Wednesday, June 6, 2012

WANTED: Three 'Hunks'

I’ve been catching the movie Independence Day on television recently.    And since I’m a sucker for such movies (the whole E.T. visitation plot), I keep watching said movie every time I see it appearing on the T.V. guide. 

If you recall, there are three main characters in this film:  Bill Pullman’s (President Whitmore); Jeff Goldblum’s (David Levinson); and Will Smith’s (Capt. Steven Hiller).  Interestingly, as I watched the movie, I realized that in most, if not all, doomsday or apocalyptic films, you will find the same characters over and over (think  2012The Day After Tomorrow, and I'm sure you can come up with countless other films featuring these three)

There will always be the politician / legitimate social authority figure; the scientist / source of legitimate information; and the soldier / muscle man / action guy.

No one really likes the politician so much.  For the most part, just as in real life, this is the  character that talks, talks, talks, takes too long to make decisions in efforts to please everyone and weigh every single consideration there is even when choices are crystal clear (breathe)….and sadly, though the fate of the world rests on his decisions (yes, for the most part this is played by men), he’s the character that doesn’t really have any balls.  However, his usefulness mainly lies on the legitimacy of his role in mobilizing people and resources, hence making things 'happen', in some detached, 'I-am-not-dirtying-my-hands' kind of way.

Then there’s the science guy, the one who makes the key discovery and holds the information that can save mankind.  We can also call him the Brain, the one who really understands what's going on and sees the big picture.  It is this guy's commitment to truth and knowledge that truly saves the day.  Most often than not, some kind of friction always exists between the Brain and the Politician, with the former hating the indecisiveness of the latter.  

Finally, we have Mr. Soldier, Muscleman, Action guy or simply put, the Brawn. This is the character that doesn't really care much about rules and politics. He reacts from the gut and is clear about having a singular mission....saving the day! He cannot be bothered by scientific mumbo-jumbo, not by any bureaucratic entanglements.  He knows what needs to be done and tries to execute the plan (if there is any) as swiftly and as altruistically as possible.  Simply put, this is our traditional idea of a 'hero'.

So what is to be learned from the recurrence of these three characters?  I suppose the point is that inasmuch as we'd like to do away with one, say for instance, just kill the politician or don't even include him altogether, we all know there is a reason he is there and much as we'd hate to admit it, he is just as important as the other two.  

The fact is, 'saving the day' requires a delicate balance.  

You need to be able to charm people, be charismatic enough to get the resources you need, as well as willing cooperation from others, just as much as you need intelligence and a good amount of information to come up with a firm strategy.  And of course, always, you need a respectable amount of action and the ability to show real balls. Execution is necessary and it always helps to follow your gut and to rely on that internal compass telling you where to go regardless of what may seem normative.  The bottom line is that a degree of innovation is always the key if you truly want to make a difference and save the day!

There may be no alien invasions or huge catastrophes right now, but the next time your day needs saving one way or the other, try to cast your three trusty friends above by summoning them from within.  Then you'd really be kicking a**!

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