We All Can Change

The movie Rocky 4 is a parable. At its surface level, its got some pretty nationalistic overtones. Its America vs the Soviet Union. Rocky trains all natural, and the Russian gets loaded up with steroids and has the top of the line equipment. However, when you go just below surface level (and not very far below because the movie really isn’t that subtle) it is a parable about change.

Toward the beginning of the movie, Rocky has an interaction with his old rival Apollo Creed. Apollo accepted a boxing match with the Russian villain of the film, Ivan Drago. Rocky asks Creed, “Do you think your not going into this fight with this Russian?”

Apollo responds, “If not him then who is it against?!”

“Well, don’t you think maybe its more you against you?” Rocky asks. This question hits the nail right on the head for Apollo and for many of us, and Apollo brushes it off. He responds defensively like most of us would, “Maybe you really are brain damaged,” he says to Rocky. Apollo goes on to defend his stance: they are warriors. It is how they were born. They can’t change.

Apollo goes into the fight against Drago and loses his life. Rocky then sets out on a journey to avenge Apollo in which his wife echos the same concern for Rocky as Rocky did Apollo. Rocky remembers that conversation with Apollo, and there may even be a hint of guilt. If only he had stood his ground a little firmer, would his friend still be alive? So, he convinces himself that Apollo was right – he can’t change.

What he finds while training and while fighting was the hard truth – change is possible. However, change isn’t easy. Change requires guts but no glory. Rocky’s speech at the end of the movie drives the point home.

We all can change. What is in your life that you have felt a tug that needs to change, however you just don’t believe you can?

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