Thursday, 10 April 2014

Divergent courage

Picture the scene: a poolside somewhere in uptown LA on a hot balmy evening after several margaritas & gin slings, a couple of film producers are talking....

Producer A: This Hunger Games thing... it's making a whole load cash. Can we do something like that?
Producer B: Hmm. Do you mean, a post apocalyptic dystopia, rebellious young woman with a brooding pout, impossible romance, teetering on the edge of revolution, lots of violence but no blood and only the hint of sex? 
Producer A: Dys what?
Producer B: And use unknown actors who won't cost a lot and can passably act, have sets that that are dark, dank and also don't cost much?
Producer A: Yeah. That's the sort of gig. Can we have some sort of neo-feminist thing going on but so long as the blokes are ultimately in charge? 
Producer B: Of course. No problemo. We will avoid any stories by Ursula LeGuin: we need to make sure we can attract the teen girls and boys in big numbers. Narrative integrity is not that important...

And so began the making of Divergent.

The film is all about "I am not a number/factor" and refusing to be categorised. In that sense it is implicitly about authentic leadership: carving your own path, not letting others decide your position / caste / class / fate... It is an energetic film, seeking to inspire its viewers to act courageously themselves.

But it is extremely hard to be a courageous leader: to stand out from and above expectations of others, both senior and junior. The weight of doing the usual thing is immense and takes real strength to lift the load off one's shoulders. And this strength, as the film shows, derives from great self belief.

Do you believe in yourself? 

This is the twenty third of my new series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I am doing this. Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

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