Over the weekend, I was thrilled to see the "Unstoppable" movie starring Denzel Washington (as Frank Barnes) and Chris Pine (as Will Colson). I am sure most of you have already seen the movie too.
Unstoppable is a 90-minute movie about Southern Rail Road company trying to stop a runaway train. Frank and Chris are two working class people who are forced to face a dangerous situation – that of a runaway train that is half-mile long, filled with hazardous materials, and speeding at more than 50 miles an hour. It is the story of ordinary people meeting a dangerous situation to transform themselves into extraordinary people.
What got us even more excited was the fact that Frank Barnes and Will Colson are real people and this story was inspired by true events.
Let's quickly look at this from a story narrative perspective.
This is the typical story of a reluctant hero (a heroic archetype described by Joseph Campbell). Frank Barnes and Will Colson (more than Frank) are the reluctant heroes that have to take that plunge.
The Inciting incident (an event or a situation that sets things in motion) here is the beast (runaway train) getting out of control.
Frank and Will (the reluctant heroes) are faced with a runaway train situation (inciting incident) to transform into extraordinary people.
While I explained a few things from the story structure, remember that the movie was inspired by real events. Frank and Will had what it takes to be extraordinary but the moment (inciting incident) is what brought that forth the “real” Frank and Will.
Frank and Will are examples. You and I know that there are numerous stories where ordinary gets transformed into extraordinary in real life.
Think for a second about your own life. You may be a small business owner, a consultant, an employee in a large organization, a startup founder or a government employee. In the eyes of the world, you may be considered as a cog in the wheel, an ordinary person, someone who is getting by. However, deep inside you know that you have what it takes to be extraordinary. But you know that transformation won't come easy. In your mind, you have not been given the "opportunity" to flourish. You are waiting for that right moment to bring forth everything you got.
Honestly, that right moment will come once in a blue moon and for all you know, it might have come many times in your past – but you were busy with the “ordinary stuff” to notice those opportunities. Those right moments rarely come with your name stamped on them. They may also be dressed different to confuse you. In the case of Frank and Will, they both had a choice to walk away from that situation. Nobody coerced them to become extraordinary. In fact, people at the "top" suggested that they back off. Frank and Will pursued nevertheless and the rest is history (and, one hell of a movie too).
Here is a thought experiment. What if you manufactured the urgency as if the right moment has already arrived? What if you bring forth everything you got: all your skills, resources and network to bear as if the time is now? What if you fool your mind to take action as if the time has indeed come?
Do you think it will make a difference?
I don't know, but it's definitely worth a shot.
Rajesh Setty is an entrepreneur, author and speaker based in Silicon Valley. You can follow him on his blog at rajeshsetty.com/blog or on Twitter at twitter.com/rajsetty. This article is an excerpt from his upcoming book codenamed “Smart, but stuck!”.