Rocky, the original movie, is one of the greatest movies ever. We all know about the cinderella story of a down and out fighter who gets a shot at the title. The movie, as all the sequels do as well, is loaded with inspirational quotes and messages we can use in our daily lives. The above clip is an oft forgotten one. Rocky can’t sleep the night before his fight with Apollo Creed. He goes out walking and eventually wanders into the old Philadelphia Spectrum where the fight will be held. After an encounter with the promoter he wanders back home and tells Adrian he can’t do it-he can’t beat Apollo. But…All he wants to do is “Go the Distance” because no one has ever gone 15 rounds with Apollo. If he can do it, he can prove to himself he wasn’t just some nobody!
Wow! What a great lesson. In today’s world we often get caught up in success or failure. They are mutually exclusive results. And while I’m not a proponent of “Participation Trophies” by any means I do believe that often times today we quit before we attain the goal. It’s too tough, it can’t be done, something else is more attractive, I’ll do it later. We quit on our jobs, we quit on our marriages and we quit on our families. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses. Rocky realized that maybe he wasn’t good enough to beat Apollo but by going the distance with him; something that had never been done, he would achieve victory in and of itself. In fact, he got a split decision.
Commitment is a lost virtue these days. We live in a world of instant gratification. If our plans don’t succeed immediately we just quit and move on to something else. I truly believe that if we made all our decisions with the unswerving desire to commit to the end we would all be better off.
So the lesson is strive for victory, accept defeat graciously if it comes but go the distance because THAT is a victory too! As our 26th President Theodore Roosevelt so eloquently stated…..
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”