Personal Development Lessons From Rocky Balboa

I don’t usually watch movies on planes. But I had heard good things about that latest, and hopefully last, Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa. While it was quite formulaic and predictable, it had some decent acting, with only minor interludes of overacting. And as a bonus, it actually had a couple of good personal development moments thrown in.

The key moment for me was the climactic scene between Rocky and his son. I’ll go ahead and butcher, er, paraphrase, the gist of Rocky’s message to his son.

“It’s not how hard you can hit, it’s how hard you can be hit, how many times you can be knocked down, and keep getting up and getting back into the ring.”

At first glance this seems to be a direct contradiction to the teachings of the Law of Attraction: teachings that espouse the idea of ease and grace. The Law of Attraction encourages us to enter into a co-creative relationship with the Universe in order to allow our ideal life to unfold easily and gracefully.

How does hitting and being hit, getting knocked down and pushing yourself back up fit in with the idea of ease and grace?

Well it doesn’t. Except that it sort of does!

When most of us begin working with the Law of Attraction we are used to “working hard,” pushing “against” and, yes, even fighting for what we want. We are taught that “when the going gets tough the tough get going.” We are praised and honored for being “fighters,” and for our willingness to dust ourselves off and get back up after being hit and knocked down. That is how we have been taught to go through life and that is how most of us have lived most of our lives.

Ultimately, the Art of Deliberate Creation is about none of that stuff. I believe that, as individuals and collectively, we are, indeed, heading towards a place of ease and grace, a place where we truly are the deliberate co-creators of our lives.

But we’re not there yet. At least not the vast majority of us.

So, at the start of our journey towards mastery of the Law of the Attraction, there will be times when it feels like we’re being hit hard. There will be times when a decision leading us away from default creation and towards deliberate creation knocks all the wind out of our lungs. And when we’re learning to stop rowing upstream and start flowing downstream it may feel like our arms are being pounded as we struggle to put those oars down and allow our boat to turn downstream.

It is at those times, when we feel battered and bruised, that the temptation to give up, to throw in the towel will be great.

And it is in those moments that true Deliberate Creators are made: When you’re down and you hear the desperate voice in your head urging you to stay on the mat, to go back to the old ways of blame and victim-hood. If you can pull yourself up and get back in the ring for just one more round, in that moment you ARE the deliberate creator of your life.

And somewhere down the line, after picking yourself up and dusting yourself off and stepping into that ring again and again, you will find that it is possible to live in alignment with the Law of Attraction. You will discover that life does not need to filled with struggle and strive and stress. You will find that it is possible for life to be filled with ease and grace and co-creation.

And that, without a doubt, makes all the struggles along the way worth the journey!

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      3 Responses to “Personal Development Lessons From Rocky Balboa”

      1. Dawud Miracle on June 5th, 2007 12:32 pm

        Hey Ed.

        I found more wisdom in that scene than might meet the eye initially as well.

        Life is really about how much you can perserve through difficult times. In Sufism, there is a say…”do you have faith in God? Then know you’ll be tested in that faith.”

        Now this isn’t some warning of all the doom faith brings. No! Rather it’s a signal that those with faith in things greater than themselves will have ample opportunity to refine that faith. So, in essence, it can be about ‘how much we can take and keep moving forward.’

        Just my thoughts…

      2. Edward Mills on June 5th, 2007 12:49 pm

        Hi Dawud: I have definitely seen that “then know you’ll be tested in that faith,” thing at work in my life. Your comment reminded me of the Rilke poem about wrestling with the Angel. It’s about how winning a wrestling match is fine, but being beaten in a match with an Angel is a far more impressive feat! I know that sometimes in my personal development work I feel that I have been soundly thrashed by an Angel. And so far I have managed to get back up and get back in the ring.

      3. Adam Holland on February 20th, 2008 6:47 pm

        Gotta love the Rocky movies.. every single one has got some element(s) of personal development in them… ESPECIALLY getting over fear.

        It’s the fighters that overcome their struggles and persevere that win!

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