So it’s Monday again, and if you’re anything like us you’re probably lacking a little bit of motivation and inspiration. You’re wondering how to bring you A-game to the week and looking for the right way to do so. We totally get it. It happens to everyone, and it’s impossible to stay on it all the time.
Luckily motivation can be gained via some unlikely sources. Many people get out into the country to find their muse, many read the classics or wander through art galleries, but if you’re short on time or energy then you can always find motivation in movies.
Watching my fave characters working really hard on-screen, especially characters with dreams of journalism and publishing, has always given me motivation bursts. Watching them type away on a keyboard, or pitch their heart out to an editor, or cram for the exam of their life has always made me think, “Hey, if they can do it, then so can I!” These scenes usually happen via empowering montages with extra-motivational music backing them up. So if you need an artistic or academic kick this week, then check out these inspirational movies! If they can do it, so can you.
Both Legally Blonde movies are highly motivating, but let’s go back to the beginning of Elle Wood’s journey into law. Elle’s dream of being a lawyer wasn’t always a dream. In fact it was originally a broken-hearted way to get her boyfriend back into her life, but almost as soon as she hit the law books she realized, hey, this lawyer thing is actually pretty cool.
During an epic montage of Elle studying her butt off to take the LSATs for Harvard Law school, we see just how motivated she is, not just to win her (jerk) boyfriend back, but also to learn more about the law system. While Elle crams studying around her hair appointments and sun bathing sessions, we see just how rewarding it is to push yourself to achieve your goal. Watching Elle find her way into Harvard made me want to hit the books all over again.
The Devil Wears Prada
We’ve all had terrible jobs and terrible bosses, and if you haven’t then I’m sure you’re still no stranger to how often the world hands us seemingly impossible tasks to solve. Impossible tasks are the bane of Andy’s life once she begins working for editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly.Miranda hands Andy more impossible tasks than she can handle, and at first she fails them all, miserably. We can all relate to that horrible feeling of confusion and failure. I mean lets face it, being forced to memorize every name and face at a party? finding the manuscript of the new unpublished Harry Potter book? Magically knowing what your boss is thinking 24/7 without asking? It doesn’t seem humanly possible.
And it’s not. That is, until Andy fires herself into gear and puts every inch of her being into her job. She annihilates every barrier in her way and goes beyond the call of duty to ensure that her time working for Miranda will guarantee her a great reference for her next job, a job she will actually enjoy. Andy’s success shows us that mistakes are just part of the learning process, and that they are totally okay and can totally be overcame with time. It shows us that by putting your all into whatever you do will benefit you in ways you can’t even imagine.
While researching a paper meant as her gateway into Harvard, science buff Casey Carlyle discovers that there is a mathematical formula for improving an ice skaters performance. She tests this theory by using her physics research on her own skating skills, soon realizing she is more interested in the skating itself, rather than the science behind it. She not only funds the figure skating lessons herself, but she also spends almost every waking moment practicing, until she becomes good enough to perform on stage, skipping two skill levels in the process.
From then on she realizes that Harvard may not be the way to go, and that she should really pursue a life of skating. Though her determination to train was epic, something else that is highly motivational is Casey’s unwillingness to sacrifice her dream.
13 Going On 30
For you budding magazine editors out there, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching someone hand craft their own publication. With love and ambition, our secretly 13-year-old Jenna Rink manages to put together a full pitch for revamping the magazine Poise, with only the skills she learned in her handful of weeks as a 30-year-old editor. I’d be lying if I said that this movie didn’t inspire me to create my own magazine, and I did end up co-creating a website with a very good friend of mine, who funnily enough got the same inspiration from this movie. Knowing Jenna did it all by herself while going through heartbreak and homesickness made it even more of an achievement for me.
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Confessed shopaholic Rebecca Bloomwood has the dream of many girls out there: she longs to be a fashion journalist. Problem part one? She has to settle for a finance magazine. Part 2? She knows nothing about finance. Despite this, Rebecca gets the job and basically has to wing her way through assignments and meetings. Though Rebecca doesn’t stray too far away from her knowledge of fashion—using her experience with a fake cashmere coat to get her first column idea—she battles through and accepts that in order to get her dream job, she must learn the ropes of this one first.
Rebecca may not have dreamt of being a financial journalist, but she made the job her own and refused to compromise for money or even job security. This took guts, and all of this on top of tackling a shopping addiction? Now that’s pretty darn brave.
Ratatouille; the heart-warming tail—I mean tale—of the rat who longed to be a chef, and the boy who lends him some cooking hands in the process. Throughout the movie, the culinary skilled rodent Remy, is visited by the ghost (or rather a helpful hallucination) of famous chef Auguste Gusteau, who comes to him when he needs a kick of inspiration and confidence. He continually tells him that anyone can cook, and Remy keeps the phrase as his mantra from the first moment he witnesses cooking in all it’s glory, whilst watching a woman cooking along to Auguste’s show on her TV.
This moment would define Remy’s dream forever. Auguste’s lesson, and Remy’s belief in it, teaches us that we don’t have to be naturally skilled in something to become great at it, we don’t have to have expensive equipment or a 5 star restaurant to be able to create something scrumptious.
School of Rock
If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted comedy about learning how to rock people’s socks off, then look no further than School of Rock. When rocker Dewey Finn manages to somehow nab a job as a substitute teacher, he enlightens a class load of budding musicians and entrepreneurs into the world of music, or more specifically the world of rock. Weeks of band practice and music theory leads them to a kick butt at a battle of the bands, but one scene in particular always caught my eye. Early on in their rock’n’roll journey Dewey gives them a theory class on genre and rock history.
If you zoom into the famous mind-map then you can see it’s not just gibberish drawn up as a film prop, but that someone actually took the time to carefully map out which artists belonged to which genres, and it actually gets pretty obscure too. As a writer I prefer to stick to wordy and visual art, but after this scene (the whole film really) it made me want to add a musical instrument to my list of skills and hobbies, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
[Image courtesy Universal Pictures]