When caught in a war, what’s the more powerful motivator – obligation/duty or love? Desperation or rage? Now – let’s be fair – I could look at history and pull out examples of exemplary valor in both instances, but when the rubber meets the road in your own life, what would keep you on your feet fighting when everything in you wanted to quit?
Watched the 2011 movie Warrior with Joel Edgerton (King Arthur, Zero Dark Thirty, The Great Gatsby). Two estranged brothers end up pitted against one another in a Mixed Martial Arts final battle fighting for the $5million dollar purse.
Tommy is AWOL from the Marines, but is hailed as a hero. For Tommy, the Corps is his family, his “brother” was killed in action and he’s promised the widow his winnings. He’s enraged at the world and is determined to make amends on his own strength, his own terms.
Brendan is a high school Physics teacher, married with two daughters. His younger daughter had a serious health issue so he’s now facing foreclosure on his house because of the resulting medical bills, and he gets suspended from his day job. If Brendan doesn’t win this fight, his family is out on the street.
At the lowest point in the movie for Brendan, his coach/trainer says:
“Look at me! Look at me! Why are we here, Brendan? Why are we here? Are we here to win this fight? You tell me, ’cause if we’re not, I’ll throw in the towel right now. We’ll get Tess and we’ll go home. You don’t knock him out, you lose the fight. Understand me? You don’t knock him out, you don’t have a home.”
Powerful motivating speech. I won’t spoil it and tell you who wins. Watch it on Netflix.
I suspect that when you watch this movie, you’ll identify with one brother over the other. When presented with a problem, both men chose to fall forward, lean into the crisis, instead of walking away. We all have our own private wars. Some wars we wage on our own, some we might be fortunate enough to have a ‘team’ to support us. We choose to fight for different reasons, but what keeps us in the ring when it hurts, when we’re losing, when hope fades?
The wars where we have that backup, that support, even if from just one important person, are the battles we engage in longer, take more hits and get up again. Those people continue to give us reasons to keep going.
One of the things that I love about working on a novel with a co-writer is the built-in encouragement and accountability to keep going. My husband has been a vocal supporter many times in my life. My kids have often given me plenty of motivation to keep at a job I hated, or persevere in a duty I don’t enjoy.
Do you prefer to wage war on your own terms, in your own way or do you turn to your ‘team’ of supporters for the motivation to keep going? Is there someone who’s inspired you to keep fighting at a low moment in your life?