“It wasn’t solely about me. It was more about the journey of life, how we look at life, how we can changes our thoughts, our thoughts control who we are, so that type of thing.” ~ Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger
The beginning of a New Year is always ready for change, as the year comes to a close and a new begins, it begs towards a fresh start, to initiate again with a clean slate and tackle those things that you have resolved to accomplish to make your life successful. This year though I have resolved to NO resolutions!!! For this year my life is focused not on time or a task but on a dream. Not just a day dream which one would think about momentarily as the clouds drifted by on a sunny day but a dream that touches my very soul and causes me to stir in anticipation as it grows within my mind.
Henceforth, I am delighted to begin this year’s post with a review of the movie “Rudy”. If you have not had the privilege to view this movie I do encourage you to fill your mind with its concepts and ideals. A true journey into the potential of human spirit and what the discipline of persistence accomplished for a young man with a big dream.
The underlying theme for the film underscores the 4 steps of Persistence:
- Think of a Definite Major Purpose
- Think out a Plan of Action
- Bring a Positive Mental Attitude
- Form a Mastermind Alliance
As a part of the review I will bring these (4) items to light as the journey to success is discovered.
On Aug. 23, 1948, Daniel Ruettiger was born in Joliet, Illinois as the third child out of 14 in his family. He grew up in a lower-middle class household on the outskirts of Chicago, where his father worked very long and strenuous hours in an Oil refinery to provide a roof over their heads and food on the table for the family. One bright spot in the family’s home would appear on the television when Notre Dame kicked-off each weekend. Rudy’s father loved Irish football as his 15th child. Because of this, Rudy dreamed of not only attending the university someday, but playing football for the Irish. You could find him reciting and memorizing all of the statistics and speeches of the players and coaches who had the honor of playing for the Fighting Irish.
Rudy embedded deep within himself the desire and purpose for which he knew would bring much happiness and satisfaction to himself and his family (especially his Dad).
This is the first step in Persistence. You must find a certain key purpose. Begin by understanding emotionally as well as intellectually that we literally become what we think about. To control our thoughts is to control our lives or what “we sow so shall we reap” As this permeates our thoughts we must allow our mind to believe that the opportunities are vast and are only limited by our own traditions and prejudices. Now a dream will formulate that causes the soul to soar, breathe and feel alive.
Then begin to think deeply of it; and set definite and clearly defined objectives and think on them from all possible angles. Let your imagination wonder about the possible solutions towards those potentials. Keep in your mind that there are not any circumstances strong enough to hinder or stop you in the accomplishment of your purpose.
This type of thinking is not easy and takes hard mental work. Yet the fruit from its labor will yield success as you continue practicing persistence.
Back to the story
Rudy attended Joliet Catholic Academy; he was a standout cornerback in both his junior and senior seasons, leading his team in tackles both years. On paper, Rudy’s statistics may have been considered a decent recruit for college football programs. However, there was one glaring weakness about the young teenager. Rudy stood merely 5’6″ and weighed 165 pounds soaking wet. This combined with his academic record, at best an average student, made his chances of being accepted into Notre Dame slim to none.
As Rudy experienced the pressures of conforming to what everyone else thought and expected from him, his dream would become an ember that only needed a spark to flame. And that spark was found in a faithful friend whose name was Pete. Pete grew up with Rudy and knew of his dream. He believed and supported Rudy’s dream with encouraging words and gifts.
This is why a Mastermind Alliance is so important. Surrounding yourself with people that will encourage you and support you in your dream even when the faintest glow is evident is the only way any of us can practice persistence. We are stronger together and can gather strength from them. Rudy’s Mastermind with Pete was the catalyst that caused him to put action on his dream. While working at the Oil Refinery Rudy witnessed the death of his dear friend Pete as he was killed in an industrial accident. Following the advice of Pete, he left his hometown after hearing enough negativity about his life ambition and began his historic journey. After reaching South Bend, Rudy was directed to Holy Cross Junior College, where he enrolled in classes immediately. It was here that he had learned that he suffered from dyslexia the root cause to Rudy’s academic struggles. Being a below-average student most of his life, he was denied acceptance to Notre Dame for his first three semesters. That time, however, proved to be valuable to Rudy in becoming a true Notre Dame man.
Rudy continued to form Mastermind Alliances throughout this part of the journey by finding the courage that forced him to think positively about his problems (positive Mental Attitude). He found others to help him by reaching out and serving them. Rudy would look for ways he could help and support the football team at Notre Dame and continued to give more of himself to all he came in contact with. Of course following this principle he found that he was getting more too. Rudy was avid to accomplish the right goals at the right time to attain his desires for he was constantly aware of the fact that he was only to hold his goal up before himself and everything else would take care of itself.
Since he couldn’t be a part of the actual team, he took a job behind the scenes as a stadium groundskeeper. During his employment, he was able to walk the field and travel the tunnels of Knute Rockne Stadium, which motivated Rudy even more to make his dream a reality. Living in a spare room in the basketball arena, Rudy was running out of time to enroll at Notre Dame as the university did not accept senior transfers.
Knowing this, Rudy sent in his application one last time and this time he did not fail.
After enrolling at Notre Dame, Rudy tried out for a walk-on spot. Going up against 15 other students, he was one of two chosen to prepare the varsity team while serving on the scout team. Making the scout team was the first step to succeeding in Rudy’s eyes. The second step involved playing in an actual game. Day-in and day-out, the pint-sized defender battled, displaying the true meaning of heart, passion, and hustle. A true Mastermind alliance occurred with Merv Johnson and Rudy’s fellow teammates and they inspired Rudy to take his proposal into the office of Coach, Ara Parseghian. There Rudy was transparent with Parseghin and shared his dreams for his father and all of the friends back in Illinois that they could know that there is no limit to your potential as you follow your dreams. He was promised that he would dress in his final season at Notre Dame. However, the coach hadn’t promised that he would still be the coach. Paraseghin stepped down following the end of the 1974 season.
Dan Devine, the former coach of the Green Bay Packers, took over as Rudy’s head coach in his last season donning the blue and gold. On Nov. 8, 1975, Devine decided that Rudy was going to dress for the first and last time of his football career. On this sunny Saturday afternoon, playing against a powerful Georgia Tech team, Rudy stepped onto the Field of Rockne.
While it may not seem like a lot to many, he saw action in two plays. The first, he was stopped and unable to get to the Yellow Jackets’ quarterback, Rudy Allen. However, on the second play, Rudy broke through the line full of 300-pounders and brought Allen down to the ground for the final play of the game. After an uproar in the crowd and smiles across the faces around the stadium, Rudy was lifted onto the shoulders of his teammates and carried off the field. And so Rudy’s legacy still lives on today. Two plays. One sack. One dream accomplished.
Even before Rudy was on the field he was a success. He had worked toward a predetermined goal and he knew where he was going.
That is success. Not doing that is a failure.
To close I have found a brief video trailer from the movie that illustrates the (4) step discipline of persistence.
1. Think of a Definite Major Purpose
2. Think out a Plan of Action
3. Bring a Positive Mental Attitude
4. Form a Mastermind Alliance
“Everything comes if a man will only wait … I’ve brought myself after long meditation to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfillment.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli