Logan is the latest into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It tells the story of a gritty, future where mutants are on the verge of extinction. Logan is aged and weak and Charles Xavier, his mentor and friend, is an old, increasingly senile, man suffering from “a neurodegenerative disease which causes him to lose control of his telepathic abilities to devastating effect”. He’s still got his signature adamantium claws, but he heals slowly and struggles with alcoholism. Definitely not the “Wolverine” of the comics. It’s is a dark, gritty and violent story. Here are three professional lessons from the movie Logan.
Have big goals
Logan’s mission pushes him to help an 11-year-old mutant Laura make her way to North Dakota. Laura believes Eden will be her refuge from agents of an evil corporation that are pursuing her. The location is based on coordinates in the X-Men comic books that Laura has read. Logan is convinced that her fixation with Eden is based on fantasy. Charles Xavier convinces him that regardless of whether that’s the case or not, having a potentially unrealistic goal is better than not having one. Goals = purpose. Lesson of the day: even if it may seem unrealistic, setting your sites on a goal and working towards it is better than drifting aimlessly through life (or your career).
Live life beyond work
Logan is unique because it explores the idea of retirement for super heroes. Charles Xavier was once a powerful leader of a gifted team that saved the world. Now we see a frail old man struggling with the deterioration of his mind as he passes the days lonely and isolated in a small abandoned grain silo. Logan struggles with alcoholism and makes ends meet driving bros around town in a limo. Neither character has much love in their life. They continue to be haunted by the past. While few professionals see the sort of exploits the X-Men did, many of us do get so buried in our work that we forget about what life will be like when we can’t work anymore. Do you want to wind up like Charles and Logan? If not, begin planting the “retirement” seeds early by investing quality time with your family, friends and community. Set that goal (see above) of what it feels like to live a happy life. Invest the energy (and more importantly the time) to realize that goal.
Love trumps hate
One of the themes of the film is that Logan finds redemption in helping a little girl escape from the forces of evil. He doesn’t come to this realization easily. For the first three quarters of the film he questions any sort of altruistic relationship and instead seems focused on the past. He refuses to celebrate the present or see any good in the future (beyond an adamantium tipped bullet to the head). Pretty dark stuff. But once he starts to look past the trauma of his life and towards a more positive world view fostered by Xavier, he starts to find peace. The lesson for us in our professional world is to look beyond self-interest towards actions that can benefit the greater good. That might look like taking on a mentor, getting involved in your local community, volunteering your time for a good cause or just buying a coffee for a colleague if they appear glum. Whatever it is, make it about supporting them. The secret is that doing so will make you feel great, too.
Photo courtesy of Inverse via Fox Creative.