Wouldn’t it be great if we could all have a Mister Miyagi in our lives? Someone to train, guide, and condition us through our broken hearts, fractured dreams, and moments of indecision?
Sports movies have given us spectacular moments of triumph over adversity. Together, they offer a game plan for how to do life. Take a look and just see what happens next.
How to Turn Your Favorite Sports Movie Quotes into a Game Plan for Life
It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.
– Rocky Balboa (Sylvestor Stallone)
Play: Don’t Expect it to Be Easy
Playbook from: A League of Their Own
Skill to learn: It’s supposed to be hard. If it weren’t hard, everyone would be doing it. The hard is what makes it great.
The lesson: Everywhere we go, we hear messages about losing those quick ten pounds, getting to five-figure months, or aspiring to other such great things. They — whoever they are — make it sound so easy.
Soon after, you remember something you already knew: losing weight, chasing dreams, improving your career — those things require work, and that work is anything but easy. It takes commitment and consistency. You have to believe in what you’re doing when the results aren’t immediate. You have to stay the course and overcome obstacles.
- Lean into the process.
- Rely on your experience to remind you of what you know.
- Practice, plan, and prepare for the hard.
- Focus on the fundamentals, just like Daniel in Karate Kid. (Sorry, millennials, there is only one real Karate Kid, and he isn’t Will Smith’s son.)
- See “hard” as part of the process and own it, rather than becoming a victim to it.
Play: Show Up and Take Your Turn
Playbook from: Miracle
Skill to learn: Great moments are born from great opportunity… If we played them ten times, they might win nine, but not this game. Not tonight. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.
The lesson: Don’t let the odds stop you from showing up. Yes, people who take big chances for love sometimes end up alone. We know that not everyone who tries out for the team will make it and most people who do play will be denied an opportunity to play professionally. Don’t use the odds as an excuse for never starting.
Why can’t it be you?
You have to show up. Every time. Every day. You have to show up for yourself in order to defy those odds. The people who never try, never fail. We know this. However, they never win, either.
- Go against the odds.
- Focus on what you do best.
- Use every resource available to help you.
- Ask for help.
- Accept help.
- Identify your weak spots.
- Play to your strengths.
- Show up as a winner.
- Believe you can win.
- Don’t let odds or risk determine the ending to your game.
- Make a plan, make your move, and execute. It’s not over until the final bell or whistle. Make sure you play every play and take advantage of every opportunity.
Play: Small Steps Lead to Big Gains
Playbook from: Any Given Sunday
Skill to learn: Life is a game of inches, and the margin for error is so small. The inches we need are everywhere around us. We fight for that inch, because we know that when we add up all those inches, it’s going to make the difference between winning and losing.
The lesson: Don’t focus on just the big plays and the big movements. Success is found in the steps.
- Don’t focus on all of the steps. Just focus on what is next.
- Recognize every opportunity, not just the grand ones.
- Fight for each step, each effort.
- Get clear on your goal. Break down the steps and simply focus on each step without skipping one or phoning it in.
- Respect the process and recognize that things worth working for — and waiting for — really do take time.
Play: Focus on the Fundamentals
Playbook from: Hoosiers
Skill to learn: If you put your efforts and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says, at the end of the day, we’re going to be winners.
Sports lovers have all seen the slick plays that have gone horribly wrong. Someone gets ahead of themselves (Remember this?), tries to make something more complicated than it needs to be, takes their foot off the gas, etc.
The slick moves are shiny and get attention, but they rarely win the game. That’s why they’re called “miracles“ and “Hail Mary’s,” right?
- Focus on the fundamentals.
- Show up consistently and have a strong work ethic.
- Practice the basics so they can be executed flawlessly when they are needed most.
- Stay focused until the final bell.
Play: Keep Your Head in the Game — but Bring Your Heart, Too.
Playbook from: We are Marshall
Skill to learn: I want to tell you about our opponent this afternoon. They’re bigger, faster, stronger, more experienced, and on paper, they’re just better — and they know it, too. But I want to tell you something that they don’t know. They don’t know your heart.
The lesson: You can know where all of the X’s and O’s go. You can know everything you need to know, but if you don’t bring your heart with you, people are not going to care.
Your story, your experience, your life lessons — those things are important, and they are a part of you. You can’t leave them behind in the lockerroom.
- Show up. Bring your true self to the table.
- Separate yourself from the pack by showing your true spirit.
- Communicate your intent.
- Tell them you care and follow up with action.
- Connect by refusing to do things robotically or how they have always been done.
The Play: How to Get Back Up After a Fall
Playbook from: Rocky Balboa
The Skill: You, me, nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.
The lesson: You had to know this one was coming!
We’ve heard it a million times, because it doesn’t stop being true: “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” No one is going to hit it out of the park every time they are up at bat. Beginner’s luck doesn’t last forever.
Failures and loss come with life, and sometimes thing won’t swing your way, even when you have tried your best and done everything you could.
- Accept the failures, falls, and losses as part of the process, not the end game.
- And most importantly, learn from them.
A motivational speech is not going to change that because, of course, as Tyson tells us: Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Right?
You don’t want to be knocked down. You want to do everything in your power to plan and prepare yourself so that you don’t get knocked down. But you’re not going to win every game or every race.
Sometimes, it just won’t be your turn. This game of life, though — it isn’t a race. It’s a marathon, and to outlast it, you have to stay the course, no matter the knock-downs and obstacles that come your way.