Last night, I watched Joy, a new movie by David O. Russell featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper. Although the movie, which has premiered on December 25, seems to have received mixed reviews, I believe it will prove to be a classic that will continue to inspire women the world over for a very, very long time. The fact that Jennifer Lawrence received a Golden Globe nomination for it a few days ago, is just the tip of the iceberg. I truly believe this to be one of the best movies I have ever watched.
Not everyone will love Jennifer Lawrence’s new movie, Joy – just like not everybody will love Caviar, or enjoy mango ice cream. This is a movie that will hit a soft spot if you have led a difficult life as an entrepreneur, a visionary, or an artist… or if you are someone with a passion blazing inside you, but who are surrounded by people who cannot see what you can see. It’s a movie for extra-ordinary women with difficult families, or maybe who live within a community that is used to mediocrity and that cannot appreciate or understand where they come from.
Here are some of the main messages that make “Joy” a great movie and a great inspiration for those who are seeking to change their lives:
1. It’s never too late to change! And whatever you want to achieve you have to do with you own hands
The one important message that Joy has given me is that it’s never too late to realize your dreams and to change course. It’s never too late to challenge your surroundings and forge your own unique path in the world… and to follow your heart, your calling. Joy started the process of following her calling after she has turned 30. There are a lot of stories about women (and men), who have started to change their lives at later stages in their lives, even in their 50s. Simply put, change can happen at any age!
What’s also beautiful about Joy is that for her to succeed she had to protect her idea and carry it through her self. She did not rely on others to take action, to work hard, or to achieve what she has set out to achieve. She did it all by herself. She nurtured her idea from A-Z, and knew she was the only person she could trust with realizing her dream.
2. Never surrender your fate to people around you. Stop seeking approval!
Another important message, which I have applied in my own life, is to always listen to your inner gut feeling, your inner conviction, and to never, ever surrender your fate to people around you… because, even though you may love and cherish them, they are flawed, and they do not know what you know!
There is a particular moment in the movie that really affirms this point and that is when Joy is told by her father (Robert De Niro) and his girlfriend (Isabella Rossellini) that it’s over, and that she should surrender and file for bankruptcy. If Joy were like most people, she would have just surrendered and “believed” the people around her, who spoke with such authority – as if they were the experts on life, and business.
Being a true leader of her own life and fate, Joy decided to read every contract (hundreds and hundreds of pages) to understand where she stood and why things ended up the way they did. She was no lawyer, but she was a determined person with a huge dose of faith and conviction. She realized that her biggest mistake before that moment was listening to the advice that came from the people around her.
The minute she believed in her inner knowing, she changed the course of her life and ultimately her destiny. She found a way out, and she continued on the path that took courage and faith. Most importantly, she stuck to her convictions and stopped seeking the approval of the people around her, who might be older, with more money and maybe more experience, but who do not know what she knew.
3. It’s all about choice, a great deal of faith, and taking responsibility for your own actions
You can choose to change, or to be the victim, and whatever you ‘choose’ will materialize in your life. Choice is an important message in ‘Joy.’ This extraordinary woman was presented with a challenging family and many, many challenging situations. How she chose to react to these situations made her who she is.
There are a lot of people around us who love to play the victims of their surroundings (I have a few in my own family). They spend a lifetime pointing fingers at others for their own failures. They blame everything that has happened to them on others, and they do not have the passion or the drive to change their lives… and that is a choice they have made. They are also often filled with feelings of envy and jealousy towards those who seem to be following their dreams. Such people often like to pull everyone down, and cannot see change or success even if it stared them in the eye.
And there are those who are presented with far more challenging situations than those who complain, but who emerge triumphant in every way.
I’m not talking about becoming a millionairess, which is what happened to Joy. There are endless ways to triumph over your circumstances and to change the course of your life. It can be by choosing to follow your dream and become who you are meant to be, or to fulfill your calling. Or it can be by transcending the twisted family you have been born into, or change careers, and maybe countries.
Whatever change you embark on, it all starts and ends with how you view the world, how you keep the faith no matter what, and how you know that what you know is real.
Joy is a great reminder that no one can live life for you; no one can heal you, or change you. You, and only you, can choose your life, and work hard for it. And that with faith and determination miracles can start to happen!