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Beautiful Mind

Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris et al. Length: 120 minutes
Rated: PG-13
Studio: DreamWorks SKG

This film is a profound teaching for coaches about the power of a sacred container to make change possible. John Nash (Russell Crowe) is the winner of a1994 Nobel prize in mathematics and this film is the story of his life. It begins at Princeton in 1947 where he received his doctorate and follows him through his 25 year struggle with paranoid schizophrenia up until the time he receives the Nobel prize.

After a psychiatric hospitalization Nash and his wife make the decision that he will find a way to overcome his delusions. Nash makes the astute observation that we all have nightmares, demons, fragments from our past, that we can decide to pay attention to or not.  He decides not to pay attention to his delusions and gradually recovers his ability to work and contribute.  As coaches, don't we help people decide what they will and will not gift with their attention? An unwise choice can have disastrous results.

His return to the "real world" would not have been possible without the support of his wife who believed deeply that he could recover, and his colleagues, who gave him the opportunity to return to the "real" world of work even when he behaved a bit oddly at times.  I left the film filled with awe at what is required for us to be whole. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community of support for one to be whole. Without someone, without many people, holding a safe place for us to face our demons we have few options but to become lost.

As coaches, we are privileged to touch people’s lives, and we may be one of the critical people creating a sacred container for another human being. Remember this the next time you are in someone's presence.

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