Without the support of those around us, all of our best intentions to change can come to nothing. If we don’t have the backing of those closest to us, it’s all too easy to relapse into the old ways. You can probably think of examples of this both in your work and in your personal life. And I’ve just come across a striking example of this in a fantastic film I recently saw on DVD, The Wrestler, starring a Mickey Rourke back to his very best form, who has been nominated for an Oscar for his performance

The film tells the story of a professional wrestler who was a big star in the eighties and who’s still in the ring, even though he’s now well past his prime. One day he suffers a heart attack during a fight, and has no choice but to retire and come face to face with that most dreaded of human predicaments, loneliness. I especially liked the film because it brings into focus the difference between having real friends or just mere acquaintances, the huge chasm which separates someone who is just pleasant company and someone with whom you can have a deeper relationship. I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but it’s a film which graphically shows the price we’re prepared to pay to avoid being alone; and how we need the support of others to be able to change, even though we don’t always realise this. If you want to change some aspect of you life (your job, your personality, your way of life…), can you count on the support of someone close to you? If you can’t, then I’m afraid the process of change is going to be all the more painful.

Finally, I especially liked one scene which shows how we cling on to fame and our need to be seen or feel important, even at the cost of our own dignity. I’ve seen this myself with people who’ve had their day in the sun and can’t stop reminding everybody about it. In the words of Kipling:

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same…”

Success is either an impostor or a fluke; and anyone who thinks the world of himself because of his success will sooner or later have his day of reckoning. That is why failure can often be a blessing in disguise, and why we need friends and their support to remember who we really are.

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