Yo Adrian! Lessons From Rocky Balboa


May 4, 2010

I was talking with someone yesterday about crazy things you can be passionate about.  I don’t know if this qualifies as passion but I know it’s probably borderline fanatical for me- I love Rocky movies.  I feel like it’s a weird confession, but by sharing my love for Rocky movies with you, you’ll definitely know more about me.  So, in that spirit, I’m going to share a post I wrote many months back about my favorite inspirational movie character, Rocky Balboa.  I’ve revamped it a bit.

Cue the music…..

Rocky runningHave you seen Rocky?  How about Rocky 2, Rocky 3, Rocky 4, Rocky 5, AND Rocky Balboa?  I know……there have been a lot of Rocky movies.  I’m a sucker though.  I don’t know exactly what it is about those movies, but if one is on cable (DISH in my case) then I am sucked in at whatever point in the movie it is.

There are so many things to love about the Rocky movies.  You know he’s always the underdog.  Yet, he often comes out on top.  Notice that I didn’t say he always wins?  It is because he doesn’t.  Do you remember the last scene in Rocky Balboa?  He’s fighting Mason Dixon and at the end of a dramatic fight it’s a split decision by many of the judges.  Ultimately, Dixon wins.  But, as Rocky leaves the arena, the fans are chanting “Rocky, Rocky, Rocky”.  Because he has heart, he wins their hearts.  Even though he doesn’t win, he is still an inspiration.

Rocky has some great quotes that teach key lessons:

  • Believe in yourself– “Nothing is real if you don’t believe in who you are!”  (Rocky III- 1982)
  • Stay focused and go the distance– “Who am I kiddin’? I ain’t even in the guy’s league…It don’t matter, ’cause I was nobody before…I was nobody. That don’t matter either, ya know…It really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed. And if I can go that distance, ya see, and that bell rings, ya know, and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, ya see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.”  (Rocky- 1976)
  • Don’t be afraid of change– “During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!”  (Rocky IV 1985)
  • Don’t quit– “Going in one more round when you don’t think you can – that’s what makes all the difference in your life.”  (Rocky IV- 1985)
  • Do what is right for your family– In Rocky V, Adrian says, “All those beatings you took in the ring, I took them with you! I know how you feel! I know when somebody like tommy comes along, you feel alive. But he’s not you, he doesn’t have your heart! All those fighters you beat, you beat them with heart, not muscle. That’s what Mickey knew, that’s why Mickey and you were special. But Mickey’s dead! If there’s something that you want to pass on, pass it on to your son! For God’s sakes, your son is lost! He needs you! I know Tommy makes you feel great, he makes you feel like you’re winning again. but you’re losing us! Rocky, you’re losing your family!”
  • Always keep trying to do better–  “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”  (Rocky Balboa- 2006)

It isn’t rocket science, I know.  It’s Rocky.  But…………..I love him.

Yo Adrian!! Rocky


  • You have to love Rocky. The Rocky IV training montage in Siberia holds a special place in my heart. There are a lot of good life lessons in these movies, especially about perseverance and not letting negatives or “can’ts” overwhelm. Love the post!

  • Oh, Trish, you missed my favorite, useful in a variety of social situations.

    “OK, Adrian, I’m gonna kiss you now. You don’t have to kiss me back if you don’t wanna.”

  • @KD—I ran those steps in college. Hard to live in Philly for 4 years and not do that at some point.

    • @Drew- I love Rocky IV and the scene you mention. Any man that can run in snow while holding that huge piece of wood on his shoulders is superman.

      @KD- I definitely need to do that run. My little boy watches all the movies with me and when we go to Chicago, he always wants to go to the Field Museum to run the steps because he thinks they look like the ones in Rocky. Good stuff!

      @Wally- That is a good one. There are just so many great ones between Rocky and Adrian.

      @Jason- I didn’t know you had a special place in your heart for Rocky. No wonder we’re friends!

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.





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