Taking a Hit

RockyI was reading a book recently with a minor character, an inn keeper, who hired the main character in spite of the problems that it might cause. Without going into great detail about the story, the main character was sort of black listed from every inn with the threat of trouble to anyone who would hire him. He was turned away from every inn but one. When the main character grew concerned and asked the innkeeper if he was worried about trouble, the inn keeper responded, “Trouble? I was in trouble afore you were born. I been in trouble you don’t even got words for.” Many books and movies have characters like these in them. They have a grit that seems to defy fear. They’ve been through troubles and don’t fear them. I think that is the most impressive part of the character. It isn’t so much that they think they can avoid the trouble or that the trouble won’t hurt them, it’s their confidence in their power to endure. They seem less likely to back down, be bullied or fail to do the right thing even in the face of a threat. These individuals have lived life, know what they are capable of and do not fear loss because they believe in their power to build again and in their power to endure.

I don’t often go looking to Rocky movies for wisdom, but the last Rocky movie has an interesting scene in it (click here). What struck me about this scene was that it caught me off guard. Rocky’s son is complaining that his dad’s decisions are negatively impacting his life and to an extent he was accurate. I expected Rocky to be somewhat apologetic but explain that the decision he made to fight was one he had to make. I was surprised when Rocky made no apologies but confronted his son about being a victim. The Rocky character was never one to blame or make excuses and this is what he wanted for his son.

He tells his son that life is hard and we can’t avoid being hit. He states that it isn’t how hard we hit but how hard we can get hit and keep on going. What a powerful insight. The test of true grit is not in our ability to hit but our ability to take punishment and keep moving forward. Those who know this and know their own mettle do not fear the storms or the repercussions of doing the right thing. They know they can take the hits and keep moving forward.  Who would have thought such a gem could be nestled in the midst of a Rocky movie! If we can take the hits we can’t be defeated. If we know we can take the hits, we have nothing to fear.



One response to “Taking a Hit

  1. Who would have thought??? Rocky 1 & 2 are rife with wisdom! He is the quintessential existentialist. He merely does what is in his gut. Even his proposal to Adrian. It wasn’t saturated with such ostentatious traditions as being on bended-knee and revealing an over-priced rock that some poor, African child was murdered for. It was simply a decision he made. AND one that was more informed than most getting engaged these days (evinced by his first question..”hey adrian, what are you doing for the next 40 or 50 years?”). Perhaps the lessons tie into each other. Be simple. Enjoy what life has to offer you when it is good, and don’t let it cripple you when it is bad. We really are passive beings. I believe that there is some value to the choices we make, but it isn’t the be all and end all. Two men making the same choice to attend Harvard law school; they graduate with identical curriculum vitae. One is offered a job, one is not. Such is life. I follow the philosophy of Heraclitus..everything is in a state of flux. So why not simply exist. Let life flow through you like a beam of light. I dunno..maybe I’m just reading too much into rocky lol…especially since the rest were pretty much crap. Rocky 4..ugh..what blatant anti-cold war propaganda. And don’t get me started on Rocky 5 lol…

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