10 February 2018

"Would I Have Them Over for Dinner?" & Other Questions to Ask of Your Movie Choices

[Note: Scroll to the end of this blog post for a list of 18 good-energy movies we strongly recommend!]
20 minutes into the movie, my wife and I look at each other with uncertainty, one of us sending out one of those “Hmmm… I’m not so sure about this…”  looks. Then we do the unthinkable. We hit the “pause” button and ask one of these questions:
  • Would we want to have these people over for dinner?
  • Are we feeling better now that we’ve entered their world?
  • Is their struggle something we really care about… or should care about?
  • Are these people doing things that matter or that will shed light on something valuable or meaningful?
  • Is it likely we will be better off for having seen this movie all the way through to the end?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is “No,” then we’re quite ruthless! We switch from the “pause” button to the “stop” button and simply reject the movie.
Now it wasn’t always like this. Like everyone, we used to be pulled into whatever movie was being promoted at the time — particularly if there was the promise of elaborate special effects and excitement. But after a while we began to realize that our most memorable movies were the ones that had some spark of deeper inspiration. And often these had no special effects whatsoever. No explosions, no epic battles, no other-worldly scenes generated by Hollywood magic. Instead, they centered around real people working their way through real problems and finding triumph in overcoming these.  And the best thing about these movies is that they would often lead us to reinterpret our own lives or see the lives of our friends or family in new ways.  So instead of feeling exhausted or agitated as the final credits roll by, we felt uplifted, encouraged, or challenged to see the positive in the world around us.
So what’s this got to do with inspired project teams? Just this: When I see the struggles and triumphs of ordinary, well-meaning, people portrayed on the screen or when I see flawed characters reap the negative consequences of their actions yet, somehow, manage to overcome these and grow… it’s inspiring! And when I’m inspired I carry this positive energy to my workplace and to the people I interact with. So instead of being drained by the nerve-wracking, negative energy of a typical whiz-bang blockbuster, I shut off my TV and go to sleep feeling encouraged by the human condition and inspired to be my best. And this carries over to the next day when I begin interacting with people in the workplace.
So how about you? What are you watching for your recreational viewing at night? Is it doing its job of “re-creating” your positive energy in some way? Do your movie choices help you feel better about the human condition or challenge you to be a better person? If not, then maybe you and your family should take our challenge: Dare to press “pause,” ask the questions above, and then have the courage to simply walk away from the soul-sucking (but superficially stimulating) Hollywood junk.

A Few Inspirational Movies We’ve Recently Enjoyed

Here’s a list of some movie gems we’ve recently discovered on NetFlix. They each left us feeling good and somehow inspired. Not all of them are pure sweetness and light. Sometimes they involve a difficult struggle of some sort that might be painful to watch. However, they almost always leave you with positive energy or optimism about the human condition. (NOTE: I’m not going to review them here, but I’ve linked each to their description in the Internet Movie Database so you can learn more about them yourself.)
OK. You’ve seen our list. Now… tell us about your inspirational picks in the Comments below!