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LIGHTS, CAMERA, CRUCIBLES 6: Die Hard #127

Warwick Fairfax

August 10, 2022

In the latest episode of our special summer series, we focus on four big take-aways from the movie that made Bruce Willis a superstar that can help you move beyond setbacks and failures. Even if you haven’t been trapped in a skyscraper seized by international terrorists, there is much to learn here about triumphing over whatever challenges you have faced. Just two of the points we’ll touch on: why it’s critical to lean into your sense of humor even when what’s happening to you isn’t funny … and why you’ll need some fellow travelers to take the journey to a life of significance with you.

Highlights

  • Why Die Hard is a helpful movie to learn how to overcome crucibles (3:15)
  • Bruce Willis’ hope for the character of John McClane (6:41)
  • Big learning 1: Crucibles often come in bunches (13:08) 
  • Big learning 2: Keep your sense of humor (28:42)
  • How a 72-year-old Frank Sinatra almost become John McClane (32:53)
  • Big learning 3: You need a team of fellow travelers (38:58)
  • Big learning 4: Success is great, but significance is greater (54:56)
  • Points for reflection (1:05:26)

Transcript

Warwick Fairfax:

Welcome to Beyond the Crucible. I’m Warwick Fairfax the founder of Crucible Leadership.

 

John McClane:
Al, yo pal, you got a minute?

 

Al Powell:
I’m here, John.

 

John McClane:

Listen, man, I’m starting to get a bad feeling up here. I want you to do something for me, I want you to find my wife. Don’t ask me how by then you’ll know how. I want you to tell her something. I want you to tell her that, tell her that it took me a while to figure out what a jerk I’ve been but… That when things started to pan out for her, I should have been more supportive. And I just should have been behind her more. Tell her that she’s the best thing that ever happened to a bum like me. She’s heard me saying “I love you” a thousand times. She never heard me say, “I’m sorry.” I want you to tell her that, Al, I want you to tell her that “John said that he was sorry.” Okay. You got that, man?

 

Al Powell:

Yeah. I got it, John. But you can tell her that yourself. You just watch your ass, and you’ll make it out of there. Do you hear me?

 

John McClane:
Al, I guess that’s up to the man upstairs.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

That scene you just heard is one of the quietest you’ll find in the movie Die Hard, which is usually celebrated for its explosive action. But as rousing as that is, it’s not what Warwick and I are going to be focusing on this week. Hi, I’m Gary Schneeberger, co-host of the show. We’re going to spend our time talking about the film that propelled Bruce Willis into rarefied box office air by focusing on four big takeaways to help you move beyond your setbacks and failures. That’s why we’ve chosen Die Hard as episode six of our summer series LIGHTS, CAMERA, CRUCIBLES. Because even if you haven’t been trapped in a skyscraper seized by international terrorists, there is much to learn here about moving beyond whatever challenges you have faced. Just two of the points we’ll touch on, why it’s critical to lean into your sense of humor even when what’s happening to you isn’t funny. And why you’ll need some fellow travelers to take the journey to a life of significance with you.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Warwick, it’s funny, I think I misspoke last week. Last week when we did the Spider-Man episode I said that Spider-Man might be the hero whose life is perhaps most packed with crucibles. And then I watched Die Hard again in the Crucible Leadership, Beyond the Crucible context and was like, “Oh okay.” John McClane, Bruce Willis’s character in Die Hard the New York cop he plays, he gets crucible, after crucible, after crucible, after crucible. It’s like when people use those tennis machines that throw balls at you so he can learn how to hit your ground stroke. Right? That’s what happens to John McClane in this movie. And he, I think, endures more crucibles than any hero we’ve discussed so far. And the lessons we can learn from them may be among the most helpful and practical that we’ve covered so far in the situations that we’ll find ourselves in.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Disclaimer: I’m not saying we’re not saying that the situations that you’re going to find yourself in are going to be life-threatening situations where terrorists, thieves, burglars, robbers are trying to steal bearer bonds out of a high rise. That’s not what we’re talking about. You’re not likely to find yourself in that situation, thankfully. But you will find yourself in situations where some of the tips that come out in this film will be helpful. This morning when we were talking about this before we pressed record, Warwick, you indicated that you were like, “Oh, Die Hard. Maybe there’s not…” And then you watched it and you’re like, “Oh my gosh. That’s good. And that’s good. And that’s good.” So, you had that experience yourself of there are very good actionable steps out of this movie.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely, Gary. Typically, when you watch a movie, you watch it to be entertained, whether it’s Spider-man or Die Hard, or Robin Hood. You’re not thinking, “Gee, what are the leadership lessons in this movie? What are the crucible lessons? How can I bounce back from my worst day?” And so, it’s a great action movie, like all of us I’ve seen it many times but having watched it last night just to prepare for today’s podcast, it’s like, “There actually are a lot of lessons.” But you don’t think about it when you’re watching it just for entertainment as most of us do. So that’s partly why we’re here to help you look at these movies, and in this case, Die Hard, through a different lens a Crucible Leadership lens.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Right. And this is, as, with all the films that we’re talking about, listener, in this series, these are movies that Warwick and I have liked even before we talked about them here. These are things that have been on our… I’ve probably seen Die Hard, I’m not making this up, 50 times in my life. In fact, major dork alert, here’s my wallet, okay? I’m about to show you one of the things I keep in my wallet is John McClane’s ID Card from the New York Police Department. This is how big a fan I am of Die Hard. I carry around John McClane’s ID as seen in the movie. He’s badge number 881. And he joined the department on March 17th, 1980, just in case you were wondering. So, this is one of the reasons why we talk about these movies, and we revisit them because we’ve always liked them. And then we watched them and these resonant truths about moving beyond your crucible are what we’re trying to unpack here.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

So, and one of the things that’s very cool about this is that Bruce Willis wanted to make sure, even though this is about what movie heroes can teach us about overcoming setbacks and failure, Bruce Willis the actor who played John McClane, it was just his second movie role. He was a big hit on the TV show Moonlighting. He was a goofy romantic lead, a comedic lead. People weren’t sure he was the right guy to do this movie, but the rest is box office history. This movie fueled his box office career for 30-plus years. But when he got the role, he wanted to make sure he did not play John McClane as a superhero. Somebody who was indestructible, somebody audiences couldn’t identify with. Here’s how he describes the character he in part and also the authors of this book right here, look at the size of this thing. This is Die Hard: A Visual History, an enormous book with lots of great facts about the film.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

But this is what they say about John McClane as played by Bruce Willis in the movie. “If McClane was instantly relatable, Willis made him more so.” So not just on the page but the way Bruce Willis brought him to life made him more relatable. The former New Jersey bartender brought his own rough hue and appeal to the part, here’s Bruce Willis talking about it. “Die Hard is probably the closest I’ve ever come to showing what’s in my head on screen.” He said, “I really wanted to play a vulnerable guy. I didn’t want to be a superhero. I didn’t want to be one of those larger-than-life kind of guys no one really knows. It’s about an ordinary guy thrown into extraordinary circumstances.” That’s Bruce Willis’ assessment of Die Hard in this book. Pretty accurate, isn’t it?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It really is. He’s just an ordinary New York cop that, as we’ll see, is out in LA to see his family. And he has no idea this is going to happen. He’s not signing up for some secret mission. He’s just a guy who wants to see his family. And so just that sense of an ordinary guy thrown into extraordinary circumstance. Ironically, and this is where it’s important to just bear this in mind as we talk through this episode, a lot of the greatest well, not a lot but some of the greatest leaders in history are quote-unquote ordinary guys. And you’ll hear this a lot on Crucible Leadership and Beyond the Crucible. I think of Abraham Lincoln he was pretty much an ordinary guy from backwoods of then, Illinois had a country lawyer at one point he would go on the circuit, so to speak. From town to town because back then they didn’t have lawyers all over the place and so they would go judge, prosecutor, defender, and adjudicate these cases. He wasn’t this large than life hero. But when he became President with the Civil War about to begin, he was indeed an ordinary guy thrown into extraordinary circumstances.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

If it hadn’t been for the times maybe, we would never have heard of Abraham Lincoln. So, this is more common than you think about it. And just that notion of an ordinary guy thrown into extraordinary circumstances, there are some powerful lessons. Maybe we won’t be thrown into these kind of circumstances but many of us might think we’re just ordinary men and women but what do you do if you’re in extraordinary times? And maybe it’s not this particular circumstance but it’s often the case that you’ll find yourself in challenging circumstances. So, what do you do, an ordinary man or woman thrown into challenging circumstances? And there are lessons here.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah. And the authors of Die Hard: The Ultimate Visual History went on to say about John McClane, exactly to your point, “McClane is the ultimate underdog engaged in a one-man war of attrition against a group of criminals. He lives from moment to moment existing on his wits and adapting to his surroundings. He doesn’t have gadgets like James Bond. He makes do with makeshift bombs and duct tape. And he even uses a fire hose to pull off one of the greatest escapes in cinematic history.” And that from your point to Lincoln to these points here about John McClane it’s a great thought to keep in mind as we begin pressing forward on some of the lessons in this movie.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

John McClane isn’t just an everyman, he’s an every hero he offers us all great hope that no scrape we find ourselves in is insurmountable. If John McClane can get through it, we can get through it. Different circumstances, we say it all the time on the show, right? The circumstances of your crucible may be different but the emotions you go through as you’re going through it are the same. We’ll find that to be true as we walk through Die Hard and John McClane’s journey there.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

I want to dwell a bit on what you just said, Gary. I think it’s just so important for listeners to think about it. You mentioned that he is an every hero, if you will. What’s interesting is you rightly point out is he doesn’t have super gadgets like James Bond. He doesn’t have super superhuman powers like Spider- Man or some of the other superheroes that we’re familiar with. Yes, we’ll see he’s a New York cop but it’s just more his ability to think through challenging circumstances. So, he doesn’t achieve success by the use of superpowers, who of us have superpowers? I mean none of us. It’s more just his attitude, his character the way he thinks about things, his spirit.

 

Gary Schneeberger:
And the R-word, and the R-word, his resilience.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Exactly. Exactly. So, I think as much as really any hero that we’ve spoken about, there are lessons that are very relatable because there isn’t like, “Oh well, I didn’t get pumped with green fluid or wherever it was like Captain America.” And “Gee, if I was Captain America of course…” And that greatly simplifies the plot of the story and his character but it’s easy to dismiss somebody like Captain America and say, “Oh, that’s not me.” John McClane, in a sense, could be any of us. That’s why it’s so relatable. So yeah, it’s really an excellent story to explore.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Absolutely. And then there are four big takeaways that we’re going to talk about. And the first one is this, crucibles often come in bunches. Does that resonate with you, listener? It’s not just one crucible, crucibles often come in bunches. And even though weariness can set in, keep taking one small step toward making your vision a reality. That is what we speak about here at Beyond the Crucible. What Warwick speaks about in his book Crucible Leadership. And certainly, what John McClane lives out on the screen in Die Hard.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It’s one point about that, a little bit humor for listeners. When you talk about crucibles come in bunches. I often talk about the gift that keeps on giving. I’ve had times in my life when it’s like, whether it’s a person, an individual it might be, “Hey, I just forgave them for the last thing. I mean, can I have a nanosecond to recover before the next incident? I can’t keep up in my level of forgiveness.” Or “I just dealt with that crucible. I mean are you serious?” So humorously, to myself, call it the gift that keeps on giving. It’s like, “Can I get a break, please?” And so yes, indeed as we’ll see with John McClane, he has many gifts that keep on coming, a lot of crucibles, it’s unbelievable.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Because we’re talking about movies it makes perfect sense that you just said something about humorously. Because that’s like a teaser coming attraction to one of the things that we’re going to talk about. So, let’s just level set who John McClane is. John McClane is a New York cop who’s visiting Los Angeles to see his estranged wife, Holly, and their two young children for the holidays. That’s crucible number one for John McClane, a troubled family life. But he hasn’t even dipped his toe in the waters of how many crucibles he’s going to end up with. He’s going to get a tsunami of crucibles by the time the two hours and 15 minutes of this movie is over. He arrives at Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve for Nakatomi Corporation’s company party. He’s dropped off by his chatty limo driver named Argyle, who agrees to hang around in case the family reunion doesn’t go so well.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

It doesn’t go so well. Seeing Holly again is not all hugs and kisses and I’ve missed you for the McClanes. They squabble about why she’s now using her maiden name, Gennaro. And that’s the last time they’ll talk to each other until the end of the picture because of all of these crucibles that are going to come and hit him. Let’s just start unpacking some of those or just listing some of those because we could do an entire episode if all we did was just like read from the phone book and list all the crucibles, right? It begins with Hans Gruber and his henchman arriving at Nakatomi Plaza, kill the security guards, and cut off all communications, then kidnap and terrorize the party guests including Holly, all while John is still in the bathroom cleaning up after his flight from New York to the Los Angeles.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

When he hears the gunshots, he’s barefoot. Okay. That’ll turn into a bad crucible, the reason these barefoot is the guy who sits next to him on the plane tells him, “If you’re a nervous flyer” and John is, “the secret to surviving air travel is to make fists with your toes. Take off your shoes when you get where you’re going, walk around and make fists with your toes.” John takes him up on that advice which is why he spends the entire movie without shoes. I will pause here to say I won’t make anybody see it, but I will pause here to say that in more than 200 episodes of the show I am not wearing shoes for this one, in honor of John McClane.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Well, I hope you haven’t gone full John McClane because there are times we’ll see him in which is walking through the glass. I hope you haven’t quite gone that far.

 

Gary Schneeberger: No.

 

Warwick Fairfax: Which is good.

 

Gary Schneeberger:
I don’t even like to walk through pebbles without shoes on. So, I am just sitting here at the desk.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

I think there is one small lesson that we can learn just this early in the movie. If you’re sitting next to somebody on a plane and they give you some hair-brained advice, don’t listen to it. It will come back to bite him. I mean, advice is good but not everybody you sit next to will have earth-shattering advice that will help you for the good. In this case, he listens to the wrong advice, as we often say, listen to the right advisors, not the bad ones. He listens to a bad advisor, and he’ll have no shoes for the whole movie that will come back to bite him in major ways. So, there you go. Don’t listen to people who are sitting next to you on the airplane.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

There you go. And then after that, right, after he runs out with his gun with no shoes on when he hears the gunshots the crucibles then come even more fast and even more furious, not to mix up movie series, but they come fast and furious after that all rooted in him trying to stay alive. In John McClane trying to stay alive and free the hostages that Hans Gruber as men have taken, to make it appear that they want something other than all the money that’s in the vault there at the Nakatomi Corporation. They’re after bearer bonds negotiable bearer bonds and millions and millions of them, 600 million, I believe, is what it is at the end. So, the movie then plays out with the terrorists hunting him down, and every little victory that John McClane wins as you watch this movie, he’ll win a victory, he’ll take out a terrorist. He’ll find his way to go to another place in this big building that’s under construction in order to think about what might come next. But every time he wins a little victory he will then run headlong into another defeat. And he can’t seem to extricate himself throughout the film from the corners he gets backed into and the tight spaces he winds up in as he tries to escape.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And we could talk about these all day. One of them that hits me is that he’s trying to use his police acumen to get the cops to show up and realize what’s going on. So, he pulls a fire alarm, right? But what happens? The terrorists have taken out communications. They call into the fire department and say, “Oops. That’s a false alarm.” So, John McClane’s watching these hook and ladders come in and he’s like, “Yeah. Come on, come on, come on.” And then they turn around and go away. And he’s foiled, crucible. But there are a lot of those kinds of things that happen. Right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. I know one that we talked about, you mentioned, right after that is he uses this handheld radio, CB radios to try to get somebody. And the police emergency channel says, “It’s a federal crime to be using these. If you have a problem call 911.” Well, he can’t call 911 because the bad guy had disconnected all the phones. And so, it’s very comical in some ways but he runs through crucible after crucible, crisis after crisis. And he sees the fire engines from, he’s probably on the 20th, 30th floor, that he sees him coming towards the building and the bad guys turn them around and pretend to be good guys and say, “Everything’s okay.”

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And it’s just no matter what he does for a good part of the movie, people just turn back and he’s like, “Are you kidding me? What are you doing?” But he’s frustrated, very frustrated but as we’ll see it doesn’t stop him. But it’s comical. But for most of us, it’s like, “What do I have to do to get help here?” I mean, oh my gosh he’s frustrated. But yet, as we’ll see, there are some lessons we can learn from him.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And here’s one of the big ones, I think, of what we’ve just been talking about, about his frustration and continuing to hit brick walls as he’s trying to move forward and get beyond. I mean, he solves one crucible and then he gets hit in the face with another one. The relevant point to apply here I think is, and hopefully most of our crucibles are less chaotic and life-threatening, but here’s a key truth that you can apply. Don’t give up, don’t try to jump to the end, take one small step followed by another small step, tackling the challenge right in front of you before moving on to the one behind that. String together enough of these little victories and you wind up with the big one you’re aiming at. That, even if you’re not stuck in a building that’s being held up by terrorists in really, really nice suits, that’s good advice for how to get through a crucible, isn’t it?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely, Gary. I mean so often we think whether it’s World War II or whatever it is, “Gee, how are we going to defeat Nazi Germany? It’s all hopeless.” Okay. Well, one step at a time. Maybe how do we try to with radar in England, the UK how do we use that to survive one more day of bombing by the Luftwaffe? Shoot enough of their planes down to make some small victory. You’re not thinking about the whole, big war. You’re thinking about, “How do I survive today?” And that’s exactly what John McClane does, he just takes one small step. And the other thing I think is fascinating is he doesn’t, as you rightly say, he doesn’t try to jump to the end. So, what he could do is confront all the terrorists at once. At one point he gets a machine gun, several times he gets a machine gun from the bad guys and just takes them all on.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Well, the chances of victory it’s a million to one he would lose as would all of the hostages. So, he tries guerilla tactics. Again, another historical reference I think of, I think of the American Revolution if George Washington with his rag-tag group of soldiers that, not all of them had terrific training, a lot of them were just farmers. If he took on the might of the British Army in one head-on onslaught certainly at the beginning of that war, he would’ve lost. He realized victory is surviving, using guerilla tactics and the British couldn’t defeat him because they found it difficult to engage. Well, eventually he won. So, there would be no United States if George Washington hadn’t had the sense to have this idea of guerilla tactics, and just how do I survive? How do I take one small step? It worked for Britain in World War II. It worked for the American colonies, and it worked for John McClane. So, strategies to live by.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah. And it’s important to note as you talk about overwhelming power on the other side, I mean these terrorists show up, right, with a dozen guys and McClane just starts clipping them off one at a time. And he keeps track, he’s got a sharpie and he marks down how many people he’s taken out and that’s one of the ways that he… He doesn’t, exactly as you said, he doesn’t try to go confront them all down where they’re holding everybody hostage. He’s working on the fringes trying to whittle away their numbers until he can then find that opportunity to be successful. I do want to go back to the guy on the plane who gave him the advice about the make fist with your toes. Because while that turns out not to be a great idea when terrorists overtake the building, you’re in and you’re barefoot, what he’s really saying there, there’s a principle there I think that’s that can be beneficial to us and that’s this.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

It doesn’t have to be make fists with your toes, maybe it will be. But the idea behind that is breathe, relax, disengage from the thing that is causing you stress. For John McClane that was flying. Disengage from that thing that stress and anxiety and focus on something else that will take your mind off it and relax your body. And I want to give another quick example from my own life about this sort of thing. I’ve talked on the show before, when I was in AA, my sponsor would tell me in the early days of my sobriety, “When you find yourself in this place where you’re thinking about drinking again and that urge is growing in you,” he said, “Go outside and look for ladybugs.” Now here’s his point, his point wasn’t, you’re going to find ladybugs, because they’re awfully hard to find. His point was if you’re out in the field looking for ladybugs and they’re really hard to find, your mind and your body are going to be engaged in something other than that obsession that you have at the moment of, “I need to have a drink.” You’re going to redirect your energy and attention into something that’s more profitable for you.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And I think that’s what “make fists with your toes” can be beneficial to us. This idea of whether we do that or not, when in the midst of a crucible, if you can find something to take your mind off of just staring and focusing on the problem and giving yourself some relief from obsessing about that problem it will help you solve that problem. That’s a pretty fair statement that has proven true through a lot of guests, right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah. It’s an incredibly good point, Gary, when you’re going through a crucible or often a series of crucibles because they can come in series, you’ve got to keep your wits about you. You’ve got to keep calm and it’s not easy to do that because imagine John McClane if he’s panicking and going, “Oh my gosh. There are terrorists. My wife’s been captured by the terrorists. They’re killing people. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Let me run around like a crazy man and say stop it, stop it, don’t do this.” Or whatever. He wouldn’t be able to think clearly. And he would lose. And the terrorists, the bad guys, would win. And so, he does it through a number of means but just the idea of just relax, take a breath. Because if you think about it, will panicking serve you? Is that going to help you make a good next wise decision? It actually will pretty much ensure that you’ll make a cataclysmically bad decision.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And so it could be by meditation, it could be by prayer. I’m in Northern Michigan as it happens, during the summer. And just taking a walk in nature in the woods, I find incredibly relaxing. Maybe it’s listening to your favorite music, but whatever it is find ways to relax yourself, to center yourself, to calm yourself. Even when you think, “How can I be calm when the world is falling apart? Look what’s happening to my loved ones. How in the world can I be calm?” But if you really care about other people that you’re trying to care for if you care about the crucibles you’re trying to challenge, you’ve got to find a way to keep calm keep centered, and relaxed. So, all joking aside, the metaphor of this of relax and ball your toes on the carpet just to relax yourself, the metaphor is important. Find ways to relax and disengage. It’s critical to be able to make good decisions as you try to get through your crucible or crucibles.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Absolutely. And point 2 as we move on for what John McClane does. John McClane does this so well in Die Hard that it changed action movies forever in the ’80s, this movie came out in 1988 and that character and the way that Bruce Willis played him changed action movies and one of the reasons that it did so was our second point of what you can learn from this movie for your own crucible experiences. And that is to keep your sense of humor. John McClane does not take himself too seriously. And he certainly doesn’t meet his crucibles with somber depression. He finds the humor in his plight, as deadly serious as it is. Consider the gag he pulls on the first henchman he kills. He sends him down in the elevator to where Hans and company are holding their hostages. Having plopped a Santa hat on the dead man’s head, this happens around Christmas, and we could do a whole other podcast on whether Die Hard’s a Christmas movie, but we won’t do that. This happens at a Christmas party.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

He sends the guy down with a Santa hat on his head and he’s written on his sweatshirt, “Now I have a machine gun ho, ho, ho.” And just because I always have an outfit for these shows, I will reveal, there I am, “Now I have a machine gun ho, ho, ho.” On my t-shirt Which I wear every Christmas to some party somewhere, I wear this t-shirt. But the point of all that is John McClane keeps it light even while he is in the midst of circumstances that are heavy. And that is critically important, isn’t it? To have a sense of humor, not to laugh at your pain but to keep your spirits up as you go through, walk through your pain.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It is such an incredibly good point. I mean often, in the darkest hours a sense of humor at yourself, at the situation I’m sure in the darkest hours of World War II, whether it was the Battle of Britain or the Battle of the Bulge when you had American forces and, I think Belgium it was, dug in foxholes in as cold a winter it’s ever been with the onslaught of the Germans. I bet you in those foxholes there were GIs joking about the situation. Given how dire the plight was, you better believe that happened. And so, a sense of humor it’s a way of relieving stress. It’s also another way of helping to clear your brain so that you’ll think clearly.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

So, it’s really critical. It’s not that the situation is humorous, that his wife and other people are taken hostage and he’s getting shot at but finding a way to see the humor in the situation relieves stress and helps you to think clearly. People have done this for hundreds or thousands of years amidst dire circumstances, seeing the humor in it. Not for the sake of humor but just for the sake of just relieving stress and helping to think clearly, it works. And John McClane is a tremendous example.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah. And I mean there’s any number of examples. So, one of them is the first terrorist he kills, he’s like, “Oh, I don’t have any shoes on. I’m going to take this guy’s shoes and put them on. I’ll be fine.” And the shoes are too small for him. And he says, “9 million terrorists in the world. And I got to kill one with feet smaller than my sister.” Which is funny, and again, the circumstances couldn’t be more dire, and the stakes more high but he is finding a way to laugh and blow off steam. Later he’s crawling through the air ducts of this building, as I said it’s under construction, they’re building the Nakatomi Plaza up he’s crawling around in the air ducts. And he pulls a Zippo lighter out of his pocket so he can see where he is going.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And he realizes in that moment I came out here to see my wife and kids for Christmas. And this is where I’m at. And he actually mimics Holly’s voice and says, “Come out to the coast. We’ll get together have a few laughs.” He’s like, “This is just not what I was expecting.” And speaking of funny here’s a funny anecdote about not just that scene but the movie in general. The actor, it could have been, crawling around in that duct, Warwick, it could have been Frank Sinatra.

 

Warwick Fairfax: No. Really?

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Frank Sinatra at the time, this movie came out in ’88, made in ’87. So Frank was probably about 72. The reason it could have been Frank Sinatra, quick story, is that in 1968 Frank Sinatra made a film called The Detective. It was based on a book by an author named Roderick Thorp. Roderick Thorp also wrote the book on which Die Hard was based. It wasn’t called Die Hard. It was called Nothing Lasts Forever. The character was much older and there’s very, very few beats of the story that are the same. But because Sinatra, 20 years earlier, had signed a contract for The Detective based on a book by Roderick Thorp, he had it in his contract that if they ever made a sequel, he had to be offered the role first. So, when they made this, technically a sequel, they had to offer 72-year-old Frank Sinatra the role of John McClane. This is the part I love the most. Sinatra said, when they asked him, “Nah, I’m too old and I’m too rich.” And that’s how Bruce Willis got his big break. So, the trivia question listeners is Die Hard the sequel to a Frank Sinatra film? The answer is yes.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

So, there’s another scene where one of the bad guys surprises him in a conference room and McClane doesn’t shoot him right away. And the guy says to him, “Oh, next time you have a chance to kill somebody, don’t hesitate.” McClane shoots up through the table and kills him and says, “Thanks for the advice.” There’s just moment, after moment, after moment of that where he’s releasing the pressure valve of this pressure cooker that he’s in. And that is pivotal to help him get through what he has to get through. And then there’s of course, Warwick, the one that we can’t say is the most famous line in the film. We can’t say it because it’s a family show, but it begins with Yippee Ki Yay.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And it’s his response when Hans says, “Do you really think you have a chance against us Mr. Cowboy?” And he says, “Yippee Ki Yay [Insert bad word here]”. So, these all are things, right, that the… We’ve all heard that laughter’s the best medicine. And this is true even especially when the sickness we’re fighting is moving beyond a crucible. The most tragic circumstances can be met with hopeful optimism. We don’t laugh as we’ve said because what we’re going through is funny, but because it helps stabilize our spirits to meet the challenges emotional and otherwise, we’ll encounter on our path to significance. It’s fair to say, isn’t it, Warwick, that there’s no way John McClane gets through this crucible and all of these crucibles if he doesn’t keep his sense of humor?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It’s so well said, Gary. I mean I love all those scenes. Yeah. That one when he is crawling through the air duct, he’s sweating profusely, it’s small, he’s probably, you can’t help being a bit claustrophobic even if you’re not claustrophobic if you’re crawling through this really narrow air vent. There are bad guys with machine guns all over the place. You don’t know where they’re going to appear next. And he is as you say channeling Holly and saying, “Yeah, come out to the coast. We’ll get together, and have a few laughs.” And he grimaces, it’s like, “Why am I here?” I mean he’s just laughing at the craziness.

 

Gary Schneeberger: The absurdity of it all.

 

Warwick Fairfax: Exactly.

 

Gary Schneeberger: Absurdity.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Exactly. The absurdity of the situation. Now he could have taken on a different task. It’s like, “Why didn’t I just stay in New York? Gosh, Holly’s here and she never should have left.” Or, “Maybe I shouldn’t have come out and I’m an idiot. She is an idiot. We’re both idiots. Why am I here? It’s Christmas. I’m not on the job.” As they say in the police, he could have gone in a very negative spiral and that would’ve been a very different movie. But he didn’t, he just had this sense of hopeful optimism, as you put it. And he wasn’t laughing just for the sake of laughing that it’s all a laughing matter. It just did help, as we’ve said, to keep him sounded emotionally. It helped him think clearly, keep his spirits up. I mean I guess the two biggest points is yes keeping your spirits up, but you have to be able to think clearly in a crisis. The greatest leaders in history have been very, very calm amidst a crisis.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Off-topic here for a moment but as listeners know I love history; I think of Admiral Horatio Nelson before the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 where he is taking on the combined French and the Spanish fleets, he would die in the process. But it was always said of Nelson in that half hour before the battle he was completely calm. I mean havoc was about to come. A lot of people were going to die in that naval engagement. He was completely calm and often great leaders, when the crucibles are at their height, find a way, and in this case through humor, of being calm. That’s where you make the best decisions and think clearly. So, yeah, John McClane is really a great role model of how you got to be amidst a crisis.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And I hadn’t thought about it until you just said that about thinking through it a little bit. Find time to separate yourself and calm. There’s this scene when he is up and he’s working on that saw, right? That saw goes off and he bangs himself in the head and says, “Think, think.” He’s trying to will himself to think beyond the next crucible. How to get through what he’s facing because he’s stuck on an unfinished floor in this high rise at Nakatomi Plaza. And he knows they’re coming for him. And he’s trying to think of a way to get out of that. One of the ways that John McClane ended up getting out of this is our third point of key takeaways. And that is you need a team of fellow travelers. I think one of the things that’s often most misunderstood about this movie, in all seriousness, is that John McClane is often painted as a Lone Wolf. One man against this literal army of terrorists.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

But that overlooks two relationships critical to his coming out on top and saving the day. And without one of them Al Powell he is, for you listeners if you don’t remember the name, he’s the Twinkie-eating cop and then, Argyle, his limo driver. Without those characters and what they bring to the table for John McClane, he would not achieve his goals. Powell’s chief role is to be his confidant and cheerleader. After a rough start to their relationship, it is Powell, after all, who John throws a dead terrorist out on his police cruiser as he is trying to get away finally able to get the police’s attention by dropping a dead terrorist out of a 32nd-floor window onto Al Powell’s car. So, they get off on a bit of a rocky start but as they get to know each other, talk to each other on those CB radios, Powell offers a sympathetic ear and actionable intelligence to John McClane. They bond over their disdain for law enforcement bureaucracy and their love for their families.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And when fatigue and discouragement start to get McClane thinking fatalistically, he’s no longer now being glib and funny, he says, “I have a bad feeling” in the clip that we played at the beginning of the show. That is when Al Powell really shows the benefit of a team of fellow travelers. That scene was pretty powerful when McLean’s finally at the end of his rope. He’s been funny. He’s been in control but not having any shoes, Hans realizes that when they meet, he has his henchman shoot out the glass windows in the building McLean’s got to run through. He’s got glass in his feet. He’s feeling like he’s not going to get out okay. And that’s when he has the conversation with Al Powell that we heard at the beginning of the show. Why is that so pivotal? That moment and having that person that you can confide in and get advice from?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah, I mean amidst a crisis or series of crises and crucibles as we say, you’ve got to have fellow travelers at the beginning and the end of the movie John McClane has Argyle the limo driver, and then through a good part of the movie he has Al Powell. And there’s two beats of this that I think are fascinating is that John McClane has a habit of cultivating fellow travelers. He has a habit of creating a climate where they want to help him. With Argyle when he picks him up from the airport McClane said, “Hey, this is the first time I’ve ever been in a limo.” Argyle says, “Well it’s the first time I’ve ever driven one.” And John McClane sits in the front seat of a limo. Well, you don’t do that. At least not here in Australia. Again, a brief anecdote when I was growing up, you’d always sit in the front seat of a cab, of a taxi. And if you didn’t the taxi driver would say, “What’s your problem?” I mean because Australia’s a pretty egalitarian place, but anyway.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

So he befriends him and listens to Argyle and says, “Yeah, Argyle, you’ve got some wisdom there.” And he jokes around and he doesn’t think of himself as better than Argyle and saying with Al there’s a pivotal scene somewhere around there where I guess we’ll talk about this here in a bit and you’ll unpack it where Powell had some challenging circumstances earlier. And what’s amazing is that John McClane says, “Oh. I’m so sorry, Al, that’s got to have been difficult.” Now here is John McClane fighting for his life, and he’s shown the time to be empathetic with somebody who’s in safety. That makes no sense in one sense. So, he has a habit of cultivating fellow travelers just by his empathy and care, and his humor. But in the clip that we just heard it’s so profound because John McClane realizes, “Hey, I might not get out of this. This could be the end.”

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And that’s a time when you reflect and he wants to make things right with his wife, realizing, “Gosh, maybe I should have come out. Not stayed in New York and come out and support her in Los Angeles. And yeah, maybe I’ve said I love you, but I’ve never said I’m sorry. And please tell her that.” And obviously, Al says, “You can tell her that yourself.” But he’s really asking for forgiveness. He’s empathizing with Al. He is trying to make sure that his legacy is preserved, that things are going to be made right, even if things don’t end, he wants things to be right with his wife and with his kids. And so, it’s a tremendous scene where he’s not so much just thinking of himself. He just wants to make things right with Holly. He’s really thinking of her and the relationship. And it is just a great scene, it just shows his character and where his heart is. It’s a tremendous scene.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

This is a good time to make the general point that we talk about a lot here on the show. And you talk a lot in Crucible Leadership about the importance of receiving and giving forgiveness, asking for it, and offering it. That is a critical part of getting us through a crucible. And this is a different kind of crucible that John McClane’s facing at this moment in the film. He’s not facing crucibles from bullets at the time he’s facing a crisis of conscience, if you will, a crucible of conscience. He feels bad about how he’s treated Holly about the fact that he didn’t support her career when it took off. And he wants her to know that in addition to loving her that he’s sorry that he didn’t show that support. And that seeking forgiveness and extending forgiveness, are critical to getting past crucibles, right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It really is. And we cannot emphasize this enough. I mean we talk about getting beyond your worst day and having it not define you, getting out of the pit, living a life of significance, a life on purpose dedicated to serving others. And that’s all very true but it’s almost impossible to get out of that pit and get beyond your worst day without forgiveness. It could be yourself, in my case the mistakes I made that led to a failed $2.25 billion takeover, that hurt members of my family and thousands of employees. And, yeah, I mean it’s not always easy to forgive yourself, but you have to because if you don’t you can’t move forward, and you won’t be able to help anybody.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And it may be forgiving, but, as we say, not condoning but forgiving hurt that was done to you. If you’re not able to either forgive yourself or forgive others, as we say, it puts you in prison. It makes it impossible for you to move forward. So, the reason forgiveness is important because we say, you’re worth it, your life’s worth it, your family, your wife, your husband, your kids, your friends, they’re all worth it. And so that’s why forgiveness, again it’s not condoning, but forgiveness is so important. If you don’t forgive, I don’t see how there’s any way you can move beyond a crucible. You’ll be stuck there forever. So, if you want to move beyond a crucible one of the things you have to do is to be able to forgive.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

One of the things that Al Powell does in addition to, I mean yes, he offers an ear and actionable intelligence but he also, the filmmakers do this very cool thing at the end of the movie where we think it’s over, right? We think John’s won the day the building’s fallen down; Hans has been dropped out of the building. He’s no longer with us. And what we learn at the climax of the film, the end of the film isn’t really the end of the film. John and Holly are reunited. They’ve rekindled their love. They’re walking out of the building, TV cameras are trying to get to him and angry bureaucratic cops are trying to yell at them. But all of a sudden, we hear a scream, and there one of the bad guys who we presumed was dead, killed by John McClane, comes out with a machine gun and someone shoots him and eliminates him. And camera pulls tight, and it was Al Powell.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And why that’s such a meaningful scene to what you alluded to earlier when John McClane is showing empathy toward Al Powell. Al Powell had been on desk duty for a while at the Los Angeles Police Department because he accidentally shot a kid who had a toy gun that looked real. And Powell drew quickly. And he says to John over the walkie-talkie, as he’s explaining this harrowing and emotional thing that happened to him, that he hasn’t been able to draw his gun since. So, there at the end who is it that is there? What fellow traveler saves John’s life literally, by taking out the bad guy? It’s Al Powell. And the beautiful part of that is they both offer emotional support and healing to each other and that helps them both move beyond their crucibles. Right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. It’s such a great scene and we all need fellow travelers. And I think it’s a symbiotic, mutually supportive environment. They support you; you support them. And it’s impossible to know but maybe that psychological support from John McClane and, “Hey look, I’m so sorry. That’s difficult.” Clearly, McClane’s a cop. He gets why situations can be difficult in that split-second judgment you got to have. And then there’s a sense of redemption from Al Powell. And if he hadn’t gotten beyond his crucible and he’d frozen, John McClane who I think is with Holly at the time, he or both of them may be dead.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And so, Al was able to get beyond his crucible, he was able to maybe forgive himself. And if he hadn’t gotten beyond his crucible, he wouldn’t have taken the action that was needed to save John and Holly. So, it’s a great movie scene in which both John is supportive of Al and Al is supportive of John and they’re able to help each other and each tackles their own crucibles to the benefit of both. So, you have a whole group of fellow travelers who are supporting each other and getting beyond their crucibles. It can be a powerful movement, if you will. It’s really a critical scene.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah, we talk a lot about the flywheel effect, right? That things begin to build momentum. And what you just said is a bit of a flywheel effect is we help each other moving through crucibles. It just helps us get beyond them with perhaps a little bit more sure footing than we would’ve had otherwise. I don’t want to forget Argyle because Argyle is still part of the fellow travelers even though he spends most of the movie sitting in the parking garage in the limo talking on the cell phone and listening to music, not really paying attention to what’s going on talking to girls on the cell phone or on the car phone. It’s not even a cell phone then, it’s a car phone.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

He hears a report about what’s happening at Nakatomi Plaza. He moves out of where he is at so he can get in a better position in the parking garage. And he ends up helping out as well, when the getaway vehicle which is an ambulance, the guy who was the technical mastermind for the terrorists gets in to try to get the getaway going. Argyle smashes the limo into him. And then as you pointed out when we were talking earlier, he punches him out too. So, Argyle does indeed have some counseling for John in the beginning of the movie. And then he gets to show his action hero bona fides at the end. Right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. Again, it’s a smaller part of the movie in one sense but again John, he could have been consumed in that limo ride at the very beginning of the movie thinking, “How’s it going to go with Holly and the kids? Am I going to be able to stay with them or not? Am I angry at Holly for moving out here? Am I angry at myself?” I mean he could have been flooded with a sea of emotions which would’ve been understandable. And so like, “I’m just sitting in the back of this limo. And I don’t know this guy. I don’t want to know this guy. And I’m just going to brood in my own self-reflective sea of conflicting emotions and thoughts.” But he didn’t he sits up front he engages him in conversation. Argyle asks him all these, “Do you think you made a mistake?” I mean he’s just asking these really penetrating questions about Holly and everything.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And John just smiles in his John McClane smirky way saying, “You’re pretty smart there Argyle.” So, they create a bond. And that bond was to serve him well later. The reason Argyle stayed is, “Well, let me stay because it sounds like you don’t quite know what’s going to happen with Holly. So, I’ll stick around.” Limo drivers typically don’t stick around. They go off back home or to the next job. So again, a mutually symbiotic thing, they create a relationship that was obviously to be very beneficial in more ways than one to John McClane. So again, another example of a great fellow traveler and a relationship that was cultivated at the beginning of the movie just by John McClane being John McClane before any crisis had happened. He was just being his relatable, funny, nice guy self if you will.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

All right. So, let’s pull the balloon strings together of this third point. You need a team of fellow travelers. The lessons here seem pretty clear, right? Don’t go it alone when fighting through crucibles, confide in others, lean on them, take their counsel and encouragement to heart. Let them apply their abilities and expertise to help you achieve your vision. Al Powell saves John McClane’s life. Argyle saves his significance in a sense because at the end of the movie when all of these forces, the bureaucratic cops who want to yell at them and the TV reporters who want to make a good story out of it, John and Holly need an escape and Argyle pulls up in the limo that’s got a dent in it now because he ran into the ambulance but he’s able to whisk them away. And that then gives them a safe place to reestablish their love and their family. So, it really is an excellent example of how our fellow travelers play a huge role in our life of significance.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Speaking of significance, Warwick, our fourth point is one we can’t make enough on this show and in Crucible Leadership. And that is success is great, but significance is greater. The big payoff here, if you’re really watching the movie from this perspective that we watched it from, is not that John McClane saves the day from greedy, neatly dressed terrorists it’s that he reunites with his wife and children, and they become a family again. Like anything that is successful in Hollywood, sequels were made to this movie, in the first sequel Die Hard 2 John McClane has resigned from the New York Police Department, and he’s gotten a job with the Los Angeles Police Department. And he and Holly are living with the kids and happily married in Los Angeles and she is still killing it for the Nakatomi Corporation as an executive.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Again, once movies get successful, they make a lot of other ones, and the stories aren’t always clear about who’s getting along with who in all the other movies. And but here’s the other thing about sequels that is interesting to talk about, Warwick, the first two are clearly the best. Third one’s pretty good. The third one ends with John and Holly had a little bit of an argument maybe, but at the end of the movie, he’s at a payphone. If you remember those things, listeners, he’s at a payphone and he’s calling Holly to talk to her and see how she’s doing. There’s a thing that happens in Hollywood. And I know in part because I worked there for three years marketing films and that is, the Jurassic Park franchise is a great example. Sometimes sequels aren’t received all that well, they just pretend they never happen.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

So, in terms of Jurassic Park they’ll say that the third movie just didn’t really… They’ll just skip over and they’ll they won’t even talk about that. Rocky V is not part of the official Rocky cannon of films. They just pretend, Stallone pretends it didn’t happen. So, the arc of the relationships here is pretty clear from one to two and even at the end of three which is the last one where Bonnie Bedelia’s character Holly is referred to in great detail. They are still working at significance. It’s not easy. And we know that to be true. Significance can be complicated, but John McClane is still working on his family relationships through the end of three and then in four and five with his kids, for sure. So, that life of significance that he was fighting for, I think, becomes something that we see in the sequels and something that if John McClane were real and we got a chance to ask him what was the most important thing he did, he’d say reconciling with his family was more important than saving the day at Nakatomi Plaza, I think. Would you agree?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah, it’s an excellent point, Gary. I mean obviously saving the hostages and making sure the bad guys don’t get away. And obviously, there’s a scene toward the end of the movie where the bad guy, Hans Gruber got Holly as a hostage and John McClane finds a way of turning the tables and Hans Gruber ends up falling out the window and falling to his death. And yeah, from an action movie perspective it’s a powerful scene and yes, John saves the day. But there is this subject of his relationship where he picks the job in New York as a New York policeman over supporting Holly and her career. And when he first goes to the Nakatomi Plaza, he sees she’s going by her maiden name Gennaro which obviously doesn’t bless him. And it’s like, “Ah here we go.” He is not a happy camper.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

So, towards the end of the movie he realizes, “You know what, I could get a job in LA as a cop.” Which he does by Die Hard 2. And, “I could have supported her, and I could have handled this a whole lot better.” And he realizes, “Okay, I like being a New York policeman but ultimately what’s important in life?” That’s an important job but maybe there’s something more important. It’s my relationship with my wife and my young kids that he has at the time. I can still be a cop, but I can still support her. It’s not either or, so there’s few things more important than our families, our loved ones, supporting them and supporting each other. And ultimately when you talk a lot about legacy, there are some that may have made millions or billions, and what do they want at their funeral? As we often say do we want people saying, yep. There was John or Mary they were a billionaire and founded all this stuff.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Or maybe it’s they had a loving wife, husband family friends they were a person of character. They were giving in the best sense of the word. They were loving. They were caring. They served others. What do you want your legacy to be? And McClane, I think, realizes when he was in that pivotal scene with Al, “I don’t want this just to be about me being a cop.” I think there’s a subtext there. I love my wife. I love my family. Maybe there are some things more important than just being a cop. As important as that is, my family is critical. I can’t sacrifice that for the job. So, it’s a critical point about a life of significance and our families and legacy. And it’s a beautiful subtext of this whole movie.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

As you say that I’m reminded to think back in the movie, right, how many times? Two or three times John pulls his wallet out and looks at pictures of his family. It’s John and Holly and their two kids. And the smile on his face. There’s a scene, and as I said I’ve watched this movie probably 50 times and I’ve never really focused on this scene I’m about to talk about here. When they first see each other in her office, her boss is walking him around and she walks into the office and surprises him. And it wasn’t a planned meeting. It just happened. She didn’t know he was in the office; he didn’t know she was going to come into the office.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And when he sees her, Bruce Willis does a great thing with John McClane’s face, his face softens, he smiles this warm, relieved smile and it’s in contrast to what he said earlier to Argyle when he’s like, “Well why didn’t you just move out here?” And he’s like, “Oh, I can’t. I got this backlog of scumbags in New York I got to put away.” And he’s all about the job, all about the job, all about the job. And you really get the sense, I really got the sense when I saw that smile, that relief on his face when he sees his wife again that’s where John McClane realizes his life of significance and satisfaction is really going to come. Is that a fair observation?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. It is a great scene. And there is a sense of reconciliation even there. And he realizes just in seeing her it’s like, “I need to be with my wife. I love her. I love my kids. We need to figure out a way to make that happen.” I think we don’t know but, in that scene, I have a feeling he’d probably already decided, “I’m not leaving. I’m going to find a way to be a cop here.” Or I don’t know. We don’t really know but I wouldn’t mind guessing that those thoughts had to have flooded his mind at that moment, “I love my wife. I love my family. I’m not going to sacrifice them.” Does that make sense?

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah, it certainly looks like it. It certainly looks like it on his face. That look when he looks at her it’s like all the stress and the tension and LA’s a weird place and all that stuff just floats away and all he sees is her. And it’s really not to overplay it but in a movie that’s a slam-bang action movie, it’s a really beautiful scene of what makes John McClane’s heart come alive. And I think that’s very important to take away from this movie. Speaking of things you can take away from this movie. This is the time in the show that we like to come up with some points of reflection some things that you, the listener, can think about. About the things that are in the movie and the things that we’ve talked about here. And here’s the fun part about this one. This is episode six on Die Hard and for the first five, we picked one. Here’s one pointer of reflection.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And Warwick and I were talking before we started our recording and we’re like, “Oh, there’s so many good ones.” It’s like the number of crucibles that hit John McClane. There’s so many of them that there’s so many good takeaway points of reflection. So, I’ll go first with one I really think is important. I think it’s important because I’m the guy that wears outfits to every one of these episodes. So, I have a little bit of a humorous streak, but I think one of the points, listener, to reflect on as you look at your crucibles is how can you use humor to move beyond your crucible. How can humor serve your significance? How can humor serve your bounce back? How can you use it, again, not to laugh at your circumstances, not to minimize the pain but to bleed off some of the hurt of the pain? To make things more tolerable to make things more relatable give yourself a little bit of a breather. Humor can be a great way to do that. So, think about that. How can you use humor to help you move beyond your crucible? Warwick, what’s a reflection that you want to share with folks?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah. Love the thought of humor. That is such a great, great point. A couple of other thoughts I had is one how can you take one step at a time when it feels like everything is falling around you? Everything is falling to pieces. It seems like you might feel there is no way out. This is the end. There’s no way up out of that pit. But as we often said the win of a time happens with just one small step. And certainly, in this movie John McClane, how do I keep how do the bad guy’s way? Or how do I take out one bad guy? And so, what’s one step you can take when you feel like everything is falling around you? So that’s one thought.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And so, the final thought, because we’ve talked a lot about fellow travelers in this movie with Al Powell and Argyle is who do you need on your journey to help you keep going? Often when you’re at the bottom of the pit and things seem the most dire, that is when you most need fellow travelers. It may seem like taking one small step may feel like a massive leap over the Grand Canyon. No step is small, it may seem to you but having fellow travelers will help you make that one small step, will help you get up one more day and put one foot in front of the other. So, both taking one step at a time when everything’s falling around you and then think about, “Who do I need on my team? Who do I need with me on my journey just to help me keep going when I feel like I can’t do it alone?”

 

Gary Schneeberger:

When it comes to fellow travelers, and I’m thinking about Al Powell and Argyle as John McClane’s fellow travelers here, it’s important, isn’t it to not just pick someone who’s just like you? But not pick someone who’s exactly not like you. In other words, there’s a mix, Al Powell’s a mix of both what John McClane has and maybe what John McClane doesn’t. Argyle, definitely he’s got a sense of the humor, but he doesn’t have as much tread off his tires in life. It’s important, right, to find people who have some things in common that you can talk through and talk about and share experiences with but also people that help you grow. That would seem to be really good resume things you want in your fellow travelers through a crucible.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah. I mean that’s such a great point. It’s probably worthy of more discussion at some point of what makes a good fellow traveler. That’s a great point but I think just for summary’s sake here, I think it helps to have folks who have maybe similar values and character. You don’t want a conflict of values about, “Hey, it’s all about number one. And if we can rip people off so long as it’s legal it’s good.” Probably don’t want to have that person as a fellow traveler if you are about a life of service and humility and trying to give back to others. So, you got to have people with a similar mindset, but they can come from different backgrounds, genders, ages, life experiences, and often some diversity of life experience and background can be helpful.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

People with different skills. Maybe you’re a visionary and you need people who are implementers. Maybe you’re artistic but you need somebody that’s a finance person that can help you with the numbers. So, a diversity of experiences and skills is absolutely critical. Diversity of values probably not as much. I mean you want to feel like on the big things in life, in terms of values and outlook on it, you have some commonality. But diversity of experience and skills and background I think is critical. You absolutely don’t want to have people that talk the same as you, look the same as you, have the same skills as you. That’s not a team of fellow travelers that’s not really going to be that helpful. It’s a great point.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

People who can make you better, that’s really what at the end of the day that’s what John McClane had in Al Powell and Argyle. Well, I’ve said John McClane now probably 2875 times in this episode. So that’s probably a good sign that, I would say the helicopter landed but the helicopters in the movie don’t land. So, let’s just say we’ve wrapped up this episode of Beyond the Crucible this episode of LIGHTS, CAMERA, CRUCIBLES part six on Die Hard. Next week we are going to lean into another very, very, very… He’s got humor too. He’s a very powerful and humorous hero and that’s Ironman. That’s where we’re going to go after next week. So, as always, listener, it’s not homework. It’s a friendly suggestion that if you want to follow along and as Warwick and I talk through our Ironman episode you can watch we’re going to watch the first Ironman the one that kicked off the Marvel cinematic universe the first one with Robert Downey Jr that started it all.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And that birthed this multi, multi, multi billion-dollar franchise and changed again, in some ways… I said at the outset Die Hard changed the way action movies were made in the ’80s. Ironman changed the way superhero movies are made and marketed for sure. So, until the next time we’re together, listener, please remember that we do know that your crucible experiences are painful. We do know that they can take some time to get through. They can take a lot of effort. They often, usually take a lot of effort to get through. We know that you need some fellow travelers to help you get there. We understand that humor can be a great skill to bring to the table when you’re going through it. But we also know it’s not the end of your story, your crucible experience if you learn the lessons of it if you apply those lessons as you move on in pursuing a vision for your life that’s focused on serving others. In fact, that crucible can lead to a chapter in your life that’ll be the best chapter in your life because where it’s going to end is going to be a life of significance.