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Movies teaching us about productivity? Isn’t that too far-fetched?

I know you might be thinking that, and it’s only understandable.

When we talk about productivity, we often perceive it as a purely rational choice. We blindly assume that if we want to be productive, we have to make a logical decision and just follow it.

But we forget that often it’s our emotions and intuition that guide us to our best decisions and achievements, and not our calculating reason.

Productivity goes well beyond getting things done. Mechanical completion of tasks is nothing without the right motivation and direction. It’s all about focusing on the important things – the activities you love and the ones that bring you the biggest development.

And to achieve that, you need plenty of inspiration and creativity in your life.

Here is where the link between movies and productivity pops up. A well-told story can have a powerful effect on both your conscious and subconscious mind. In some cases, you might get utterly moved and inspired and even feel that the film has changed your life.

Yet in other cases, the influence might not be that obvious externally, while the subtle impact works on changing you from within. But there is one thing you can count on: a good story can refresh your motivation and give you a meaningful direction to act.

At Swipes, we just love boosting our creative flow with a good movie. Here are some of our favorite picks.


Changing the world – the long walk of Mandela

We can’t help it but love the perseverance and powerful drive that the movie about Nelson Mandela, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013), reveal. Especially considering that it is based on the life of the first democratically elected South African president.

The story follows Mandela’s path from growing up in a village to leading the resistance against the apartheid in South America. It certainly does not spare all the painful details of his imprisonment and separation from his family, but ultimately shows the strength of his determination. As he himself puts it, “It [freedom] is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

What drives you within shapes your impact on the world

The documentary about the Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado The Salt of the Earth (2014) shares the heroic vibe of Mandela, but approaches motivation from another angle. For the last forty years of his life, Salgado has travelled around the world and documented the major international conflicts and human tragedies such as genocide and starvation.

The movie follows his footsteps across the globe, all the while purveying his inner drive to show to the world what is actually going on in the most problematic places. Inspirational? You bet.

How far can you go to pursue your passion?

We can safely say that Whiplash was one of the best movies of 2014. But beyond its cinematographic qualities, it tells a truly powerful story about what you need to sacrifice when pursuing a dream of greatness.

The young drummer Andrew is lucky enough to study in a highly regarded music academy, where everybody is a talent. The environment is extremely competitive, and the teacher – unstoppable in his drive to bring out the best in his students. So Andrew goes beyond many borders to prove he’s the best one, all the while showing what great zest and ambition bring about.

Passing through the darkness to emerge in the light

And here is an awesome classic: The Shawshank Redemption (1994). When you’ve had everything and lost it in no time, having to spend your life in prison, is there another option but to lose all hope? Surely, judging by Tim Robbins’ character in the movie, Andy Dufresne.

Without spoiling it for you, we’d just say that after looking for conventional ways to escape, Andy finds a tough but successful one, only to emerge stronger outside of prison.

How important is it to adapt?

If you haven’t seen the iconic Any Given Sunday (1999), you are really in for an inspirational treat. After all, there is barely a more competitive and result-driven field than sports.

Al Pacino, the aging coach of a football team, delivers one of the most powerful motivational speeches ever. Besides that, you get a glimpse into how important it is, even when you’re an established professional and a name in your game, to keep learning and adapting to what the world has to offer.

The thin line between failure and grandeur

To finish off, let us remind you about Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014). Alejandro Iñárritu’s story takes us behind the scene and even inside the head of Riggan Thomson, an aging actor with high ambitions on Broadway, whose biggest success has been his movie role as Birdman, a ridiculous bird superhero.

Overcoming all sorts of obstacles in order to make his premiere on Broadway a hit, Riggan finds it difficult to establish himself as a true artist in theater. But he manages to find an inner strength that deserves applause…

Hope you’ve enjoyed our motivational compilation of movies we’ve found useful for our own creative boosting.

Which movies give you an emotional and productive kick? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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