What Can a French Thriller Teach You About Dead Ends?￼
How frustrating it is to run into a dead end when you want to get somewhere in a hurry.
Ever seen movies where the hero/heroine desperately needs an escape from the villain chasing after them, only to find a dead end blocking their path?
In the 1990 French action thriller movie Nikita (La Femme Nikita), the protagonist Nikita, a trained assassin working for a secret government agency, receives her first assignment to kill. She’s told to escape through a small window in the bathroom once she finishes the “job.” Running for her dear life, Nikita yanks open the window, only to find it blocked off by a brick wall.
It turns out the fake window is a test to see if she qualifies for the job. If she fails, she dies.
Do you think of a dead end as a test in life?
Of course, there are no high stakes like life and death, but the dramatic question remains: what would you do when running into a dead end?
Do you throw up your arms and yell about the unfair life, or bury your face in a pillow and cry your heart out?
In the movie, Nikita cried. It was her eighteenth birthday. Her trainer took her to a nice restaurant to celebrate the occasion. During dinner, she received a beautifully wrapped birthday present. She’d never felt so happy in her life. But the present was a gun and a direction to kill a target.
When she saw the blocked window, she cried for her life. Then she wiped off her tears and raced to find another exit.
Watch the film if you want to know the ending. Despite the fast-paced action scenes, it’s a surprisingly touching movie with a strong emotional arc.
The message here is that no matter how perfect your planning is, you’re bound to run into problems in life. If you’ve ever remodeled a house, you’ll understand why things always run over budget. If you are a small business owner, you’re the expert in triaging dead end situations.
It’s okay to feel emotional about unexpected setbacks. Failure hurts. Once that sting goes away, take action. You have a goal, and you want to find a way to make things work for you.
It’s no simple task. You’ll have to improvise, think outside the box, and search for an alternative for the best possible outcome. Schools teach you knowledge; life gives you the opportunities to turn your knowledge into wisdom.
Once you’ve handled a few dead ends, you become much more adaptive, resilient, and even more proficient in planning for your next goal.
And sometimes, a dead end can be a beautiful thing, literally. The scenic photo below is a perfect example of this. So take a breath and enjoy the test!