As you may know I’m a huge fan of the movie Rudy. It came out in 1993, and was the story I clung to as I pursued my ridiculous dream. If you are not familiar with the movie, is it based on a true story about the young boy who dreamed of playing college football for Notre’ Dame. His challenges were that he was not big enough, fast enough or smart enough to get into the school, never mind make the team.
Yesterday, Rudy Ruettiger was a guest speaker at my church in Las Vegas. Though I have met him before, and shared the stage with him, I never stop learning from him. My pastor interviewed him and I gained five brilliant new insights into his incredible story.
1 – Boldly Tell Your Dream to the Right People, Only
Rudy said, “Don’t tell people your dream or they will steal your joy!” When we have a big dream, we will have many naysayers around us. It’s a part of your dream being big. Many people will think it is ridiculous. Though I have watched the movie over fifty times (three on the plane ride home from Thanksgiving), I never realized the importance of one scene. There is a scene where Rudy walks into coach, Ara Parseghian’s office and tells him of his dream to play football for Notre’ Dame. This is a legendary football coach and at that point Rudy did not even attend the school yet! That takes courage, especially at 5’8” tall and not having any talent. Are you willing to be bold?
When Rudy talked about this during his interview, he mentioned that when you have a big dream, you need to boldly tell the leaders and influencers about it. He said they will remember the statement because it is so bold. I surmise that when they see your constant efforts above others around you, they will notice.
Rudy was adamant that you don’t tell everyone your big dream because many will not get it, understand or encourage you. The people around you influence you, so if you allow people to be naysayers around you, they will deflate your desire, often. That will slow you down, we need to be around people who keep us going.
2- Find the “Other Way”
Along the journey to any dream there will be many obstacles. The bigger the dream, the more obstacles you will encounter. Rudy said he never gave up on his dream, though he thought about quitting daily. Daily! Yikes. That means if you think about it, it is OK, you are human. Keep going anyway. Rudy said, don’t listen to those thoughts. He did give up on some strategies along the way. You have to. We need to recognize when something isn’t working and find another way. There may be a series of strategies that you employ that will not work. Period. That does not mean you should give up on your dream, it means you need to seek out new strategies along the way.
When he pressed forward towards his dream, his grades were not good enough to get into Notre’ Dame. His new strategy was to go to Holy Cross Junior College to pick his grades up so he could get accepted. Is there some strategy you are trying right now that is not working? I’m guilty of this myself. My marketing strategy for my business worked great for over a decade and last summer stopped working. Recently, after much praying and being a sponge, I completely changed strategies. I tried a way that I never thought would work due to past experience and some of my own core beliefs. I tried a new way with a new strategy and it brought me new hope. If you feel stuck, what new strategy could you try? Find it.
3- Prayer and Patience
Yes, in the movie itself the character Rudy does pray, but it is a very subtle plot point. In real life, Rudy is more adamant about the part God played in his story. He emphasized the part that most people miss is the patience while persisting part that allows things to come to fruition in God’s time, not ours.
Patience is toughest when we see no outer progress. That is part of faith. This can be the most challenging part of a dream. When we see no progress, we tend to want to quit and give up. Don’t.
This is why I think the most important thing we can do to help other people pursing their dream is pointing out their progress to them. Often, especially incremental progress, is not noticed by the dreamers themselves. They are too close. We need to help out and encourage by pointing out progress. The encouragement will multiply people’s ability to be patient. Many of us, including me, need help in this area.
4- Get Rid of Goofy Thoughts
We all have that little inner critic. That voice inside our head and the negative thoughts we have. If you pay attention to them, they will bring you down. They will frustrate you. If you let them they will ultimately stop you.
We think we are the only ones who have them. We are not. When we have a dream, especially a big dream, we will have more goofy thoughts. It’s part of dreaming at times. We need to recognize them as that, just goofy thoughts, then move on. They are not reality unless we give in to them. This is why insight number one is so important. The joy stealers will plant a lot more goofy thoughts than we can handle. They can say them once and the thoughts can fester in our head when they are not around.
Get rid of goofy thoughts. Laugh at them if you can, but don’t give them real estate in your head. Let them go and focus on any small step that will bring you closer to your dream.
5- The Contribution to Something Bigger
This was powerful, though I saw the evidence his story I never put this together. Think about the original movie Rocky. We love Rocky and he didn’t win the fight. His victory was that he went the distance and everyone thought he was a bum. He was victorious over his inner challenges.
In the movie Rudy his goal was not to be the best player on the team or win the Heisman trophy, it was just to play football for his favorite team. In the interview Rudy said that his goal was to be “a contributor to something good.” He was not out for the glory of winning. That’s cool. It is easy to root for the underdog when they are driven by a goal that is bigger then themselves. When speech competitors care more about getting their message out to the world than they do a trophy, they go further. They make a bigger difference whether they win or not.
Rudy was elated to be a part of the practice team and help the first-string team to prepare. Would you be elated? Are you adamant about contribution? When you are, it shows. Over this past year, I have changed my own mindset to helping people tell their stories to help the people who need to hear them. When my mindset changed, so did Stage Time University. More people then wanted to be a part of it and our current members upgraded some of their own identities to be a messenger on a mission. It gives you energy and drive when you are part of something bigger than yourself.
I love sponging and learning from people who are willing to do the hard work and remain persistent and patient. The movie Rudy is a great story, but what impressed me more is the countless details behind the story that Hollywood leaves out. Consider this, it’s more than the speech you give, it’s the life you live. Want a better speech? Live a more courageous life, then talk about it.
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