This weekend, Disney released a new movie for download. That by itself isn't remarkable. What's remarkable is that this is a move that was just released to the theaters two weeks prior. That movie is from Pixar studios and is called Onward. I'm writing this as my son and I are watching it on March 21st. That date alone is extremely meaningful to me, as it's World Down Syndrome Day (3/21) and he has Down syndrome. This movie was released by Disney extremely early, because we're all dealing with something that a year ago we couldn't have imagined could happen.
My family and I live in Northern California. On March 16, 2020 we were ordered to "shelter in place" in our homes "until further notice" as part of an order from 9 county health boards to quarantine ourselves to slow the spread of COVID-19. That meant that all theaters were ordered to close and gatherings of more than your immediate family were prohibited. That obviously had a significant impact on theater releases of movies, and Disney opted to offer the move immediately over digital streaming (for fee). This movie now ranks in, probably, my Top 5 of all time. More on that in a bit...
I've also been reading several books over the last year. The ones that are most pertinent to this post are: Mindset, Grit, Presence, and Limitless Mind. You can read my thoughts on the individual books over on that post, but they're all related.
Finally, starting last Sunday, March 15th, my wife and I started a new "mental toughness" program called "75hard". You can read more about that program here. It's a simple program, but it's called "hard" for a reason.
All of these events have one specific theme in common: belief.
an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
"his belief in the value of hard work"
trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
"a belief in democratic politics"
Onward is about believing in yourself in order to accomplish amazing things (and some other messages that make it especially impactful to me). World Down Syndrom Day is about believing in the power of everyone to accomplish their goals and dreams, no matter what they entail or what challenges they have. Our quarantine is about the belief in slowing the spread of the virus in order for us all to benefit by reducing the burden on our health care system, to maximize our collective ability to survive the pandemic. Mindset, Grit, Presence, and Limitless Mind are about the amazing things that you can accomplish by believing in growth, learning, and our ability to move past our challenges. #75hard is about developing in yourself a growth mindset and grit (the creator, Andy Frisella, states plainly "The mental changes are 100x greater than the physical changes").
Belief is a powerful concept and one that at times is difficult in which to put your faith (no pun intended). From Limitless Mind, by Jo Boaler:
We are not born with fixed abilities, and those who achieve at the highest level do not do so because of their genetics. The myth that our brains are fixed and that we simply don't have the aptitude for certain topics is not only scientifically inaccurate; it is omnipresent and negatively impacts education and many other events in our everyday lives.
We are currently faced, as a planet, with incredible hardships. As an adult, I hadn't faced these types off situations until the "Internet Bubble Burst" in 1999, sending our country into a recession. Then on 9/11 (September 11, 2001), as the United States was attacked. Then again during the sub-prime mortgage housing crises, and corresponding financial collapses, of 2008. I don't know how our current hardship will end, and many people are suffering today as they lose loved ones, jobs, and frankly hope.
That said, I also know the power of belief. Belief in yourself. Belief in your family and friends, and ultimately, as my mother often told me, belief that "this too shall pass".