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By Robbie Hyman on September 25, 2015 in Leadership
Sometimes profound, life-changing insights come from unexpected places.
Case in point: Listen to how one of the real-life heroes who helped to thwart a machine-gun massacre aboard a French train explained how he mustered the courage to confront the armed assailant: “Once you start moving, you’re not afraid anymore,” he said.
What a great motto for all of life.
And here’s another example, from an equally unexpected source: You can learn a lot about courage, perseverance and setting achievable goals… from the movie Rudy.
The 1993 film tells the story of real-life Notre Dame football player Daniel Ruettiger (“Rudy”), a short, slightly built young man whose dream in life was to play football for the famed Fighting Irish.
You can find the best summary of the movie and some of its most valuable life lessons in the Roger Ebert review, which opens with a shortened version of perhaps the film’s most inspiring quote:
You’re 5-feet nothing, 100 and nothing, and you’ve got hardly a spec of athletic ability — and you hung in with the best college football team in the land, for 2 years!
What made Rudy so special? And what makes this film such a great example of how to live? Two things.
Fight relentlessly for what you want — naysayers be damned
Rudy was not “supposed to” play football, not according to anyone in his life — even his own family, who knew how much it meant to him.
As that quote above illustrates, Rudy wasn’t built like an athlete, and he didn’t have any natural skills to compensate for it, either.
All he had was an all-consuming drive to be a part of the Notre Dame football team — and the courage to suit up for practice day after day and serve, essentially, as a human tackling dummy for his teammates.
His family mocked him for it. They told him the whole idea was crazy, and that he should just come home and work at the steel mill. But Rudy pressed on.
And at first, some of his teammates mocked him for it, and suggested he quit or risk getting killed in practice. But Rudy’s answer — “If I cool it, I won’t be helping you guys get ready for the next week’s games. Got it?” — began the process of wining their respect and admiration.
Rudy knew what he wanted. He didn’t need the approval of anyone else. Neither do you.
Set achievable goals — and work like hell toward them
As Roger Ebert perceptively notes in his movie review, Rudy wasn’t crazy. He had no dreams of being a star player.
All Rudy hoped for, as Ebert explains, was “to wear the uniform and get on the field for one play during the regular season, and get his name in the tiniest print in the school archives.”
Rudy was never going to be a starting member of the Notre Dame football team. He understood that. But he did find an achievable goal based on that dream: the chance to suit up with the team for one game and get on the field just once, so he could forever say he was a Notre Dame football player.
And once he’d set that goal, Rudy did the hard work of earning it, putting himself through years of punishing practices — which truly helped his teammates and made a massive contribution to team morale.
Indeed, when the head coach decided just before the final game not to let Rudy suit up with the team — his last chance to do so — every one of his teammates brought their jersey to the coach’s office and demanded Rudy suit up in their place.
For every pie-in-the-sky fantasy we have, there’s a realistic, attainable version of that dream. Work toward that.
But first, watch Rudy.
© 2018 Robbie Hyman. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Robbie Hyman.
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The movie Rudy is about a person named Rudy who wants to play football for the Notre-Dame Irish. Rudy has been told his entire life that he wasn't good enough, he was too small and that his goals will never come true. He dreams of playing on the team but since his marks aren't high enough his teacher didn't let him apply for the school. There are three main aspects about Rudy that helps him get into Notre-Dame and its football team, his decision making, goal setting and values.
Rudy's decisions were well thought out, letting him work his way into Notre-Dame. After Rudy graduated from high school he went to work at a mill with his father. In an accident at a mill his best friend Pete died in an explosion and after this explosion he went to a priest. The priest told him that his marks need to be very good for him to get into Notre-Dame and suggested that he go to Holy Cross till he can get his marks up high enough.
When he started studying at Holy Cross he met someone who was willing to be his tutor. From him he found out Rudy suffered from dyslexia, a learning disorder which made it hard for him to recognize and comprehend written words. Finally after 3 semesters Rudy got into Notre-Dame and was accepted into the football team because of how he played, giving it his all and trying harder than most. Rudy didn't get dressed to play in a football game for about 2 years, then finally all the other players appealed on his behalf to the coach and he was finally got to play a game. Near the end of the game the players started to chant "Rudy" because he wasn't...