Get busy living or get busy dying!

I had a chance to re-watch The Shawshank Redemption recently and remembered why it’s one of my all time favorite movies. 

It’s got a compelling, gripping story that will stay with you long after the lights come up.  It’s got great acting and narration from the incomparable Morgan Freeman.  And it has lots of great messages – the importance of integrity and decency and hope, how having friends can make all the difference, the need to be driven by a dream and the importance of a sound financial education!  😉

For those that haven’t seen it – go out and buy the DVD today (don’t rent it – you’ll want to watch it more than once).  It’s story of a young man, Andy Dufresne, with a promising career who is accused and convicted of killing his wife and her lover.  Although Andy maintains his innocence throughout, he’s sent to Shawshank prison for a life sentence.  Despite his miserable surroundings, he stays true to his code of decency and continues to search for his own redemption.  It’s truly powerful.

On top of all that, there’s one idea that really stands out:

There are a lot of great scenes in the Shawshank Redemption, but the one that keeps coming back to me is the scene where Andy is telling Red about his dream that keeps him going – living in Mexico on the Pacific Ocean (the place of no memory).

Goddamn it, Andy, stop! Don’t do that to yourself! Talking shitty pipedreams! Mexico’s down there, and you’re in here, and that’s the way it is!

You’re right. It’s down there, and I’m in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.

Get busy living or get busy dying.

It’s a great philosophy for life overall – it’s also a great philosophy for your business.  I talk to business owners all the time and many of them that have done well in the past are really struggling today.  The world has changed, in some cases the way people do business or shop has changed and it can be really difficult to change along with it.

The path of least resistance is to keep doing what you’ve been doing.  Change is hard, but if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.  If you want to get different results you have to take different actions.  Get busy living or get busy dying.

What are you doing to make sure that you’re challenging how you and your company do things?  What are you doing to learn new ideas?  What are you doing to consistently re-invent yourself and stay out in front of the curve?

Share your thoughts – I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach

3 thoughts on “Get busy living or get busy dying!”

  1. jaredlock says:

    Shawn — Great post as always and thanks for giving us lots to think about. It is interesting how you can define “living” and “dying”. When things are good, you may feel like you and your company are living. And so, you continue to do those things and rest on those larels. But “living” without constant re-evaluation (and re-calibration) of business and environmental factors begs the question, “Am I truly living right now or just not dying”.
    When the environment changes, those things that were helping you “live” can take you to your “death”. Constantly taking an objective look at your own organization and making sure your plan lends itself favorably to CURRENT environmental variables is a very important step.
    Thanks for the thoughts. — Jared

  2. tararenze says:

    Shawn, I think this might be my favorite post. Agility is a key value every business owner should adopt. As professionals, we constantly have to reinvent ourselves and our business to change with clients and the economy. As we emerge from the recession it will be clear who embraced change and agility… they will be miles ahead of the competition.

  3. skinkade says:

    Jared and Tara,

    Thanks for the great thoughts – on one hand I was worried that I was over thinking this…that it was too deep or something, but on the other hand I think you all hit on great corollary points and ideas, so it's not just me! 😉


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