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2 Lessons in the Movie Rudy that Can Change Your Life

2 Lessons in the Movie Rudy that Can Change Your Life

Sometimes profound, life-changing insights come from unexpected places.

For example, 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 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.

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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.

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1. 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.

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And at first, several 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.

2. 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, or even starting.

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.”

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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.

Featured photo credit: Creative Commons License via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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