“Feel the Rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time!”
If you know the movie where that line came from, you and I would probably get along really well.
One of my favorite movies of all-time is Cool Runnings. It’s hilarious and inspiring. I was 11 years old when I first watched it. I remember so clearly how genuine and friendly the Jamaicans seemed to be.
I become so obsessed with Jamaica that my dad actually planned a surprise trip for the whole family my senior year of high school. To this day, it remains one of my fondest family vacations. If you’ve never seen the movie, it is loosely based on the true story about the 1988 Jamaican Bobsled team who competed in the Calgary Winter Olympics.
Today, at 33 years old I still watch the movie any chance I get, although the meaning has changed from simply a being a comedy to being a movie with a deeper life lesson.
For a brief overview, here’s the plot: After the Jamaicans qualify for their first Winter Olympics using what looked more like a tub than a bobsled, they get to Calgary and is soon the laughing stock in the Olympic Village. No one took the idea of Jamaica having a legit bobsledding team since the temperatures there rarely dip under 70 degrees. The driver of the team (Winston Watts in real life) wanted to fit in and so he would observed the Swiss team (a highly respected team) practice and compete.
On their first run at the Olympics, they copied what the Swiss were doing, the results was disastrous. Later that night, they took time to reflect who they were and how they were going to bring out their true selves to the ice, no matter what anyone else thought of them.
After some reflection and pep talks, the team went back to their roots. They were true to themselves, and they were 100% prepared for the second day. Everything clicked and they moved into 8th place. They carried that same attitude to their third day.
Unfortunately, that rickety old sled they used couldn’t hold up and they crashed. Everybody expected the worst when they weren’t moving right away, but shortly after they picked up the sled as a unit and walked towards the finish line.
Our lives can be compared much in the same way as the Jamaican team’s three runs. You can be like the first run and try to be someone else. You can react to everyone’s demand and needs. Mentally and emotionally, you can become a chameleon and adapt to the same values as everyone around you. Although at the end of the day, you may be the one that suffers the most, much like the Jamaicans on that first day.
Or you can be like the second run and stay true to yourself and your values. Aligning what you believe in and combining with your own talents and unique abilities. This will bring out the very best version of yourself which will may help and inspire everyone around you as well.
Although similar to the second run, the third run by the Jamaican team took an unexpected turn (no pun intended) and that is also a powerful lesson that we can all benefit from. Sometimes life will throw those sharp turns that may knock you off your feet.
You may fail at something you had a deep desire to accomplish, or maybe you were in a relationship that although you gave it your best, did not work out. No matter what, you have to stay true to yourself. Down the road, you won’t remember so vividly the pain of the moment, and that temporary pain may actually take you down a better road for you.
Something can always go wrong, no matter how well we plan things. This is life, yet your values will always remain intact no matter what. By society’s standard, the Jamaicans failed at the 1988 Olympics, yet they remained true to themselves and their values. They got up and finished the race. They didn’t win any medals, but they were by far the most impactful team at those Olympics, and they continue to inspire decades later all because they stayed true to their values.
What are Values?
Values are who you are, not who you think you should be in order to fit in. They should determine your priorities and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if you life is turning out the way you want it to. When your actions align with your values, you’ll find contentment. It’s at this point that life is usually stable and satisfying.
What are Values so important?
Values are the backbone of life. Whether it’s in your personal life, business or in your relationships, your values can provide with a life that’s fulfilling in many ways.
It’s easy to adapt to what others are thinking, and doing. We think (often subconsciously) “well, if they are doing that, I need to do it too” “Well, the style is this now, so I need to wear this” We are all guilty of this at some point. Slowly, if we don’t realign our actions with what we deeply believe, that’s when frustration and unfulfillment starts to set in.
It’s incredibly empowering to discover and live according to our highest values, and experiencing inner peace as a natural result.
Values may change over the years, or we may even add certain new values into our value portfolio. When you have clarity with your personal values, there is a certain harmony with your purpose and mission in life. You also get peace of mind, even during challenging times.
Identifying your values:
Step 1. Write down on a piece of paper you happiest memories.
What factors contributed to your happiness?
Who were you with? Friends, family, co-workers, teammates?
What were you doing?
Step 2. List moments in your life that was meaningful?
What were your proudest moments?
What were you sharing the moment with?
How did a moment in your life that didn’t seem meaningful at the time, turned out to be far more meaningful in the future?
Step 3. List moments of fulfillment. This can be as simple as receiving a note from someone who was grateful for you helping them with something.
What need was fulfilled?
How did that experience give your life meaning.
Step 4. Determine your top values based on happy, proud and fulfilling moments. Write down as many as you life. Then edit out the top 5 that’s important to you.
Here are some:
- Hard work
- Inner Harmony
- Making a difference
- Self Control
Step 5: This is where you have to dig deep and ask yourself “Am I living in alignment with the following personal values that’s so important to me?” For this step, you may want to set aside some alone time so you can reflect and gained some clarity. List all the things that you are currently doing and then ask yourself if those things are bringing to your life one (or all 5) to your life:
Am I happy doing this?
Is this adding meaning to my life?
Is this fulfillment for me?
Now, life is not all roses and I get that. We can’t expect everything we do to bring us happiness. This is why it’s important to ask if there is deeper meaning behind what you’re doing. Cleaning the bathrooms may not be part of your job, but could it be a temporary thing that’s helping you strengthen your character and work ethic? If character and work ethic is one of your values, then yes, you’re on the right track.
Although it may not make you happy or give you a sense of immediate fulfillment, it is adding meaning to your life in some way. Sometimes meaning comes in many different forms.
A job that’s not making you happy, where the boss is mistreating you or not valuing your work, and where you’re not finding any deep fulfillment may be something that you need to take a long hard look at. This is especially important when that job is taking up much of you life.
Making value based choices in life may not always be clear or easy. However, making a choice that you know deep inside is right becomes less difficult on the long run.
Don’t stay stagnant. Life is full of treasures for you. First step in finding life’s goodies is in harnessing enough courage to take the risk and following the path that is in line with your deepest values.