Simply Perform

Batman: Three Lessons on Successful Performance

May 11, 2017

Lessons that we can all learn and apply to our own life can be found in many success stories.  The Olympic and Paralympic games are full to the brim of such stories, each containing a degree of generic principles and lessons which, once identified, provide us with possible tips on how to reach their own personal dreams.  Whilst the Olympic and Paralympic stories have been extensively covered by the media in the past month or two, we at Simply Perform have decided to take a slightly different focus.  Instead, we’ve decided to use the Batman movie: The Dark Knight Rises, as a story to find lessons of success!  In particular, we’ve got one scene in mind, which we believe has 3 lessons for us all to work into our lives….

To quickly fill you in with the scene… Batman, having been caught by his enemy and put in a notoriously dark and dingy jail, wants to escape.  However, only one person has ever escaped, the rest having failed, and to make matters worse, Batman’s spine is seriously injured – he can’t even walk, to begin with!  Everyone was telling him it was impossible to escape!  Despite the naysayers and serious injury Batman gets to it and after some serious hard work and attempts to escape but unfortunately failed on numerous occasions.  After one particular failed escape, Batman is advised to ditch the safety rope which he used during his previous failed climbs.  So, on his next ascent to freedom and this time without the rope, Batman approached the point in the climb that proved too difficult to overcome previously – a jump about 4 meters long between two large rocks.  A mistake now would certainly spell the end of Batman as he was too high up to recover from the fall.  The pressure was on.  A do or die moment you may say….  Fortunately for Batman, DC Comics and Hollywood’s Bank Manager, Batman successfully manoeuvres past the obstacle and climbs on up to freedom.

Now, what are the lessons that could help us achieve:

  • Have a goal

What this scene showed us was the importance of having a goal – something that you can totally commit yourself to.  In Batman’s case, it was his desire to escape.  It got him out his bed in the morning and allowed him to overcome setbacks.  Obviously, ours won’t necessarily be quite as drastic but whatever it is, we must take ownership and responsibility of it.  It’s our goal and only we can truly fulfil it.  If you’re living someone else’s goals or have one forced upon you, you’ll struggle to drag yourself out of bed when it gets tough.  By having a goal and therefore a purpose that’s our own, we have meaning and direction in our lives.

Quote: “Any person who has a why can handle any how.” – Nietzsche

  • Adopt a growth mindset

I’ve touched on this previously on the blog.  We need to adopt a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset.  If Batman had a fixed mindset, he would have just given up on trying to escape the moment everyone reminded him about his bad back and that only person had ever escaped. He would have believed that he’d never have got better with effort and instead would probably have gone back to his bed feeling sorry for himself.  But NO!  Batman had a growth mindset, he knew that he couldn’t get out at that moment, but that doesn’t mean he’d never get out.  He was aware that through effort, facing up to challenges, working on weaknesses and accepting that failure is part of the process of success, he could eventually reach his goal.  Doesn’t that make sense?  Wouldn’t it be deeply unsatisfying if our dreams or goals were easily achievable?  It would almost be pointless getting out of bed in the morning!  That’s perhaps why some people have called the struggle the best part of life.  So, by adopting a growth mindset we’re saying to ourselves that we can grow and reach our goals over time.  It doesn’t happen over night.  That would be completely unrealistic.

Quote:  “The only place you find success before work is in the dictionary” – Lombardi

  • Change the way we relate to anxiety

As with lesson two, I’ve also touched on this lesson previously.  Many see anxiety as something that desperately needs to be removed, controlled or even ignored.  And yet, when we honestly reflect on our lives so far, some of our most meaningful moments, the times we’ve learned the most or grown the most, have occurred with anxiety not being too far away.  That’s maybe why certain philosophers and psychologists call anxiety “the pulse of life”, “the dizziness of freedom”, “the great teacher”, or even “the awareness of possibilities”.  Indeed, at the moment when Batman reached the jump without his safety rope, he was standing on the edge (literally) of possibility: the possibility of navigating the obstacle successfully or the possibility of falling to his doom.  And when we reflect on our own experiences, possibility and anxiety come hand in hand in self-chosen pursuits.  Why run from it, reduce it or ignore it?  Maybe that’s why some sport psychologists state that as we get closer to achieving our self-set goals (fulfilling our “good” possibilities), we get anxious. Isn’t that showing us that we care about what we’re striving for? It would, therefore, appear that we need to change the way we relate to anxiety. Rather than viewing it as something to be feared, we move to an attitude that accepts anxiety as a normal part of the development process when striving for our goals.

Quote: “Courage is not the removal of doubt and anxiety but is the attitude that we can move forward in spite of doubt and anxiety.” – May

What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree? Maybe you saw different or even additional lessons?



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