Once in awhile, a film comes along that opens your eyes in powerful ways. For me, the most recent movie to do this was “Cinderella Man.” If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ll give a quick overview without giving away anything important to the story line.
James J. Braddock was a boxer in the 1920’s and 1930’s, during the Great Depression. With employment opportunities so limited during that era, boxing was the primary means for Mr. Braddock to provide for his wife and three children. But even that was touch and go, and he had several difficult years just struggling to survive.
After a streak of bad luck, he was given a second chance to make a comeback, and he took full advantage of it, fighting with all he had. Yet, he still had moments when he faltered, when his confidence was threatened, and he had to remember exactly what he was fighting for.
During one poignant scene in the film, Braddock took a hard punch in the head and he was stunned for a few seconds. His strength began to wane, and he was on the verge of surrendering to his opponent — when suddenly he saw images in his mind of his wife and children going hungry, having no money to pay the bills, and he knew that losing wasn’t an option. He gathered his strength and will, and won the fight.
Later, during a press conference, a reporter asked him what changed his streak of bad luck and made his comeback so strong. James said softly, “This time I know what I’m fighting for.” When the reporter inquired about what that was, James said, “milk.” His family’s survival was a powerful motivator for him, as it would be for most of us.
This movie was incredibly inspiring for many reasons, but one major thing kept jumping out at me, and that’s the importance of having something worth fighting for. Isn’t it true that a certain level of comfort breeds complacency, while hardship ignites a fighting spirit?
Most of us are not fighting against a live opponent in the ring or economic depression. But our battles are still very real. The problem is that our opponents are less visible than Braddock’s were. Instead of a man with boxing gloves, we fight against our fear, our doubts, our temptation to give up when it gets too hard. But if we have a strong goal in mind, something that’s vitally important to us, we will continue to fight for it. Giving up is simply not an option.
Think about the goals you’ve had in the past – the ones you didn’t achieve. Be honest with yourself about why you didn’t achieve them. Did you give up because you thought the battle was hopeless, or were those goals just not important enough to you?
I know that some of you still hold your unrealized dreams close to your heart. You haven’t totally given up on them, but you’re no longer actively working toward them. All I want to ask you is: are they worth fighting for? Even if the fight takes months, years, decades?
If you can answer yes to that question, I urge you to take up the battle again. Don’t worry about “how” you’ll achieve your goals, no matter how impossible they may seem. Just lace up those gloves and dance into the ring, letting your determination glow hot and bright. It just might be the key that unlocks the door to the future you dream of.
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