Life Lessons from Fast & Furious – Part 3 of 4

At the very beginning let me apologize for delaying the penultimate installment of my 4-part series. No reasons or excuses offered, it was just laziness and procrastination at my end. I am sorry! If you haven’t read my previous 2 installments, here’s where you’d find them – Part 1 of 4, and Part 2 of 4.

In this installment, I continue to gather and share my reflections from the next 2 editions of the Fast and Furious movie series – Fast Five (2011) and  Furious 6 (2013).

Fast Five (2011)

“Really? So, your dream is to start a day job? Eh… that’s stupid, why would you?… …That’s not stupid at all! I love what I do!” This was a part of the conversation between Roman Pearce and Tej Parker over dinner as they discuss what each one of them would do with the $10M each they’d get from the heist. Roman asks Tej what he’d be doing with his money to which Tej replies that he was thinking about opening up a garage back home and settling in to doing what he loved doing.

Most of our society does not have the poise or self-control when it comes to making money. That’s why a major chunk of our life goals tend to revolve around money and financial gains. We choose our careers on the amount of money we could earn – leaving words like fulfillment and job satisfaction outside the door. We spend much of our money on stuff that does not last. We buy stuff to impress people. Too soon many become slaves to their wealth. Ever heard the quote, “Money is a great servant, but a terrible master!”

Okay, I am not going to lie to you. I too want more money. It helps me live comfortably. It allows me to experience all that the world has to offer. It is an amplifier of the good I can do in this world. But it’s not the only thing that I am running after. Money does not increase personal happiness. Doing what you love doing and staying authentic to yourself leads to personal happiness.

“When your life’s on the line, that’s when you learn about yourself.” This was a corner-room conversation between Han and Gisele, and she responds to his passing question about her interest in cleaning guns.

Sooner or later, we all get comfortable with our lives and the choices we tend to make come from our comfort zones. Our comfort zones often trade passion for predictability and creativity for continuity. The number one fear today is not about death; it is about going irrelevant in our professional and personal lives. Yet, we stay put, living loyal to the predictability and familiarity of our comfort zones. Your comfort zone is not a place of residence. Just because something feels familiar and comfortable does not automatically make it the best choice. By living in our comfort zones, we risk failing to reach our full potential.

This quote serves as a powerful reminder that I don’t have to necessarily wait until my life is on the line. I don’t have to stay stuck in the everyday patterns of busyness, delusions or other blame-games. I don’t have to wait for a rock to hit me to find new ways of thinking or doing things. Reinvention is an inside-out job if I want to live a life I desire.

“Money will come and go, you know… But the most important thing is the people in this room – right here, right now. Salud, mi familia!” This is the toast proposed by Dom to his crew as they gather around the night before they prepare for the biggest heist of their life.

In the second installment, we learned about Dom’s life code around family, friends, and responsibility. This toast reinstates the importance of having a code as your guiding North Star. More importantly, this quote nudges us to reflect on this powerful question – ‘Is the pursuit of money affecting my family and relationships?’

Furious 6 (2013)

“Brian, remember the second you go through those doors, everything changes. Your old life is done!” The 6th installment of the movie series starts with Dom and Brian racing down a mountain road to a local hospital in Spain where Mia delivered a baby boy, Jack. As Brian rushes in to see his wife and son, Dom stops him and says these deep words.

While the context of this conversation revolves around Brian entering a new phase of his life, the phase of his parenthood, and Dom convincingly reminding him to focus on what’s ahead of him, I look at these words from a larger context called life. We all have a past that we keep digging into. And, from our past, we develop a number of unconscious beliefs about ourselves and about the world. Our past and our unconscious, limiting beliefs prevent us from enjoying our lives to the fullest. We fill our present lives with all the guilt from our past. Remember, our past only exists in our minds and cannot be changed or undone. The past is a nice place to visit, but certainly not a good place to stay. We can always look to our past to learn and grow from our mistakes, and to cherish our accomplishments and good memories, but not to harbor our guilts or regrets.

The moment you decide to focus on the present and plan for the future, you need to leave your past where it belongs. We have infinite potential today, but we are all trading it for our past. So, make your present authentic and full of possibilities.

“If you want the career-changing big fish, you gotta be willing to put on the big boy panties and sail out to the deep water.” This is the conversation between Brian and Officer Stasiak, as Brian puts himself on the line in an attempt to connect with Braga, a drug lord imprisoned by Brian in a previous edition. Brian returns to the United States as a prisoner to gain access to Braga.

Brian’s words in this movie sequence complement my earlier reflection about comfort zones. Our comfort zone, by default, is designed to minimize risk. It holds you back from challenging yourself. It acts as a powerful obstacle to growth and progress. Your comfort zone is slowly and untraceably suffocating you. So, instead of swimming in the safety realms of your comfort lagoon, sail out into the deep sea, and challenge yourself, attempt new things, take risks. Why? Because there is no better way to grow. There is no better way to stay relevant in your personal and professional lives than to beat your comfort zone. You will see new opportunities that were previously blurred out. And, it could change your life by opening doors you never knew were there.

Hey, we do what we do best. We improvise, all right?” These words were spoken amidst a brief exchange of anxiety between the team as they geared up to tackle Owen Shaw and his crew. As they arrive on the scene to capture Shaw, they realize that he is commandeering a military tank on the highway, destroying many cars along the way.

As the other members of Dom’s team started to panic seeing a military tank ahead of them, Brian took the reins in his hand and encouraged their team to focus on what they do best – improvisation. This is a classic example of what happens when we start working on our goals. We often get caught up in a pattern and not see results, or stumble over an unexpected obstacle. More often than not, things don’t seem to move as expected and we completely give up on what we are doing, saying that it’s not for us. We start playing the victim role – doubting ourselves and blaming our circumstances or situations. We immediately lose sight of our goal and cringe at the obstacle in front of us.

The idea here is to stay clear of what I call a ‘tunnel-vision’ and keep tweaking your approach if you notice something isn’t working as expected.

“Can I ask you something? How did you know that there would be a car there to break our fall?
I didn’t. Some things you just have to take on faith.”
In this movie, Dom finds out that Letty is still alive and working with Shaw. She is revealed to be suffering from memory loss and doesn’t remember anything about her earlier life.   This conversation is between Letty and Dom after Shaw and his men are captured, and Dom risks his life to save her from falling to her death.

This conversation brings out a very important element in personal transformation – Faith. Faith is is a choice you make to believe in something you cannot prove at the moment. When Dom saw that Letty was being thrown from the tank, he instinctively jumped to save her and they fell on an oncoming car’s windshield. Did Dom know he could save her? Did he know there would be a car there to break their fall and save them? No, but he had faith.

No matter what juncture of your life you are at, sometimes you will face circumstances that will challenge you. And, when things don’t go according to plan, we lose the expectation of good things to come. Remember that challenges will take care of themselves if you have faith in yourself and the potential outcomes you want in your life. Faith is all about creating an empowering ‘what-if…,’ the one that opens up the possibility of creating what you want.

“Stop. I may not remember anything… but I know one thing about myself. Nobody makes me do anything I don’t want to.” This strong response is given by Letty when Brian confesses to everything that happened to Letty was because of him.

This conversation between Brian and Letty is a perfect example of a victim-owner conversation. As victims, we often look at problems as betrayals and end up creating even more misery for ourselves. When Brian admitted to his folly that put Letty through life-endangering circumstances, Letty could have easily done what we do best – play a victim! Victimization is always an easier way to go. But, instead, Letty chose to be an owner and owned up to her life story. She chose to make herself strong and immediately took responsibility for everything that happened to her. How often do you think that power is in other people and in circumstances? How often do you release excuses instead of owning up to things? How often do you live in a world of ‘I can’t’? Don’t you think it’s about time you took the leap – the leap from being a victim to being a hero?

It’s that time of the year when new beginnings are in order. It’s that time of the year when you have a choice to open a book, whose pages are blank and you can put words on them yourself. There are 365 chapters and with it 365 chances to make it big! Happy New Year to you and I’ll see you with my last installment of this 4-part series in 2020!

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