Life Lessons From ‘Mission Impossible’



One of the things I look forward to in the summer is all the exciting movies that are released of all genres. There is nothing more enjoyable than enjoying a great movie on a hot summer night. I recently saw ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ and I must say that it is one of the best action movies I have ever seen!

I’ve been a fan of Mission Impossible long before Tom Cruise started playing IMF agent Ethan Hunt on the big screen as I watched the television show as a kid. The combination of edge-of-the-seat plot, usually involving a global threat, death-defying stunts, usually performed by Tom Cruise himself, the high tension relationships between the characters and unrelenting action makes for a very entertaining evening.

When I look back on all of the Mission Impossible movies, especially the latest one, some themes arise which can be extrapolated into lessons to live our lives by.

The first lesson is that no matter what you are doing or trying to achieve, it is never too late. Most of the MI movies have a climax which involves a race against time to stop the villain’s dastardly plot to cause chaos and destruction on a massive scale. This is all I can say about the recent installment without giving away a spoiler, in which there are only minutes down to seconds left to avert a catastrophe.

The life lesson here is that, no matter how desperate or dire your situation is, never give up in your efforts to turn that situation around to your advantage. Minutes and even seconds can count. Ask someone who has missed a flight, avoided a motor vehicle accident or survived a cardiac arrest.

The second lesson is that you do not need to know the exact path to get to where you want to go, you just need to take the first step. In the final scenes of Mission Impossible: Fallout, Ethan Hunt has to get a device from the villain, John Lark to avert disaster. The problem is that John Lark has escaped in a helicopter. Without even knowing how he is going to get this device, Ethan Hunt grabs onto the payload attached to an accompanying helicopter by a rope as it takes off.

Now I can’t tell you much more without giving you a spoiler but the point is that Ethan Hunt has no idea how he is going to get this device from John Lark who has escaped in a separate helicopter. However, he has taken the very next step he can conceive of which I have described above.

Many times in our lives we do not know how we are going to achieve some goal that we desire. What matters is that we take the very first step towards that goal. If we have the courage to do this, the path to our goal will gradually unfold and reveal itself.

The last lesson is that there is nothing that you cannot achieve. The very title, ‘Mission Impossible,’ conjures up images of failure and disappointment, however, in all of the movies, Ethan Hunt always prevails. Now, I know that this is just fiction and the scenarios are farfetched and just conceived for pure entertainment but this is not the point.

The point is that we need to set our sights high and pursue challenging and meaningful goals which force us out of our comfort zones. This is the only path to personal growth, fulfillment and a life of meaning and joy.

In summary, aim high, take the first step, even if the full path is not apparent, and never give up.


Nauman Naeem MD


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