The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Being a Contender

On The Waterfront

In the classic film “On the Waterfront” Marlon Brando’s character Terry Malloy is described as brooding and inarticulate. He is a minor pawn in the scheme of things and is pushed around and manipulated by those further up the pecking order. His life is an example of someone always living at Effect. His verbal and non-verbal language patterns reflect and maintain this way of being and he is a classic case of a “Ship of You” with a poor Crew and an almost non-existent Navigator.

At some point in the film he laments:
“You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody instead of a bum, which is what I am.”
In the film, people, influences and events conspire to fashion changes for Terry Malloy, and in the end we witness something of a character transformation. Certainly his Crew and his navigation skills worked better, in my opinion - though you need to watch the film to really arrive at your own conclusions!


As in “On the Waterfront” there are instances in our lives when we’ll think or maybe even utter some words along the lines of “I coulda been a contender.”
Reflective words that contain all the “what ifs” that may or may not have happened – provided we’d been a contender in the first place. 

And to be a contender, as we know, means we will have had to have been in the contest, at the ball game, taking the shots and not sitting in the stands watching.

Contenders get away from the safety of the harbour and take to the vast uncharted oceans of their lives with a good Crew and Navigator. Their level of success, wellbeing, fulfilment and happiness depends on the balance of the respective levels of artistry and expertise delivered by Navigator and Crew – on each of their separate sliding scales of mastery.

The thing about Life, however, can be summed up in this Zen-like quote from Yogi Berra –

“You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.”

Becoming and being your own expert Navigator plays an important part in being a Contender - getting to where and what you want in the best possible way; plays a crucial part in discovering and mapping the vast uncharted areas of our Lives and – beyond that – influencing the lives of others.

"Where do I start?"

So you want to become an expert Navigator?
Excellent - and the next question you might ask is this:

“Is it hard?”
Not if you have the right attitudes.
Its having the right attitudes that’s hard.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:
An enquiry into values
~ Robert M Pirsig

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