Show me the Heart: A lesson from Jerry Maguire

Last night, Amy, my family and I watched the movie Jerry Maguire. Written by Cameron Crowe and staring about every famous person from the 1990s, Jerry Maguire is the story of a sports agent (Tom Cruise) who, after suffering a mild breakdown, comes up with a new philosophy of doing business. His middle-of-the-night, 24-page mission statement said basically this: Less clients, less money and more personal attention. Of course, being the 1990’s and being professional sports, he was fired. He lost all his clients but one, Cardinals receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr. in his Oscar-winning performance). Anyway, if you want to know all the details, it is a worthy rental. It features sharp writing, good acting, a strong soundtrack and cool 1990 technology (huge cell phone, clunky laptop and a trip to a copy shop to hand out his mission statement instead of just emailing it.).

You’ll also find out a human head weighs eight pounds.

But there was one scene that really jumped out at me. It was when Jerry Maguire confronts Tidwell about why he is not more successful. Here’s what he had to say:

Jerry Maguire to Rod Tidwell: “All right, I’ll tell you why you don’t have your ten million dollars. Right now, you are a paycheck player. You play with your head, not your heart. In your personal life, heart. But when you get on the field it’s all about what you didn’t get. Who’s to blame. Who won through the pass. Who’s got the contract you don’t. Who’s not giving you your love. You know what, that is not what inspires people. That is not what inspires people! Shut up! Play the game, play it from your heart. And you know what, I’ll show you the kwan. And that’s the truth, man! That’s the truth. Can you handle it? It’s just a question between friends, you know. Oh, and when they call you ‘shrimp,’ I’m the one who defends you!”

That hit me like a lightning bolt from the sky. How many times have we done a job for the money? Or worried what someone else is getting that you aren’t? We focus on how unfair something is or how we don’t want to be working hard. But we don’t lead with our heart. Are we sullen, unwilling to try new things or uncooperative? Are we unwilling to change?

I’d post the link to the scene but it has a little bit of profanity in it. But honestly, it’s worth you seeking out on YouTube. Like Jerry McGuire’s mentor Dicky Fox would say, “If this (points to heart) is empty, this (points to head) doesn’t matter.”

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