Anticipating the recoil

I watched the 2010 version of True Grit the other day

While there were many fine performances in the film, the most memorable was from Hailee Steinfeld – the actor played Mattie Ross, the 14 year-old girl out to avenge her father’s murder. While we could focus on many aspects of the film: the quirky storyline; the Coen brothers as directors; the on-screen chemistry among the main actors – I’m going to look at just one thing.


Why? Recoil is that force that shows up when fire a gun. You might recall that little principal from high school physics –

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

This is known as Newton’s third law of motion. Why talk about it? Well, after viewing the film, I got to thinking about how knowledge and anticipation of recoil could have helped Mattie Ross. It could help you, too.

How? In Mattie’s case – perhaps she would have braced herself differently when she pulled the trigger on that rifle. Perhaps she would not have tumbled into that snake-infested cave. Not been bitten by that viper. Not lost her arm. She might have had a very different life; hard to say – I’ve never written a screenplay.

For the rest of us, being able to anticipate the likely outcome to a choice or an action could come in handy. We might:

  • choose our words more carefully
  • make healthier choices
  • stay on the path towards our goals more consistently

Even if we’ve had trouble with this up to now, my work suggests that we can learn a different way, and move in the direction of a more satisfying life. Over the course of the next several days & weeks, notice how you resist the urge to ignore this important information. Notice how you begin to alter your direction – and end up in a better place.
Is there a movie that taught you an interesting life lesson? Pass it along to me, if you have a moment. Thanks!