Things I Learned From The Movie: The Discovery

The Discovery is a 2017 British-American romantic science fiction film, directed by Charlie McDowell from a screenplay by himself and Justin Lader. It stars Rooney MaraJason SegelRobert RedfordJesse PlemonsRiley Keough, and Ron Canada.

The premise of the movie is simple, yet profound. The story was not too intricate, but is potent enough to sink those existential questions, the ones that matter most, deeper if not too deep, to keep many of us from sleeping.

The movie begins with an interviewer questions Thomas Harbor, the man who scientifically proved the existence of an afterlife, a discovery that led to an extremely high suicide rate. The interviewer asks Harbor if he feels responsible, and he says no. Directly after, a film crew member kills himself on air*.

The movie in my humble opinion breaks the commonly accepted fact of what happens to us after death. In a way, in its twisted, depressing and somber way it sheds a ray of hope, that maybe death is not that bad after all. That perhaps, as my dear friend, would normally quote, that the Dead know one thing, that it is better to be alive, is not entirely true and perhaps they truly are in a better place than we are. For all we know, maybe, Jesus really did mean it after all, when he told the dying man beside him, at the moment of death, that he was going to be with him, that day, in Paradise. I can only say #Jesusknewsomadvancedthings

The progression of the story, was slow, yet fast and dynamic in subtle ways that neither makes you anticipate but not bored or left speculating endings and it ends with perhaps the most heartbreaking and promising ways at the same time.

It took me some time to write about this–death and life, are topics that worry friends, family and those close to you. Not to mention, you would probably start receiving invitations to some wellness session from your Human Resource department. This topic, while undeniably true and inescapable, somehow had been pushed to taboo if not to the cognitive horizon. So, after a couple of months, here are a few of those things I had managed to distill as lessons from the movie.

The Beauty Of Life Lies In The Fact That It Ends

The start of the movie was slow, yet paced just right to create a crescendo that overshadowed the outcome of two of the four most interesting, if not focal characters in the movie. Will Harbor (Jason Segel) meets Isla (Rooney Mara) in a ferry ride going to an island. Same destinatioN. Same purpose. Different goal.

Will is the son of the man, who discovers, that death is not the end of all, that is it actually a destination that is perhaps, only in speculation better than this plane of existence. Unwilling to accept that his father’s Eureka moment was inspired by an experience Will had in childhood, he lives his accomplished life trying to run away from it, if not ignore it. Isla, on the other hand, is someone who had everything one wanted to hold on to and lost, who at that point, just wanted to move on to what is next.

Headed towards the same path, different roads and yet crossing to meet each other halfway, only to find themselves separated between planes of existence reminds us of one thing. That love is a germ that grows even in the coldest of hearts (a line from the X Files I shall never forget). That one of the most beautiful things in man’s life, is that it ends, that there is terminality in it. That this moment, right here and now, while it can be recreated can never happen again, that sunset, that smile, that kiss, that hug and all acts of human kindness, are but encapsulated in one moment and can never happen again.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man

Heraclitus

Our Choices Make Our Life And Our Decisions Define Death

Life never came with a manual. My dad who happens to be a pastor, will object, saying that the good book is the manual and yet none in any of the good books, can we ever find a similar manual as we would any furniture assembly instruction; nowhere do we find what we used to on new devices and gadgets and nowhere are things clearly stated enough for us to not be clueless.

Our lives are made of the decisions we make. The decisions we make are formed by our experiences, self-images, perspectives and many other things in the real of psychology and yet at times, we also know that for some reason the soul intervenes in these choices. Like those moments, that neither reason nor logic can explain only our gut.

So our lives are then made of choices to be made and our decisions are those that define it. As we make these decisions we progress in life, inching closer to our terminal ends, that beautiful moment, when the summation of who we were, what we are, and how we we lived are all accounted for in our minds, hearts and souls.

A scene from the movie, shows, Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford), pushing forward the fringes of his discovery–an actual video footage of the afterlife. Initialy thinking that it failed, then learning that Will sabotaged it and seeing that it does, Thomas, decides to destroy the whole experiment and keep it hidden. That decision, though, relatively simple, to the scientific and academic mind he had communicated, was totally does not follow. Yet, he made that choice. Yes, those moments when we decide over the choices presented to us, are what defines our lives and who we are at our deaths.

We Look For Reason, But Yearn For Purpose

Just a month ago, as the government of my country of residence had started to feel was just all a scare, well, rather it seemst that way and people got bored to pay the price of safety, I was tasked to communicate a government mandate to have business operations be completed in offices. While the wisdom behind it is hinged on reviving industry, it still did not match as industry was quite alive (now I am digressing).

So there I was communicating what many would think so simple, of course it should be, it was meant to be done for compliance and yet, deep inside I know that sometimes answers are not what people need, at times, more often than we ntoice, our humanity needs some purpose, some greater wisdom that makes our lives have sense and meaning.

 Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved? 

Troy, Movie

We want to know that our lives have meaning, that there is purpose in all this chaos, that somehow, we are part of a greater something, is what primarily moves us at times, if not now, or later, at the twilight of our days.

The movie shows us how people perceive purpose and with some varied complexity. Thomas, impelled with some inspiration from Will’s childhood experience. Will denying his accidental role in the Discovery, had made himself and accomplished fellow of the science, while his younger brother, understanding that he neither has the smarts nor the tenacity as his father and older brother have was all too happy to be the forager, Toby (Jess Plem), to watch over and create structure in the community his father had made for those who can never seem to move to the next plane via the suicide express.

While that small circle knew, the question, only God should now know, the movie shows that it had not changed their nature, that they are playing the same roles they had identified and perceived themselves to take part in. They are part of the inherent play orchestrated by the spirit of the world, the wisdom of the collective and the power of imagination that had continually pushed man to limits that define the horizon.

This should all make us pause, in think deeply, perhaps, deeper than we have. What ripple had we left for eternity, will the next plane be an answer to those questions whose answers are within our grasp and yet unable to take for fear?

What shall be your verse?

John Keating, Dead Poets Society

Things I Learned From The Movie : Memoirs Of A Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha is a 2005 American epicperioddrama film directed by Rob Marshall and adapted by Robin Swicord from the 1997 novel of the same name by Arthur Golden.[2][3] It tells the story of a young Japanese girl, Chiyo Sakamoto, who is sold by her impoverished family to a geisha house (okiya) to support them by training as and eventually becoming a geisha under the pseudonym “Sayuri Nitta.” The film centers around the sacrifices and hardship faced by pre-World War II geisha, and the challenges posed by the war and a modernizing world to geisha society. It stars Zhang Ziyi in the lead role, with Ken WatanabeGong LiMichelle YeohYouki KudohSuzuka Ohgo, and Samantha Futerman.

While the book arguably, will be as piercing as the movie, if not even more, it is one of those that I had always wanted to read, but am yet to. Letting a spectacular movie, such as this, on the other hand, be simply looked at as a piece of entertainment, is such a crime. So, here we are with our tradition of finding three life lessons from the movies

Life Takes Us To A Path Of Surprises, We Make The Most Out Of It

Life has a will of its own. For some reason, in the most peculiar and uncanny of ways, it frequently takes us to a reality far removed from what we, in childhood, envision, had been told or pretty much reared for. How many of us look back at life and say in our most silent and vulnerable of moments that this was not where we wanted to be, that this was not the life we envisioned or simply this was not how we imagined life?

Perhaps, it is merely an assumption that even the most successful, in the deepest inclination of their imagination, has their hearts knocking on their wills, gently whispering, unsettling reminders of a childhood vision, desire or dream, far removed from the current. But who is courageous enough to admit in this generation of make-believe? If you are truly, in your most sincerest of consciences, are where you had always wanted to be, please be grateful, savour it, live it and pay it forward. For many, if not most of us, wallow through the years of life, coursing through it and all the while, travelling the path of the lost.

The opening scenes was truly heartbreaking for me. How life robs us of our dreams, when we least expect it. Of how, at times, with varying speeds, slowly, yet surely, life dims the bright shining star we had always held out as landmark for our individual futures.

There in a small fishing town, two young girls, glanced by their evidently depressed father, just across their acutely sick mother, will unknowingly be sold to an unknown man who will whisk them away from everything they are used to, far from all that they had dreamed of or anything familiar, to a life of high art, music, poetry, ceremony and mysticism. The life of a Geisha.

I can only imagine the dreams those girls had. What did they think they would be when they grow up. Did they have the chance to scheme of great things for themselves in their minds or where they simply waiting for life to take them to the same fate they found their mother in. Whatever the case, none of those certainly mattered then. As they, abruptly, had to navigate life, away from the comfort and hope of even having the leisure to dream.

Separated from her sister and enduring the life she was totally unprepared for, the misdirected girl grew to be a woman, who reluctant about her place in life, strove and rose to the heights of sophistication, glamour, decadence and intrigue.

Saiyuri learning the high art of the Geisha from Mameha. A beautifully crafted moment that communicates how art, discipline and purpose can redefine almost anything.

Something about this metamorphosis felt close to me and should to many of us.
We probably do not have our dream jobs, we are not living in the houses we wanted to, the salary we were told we can have nor around the people we had excitedly imagined we will be. Yet, we push on, farther to the raging waves of life, pressing on, while relentlessly finding ourselves some meaning and making the most out of it.

I had in this career, met many individuals, who had taken up education to be in the field of medicine, art, music, engineering, architecture and many more. But similarly, the harsh truths of life, had pulled them, severed us, away from those trajectories and into some of the most inconceivable of functions and roles we are in. Then again, in a profoundly inspirational way, these people, continue to make a mark in what they do. They are unrelenting in making their case against life, the lot it had given them and they rationale they had maintained for their purpose and existence. Just like the young girl, who turned Geisha.

Purpose Is About Paying It Forward

Life blows us to places, it too, in with the same apathy, leaves us to chance, the choices we make and the resolve we have. In the same context, the success of the girl who turns out to be the top Geisha of the district, was not by mere chance alone. She was given a chance, she made her choices and took it with passionate determination.

There in the busy district of the opulent, the scenes take us a to a momentous moment, when the previously decorated Geisha of the same house that the girl belongs to, takes her to her wings and tutelage.

Whatever influences they were that moved, Mameha, the previously celebrated Geisha of the same house, Saiyuri, the little girl from that fishing village, it is in bad taste to not appreciate the beauty of the human soul to feel, share and be and be magnanimous simply because, one is in the position to.

It must truly be a rewarding feeling to be in a situation to help others and being able to do so without any consideration of future reward, recognition or anything in exchange. Again, this reminds me of some of the wonderful people that had been patient, kind and believed in me along the way. They were not my family, they had nothing to gain from helping a teenager bordering on the clueless to find himself amidst many and frequent shortcomings, yet they continued to be there, in their own fashion and thankfully, I have had the privilege to do the same for those whose current circumstances resonated with mine and experience what they had–and find it fulfilling.

Truly, the measure of any man, is what he does for another, notwithstanding any reward and without any other reason, other than, they did it, because either they had once been in the same situation or that they feel others would have done the same.

Love Moves People, Hope Gives Strength, But Purpose Gives Meaning

Saiyuri, Mameha and Hatsumomo. An almost Freudian or Jungian set of characters, each communicating powerful emotions, profound perspective and eternal lessons in an exciting backdrop of westernization of an ancient tradition.

One of the things that makes the movie beautiful, is how it weaves, Love in the backdrop of personal grief, societal change, war and the constant threat of change. Rewind to the first few scenes, when the little girl from the village, Sayuri, was merely a kid attending her lessons, we see, what we would initially count as a lovely encounter between a gentleman, who recognizes the pain of a girl and a girl who, for the first time, was visited by the soothing caress of love, of being loved and of perhaps loving back.

While I was watching, it struck me as an important meeting, one of those that you know would have a significant impact to the narrative. Little did I know that the same encounter, will demonstrate one of the most vivid expressions of love in the state of being forbidden, in the name of propriety. When it is unrequited, not for the lack thereof, but for the love of another. Then, when it was withheld, not due to fear of responsibility or any other hindrances, but for its multifaceted perspective and the intricate waltz it plays on the human soul. Truly, Love moves people.

Love was not the only thing intimated by the movie in a subtle, yet profound manner. A shameless plug to this serious journal, is the fact, that when I think of hope the closes I can remember are the Green Lanterns, I just had to say that. Anyway, moving back, the movie, beautifully, permeates to all of us the perspective of how the human heart and our soul, regardless, how the person is disposed, spring eternal.

While we see hope shown in the multiple attempts the young Saiyuri does to get to her sister and how amidst its failure she continues to hope to find her, we are also introduced to one of the primary characters of the plot. It is very easy to categorize Hatsumumo, the current primary Geisha of the house, as the antagonist, it is difficult to just simply box her in that. The movie had taught me that while many choose to be kind amidst the unforgiving circumstances life deals to us, some, give up on hope and end of the simply be the thorns in the rose that they are.

Hatsumumo, to me, was a rose, who continually choses to be the thorns. I will never understand why she deliberately wanted to inflict so much sadness on a young girl who had done nothing to her. The movie, will hint at it as her seeing Saiyuri as competition, but the more I think deeply about it, I come to the realization that at times, we want others to give up on things we had given up on, and Hatsumumo, to me, had given up on hope–thus, she her inner demons revolt at the site of a young girl who just seemed inherently filled with hope.

I could be wrong and what her reasons were, is for any one to say. Maybe I will understand it better as I get to read the book. I will definitely make the needed supplementary journal, once I complete it this March of 2022, but until then, to me, when we start to give up on hope, it becomes but an impulse that we want others to do so, too. For the more they strive, the more they hope, the more we feel regret, vulnerable and tortured by our conscience, because–hope, springs eternal.

From Love to Hope, this time and in the final minutes of the film, I think we were given a glimpse of the Japanese culture of Purpose. It is like in that file, the Last Samurai, where Capt. Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) says something about why the place was magical, that everyone, from the moment they wake up to the moment they sleep, focus on the mastery of their craft, that the determination, attributed meaning and purpose of the Geisha, made Saiyuri, Mameha and the rest of the women who had vested themselves of the fabled moniker, Geisha, truly remarkable.

I will always remember that scene, when Saiyuri gets to Mameha, to rekindle what it the Geisha truly stands for and why amidst the flamboyant, easy and convenient entertainment of the west, the Geisha still holds it allure, then, now and perhaps even until the future. Many of us live life in such routine that we forgivably simply go through the motions.

Mameha communicating life lessons to Saiyuri, of which she in turn, will have the opportunity to the same for and with her

The unbearableness of life has pushed many, if not most of us to simply go through life as a routine. It is easy to feel that a moment’s thought about the why we do what we do, why we wake up and our place in the grand scheme of things can easily feel cumbersome and unnecessary trivialities in the rat race many of us find ourselves in. Yet, what a sad excuse it is when we compare ourselves to magnificent women we come to find in the movie (the book, too, maybe, I have not read it, maybe there are some difference so just saying), who amidst the stringent confines, strict constraints and virtually never-ending charade of rituals, were able to gather the constitution to find their place in society, life and most importantly–purpose in the grand scheme of things.

This, I think, is what makes, the movie, its characters and it plot, not simply a story about the Saiyuri, the Geisha, but of all of us.

Things I Learned From The Movie : Tenet

Tenet is a 2020 science fiction action thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who produced it with Emma Thomas. A co-production between the United Kingdom and United States, it stars John David WashingtonRobert PattinsonElizabeth DebickiDimple KapadiaMichael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. The film follows a secret agent who learns to manipulate the flow of time to prevent an attack from the future that threatens to annihilate the present world.

Nolan took more than five years to write the screenplay after deliberating about Tenet‘s central ideas for over a decade. Pre-production began in late 2018, casting took place in March 2019, and principal photography lasted six months, from May to November, in Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot on 65 mm film and IMAX. Scenes of time manipulation were filmed both backwards and forwards. Over one hundred vessels and thousands of extras were used.

Delayed three times because of the COVID-19 pandemicTenet was released in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2020, and United States on September 3, 2020, in IMAX, 35 mm, and 70 mm. It was the first Hollywood tent-pole to open in theaters after the pandemic shutdown, and grossed $363 million worldwide, making it the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2020. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, and won Best Visual Effects at the 93rd Academy Awards; it was also nominated for Best Production Design. (source :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenet_(film) )

Nolan in this movie, proved to be a visionary. He will have to be so, to present something so spectacularly brain-draining, in such a beautiful combination of chaos, thrill and suspense. Personally, watching it once or twice, may not be enough to truly grasp what the message or event the plot is. Not to mention, the more recent fan theories that have enveloped it. This article, however, is not about that, so lucky break for us.

If you had not watched it, please, this is a warning, there may be some spoilers that would make you hate me and we do not want that. If you have not watched it and want to know about it, well, you will not also be getting a lot from this article, so feel free. Trying to do a smooth segue here, but if this is your first time reading an article from this blog site, you may want to read the previous articles which highlights why I am trying my best to find some practical lesson from movies (if you had, thank you for doing so!).

So, here are three things I learned from the movie.

Lesson 1: The Past, Present and Future are intertwined

Time, a concept, an experience or the progression of events from past to present into the future. We have learned how to measure it, but truly, it is hubris to claim that we have gained the mastery of understanding it. Should you like a more explicit detail of time, you may check this link and read more, but this is not about time per se, but how the movie uses the beautiful mystery of time to teach us some lessons about ourselves, others and the orchestra of life.

Tenet, in all its convoluted story lines, intimates that the past, affects the present, and it in turn, ultimately shapes the future, but most certainly, too, the future has implications reaching our past and even the present. (I think I just lost all of you there, I even feel nauseated myself).

The movie begins with a CIA agent. The Protagonist, who was tested and entrusted by an organization called Tenet, with a mission to follow the trail of inverted bullets, bullets that deviate from the physical laws of nature (the second law of thermodynamics), which the organization thinks, together with other similar items, come from the future and are remnants of some future war.

In the course of this investigation our Protagonist, gets to meet his handler, who points him to an arms dealer in Mumbai, who happens to be a member of Tenet and informs them that a Russian arms dealer has the device that can invert items.

Fairly straightforward, until, we start seeing multiple unexpected events that course the movement of the Protagonist and his handler, directly in contact with their future and ultimately, shaping the ending of the movie which is in the past.

If you are about to give up on this article, what I am pointing to, is that it may not be quite literal that the future us can collide with our present selves face to face, but the actions that we do every day in our lives will ripple through time and oblivious to it, we may be,we are not exempt from its consequences.

Yes, that elevator we did not hold for another person, the garbage we did not segregate, is unlikely to haunt our past, but will definitely affect the future, which then, technically, once we get to that future will make us regret the past, for how socially irresponsible we are for the present.

Our perspectives then ought to change and may we always think, that every other man’s life affect another.

That what we do today, even the tiniest, will ripple throughout the ages. So, may we, daily, strive to do what is right, to secure a better future, where we shall not feel ashamed looking back at our past (from that standpoint).

Lesson 2: The Mind perceives, but the Heart Knows

The movie quite distinctly, in its creative intricacy of violating known science did not leave the part of being human. We get introduced to an art curator and wife, who amidst, what most would see, befit a the description of a happy life is trapped in the present, while hoping to have made better choices in the past and fearing the future.

Though, many of us, do not really give it much thought, but such is our daily life, is it not?

We may not always feel a sense of regret at everything and sure we may have trained our minds to be more positive in letting go of things in the past, to make sure it never happens again, but emotions, on the other, the feelings, we leave them at the specific moment and can only truly recover them in nostalgia.

So, we may move on from past experience, feel confident that we have learned from it to take action in the present, but the present nor the future, can never undo the emotional breadcrumb we have left in the past. That feeling, yes, that emotional state, that only nostalgia can bring back, is something that will be left in the time frame for posterity.

This is what makes our short lives on Earth beautiful. To know that we can do the same thing over and over, but we will never feel that same way about it, as the first time, nor the consecutive instances, because each passing of time is an experience that is not imprinted in the sands of time. Such is, we should make the most out of every day, for life being short is not the problem, but time, the human soul and life are battling forces that we should make the most of.

Lesson 3: We experience Time by our Choices

It is amazing, how the movie, makes us accept all accept the fact of time-travel to be as casual as boarding a plane. If you had watched it, I bet you never had the time to even question the science behind it, well, if you did, two thumbs up, you are one of the intellectually gifted, able to keep up.

Yet for those, who had just simply missed to consider how the science works, please do not worry. It may have slipped past us because, no matter how everybody else was just disrespecting time–we all see, that the time has little consequences compared to the choices we make at the time given.

To me, the movie, required astute attention because of the plot, but it harkened our attention–because, even with the inverter, the capability to move back and forth time, with nonchalant casualty–it was the actions of everyone that dictated the outcomes. It was as if, and perhaps, in reality, very well be, that time is merely the stage we are all in, by which we are tested by the decisions and choices we make.


Then, too, with these decisions, with time as a witness, our mettle is tested, by how we stand by the consequences of them. Life can be many things–beautiful, sad, happy, fulfilled. Time can be defined philosophically, scientifically or spiritually.

But our decisions and our actions, can only be right, wrong or unknown.

Leadership Hacks from Morpheus (The Matrix)

The Matrix is an American media franchise created by writers-directors the Wachowskis and producer Joel Silver. The series primarily consists of a trilogy of superhero films beginning with The Matrix (1999) and continuing with two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (both in 2003), all written and directed by the Wachowskis and produced by Joel Silver. The franchise is owned by Warner Bros.

The series features a cyberpunk story of the technological fall of mankind, in which the creation of artificial intelligence led the way to a race of self-aware machines that imprisoned mankind in a virtual reality system—the Matrix—to be farmed as a power source. Occasionally, some of the prisoners manage to break free from the system and, considered a threat, become pursued by the artificial intelligence both inside and outside of it. The films focus on the plight of Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) trying to free humanity from the system while pursued by its guardians, such as Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). (Wikipedia)

I remember watching this on VHS, something many of us here may remember well. At least, if you are a 90s kid. If, not, well a VHS tape is similar to a cassette tape, which again is a poor trigger for visualization, considering it may have went extinct at the same time, so I’m just putting a picture below.

VHS player and tape, the entertainment set of the 90s.
The entertainment set when I was a kid.

Before I get derailed again, I am tethering us to the topic of this article–Morpheus, the visionary captain of the Nebuchadnezzar in the Matrix franchise.

If you had read the first of this Leadership Hacks From movies series, Leadership Hacks From Erwin Smith, that is awesome and thank you for finding time, doing so means you already know why I have been trying my best to learn some leadership lessons from movies, TV series and the likes. For you friends, who are just tuning in, you may want to check that article out. The writing may be horrible, but the lessons, should be helpful.

There are three Leadership Lessons I have learned from Morpheus after watching The Matrix trilogy, until its fourth installment comes to the cinema, for the nth time.

Lesson 1: Leaders Inspire

I like to think that Zion, the last human city ruled by the council, was like the head office or the corporate center. Then the Nebuchadnezzar and the rest of the hovercraft entrusted to each captain and crew,easily, on the same context, would be teams, crew and departments.

Looking at it this way, it would not be to difficult to see yourself in Morpheus, may you be a supervisor, line manager or senior management, the burden of leadership is all the same. Different titles, varied jobs, but same roles nonetheless–to lead.

While we get to meet many more captains in the course of the trilogy, there was something that made Morpheus stand out from the rest–his ability to inspire. One can only imagine that amount of inspiration needed to get everyone on board the Nebuchadnezzar operationally performing. The task is truly Herculean and the word Herculean here is used to the fullest extent of it.

The crew of the Nebuchadnezzar, in The Matrix
The crew of the Nebuchadnezzar

To better appreciate the situation the offices of today offer free gyms, sauna, gaming rooms, vegan diets and many more perks bundled to keep the workforce happy and engaged. All that and maybe more, to encourage productivity, retention and engagement. Only to experience the same turn-over in employees, operational challenges and levels of disengagement. Yes, that right there is a puzzle many know the answer, to, but had not solved.

Anyway, our roles of today, are much easier compared to Morpheus’, but clearly he had better results minus all the perks. All that he had against the slew of stuff we now have at our disposal is that immeasurable capability to inspire. His will to anchor all his decisions, actions and drive to his core beliefs–which ultimately like gravity, just pulled everyone to its core.

This point takes us to the second lesson we can learn from Morpheus.

Lesson 2: Leaders Know Their Why

In The Matrix, Morpheus sacrificed himself to save Neo. Then in Matrix Revolutions, we see him let Neo take one hovercraft to Machine City for reasons Neo did not really fully articulate. Some of these decisions would have any current manager fired,or at least suspended.

When Morpheus allowed himself to be captured by Agent Smith, they were not quite sure if Neo really was the one and even still unsure if such really existed. Then, in the third installment, when the sentinels were storming Zion and all hovercraft was needed, he allowed Neo to take one for what seemed to everyone a hopeless act of desperation, when they could have brought all ships back to Zion and blast and EMP to their advantage in the war.

Morpheus undergoing torture after he sacrificed himself to save Neo.
Morpheus tortured post capture when he sacrificed himself for Neo.

All these actions where clearly not the most logical ones. In fact, their Commander, Locke, thought Morpheus had simply gone bonkers.

There is, however, underlying reasons to each and all of Morpheus’ decisions. He knew his why. He knew why he was fighting, why he was assigned to a hovercraft, why he was a captain and why he is different from the machines.

We may formulate different answers to the questions atop, but truly there was just one for Morpheus. He was fighting to end the fight, he was assigned to a hovercraft to end the fight, he was a captain to end the fight, he is different from the machines because we wants and will end the fight. Everything he did was anchored to his Why, his core beliefs, his being and purpose.

In organizations of today where roles are specialized, diverse and are multitude it is easy to lose sight of our Why. We have a different why as a person, as an employee and as a private individuals. We say that I am doing this because this is the most efficient way to complete the project, I am like this because I care for you and I am helping out because you are friend.

There is nothing wrong with that, for sure, but this siloed idealogy where we are different people to different roles, activities and times limit us from being the leaders we ought to be. Once a person finds the why, especially when a leader finds it, the viel that separates everything is removed and all becomes central to that core–the Why.

Instead of the reasons given above, it becomes–“I am doing this because I believe in making a difference, I care for you this way because I want to make a difference, I am helping you because I believe in making a difference”. As leaders, we cannot be a caring person at home and disconnected at work, neither can we be fun during engagement activities, but boring at meetings and most importantly we cannot be saying one thing and doing another.

Lesson 3: Leaders Believe In Their Teams

When Morpheus extracted Neo from the Matrix, he did so with the belief that he was the one. We are not privy as to how, though we get hints now and then. We know the Morpheus had observed Neo, who has then Mr. Anderson for quite some time and that there are some checklists that he was using as a criteria, which most likely was taken from either what the Oracle said or the prophecy,

In our corporate settings, we experience a very similar situation, too. When we are going through appications, interviewing people and all the more when we welcome them to the team. While we are not looking for the One, who will be saviour of the human race, the feeling is not entirely different. The suspense, apprehensions, and concerns mingled with hope and excitement in hiring a new colleague.

It is in this phase that we learn something from Morpheus on how he shows confidence in his crew, empowers them and makes them believe they can be bigger than themselves. To begin with, Morpheus had an on boarding and orientation process. He introduces Neo, the newbie, to the crew, then takes him to a simulated environment where Neo, the new hire, can show his ability and start learning the ropes.

Onboarding a new recruit, Morpheus style.

We do not know what Morpheus’ expectations are, but we can see from the team that being the One, definitely comes with some huge burden. Everyone seems to expect a stellar performance from the get go. This, too, is not very different when we welcome someone new to the team. Everyone will have expectations, either that the new member will be stellar or simply average, either ways, Neo’s simulation results simply demonstrated he was a newbie after all–he failed the jump simulation.

It bothered the team so much and it must have given Morpheus some thinking, too. You remember that first time you hired a new member, then the person just fumbles his way on the first day? It must have been like that. But the real leadership lesson here is what comes next.

The day after, he takes Neo to the Oracle. Yes, this was that door knob conversation about, “I can only show you the path”, but it what comes after that, should yield the real lesson.

Neo comes out of the room looking as confused as ever. Any manager today, will be worried about that. A confused look, more often than not, means disaster at work. But, as Neo starts to share what the Oracle told him, Morpheus waves his hand in the nonchalant fashion telling him that he had already heard what he was supposed to and that the message for Neo was for him alone. So where is the lesson here. It was the trust and confidence Morpheus imbued Neo.

It was his unfazed look of certainy in Neo and the series of events that led after, that contributed to Neo truly accepting his role as the One and being it. It was the trust he made Neo feel that made him become, who he hoped he would be.

In our teams where we do our best to avoid errors and opportunities, it is easy to doubt when someone new fumbles. We start questionning our hiring skills, process and maybe the training or onboarding. This even gets more piqued when the team feels that they are carrying the weight of the newbie and is not making things easier, rather tougher when the reason he was hired in the first place was to help out. What a nightmare it is, if you had felt and experience the situation, but the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar never really felt that way, nor did Morpheus who had to go through torture. The reason behind this, most likely, was that one Morpheus made everyone feel that same way he did Neo on their first day at work.

He believed in them and trusted them to deliver, and if they had opportunities he believed in them still.

Leadership Hacks from Erwin Smith (Attack on Titans)

It was somewhere around 2014 when a young, impressionable, lost and confused me, found an article on Forbes that will shape the way I will view motion pictures since.

I always knew that movies were communicating something, but never had I imagined so much wisdom drawn out from such references like Star Trek, Batman and Star Wars. It was so unique , so insightful–that I spent the night reconsidering almost every movie I had seen.

The theme of the articles were primarily about leadership which I appreciated to a certain extent,

I was in organizational development at that time, but it was only in later years that the true meaning of it made so much practical sense. At that time at least at a theoritical and conceptual standpoint I understood the information being shared, but it was not until six long years that the words came to life and with some powerful resonance.

Regardless of what industry you work for or the number of people in your team, the concept of good leadership is universal. Somehow it is intrinsically embedded in our psyche and closely linked to our own internal compass to determine what good leadership looks like and what phony is. The situations, decisions and growing pains any leader will have to hurdle are, and I am making a controversial claim here, equally important, challenging and life-defining.

So, you may not be fighting Titans in a fictional world like Erwin Smith is, but we can all certainly draw lessons from his leadership. For this piece, I had gleaned three leadership lessons we can all learn from Erwin Smith, Commander of The Survey Corps.

Erwin Smith, encouraging his Survey Corps through the gesture of giving hearts for the cause

While not all of us had the chance to be tutored by commendable leaders, I have been lucky to be in the care of some for most of my career. Looking back, I did not necessarily have the means to eloquently explain why I felt so, until recently. Not more than five years ago, I started having a team in my care and truthfully, you will always think you had it in the bag until it starts swallowing you from the ground up. I will not be ashamed to state that you will have moments of confidence, then doubts and ultimately confusion. You were of course, good at what you do, but how do you influence other people. How did you get influenced by those who led your team?

The question seemed so easy, but not everything that is based on human perception is black and white and can be easily explained. The accessibility of leadership videos, books and schools of thought, organizations and institutions will feed you that it is unthinkable for young leaders to not hit the ground running. Leadership, however, at least for me, was not something that can be learned through study, training or formal education alone and I never hit the ground running, not closely nor without pains. It is an acquired taste, fermented by experience and seasoned with time. A daunting task, of which, you have all the resources, but so few certainties.

If there is any great example of leadership we can all learn from, perhaps it can be from Erwin. With all certainty, leading people to fight against gigantic human-eating monsters is no easy task. How did Erwin do it?

Lesson 1: Leaders Lead

In Season 3, Part 2, Episode 54, titled “Hero”, Erwin leads a suicidal attack against one of the nine Titans. As leaders, we may not necessarily need to lead a head on attack that leads to certain death, but we have every opportunity to lead those in our care towards success. Those in our care expect us to bite the dust first, take the first hit, should anything go wrong and lead on. Of course, those words are quite morbid still, but what is implied is that in all levels of leadership, small or large following–leaders have the responsibility, privilege and obligation to not just go first, but take the lead. If we had instances where we had to throw people, other departments or the system under the bus, we can learn so much from how Erwin has focused all his energies around making his corps succeed amidst similar if not more complicated and corrupt inner workings.

Lesson 2: Leaders Inspire

In the corporate world of today, the competency of leadership had been measured by performance. Had Erwin been an employee of today, he would have been fired a long time ago. The series indicates that the Survey Corps has never been the choice of graduating cadets due to its high attrition, high effort and low success rate. In fact, they were so unpopular that they could barely remember having the people send them off for a long time. Before the discover of Eren’s powers, the corps had nothing, but failures on the record.

Still, you will find really powerful and smart individuals, like Levi and Hanji stick with Erwin. Translate that to employees of today who move out upon sensing that the team they are part of is not popular or difficult and they will start moving out, transferring to another team or worse resign. So how then, does Erwin retain top talent, those who we can certainly consider as the best in the realm? Inspiration.

Erwin, like all great leaders is grounded on a core belief, that even the most dire of consequences and ends cannot shake. He builds his action plans around that core belief and moves around it when necessary. That alone is inspiring. We all want to believe in something, but many of us doubt that belief and eventually just go with the bandwagon. Seeing someone firmly believe in something even unto death is remarkably charismatic.

Lesson 3: Leaders Define Success

Talking about the corps failures and Erwin totally not passing his probation in the real world makes us curious how he still holds much influence even to successfully convince people to his side on a coup de’t tat. In today’s jobs, requesting for more funds, resources or support from the organisations becomes a little steep if you had too little success to show and all the more to get the sentiment and support of other departments.

So how then did Erwin still have the ears of the other Commanders? While all the others thought of practical applications to their force, he anchored the success of the corps to an ideology. While many will argue this to be detrimental to business, which can actually bet true, the Survey Corps did not have really much of a choice. They were tasked to do what no one had done and that by definition kind of categorizes that task between improbable leaning more on impossible.

Erwin knew that the conventional meaning of success would only drag the sentiment of people and the morale of his soliders, so he had to define success differently. Every person inside the walls knew that it was nearly, if not totally impossible for humanity to venture out the walls, but he knew everyone dreamt of being out. That intrinsic human quality to hope was all that Erwin needed to continually rekindle to make his corps relevant and keep the confidence of his people and his influence amongst the higher-ups.

You may lose your job if you do so today, but then again, young leaders of today are not tasked to survey fields at the risk of being eaten. We all sit comfortably at our stations with proper ventilation and fast computers, so there really is no excuse to settle down the basic goals of our key performance indicators and tie up success to an ideal state where one does not need to be afraid with perfection, because none had achieved it yet.

Leaders have a huge responsibility. Your decisions and better judgment do not just impact the team, organisation and business. It also directly affects the lives of the people in your care, which ultimately sums up to an obligation to humanity and its betterment, especially in the years to come post COVID-19.

Things I Learned From The Movie : The Adjustment Bureau

Had a day off from work to celebrate the 4th of July and got the chance to skim Netflix for some movies. On top of the suggestion list was the movie The Adjustment Bureau.

I had watched snippets of this movie here and there, but never got to finish the entire film. I guess 2011 was just not my year for fiction romance.

The Adjustment Bureau is a 2011 American science fiction romantic thriller film written and directed by George Nolfi, based on the 1954 Philip K. Dick short story “Adjustment Team”.  It was premiered at the Ziegfeld Theatre on February 14, 2011, and received positive reviews from critics, who praised Damon’s performance and his chemistry with Blunt. It grossed $127 million against a production budget of $50 million, according to Wikipedia.

To make a practice of watching movies, I have managed to get three lessons from the movie.

Lesson 1, You are your choices

For those who had not gotten the chance to watch the film, I will attempt to make a quick synopsis, but my feeble attempt at this may not necessarily give justice to the beauty of the movie.

The story begins with maverick congressman David Norris (Matt Damon), losing his senatorial bid over a scandal that spread over the news. Graciously accepting defeat, he goes to the men’s room to rehearse his final speech only to accidentally bump into a curious woman who later get introduced to as Elise (Emily Blunt).

That accidental meet eventually turns their lives upside down as forces outside of the human realm attempt to separate them.ab2

In more cases than we care to admit in our lives our decisions are made out of convenience. Sure, some of us still go through the logical process of thinking before you leap, but seldom do we apply this process to the little things we decide on.

What are we going to wear? Where to eat? How do we react to situations? How do we feel about things? How do we conduct ourselves? What do we put on social media?

In the movie, you see, Thompson (Terrence Stamp), one of the experienced officers of the Adjustment Bureau, have a word with David. He starts talking about how we really are making our choices, that we think we have free will, but in reality we only have the illusion of freewill.

500full-the-adjustment-bureau-screenshot

To some extent, Thompson has a point. The film maybe fiction, but how many decisions in life have we really made with serious consideration to how it impacts the world at large? Just how many instances did we go with the bandwagon and decided because it is what is normal, accepted and common choice?

It can be scary when we soon realize that many of the decisions, we make are not entirely out freedom to choose, but rather programming from social media, conditioning from parents, acceptance from our clicks and status from the society. More often than we care to admit our choices are really swayed not by our freewill, but a desire. Oftentimes, too, this process of decision making had proven faulty at best.

How many times did we chose to purchase things more than we can afford to fit for an event, or buy a gadget whose functions we never really get to use, because it was popular or how many elections did we vote for a candidate who we may not entirely like, but just seemed to be the best option over someone who does not share the same religious or popular views, or simply he/she was likeable?

If we have done the same in the past, maybe we can learn from David as he started making choices and not follow those that has been made for him.

Lesson 2, We Write Our Story

Just this week, the office had wellness and development sessions. This week was about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Habit 1, Be Proactive, which points to being a product of our decisions and not our circumstances resonated with this movie.

In many scenes, we see the hatted agents, angels, if we are to really equate them to popular reference, view a notebook that somehow looks like a tracking mechanism that allows them to see if the plan is unfolding or deviating. Then we see David fighting so hard to go against it.

abnotebookSure he failed three times and nearly lost the opportunity to be with Elise, but when it mattered the most, he was willing to risk everything to write his own story and not live the one that was made for him.

Are you living your own story or living that of which was made for you? Are you letting people tell you otherwise when you share to them your dreams and aspirations? Do you succumb to peer pressure or ridicule in the process of learning something new?

This may not necessarily apply to all, but how many of us lived behind the shadows of our parents as kids. Did we also let go of something to be the man our parents wanted us to be?

I remember a friend once, who quit the things he wanted to do the most, because his parents wanted him to be a preacher. He would tell me how a part of him is enjoying it, while some parts of him are dying to. He was faced with a tough choice.

To live the life they wanted for him or to live the life he wanted for himself.

You will be happy to know he chose to live a life that he wanted. Did he have regrets, we will never know, but the next lesson I learned from the movie may help us.

Lesson 3, We Make Choices, We Accept The Consequences

Perhaps, the most somber of the scenes in the film was when Thompson was talking to David about what the plan holds for his future.

Thompson was presenting David the outcomes of his decisions, the consequences of his choices. If he were to let go of loving Elise, he would have a sure seat at the Presidency.  Now, honestly, that is not something that is offered to you everyday.

Should he choose to go otherwise, he was bound to lead a normal life. Like a true salesman, not even hearing David’s choice just yet, Thompson takes David to Elise’ performance and emotionally blackmails the poor man.the_adjustment_bureau06

David’s choice to stay with Elise, according to Thompson, will rob her of her potential to be a world-famous ballerina to end up teaching ballet for sixth graders.

There is nothing wrong with teaching kid’s ballet, but honestly, it was an extremely precarious situation deciding the outcome of someone’s future for them.

The next scenes show David deciding to leave Elise so she could be what the Plan held out for her, only to find out that whatever it was that he wanted so badly before, seemed mundane to him—that there was nothing he could think of, but Elise.

With help from Harry (Anthonie Mackie), a peculiar agent who from the beginning of David’s discovery of the bureau offered assistance, David makes a daring move to defy the Plan and be with Elise.

images (1)

Fastforward, David gets Elise and in a final act of love and defiance againts the odds they go to the centre of the bureau to talk to “The Chairman” (perceivably God), to ask for whatever was the Plan for the both of them to be changed.

I am not here to tell you how it ends, you should watch the movie for that, but if there is anything we learn from final scenes, it would be that—not until we realize that freewill is a gift that we have to fight for, will we truly appreciate it.

That we may choose to be careless in our choices, but we will never escape its consequences.949befcf865e650b15752cc6d54776b3 So if all our choices, carefully chosen or not bear some consequences that we all have to pay, might as well give them more thought and decide wisely.

Things I Learned From The Movie: Chef

Trying to enjoy a weekend together, which has gotten harder than usual, given the current limitations on how dates were supposed to be, Farrah and I decided to stream movies this weekend.

Her choice, was the movie–Chef.

Written and Directed by Jon Favreau, released in 2014 and hitting the Box Office with $46 Million and scoring 87% on Rotten Tomatoes review, it was a good a mix of drama, comedy and some feel good moments.

The movie takes on the life of a creative and dreamer Chef, who quits after after several creative difference with the restaurant owner to eventually own a food cart, reigniting his passion for cooking and rekindling his relationship with his ex-wife and nearly-ignored son.

Again, as a habit, i found three things that I learned from the movie.

Lesson 1, Work For What Makes You Happy

At the start of the movie,  we see Casper (Jon Favreau), a creative and maverick chef, brimming with excitement to change the old menu in preparation for the visit of a popular blogger and food-critic. The plan, however, goes awry as, as Riva (Dustin Hoffman), the owner, persuades Casper to stick to the old menu which cost them a poor review.

There is a Casper in all of us. We all have that desire to do something out of the ordinary, to do something new. It may not be just entirely because we are bored, but it is human after all to challenge the status quo, experiment and innovate.

chef 1.1

There, too, is a Riva, in all of us and at some point we have to had been a Riva in someone’s life. To me Riva symbolized the adult world. That thing, situation or individuals, often close to us, that attempt to silence our wild imaginations, that make us stick to what we know, stay where we are and situate ourselves to what is certain—because it is safe.

chef 2

Like in the movies, Riva succeeds to persuade Casper, in real life. Ask the next person you meet and see if they had become the people they wanted to be as kids. Should you find three in a row, that says, they have, you are in a much better place, but drawing from experience many had forgone their dreams as children, abandoned what they really wanted to do and settled down for what is safe.

Safe is good and there is nothing wrong with that. We all have responsibilities and safe pays the bills.

But, when we start letting safe take to rule our lives—when we stop chasing our dreams, trying to improve ourselves, neglect the things that make us grow, fulfilled and happy—this is where the Riva in all of us wins.

Sadly, unlike Casper getting the review a few hours after the big visit, we do not get the review of our lives after we check out and it may be too late, by then.

So, find a job, earn, stay safe, but never let go at working for what makes you happy.

Lesson 2, Learning. Mastery. Decay.

Architecture school taught me that.

It did not make too much sense back then, but this movie made me remember it.

The quote’s premise is that all art styles and movement even civilizations reach these phases. A phase where we are so eager to learn, a phase where we become masters which then takes most artists to  that plateau of producing a work so immensely sublime, it leaves the artist clueless about how to take it further, which then contributes to his skill’s decay.

chef 3

Casper, loosing his cool after seeing Tweets of the critic he challenged and being unable to do the menu he planned, after being sacked

In the scene where Casper reads the review, we hear the first few lines were reminiscent of the critic’s first review of the chef. It pointed out his potential, his revolutionary take and his fresh ideas. While the rest of the review tells an awful denouement, this scene made me think of the lines shared atop.

Learning, Mastery, Decay.

Like Casper, when we are new to our jobs, we get through a phase of learning. This stage gets us pumped up, excited and enthusiastic. Eventually, depending on the effort we put at it, we get to a level where what was so hard at first, is now routine, something we barely even put much attention to.

That report that we worked for an entire day, after a year, or maybe less than that, becomes something we finish in an hour, or less—we have reached Mastery.

This new level puts people at crucial junctions. Once a person reaches mastery, they are offered two choices, to either continually seek room for growth or situate and just stay for the ride.

Those who choose the latter, sooner reach decay. You see that someone who started work like a superstar descend to low depths of productivity, creativity and energy. Like routine they go to work and like robots they go home—it was same thing, different day.

Then, there are those who realize that they see themselves decay, those that, though, clueless about what is next to Mastery never give up to go back to learning to avoid staying at the plateau of mastery only to roll down to decay.

The neat solution we have created around this was to continually push mastery by putting a number to it. So, you are a master if you have reached this salary, this degree or this income. Then, to avoid decay, you just simply have to do more, if you earn this much, you strive to get this much. If you have a PhD, you can always get two.

While this works for most, this is not the way out of the plateau of Mastery and certainly not a way to the phase of re-learning. This is just an escape, a distraction we all to readily accept.

As Casper continually searched for a new menu, that new taste, that perfect food (if there is such, I do not intend to be an expert in the goals of those in the culinary world)—you also see, that he barely spends time with his kid, he is divorced and broke.

How many times did we miss out on family, to chase that next thing? Have we occupied ourselves seeking that next promotion, higher pay, new car, higher degree than what we already have thinking it will give us a sense of fulfilment in the eyes of the critics?

Learning one thing is good. Mastering it is another.  Decay, however, comes for those who fail to nurture the other things in their lives, chasing a next level of Mastery over something they have initially mastered.

Rightfully, we see that Casper, becomes the happiest, when he goes back to Miami, does business on a foodcart, selling food, that was not something he would normally do in a fancy restaurant with his kid and friend.

Film Summer Preview

This is what we all need in life. Balance.

Lesson 3, Happiness is fleeting, make those moments possible

Amongst, the many scenes I liked, what stood  out the most, was Casper stopping his son from serving a burnt sandwich and telling him about how passionate he is with cooking, how it makes him feel and how for him he touches lives through it.

I bet we all have something we are passionate about. That thing, we always wanted to do. While these things may not always pay, it does not mean they are less important, nor does it mean that we should give up on them.

chef fun

Life is always a struggle, but it does not mean we should not leave time to do the things that make us feel happy.

As the world is transformed by this pandemic, it is true that we are left with very few options to do the things we want, we may have been struck by unfortunate times, but it is our decision, at the end of the day, that is the difference between being miserable and being happy.

Celebrity Sightings - Bauer-Griffin - 2013We ought to take ownership of our emotions, understand that there are things outside our control and stressing over them is a waste of energy. Meanwhile, there are things that we can definitely do something about that is a much better way of expending our attention and our best efforts I.

Life is about choices and how you decide can make the difference.

Things I Learned From The Movie: Batman Begins

The Batman franchise has been, if not the most lucrative superhero movie on the cinema since the comics hit the screen to date. Over the years, and after many iterations of the caped crusader, there has never been a loss in appeal for fandom.

0933e6ad4f13dba884f7fdbc359b2a3d

While many of us miss to recognize this, there is something about the life of Bruce and Batman, that connects the story to us, something in a very subtle way resonates with all of us profoundly.

Not entirely sure about everyone, but the fact that Batman has been the most filmed superhero in history, must account for that.

In this article, we will be referencing to the Batman in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. For me, each segment was just a masterful way to teach the deep philosophical queries we encounter every day.Some of which, we have either learned to ignore, left others to answer or are still figuring out.

And so, I am listing two things that I have learned from its first installment—Batman Begins.

Lesson 1, We All Need and Can Be an Alfred

In the Batman Begins, we see that as a child, teenager and even during his crime fighting years, Alfred had not just been integral, but crucial in the success of Bruce Wayne.

From caring for Bruce as kid, to welcoming him from Princeton even to picking him up when Scarecrow got the best of him—it will be fair to say, that there will have been no Batman without Alfred.

But it is not just in these moments, that we find how essential Alfred was to Bruce and Batman if we could treat those two differently.

alfredAlfred took care of Bruce as a boy, basically raised him up.

He watched over the family business, which must have been daunting, imagining the sharks that attend those board meetings.

Most importantly, as Bruce comes to his crusade, he had been his voice of reason, devil’s advocate, first fan, partner in crime, only friend and father.

Arguably, I will go as far as saying that maybe Alfred had been a better parent to Bruce than Thomas would have been. This by no way, discounts Thomas Wayne being a respectable man, but how many fathers, especially billionaire fathers support their boys’ decision to put on a mask, fight crime come home with broken angles or even worse (as wee in the course of the trilogy). I doubt there will be many.

alfred 2

Again this is subject for debate or another article. The point is, for all intents and purposes, perhaps without Alfred, there would be no Batman. The ultimate scene the encapsulates Alfred’s role in the mythos of Batman, for me, would be that scene where he takes the drugged Rachel Dawes home, comes back to rescue Bruce from getting killed as Wayne Manor burnt and reminding of why we fall—so we can get back up.

We all need an Alfred.

We need that parent, that we wish we had, that friend that knows how to throw witty sarcastic jokes (we had puns before memes), that person that allows us to experiment on who can be so our potential can come out, but wait patiently on the sides to catch us when we fall and redirect us when we go astray.

We can all be an Alfred.

We can be that friend that supports our friends in their wild imaginations, that friend who never gives on our friends, that friend that is always there to tell the hard truths, but at the same time give all out support.

Lesson 2, We Have to Be Who We Are Not, And Not Be Who We Are

In many scenes of the movie, particularly in the Batman Begins, we see Bruce having to show a personality quite contrary to his true self.

He unduly imposes himself by buying a hotel to let his escorts bathe in a decorative pool, acts like incapable to handle the family business and pushes people out of Wayne Manor on his birthday at his celebration. Rude, seemed an understatement.

Though, many of us think that these scenes were about showing how hard it is to maintain a normal life and truly those may well be specifically to detail that, I found a different context.

One scene that is less for the trailer, but quite captivating was that chance meet Bruce had with Rachel, after he exits the hotel he just purchased, because he can.

rachel dawes 2

That scene, where Bruce was trying so hard to be explain himself to be contrary to the actions Rachel sees is quite familiar, to me, if not for many of us.

You know, when we so badly want to tell people, that we are really something more, deep inside, and they tell us that our actions define who we are?

Well, I have been told that many times growing up. That for some reason, you cannot be artistic if you do not do art or be a god-fearing person if you skip church and have a tattoo or something. That you cannot be a good person, if you do bad.

While I disagree to that an all levels, I caution at the more popular interpretation of the just-be-yourself-digital-age wisdom.

For example, we cannot attend a funeral and act like we are having fun, be in a church service and sleep, be in class drunk or tardy at work for no reason. No, that is not the point here.

What I really mean, is that we are all forced to wear a mask, for reasons far less than Bruce. Some of them worth doing so, perhaps several that are not. While the mask maybe our real self, or the one we chose to show—like Rachel telling Bruce, that Bruce Wayne is the mask and Batman is the true persona, is subject for many debates, I just settle on the questions of—is it still worth it?

Even Bruce had to hang the cape.

Are you part of the LGBT community, but come home wearing a mask to be the person your family expects you to be? The corporate leader who has to keep the strong façade to secure authority, respect and leadership? Or the

umasked Bman

preacher’s kid who wants to study science over the Bible? Or maybe, that friend who had fallen for your best friend, but cannot tell them because he is not into same-gender relationships?

Whoever you may be, we have all worn masks.

The only thing that may be different from what Bruce does, to ours, it that at least at the end of the day, he takes the mas of knowing it has helped achieve something.

Is your mask helping you do so?