I can’t tell you how many times I have watched this movie. As great as the fighting scenes are, there is an unbelievable message to this movie that you have to think about pretty hard if you really want to get it. And for me, it all came together during the final scene…the one above, which you have to watch.

It is Brendan the schoolteacher with a family versus Tommy the haunted Marine. The whole movie comes to the point of where these two brothers have to fight one another…each doing it for their own reasons. On the surface, you might see a showing of good vs. bad. But rather, the movie and the scene go far far deeper than this thought. It really isn’t about the good guy vs. the bad guy at all…but instead a battle against two sides of us that each person possesses: heart and ego.

I call it heart vs. ego for a couple of reasons that I think I need to explain before I go any further. For me, my heart represents everything that is good about me as a person. It is unconditionally loving, passionate, never quits on people, causes me to strive for great things, and has helped me overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. My ego on the other hand…is everything about me that erodes my heart. It represents arrogance, jealousy, pointing out bad things in people, lack of forgiveness, the list really goes on…and I’m sure you know the words to put there. Every single one of us has this battle going on in our mind every single day. Whether to succumb to bitterness, or to take a road that is much less often traveled, and let our hearts guide us, often blindly.

The two brothers clash. Brendan, my heart, gets the crap kicked out of him. Tommy, my ego, does an incredibly good job at kicked the crap out of my heart. But something changes. There is an outside influencer, Brendan’s trainer, that incites him to act with courage…insane amounts of courage despite the presence of a formidable opponent…and he gains one thing that he didn’t have in the fight yet: belief. And as you see in the result above, Brendan cripples Tommy by breaking his shoulder, rendering Ego…weak and feeble.

Belief destroys ego. Belief in yourself, in your cause, in the idea that you stand for. That no matter how hard it can be, if you listen the pounding of your heart, it will silence all rambling talk of your ego. The movie goes further though. And this is what struck me so hard. Tommy is out because of submission…not because of a judge’s ruling. Tommy…hears the one thing that changes his world. “I love you” from his brother. It is on this ground, that the heart in fact erodes the ego completely. This clash between the two brothers is not about winning, in fact, it is about acceptance. The fact is, the only way you truly succeed at life is not by trying to beat your ego at its game, but by accepting yourself for who you are. By learning that there are things about yourself that you don’t like…and accepting the fact that they are there. Denial is the ego’s best tool. It causes you to believe that you are not something that you currently are…and in the end, you only hurt yourself.

Our ego is destroyed when our heart shows our whole soul love. And this is the realization I came to when watching this movie. By accepting our whole person, we can become something greater. We can work on ourselves…because we recognize the condition we are currently in. Without this step, our efforts represent an uncontrolled lightning storm…simply striking everywhere and anywhere without any guidance. This, in fact, is the same undercurrent that caused me to launch The Better Man Project…the acceptance of myself, good and bad…and that in turn gave me the ability to create.

Then, after you love yourself, you can love others much more deeply that you could ever understand.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project