The model of a mans life: What we can learn from Disney's Mr. Incredible

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Every Friday night my family and I do a movie night. We roll out the popcorn, maybe some cookies or snacks for the girls and we all relax as a family, and enjoy each other’s company. I look forward to this moment all week.

One particular Friday we chose to watch “The Incredibles”. Sure, I had seen it years before, but my girls had never seen it. This time I watched it more from the perspective of Mr. Incredible rather than just the superhero story that it is. In other words, I psycho analyzed the film.

I started seeing my own life reflected in Mr. Incredible. As it played out in front of me, I realized that Mr. Incredibles story is the one that I have been trying to convey to all men. It has all the elements of a man’s life.

I am going to do my best to try and break it down from the perspective that I saw. Bear with me.

A Man’s Youth

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The story starts off with Mr. Incredible in pursuit of a criminal. He is in phenomenal shape, extremely confident, and has the world by its throat. He is at the top of his game, and clearly the greatest superhero around.

Not only is he the greatest superhero, but his girlfriend is awesome too, and assists him in conquering criminals, overcoming obstacles, and claiming victory.

This seems to be a trend with men. We have the bull by the horns (So to speak). We are living it up, in the best shape of our lives, active, physical, and risk adverse. (At least this is the way I was.) 

Then something happens.

Incident

  • Maybe for you it was an injury
  • A loss
  • A bad experience,
  • Maybe you just got tired and burnt out.
  • Whatever it was it happened and it put you down.

The spiral begins

  • You start to lose focus, you have responsibilities, a family, a career.
  • You are working to death, you gain weight, and you eat garbage.
  • You and your wife don’t have a sense of adventure anymore.

It feels like there is no hope

  • Our life is on autopilot.
  • There is no variation.
  • We are gerbils in an ever spinning wheel.

Marriage and Kids

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Part of the equation is kids and marriage.

Our wives get pregnant, we lose a sense of independence and struggle to balance the adult responsible man with the free wild child we once were.

It is a daily struggle. A grind, a fight for our very nature.

This, I believe is where the actual root cause of our cultural "dis-ease" comes from.

Don't misunderstand what I am saying. I love my wife and my kids, and wouldn't trade them for the world. I believe they are a gift and encourage all men to have them.

What I am saying though, is if you don't understand this principle, then a resentment, and discontentment begins to rear it's ugly head, and casts us into a dark place. One that will begin to have a huge negative impact on our lives.

This is when we attach ourselves to alcohol, drugs, pornography, other addictions. We begin to spend less time with our family and more time with our friends or flirting with the secretary at work. (This is exactly what happens to Mr. Incredible.)

He blows up at work, because he just wants a break from the monotony, and is discontent with the way that his life has gone. We can all relate to this, that's why we laugh at the boss jokes at work, and crave the freedom that we see others having.

Mr Incredible chooses the wrong way to handle the situation, but it does open up a new avenue for adventure in his life.

This new adventure begins to have a positive effect on his life, albeit a misguided one.


We begin to make a comeback

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This is the point where a man says, I have had enough.

Far fewer men are reaching this point. It seems that a man has given up on his own soul. It's disheartening. pandemic.

Mr. Incredible begins moonlighting as a superhero again, and reliving his glory days. Unfortunately he gets himself in trouble because he goes about it the wrong way, but he is still moving in the right direction.

He begins to get back in shape by working out, and eating better. (Yes, even superheroes understand this principle.) He catches the interest of a young alluring secretary and is sort of unaware of here subtle advances, or her evil scheme.

That's when we get into trouble.

We think the grass is greener. 

  • We take the new promotion because it pays more (however, it keeps us away from our families and continuing to exercise regularly.)
  • We start flirting with the girl at work, because she said we looked nice in our new pants
  • We buy a new car because we "deserve" it.
  • We chase down an achievement at the expense of our own family

You get the picture. The truth is, everything we need is right in front of us. 

This is the biggest lesson that Mr. Incredible has to learn.

In the midst of this lesson though, let's break down his 3 step process for physical transformation:

  • Know your why
    • Mr incredible's why is very clear. He is a superhero, and is given tasks. His objective is to save humanity. 
    • Your "why" might not be quite the same, but it could be. It could be the best model of a man that you can be. To walk uprightly, with integrity, and to lead other men to do the same.
  • Make a Plan
    • Start working out
    • Eat healthy
    • Start doing small tasks that progress over time.
    • Mr incredible knows what he has to do to start being his best. You do too. Now go do it.
  • Execute your plan
    • Stick to the plan. Stick to the plan. Stick to the plan.
    • You can't cherry pick and expect excellent results, it just doesn't happen. Also, you can't be inconsistent. Get up. Show up. Bring it, every single day.

We can't do it alone

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Mr. Incredible, despite his comeback, and successful re-integration into superhero status, becomes slightly overcome by his own ego. He bites off more than he can chew and finds himself at the mercy of his enemy.

His past has come back to haunt him, just like yours will, and just like mine will, if we let it. 

We can't let our past mistakes control our future goals.

...and we can't do it alone. We need other men to build us up and lead us.

Men need to be three things:

  1. A brother
  2. A learner
  3. A mentor

Find your Fro-zone. A friend who is just as nuts as you are, and is willing to do cool stuff.

I am really crazy and creative when it comes to pushing my limits so it's extremely hard for me to find someone like that. Then I joined F3 and found guys that are as crazy or more crazy than I am.


5 actions you can take today to become the man you are made to be:

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  1. Wake up - Understand that you are responsible for the future version of you. If you don't like something, then you need to change it.
    • Just like in the movie "The Incredible's", Mr. Incredible, dislikes the hum drum life of white collar working, and seeks to find the adventure he once had. 
  2. Rise early in the morning and exercise - Engineer your morning to bulletproof your day. Join an F3 group in your area. Get connected.
  3. Start Reading Good Books - 5 books that will set your dreams on fire, check out the 360 Man Library, or my 2017 book reading list.
  4. Set a goal - Best way to get off your butt is to sign up for some crazy event like a GoRuck or Spartan Race.
  5. Sign up -Get involved with the 360 Man Project (read the rules here, so you know what you are getting in to.)

Get started today. Stop wasting time. 

Let me know how you relate to Mr. incredible, or if there is another story that resonates with you in the comments below.

Stephen


Want some more resources to Help you on your Journey?

 
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Stephen is a man on a mission to help other men  be who they were made to be. He believes that they can achieve this through fitness, goal setting, consistency and skill.


Photo via VisualHunt
Photo credit: JD Hancock via Visual Hunt / CC BY