Lessons From Stick. How Daredevil Changed My Life

I recently experienced some massive career success with Marvel.

As a lot of you will know, my writing career has been a roller coaster of uncertainty of late (see my last post for details). However – as of last week – my career has truly been taken to the next level.

Some of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned – ones that were instrumental in my recent success – actually came from watching the Daredevil TV series, on Netflix.

For those of you that follow my blog, or my adventures via Twitter, you’ll all know that when I wrote my last article, I was in a pretty dark place. I had been unceremoniously dumped by my studio, and my career was (yet again) on the rocks. The difference being that this time, I truly was seriously contemplating quitting my writing career. Why? To be succinct, if I was to add up all the rejections that I’ve had, all the ‘near-miss’ projects with studios etc. the number is close to the thousand mark (946 to be exact). So, despite the fact that I’ve always shown resilience, drive, and self-belief when it comes to my career and life in general; the last rejection I experienced from a studio felt like a sign for me. A sign that said QUIT, in neon lights.

So how did I turn my career around, just by watching a TV show? Read on…

As an ex-boxer, and martial artist, you can imagine how the grittiness of the Daredevil TV series appealed to me. The raw, realistic, and masterfully choreographed fight scenes in the show, completely enthralled me. And the show soon became an addiction.

But to be honest, it was more than simply the fight scenes that kept me hooked.

It was the resilience of Matt Murdock (played by the talented Charlie Cox), that truly held my attention.

The way he took punches, beatings, and whatever his foes threw at him; all while refusing to give up. The way he always kept coming back, wearing down his opponents with his will. These are the characteristics that spoke to me.

They reminded me of my own fighting spirit; one that I had earned through the decades of blood, sweat and tears, that I had devoted to my own fight training. It reminded me that not only had I misplaced my fighting spirit, but also of the fact that it was time to USE that spirit now, to keep my writing career alive.

There was a particular episode in Season 1 of Daredevil that I want to share with you. I think in a lot of ways, this episode encapsulates the true essence of not only Daredevil, but of what is required to succeed in life.

In Episode 7 of Season 1, we’re introduced to a character called Stick. Stick (played perfectly by Scott Glenn) is a gruff old man that is unsentimental, direct, and also blind like Matt. We meet him in a flashback, shortly after Matt has lost his sight as a kid. Stick offers to teach him how to embrace his blindness.

In this scene, Matt and Stick are sitting on a bench, and Matt is struggling with the loss of his sight.

—–

STICK

How old were you when you got blinded?

MATT

Nine.

STICK

Nine? So you had nine whole years of looking at movies, blue skies, up girlies’ skirts; that I never had. I was born blind. You don’t hear me whining about it, do you?

MATT

No.

STICK

So, you’re nine years old, walking along, minding your own business, and whammo! Get hit by a truck, killed dead on the spot.

MATT
(bemused)

I wasn’t killed.

STICK
(sarcastically)

You lived? Praise God, it’s a miracle.

So you survive the truck, and get this chemical shit in your eyes. What next?

MATT

I hear things.

STICK

What kind of things?

MATT

Everything. Coughs and fights and cats meowing. Sometimes blocks away. I can sense things. I know where things are, and when they move. But… I can’t see.

STICK

You know what they call stuff like that? Gifts. The special kind. The kind that very few people have. Or deserve.

MATT

I never thought of it that way.

STICK

Well, thats because you’re stupid.

MATT

I’m not stupid, I’m smart.

STICK

Because you taught yourself how to run your little fingers over the bumps and read Braille? Smart don’t come out of books, kid. Smart is making the right decision at the right time. Like now. What’s it gonna be, Matty? You gonna spend your life crying and rocking yourself to sleep at night? Or are you gonna dig deep, and find out what it takes to reshuffle those cards life dealt you? Your call.

MATT
(smiles)

STICK
(chuckling)

Good choice, kid.

—–

As you can see, Stick didn’t entertain Matt’s negativity, and he certainly didn’t let him wallow in his sadness. Instead, Stick worked on changing Matt’s PERSPECTIVE. Why? Because our perspectives act like GPS, whatever perspective we choose to embrace, will ultimately determine our destination. In the case of Matt, he was dwelling on the things that he didn’t have, as opposed to the ones that he did.

Later in this scene, Stick also shares a couple of other wise lessons:

STICK

Whole world around you Matty, and it’s friggin’ huge. And all you need… are the guts to let it in.

—–

And…

STICK

Big world… not all of it flowers and sunshine. And the only way guys like you and me can survive, is to grab it by the throat, and never let go.

—–

It’s true. The world is huge. And to live, I mean REALLY live, requires us to have the guts to do so. It takes resiliency, and an unbreakable will, to be able to live life on your terms.

You see, success doesn’t come from a half-assed approaches, or ‘hoping’ to achieve goals. No, success comes from having a near self-delusional belief in yourself, and in your talents. You have to be able to face rejection, after rejection, but STILL know that you have what it takes.

After this chat with Stick, Matt is amazed at what he can hear, taste, and sense. Matt couldn’t recognize his gifts easily. He had to have them pointed out. The same goes for you and me. We all lose our way when hit by the fog of self-doubt. It leaves us blind to who we are, and who we can be. We all have so many gifts that we fail to see.

You might have the gift of writing. You might have the gift of public speaking. You might have the gift of comforting. You might have the gift of knowledge.

If you know your gift, believe in it. And take ACTION in that belief. Push forward, and don’t let anyone stop you from getting what you want from life.

That’s what I did. Since writing my last article, and inspired by the Daredevil TV series on Netflix, I spent day and night pitching, facing even more rejection (I reached and surpassed, the 1000th rejection). And guess what? It payed off.

Was I lucky? No.

I did what Matt Murdock did. I changed my perspective, focussed on what I had, and BELIEVED in myself. I then applied my will to that equation, and became unstoppable.

Like Matt Murdock, if we all apply sheer will to what we want. If we are willing to take the beatings that life dishes out along the way. Then we will always SUCCEED in our endeavors.

Stick

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