Homer’s teacher, Miss Riley, told him, As long as you are alive on the planet, you have a choice.  

Homer was desperate to find a way to avoid working in the coal mines like his dad and every other man in the town where he lived. As Sputnik streaked across the sky, Homer was inspired to build rockets – and a future for himself in the Space Program. Miss Riley was an early supporter and an ongoing source of encouragement for Homer – and of Lessons from Movies for us.

Homer’s teacher, Miss Riley, told him, As long as you are alive on the planet, you have a choice.  

Homer was desperate to find a way to avoid working in the coalmines like his dad and every other man in the town where he lived. As Sputnik streaked across the sky, Homer was inspired to build rockets – and a future for himself in the Space Program. Miss Riley was an early supporter and an ongoing source of encouragement for Homer – and of Lessons from Movies for us.

Success doesn’t happen accidentally. There are certain ingredients that are necessary.

  1. FIND YOUR MOTIVATION
    As Tony Robbins says, we move toward pleasure and away from pain. Avoiding the pain we don’t want can provide extreme motivation. Instead of complaining about our painful situations, we can recognize them for what they are: the push we need to get us moving to greater heights.

    Robbins also says we are either motivated by inspiration or desperation. Homer Hickam is desperate, which means he’ll do anything and everything to create his way out of the mines and into a more fulfilling life.

    EXAMPLE: Homer really wants to escape a future working in the coalmines of Coalwood. A college scholarship is the way out. But, while Homer’s brother is on the football-scholarship track, Homer sucks at football. Homer had his eyes open to what his ticket out of the mining town of could be.

    ASK YOURSELF:
    – Where have you been inspired to take action?

    – Where have you been so desperate that you got busy?

  2. SEE OPPORTUNITIES
    We must keep our eyes open to opportunities. Our interests provide clues as to what might be possible for us. 
    Technological advances can present opportunities in some industries and decline in others.   Sputnik circling the earth was a historic event that Home was interested in – and inspired by. After seeing Sputnik, Homer declared that he would make rockets.

EXAMPLE: Eventually, Homer sees building rockets and winning the Science Fair as his opportunity to get out of Coalwood. His teacher, Miss Riley, says, “The Science Fair might not be for you. Homer. Science requires math and you’re just not good at math. “ Homer replies with conviction, “Oh, I’ll learn the math!”

Homer sees rockets as his ticket to a better future, but he saw more than that. He pulled his friends and a fellow student into his vision. One was eager, the other two were more than a little reluctant, but Homer saw their possibilities and he was determined that they would all find better lives.

ASK YOURSELF:
– These days, what industries are on the rise – or in decline?

– What opportunities may be available for you because of those situations?

  1. GATHER NECESSARY RESOURCES
    We must get what we need in order to fulfill our visions
    . It’s not that we just want support, resources, and more. They are mandatory, in order for us to succeed. When money is short, we can use more creativity than cash. When we simply cannot perform a necessary task, we must rely on others to help. We must be creative, tenacious, and flexible on our paths.

EXAMPLES:

  • Homer wrote to Werner Von Braun for support and inspiration.
  • He needed someone who knew about rocketry. Knowing he was committing social suicide, he reached out to the local weirdo brain-iac, Quentin, to help.
  • He enlisted the help of his two friends. They provided camaraderie plus all kinds of hands-on help.
  • He needed machining done on parts of the rocket. With infectious enthusiasm, Homer got the help he needed from a couple men who worked for his dad.
  • He needed materials – and the money to pay for them. Homer and his friends salvaged railway tracks to get the money. Sometimes they helped themselves to materials.
  • When his father forbade the boys to work on company land anymore, they walked 8 miles each way to work on their project.

ASK YOURSELF:
– What did Homer do to get the help he needed? Beyond simply asking, what
   else was Homer showing – in his attitude and actins – that made getting
   help easier?

– Where might you have felt blocked because of lack of know how, help, or
   resources?

– How did homer use “more creativity than cash”?

  1. GET SUPPORT
    You need support and encouragement
    . Miss Riley and Homer’s mom believed in him before he believed in himself. Others were supportive also and did work that he needed on his rockets. But, not everyone was supportive. His dad was not. His brother was not.

    There’s danger in us wanting support from people who cannot or will not give it. When we depend on people who will not support us (and this often happens with close loved ones), we can be so disappointed that we give up. We can feel unloved and unworthy of the success we seek for ourselves and as if what we want doesn’t matter. Instead we should look for support for those who are actually cheering for us.

    EXAMPLE: Instead of being behind him, Homer’s dad was against him – and constantly expressed his negativity. He even told Homer he was ashamed of him! When Homer won the local Science Fair, his father was actually angry!   When Homer went to the National Fair (which is where he would get opportunities for college scholarships), his science project was stolen! Homer’s dad could help replace the missing parts, but he wouldn’t – not until Homer’s mom threatens to leave him if he doesn’t help! His dad does help and Homer wins the top prize at the fair. His mom, Miss Riley, and the whole town were proud of Homer. Finally, his dad comes around and showed up for Homer.

    ASK YOURSELF:

– What would have happened if Homer would only accept encouragement
   from his dad?

– Is there anyone who you want to encourage you, but they don’t?

– Where do you get encouragement and support?

– How can you support yourself? Do you?

5.  DEVELOP A “CAN DO” ATTITUDE
When we face insurmountable problems, we must find ways to solve them. 
Tony Robbins says , “When we say to ourselves ‘We cannot’ we should immediately say to ourselves, ‘Then I must!’”

When “life” happens, it’s easy to get pulled off track. Sometimes in life, we have to take a detour or a time-out from our success path. The important thing is to hold onto our dreams while doing what we must to take care of responsibilities. Homer was so despondent, that he decided to give up and just stay working the mines.

EXAMPLE: Homer’s father was injured in an accident in the mine and couldn’t work. Homer went to work in the mine to help pay the bills at home. He really needed to do that. But, when his father got back to work and Homer’s help was no longer necessary, Homer thought about giving up on his dreams. Miss Riley reminded Homer of his potential and expressed how much she believed in him. That was the nudge Homer needed to get back on track.

ASK YOURSELF:
– What could have happened if Miss Riley didn’t challenge Homer to get back  
   to his rocket-building work?

– What if she wouldn’t have encouraged him? Was he a definite goner?

– What could Homer have done for himself?

5.  STAND UP FOR YOURSELF
Sometimes people are just looking for a way to prove our dreams to be unrealistic and our aspirations to be ridiculous. When those non-supportive people are family, it can be really hard to take. But to achieve your goals, you’ve got to stick with them. And sometimes you have to prove the haters wrong.

EXAMPLE
When Homer and his friends were accused of starting a fire with one of their rockets, Homer struggled to prove their innocence.  

ASK YOURSELF:
– How have you stood up for your dreams and goals?

– What have you had to learn about your craft?

– How have you had to develop as a person?