Lessons From Butch & Sundance: The Fall will Probably Kill You

Ed Newman

 

From the acting and storyline to the music and cinematography, great movies are great for many reasons. In addition, great movies also provide the opportunity to interpret and draw lessons that translate to multiple aspects of our lives.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has to be one of my all-time favorite classic movies, and this is one of my favorite scenes.


In the scene, you’ll see that Butch and Sundance are running from the law. Only this time, the pursuers are relentless, and they end up coming to the edge of a cliff.

Like this scene depicts, there are times when we come to a crossroad in life, business, or even in our careers – our backs up against the wall. We’re left with making a critical decision that could make or break us.

Butch does a nice job of sizing up the alternatives – fight or give. Give means going to jail. He considers the potential strategies their opponents might use in a fight. In the middle of his analysis, Butch says, “Kid, next time I say let’s go someplace like Bolivia, let’s go someplace like Bolivia.”

When you find yourself in a bind, it’s easy to think of what could have been if you had only done this or done that. Sometimes, we end up regretting the decisions we didn’t make as a result.

Then, right when they are resigned to fight it out, Butch comes up with an unlikely alternative – jump. Sundance resists, because it seems crazy. Only after Butch pressing him does Sundance admit that he is afraid because he can’t swim. His fear was so overwhelming that he would choose to fight, even if being killed was a certainty. Certainty was better than the unknown.

Just with this one scene, many lessons translate to our lives.

Next time you find yourself at a crossroad or with your back against the wall, take this lesson from Butch Cassidy. Analyze your alternatives and make sure you don’t overlook the ideas that may appear to be crazy.

When we’re under pressure, people have a tendency to gravitate toward the familiar. Get all your ideas on the table, and think them through.

Make sure you don’t dismiss a good option because of the fear of the unknown. Sometimes it’s better to zig when everyone else zags.

The biggest lesson of all? When that flash comes and you see the light, don’t let this be another decision you regret not making. Gather up all of your courage and take the plunge.

Hell, the fall will probably kill you.