Six life lessons from Jerry Maguire

I believe there are a few things which match an incredible story intertwined with rich lessons.

Nothing like a well recounted story. I love stories; listening to them, reading them, telling them. They have the ability to alter your being and move you in unimaginable ways. And Jerry Maguire’s (portrayed by Tom Cruise) isn’t short of all the above.

The following are life lessons I drew from the film.

Tough times are inevitable

I bet you thought I was going to start on a rosy and romantic note, weren’t you? Humble apologies. We’ll get there, eventually.

First, let’s get real! Tough times are inevitable, you’re going to get your fair share. Or unfair share, depending on how you look at it. Jerry rides the wave of success, helps build one of the largest sports management agencies in America — and then gets fired. What follows is a slippery slope, marital problems creep in, he gets isolated and so forth. Importantly though, he doesn’t throw in the proverbial towel. He continues to believe in himself and is crazy enough to believe he’s the best. In my life, I’ve also went through serious downturns which tested my self belief. But it’s the abrasive belief in himself which eventually turns things around. So, believe and bet on yourself.

In your endeavours, be human

Often, some people forget to be humane once they view the world from the Eiffel Tower … so to speak. “Money does not change a man, it only reveals him”, a saying goes.

Jerry got to a point where his only driving force and reason for being was money. It took a boy whose father, an athlete under Jerry Maguire’s management, had suffered his fourth concussion to change that. Jerry visits him in hospital, as he leaves the son follows and pleads: “This is his fourth concussion, can somebody please get him to stop [playing]?” To which Jerry replies, with a smile on his face: “Nothing will get your father to stop kid!”

The boy starts crying and angrily hits back, “Fuck you!”. For a moment his mind races and he eventually asked himself, “Have I become a lion in a suit?” That moment changed his life. He began changing his life, doing random acts of kindness and even rewrote his company’s mission and vision. Remember, people connect with people, they do business with people, not fancy buildings \ company premises. Be human. Be genuine.

Love will carry you through

Here we are, with love.

This is a theme that stands out throughout the film, from the day Jerry only managed to take away one employee from his previous firm, posing the classic question, “Who’s coming with me?”. A question aimed to the entire office — right to the day he happily remarried (she’s the lady who packed up her stuff and left with Jerry to partner in his new company).

Aim to live a life peppered with love. In your heart, always have love outweigh hate or dislike.

You’ve got to believe in something

I believe you need to take a deep and honest look at yourself and determine your reason for being.

What you believe in. Your ethos. Likewise, people in a business corporation need to determine specifically what sort of customers they’re serving. As one Pavlo Phitidis is fond of saying: “Focus your energies to a specific and clearly defined segment. Because if you try to become everything to everybody, you’ll end up being nothing to nobody”. Don’t be all over the show. In writing his company’s vision, Jerry confidently sets out what him and the business stand for, what he wants to achieve and the impact he wants to have.

Explicitly state what your vision is, your story and this ought to be obvious, you’ve got to believe in it. Which perfectly leads to my next point.

Stick to it

Having found who you are, what turns you on and makes you tick; what defines success for you — you need to go out and get it!

Seems obvious, right? Not quite.

Many people — I’ve plenty been guilty of this, too — make decisions every single day about what they want to do and often don’t follow through. Making the decision that you want to get your health, body and mind in great shape is awesome. Making the decision to stick to the decision, notwithstanding the setbacks along the way, is priceless.

The best is yet to come

Jerry went through bad times, got betrayed, that he deserved to quit if he wanted to. Instead of doing what’s easier, he demonstrates that no matter what is going on now, the best is yet to come. I often tell friends that I may currently live in a dilapidated township physically, but oh boy, I am out there in the world mentally. I always reach down to the deepest depths of my mind and stretch it as far wide as I can about what’s possible, because I always believe the best is on its way.

I once read this: Learn, and then remove the ‘L’.

So ultimately, you have to develop yourself continuously, be a master of your space and then don’t be afraid to say, “Show me the money!”

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the film: “If the heart is empty, then the head doesn’t matter!”

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