My Top 6 Inspirational Movies of All Time

In addition to my love of books, I love watching movies too. My rule is to never watch anything that has scored under 7.0 on IMDB (although I make exceptions for the occasional sci-fi flick). 

The movies I tend to remember the longest and have the most meaningful impact on me are often highly inspirational ones. Without further ado, here is the list of my top 6 inspirational movies of all time- please enjoy!

1. Gattaca

In a dystopian genetically engineered future that is frighteningly plausible, people are judged according to their gene potential and little else. Natural born children (without genetic tampering) are shunned by society and only allowed to pursue the most menial jobs and careers. Ethan Hawke plays an imperfect young man who refuses to accept the status quo and embarks on a dream to become an astronaut, with the help of a genetically perfect Jude Law who is bitter about the system. This movie epitomizes the power of the human will to succeed against all odds.

2. Any Given Sunday

In this American Football story, an aging team coach (Al Pacino) and quarterback (Dennis Quad) are pitted against younger, hungry foes that seek to replace them. There’s plenty of action and all out sports play, but it is was this hugely inspirational speech by Al Pacino during the final game showdown that I’ll always remember:

3. Glengarry Glen Ross

This has been the quintessential salesman’s movie for the last 20 years. The entire dialogue heavy story revolves around a group of real estate salesmen who are struggling to meet their numbers before the end of a crucial month, and the lengths that they go to try and make a sale. Anybody who has ever been out on the road trying to close sales will be able to relate to this movie. At one point a senior manager (Alex Baldwin) walks in gives them a brutal pep talk that is unmissable:

4. The Shawshank Redemption

This movie revolves around a man (Tim Adams) who is wrongly convicted of a crime, then imprisoned for a lengthy sentence. During his time in prison, he makes a best friend (Morgan Freeman) who helps him make his time more worthwhile. In the end, he’s able to mould his destiny and find happiness in the toughest of conditions. This incredible film holds the rating for Number 1 movie of all time on IMDB. 

5. The Concert (Russian)

This movie is pure magic. It’s about a retired and disgraced (but brilliant) orchestra conductor who hasn’t worked in the music business since Communism fell. His former orchestra is in tatters, most now poor and out of the business completely. He manages to sneak a big shot to play in foreign country and sets about frantically rebuilding his orchestra and getting to the show before the Russian authorities catch up with his plan. This delightful piece of filmmaking reminded me how we can (and should) never escape our passions in life, for it is in passionate work where we are at our finest. See the trailer here:

6. Rocky

What can I say about the movie Rocky that hasn’t already been said? It’s the story of a soon to retire, down and out boxer who never made it big in his career, despite possessing some talent. One day, he gets a wild card shot at the world heavyweight champion that nobody takes seriously except for him. Well, we all know the rest of this story.

It was in this movie that Rocky, lying in bed and feeling crushed by the magnitude of the task ahead of him, uttered one of my favourite lines of all time: 

"I can’t beat him. But that don’t bother me. The only thing I want to do is to go the distance, that’s all. Because if that bell rings and I’m still standing, then I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I wasn’t just another bum from the neighborhood."

The Rocky movies consistently display how the person with the most heart can win, in spite of the largest of obstacles. Rocky is the ultimate people’s champion and there is more than enough to love about this movie.

In fact, the story of Sylvester Stallone and how the Rocky movie came into being is an incredibly inspiring too. Listen to it here:

Tony Robbins Shares Rocky’s Story by supergrowth11

To Blog Or Not To Blog? Read This If You’re Still Not Sure

A few days ago I received an interesting email from an older friend and mentor that I highly respect. He likes reading my posts (at least I assume so) and asked me a brilliant question: to blog or not to blog? 
Here’s a the crux of his email:
"Many of us has something to say, few of us reads and listens. Like you, I have a arsenal of stuff to share. Would love to give it a new go. Is blogging the answer?"
Any response to this question is entirely subjective and will differ completely from person to person. I bared it all in answering this question, and felt so good about writing that email that I decided to share it. Below is my response, originally typed in a rush, now very lightly edited:

"Hi [Friend]
You ask a good question, and I think there are many answers.

I had been meaning to start a blog for ages and I finally took the plunge and went for it, albeit in a relaxed, extremely “part-time” fashion. I probably spend about 30 minutes a week on my blog. 
The thing that prompted me was actually a drop in the technology barrier - I continually (and irrationally) put off using Wordpress due to it having a small level of complexity, but eventually tried Posterous (which allows you to blog by sending emails to a single address), which is fantastic and effortless.

I blog because I have a lot of stuff to share, and I suppose there is also a “Why not?” factor to it. I’m also aware that it extends my personal brand, and perhaps people interested in me will be interested in some of my ideas, or vice versa. I’m not blogging to reach a great audience though… to do so requires hard work, measurement, improvement, and luck. I’m just blogging for the few (maybe growing) people out there who think I’m interesting and care to read what I have to say. If I get to meet or speak with those people, all the better. I take the same attitude to Twitter. It’s a long term game and also therapeutic.
It’s true that millions of people out there are “screaming with nobody listening”. I don’t care about that so much. We live in the age of tribes, and the “micro-celebrity”. Someone will always listen. I suppose it gets tough when the numbers don’t grow as wanted/needed/expected. But if one’s expectation is zero, that’s easy to beat.

I’ve often read posts from other well known figures that blogging is a poor way to get one’s ideas out to an audience - it’s far more effective to write instead for other publications- big blogs, newspapers, magazines etc. Prominent voices like Vivek Wadhwa subscribe to this philosophy, and frankly I think they are correct. (You do this too). More people will listen for sure. But once again that is a slightly different game where the standard for quality and effort required are much greater.
Blogging is relaxing and fulfilling, a way for me to blow off some steam on a Sunday. I’m not sure if me writing regularly for Memeburn (which will ensure a much bigger audience) or whatever other publication will be quite the same. There’s a time and place for it and that’s not me right now.

For you: I recommend toying with both approaches. I think you have the time, ability and knowledge to create solid content that would do well in existing publications… perhaps this can be your “idea mouthpiece”. But also start a blog (I recommend Posterous as it is the easiest tool by far) and let this collect your “musings” - they will be great for posterity.


This honest letter neatly sums up my position and attitude toward personal blogging right now. I wonder who else out there shares this view - surely I am not alone. 
I wonder if my approach to blogging will change? Or perhaps the better question is: when?