitude is unwavering and they find inspiration in his determination. – so one by one they decide to join him. Then he must convince a local bookie and washed-up former Olympic gold-medal winning coach, played by John Candy. This also takes some real effort but in the end, the team of unlikely islanders succeed in helping him see the vision and so the training begins. The team and coach face many more obstacles, as they have no money yet band together and raise the necessary funds, get to Calgary, qualify in trials and become Jamaica’s first bobsled team in history. Shunned and ridiculed by their fellow bobsled competitors in Calgary, they continue to meet challenges as a team, as well as each person individually. Their coach helps them form a very detailed plan of action to initially qualify, and ultimately become medal contenders.
The movie draws you in as their relationships grow, their mutual goal deepens and the desire burns in all of them. They have formed the perfect Mastermind Alliance – 5 people working in perfect harmony towards a definiteness of purpose. As the world watches and doubts about this unlikely team increases, we watch them ultimately prevail and inspire the world in their final fun down the track. What starts at a perfect run and record time appears to end in disaster as the bobsled crashes near the end of the course and the 4 teammates lie battered and still on the track. After moments of silence, one by one the four get up, pick up their sled and carry it over their heads over the finish line. The inspired crowd watches in awe and gives them overwhelming applause and support, including their most vehement competitors. They ultimately reached beyond their goal, earning the respect of their peers and the world, and became national heros. Side note: they also went on to complete in the Olympics 4 years later.
Such a fantastic story of the hero’s journey. Derice’s goal was steadfast, clear, charged with emotion. He visualized it every day and worked tirelessly toward his goal. He would not accept defeat, just found a way around. And through persistence, he was triumphant.