What Tom, Leo, Will, Matt and Hollywood can teach us about mental toughness on a lazy Friday night

Last Friday night my partner Jo and I were catching up while cooking dinner after a long week of work. I’ve just had a new graphic of the 4C’s model of toughness designed and she was giving me her usual insightful feedback on it. See below.

As we were discussing the merits and demerits of the icons (she thinks they are too sports orientated – what are your views?) the conversation got round to films and what films and which lead character would best illustrate each of the Cs of the model.

We decided on the following four films that we have seen recently.

Sully – Tom Hanks

In this brilliant film about the true story of Capt. Sullenberger and his amazing water landing (it wasn’t a crash) on the Hudson river, displayed quite staggering levels of Control. In the 4 Cs model, Control has two subsets: emotional control and life control – the degree to which you feel you are in control of your destiny.

Tom Hanks is as always superb and the fact that this is a true story makes it even more remarkable. Quite simply this is a much watch.

Catch me if you can – Leonardo DiCaprio

This is another film based on a true story. We decided that when it comes to Confidence, Frank Abignale, had few peers. Like Control, Confidence has two sub-sets: confidence in abilities and interpersonal confidence. There is no doubt that Frank Abignale had supreme levels of self-belief in both those areas.

Concussion – Will Smith

As a former rugby player and someone who is still passionate about the sport and boxing, this was a difficult film to watch. In recent years, I’ve come to fully appreciate just how amazing and delicate our brains are. In this, film, and yet another based on a true story, our hero demonstrates amazing levels of Commitment. Despite discrimination, public and professional ridicule and years of toil, Dr Bennett Omalu, finally got the NFL and the wider world to sit up and take notice of the dangers of repetitive blows to the head.

The Martian – Matt Damon 

While the last of our films is the only one not based on a true story, it’s no less of a brilliant film and a superb example of a person displaying the fourth C – Challenge.

This is concerned with how we view the challenges we face as opportunities or threats. Being stranded, alone on Mars with only limited resources, Matt Damon’s character could have resigned himself to death, instead he chose to see his predicament as an opportunity to see what he could achieve.

All four of these characters demonstrated all four facets of mental toughness and not just the quality we highlighted. This was nothing more than a fun conversation that got us thinking.

What are your favourite films and characters that you would say demonstrate one of the four facets of mental toughness? I’d love to hear your recommendations of films to watch for this weekend.

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Anthony Taylor | Coach, Speaker, Trainer, Writer | Mobile: 07771 892479 | Email: anthony@anthonytaylorltd.com