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5 Kick Ass Lessons You Can Learn From Cool Runnings



Cool Runnings is an inspirational movie that has many lessons we can use to be successful. It can easily be passed off as a simple Disney kids movie but there is so much more it has to offer. I watched the movie again recently to remind me how important sport can be in teaching us to be determined and never give up on our goals.

I’ve recently hit a bit of a slump after achieving so much in recent months. This is expected when you push through so many barriers and then don’t take the time to look at how far you’ve come. Taking time out to be grateful and inspire yourself with movies like Cool Runnings is so important.

Here are the 5 lessons you can learn from the movie Cool Runnings:

1. The underdog can win

At its core, Cool Runnings is a movie about the underdog. You can have all the money and resources in the world like the Swiss bobsled team in the movie, and still not be able to win. The movie shows us that the way you think and your mindset outweighs everything else.

When you think being the underdog is going to make you lose, you will – badly. If you believe that anything is possible and you deserve success, then you will be closer to where you want to get to.

The Jamaicans had every reason to think they were inferior with their beaten up bobsled yet they believed in their dream. They knew they were pursuing their Olympic dream for a reason and they weren’t going to let anyone tell them they couldn’t win a gold medal.

The guys visualised their dream every day and even though they didn’t know exactly how they would get there, they believed the underdog could win. In your life, do you believe you can achieve your dream even though it might seem so far away?

By adopting the underdog way of thinking from Cool Runnings, you can reframe situations where you are in last place, to situations of belief and knowing that your disadvantages are sometimes your greatest advantages.

2. Being different is important

The Cool Runnings movie spent a lot of time emphasizing how the Jamaicans were so different from everyone else. They were not used to cold conditions, they had a broken down bobsled, they had very little money, they dressed differently, and they were amateurs at the sport.

By being so different, they stood out more and this is what got people behind their mission. If they were like everyone else, they might never have found their voice and their true identity. Pretending to be what society wants you to be is a guaranteed way to fail.

The more you embrace your culture and the quirkiness of your true self, the more you can stop living a lie and being a Hollywood actor at life. You can’t act your way to success because eventually, you’ll realise you’re incongruent and then your inner world will come crashing down.

Be like the Jamaican bobsled team and just be happy with who you are. Embrace who you are!

3. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do

The character Junior in Cool Runnings comes from a very wealthy family. His dad tries to stop him from his dream and tells him that he knows best. As the movie progresses, Junior realises that what his dad told him is false.

The only person that knows what’s best for him is himself. This vital lesson shows us that you can’t let outside forces and other people shape your life.

If you’re working some job because you think it’s what everyone else wants you to do and because it gives you a certain amount of comfort money, then at some stage, your life will come crashing down. Your dream is uniquely your own and your family and friends may think it’s nuts.

It’s typically in these circumstances that you know you’re on the right path. The only person that can truly understand you is yourself. By trying to impress everyone else and playing the part others want you to play, you miss out on the activities that truly make you feel fulfilled.

Don’t be fooled; only you can tell yourself what to do and what feels right. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t have your dream because you can. It all starts with you.

4. You’re enough already

John Candy’s character “Irv” in Cool Runnings is depicted as an Olympic cheat. In a previous Olympics, he is found to have put extra weights into the bobsled to make it go faster. Irv tells Derice in the movie that he cheated because he made winning his whole life.

He explains that when you make winning your whole life you have to keep on winning no matter what. Even though Irv had won two gold medals, he says he learned that you have to be enough before a triumph like winning a gold medal; otherwise you will never be enough after winning a gold medal.

Think of an Olympic gold medal like your dream. If you dream of becoming influential and being known globally as someone who is the best in their field, you have to be happy with who you are and being enough before you have all the success.

Having enormous success can create even more problems if you haven’t got control of who you are beforehand. No matter what, right now, you are already enough. Chase your dream because of what it can do to inspire others and what it can do for others. Don’t chase your dream so that you can become enough.

5. Everyone deserves a second chance

Vishen Lakhiani says in his book “The Extraordinary Mind” that forgiveness has such an important part in our inner mind and it can help to increase our alpha brainwaves. In Cool Runnings, we see the character Irv plead for forgiveness and get given a second chance.

The reality is this: everyone will make a massive mistake at some point in their life. In fact, this will probably happen multiple times in someone’s lifetime. We have to learn to let go of the past and be able to give someone a second chance.

No one is perfect and we all have a lapse in thinking at times. When you give someone a second chance to show you the good they have inside of them, you open the door to an array of emotions and help to make impossible events possible.

The Jamaican bobsled team in Cool Runnings would never have made it to the Olympics if the Winter Olympics committee didn’t forgive Irv and allow him to make up for what he did by cheating prior. It’s not so much about what someone has done, but how they retell the story of their misdemeanor and the new meaning they give this event.

If someone can show you that they have learned from their mistake and they can explain how they messed up, you’d be crazy not to give them a second chance. Imagine if that was you in that situation. Wouldn’t you want to be given a second chance?

Have you been inspired by Cool Runnings? What did you learn? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website and my Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship.You can connect with Tim through his website



  1. Suzan Hemstreet

    May 20, 2019 at 10:01 am

    I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed too.|

  2. Joyce E. Hale

    Nov 9, 2017 at 4:18 am

    what a wonderful post, thanks for sharing

  3. Ran Mendis

    Aug 7, 2016 at 11:10 am

    As always an awesome masterpiece Tim!!! I watched Cool Runnings couple of days ago for second time and honestly one of best motivation driven movies of all times. “Being different is important” touched me to the core. Being a big fan of you I got inspired, motivated and started creating content and quotes believing me that I’ll be able to inspire one to realise the importance of pursuing their passion. We all here for short term and out duty is leaving this world is a better place by helping and sharing wisdom within ourselves. Cheers again mate you are the champion 🙂 Respect & Regards!!! Ran Mendis

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 9, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Ran I’m glad you watched Cool Runnings as well. It’s such a great story and I never get sick of it. Ran thanks for the kind words and I feel honoured to have inspired you to start your own thing. Keep up the good work and feel free to send me a link to your stuff so i can check it out.

      Take care 🙂

      • Ran Mendis

        Aug 9, 2016 at 4:47 pm

        Cheers Tim!!! I will keep you posted mate 🙂 Respect & regards

        Ran Mendis

  4. Bryan Oliver

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Such great wisdom, Tim. Point #4 spoke to me. Such a great reminder that we are enough. Appreciate your insights.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 4, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      No problem Bryan and thanks for reading mate!

  5. Toño

    Aug 3, 2016 at 5:12 am

    One more thing forgot to ask. It’s about your book, as it finally came out, yay! For some reason, I cannot receive it. I was subscribed to your website for white a while but haven’t received it on the fist day when it became available. I subscribed again, but still nothing. Can you send it to me directly please, if this ok to ask?

    I haven’t received a word from your website, not even confirmation.

    And my apology for spelling errors in my previous message, for some reason, haven’t checked the first paragraph. Embarrassing 😀

  6. Toño

    Aug 3, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Glad to have you back, Tim. And good morning read to get my brain ready for the day.

    After so intensive work it is natural to have a slump which may just tell you to take some time off, enjoy some rest and chill somewhere in nature, with your family/freinds or simply having a pleasure to be alone and contamplate on something you like. I wanted to comment on one of your article’s where you talk about working 5x harder but changed my mind and thought it may be, let’s say, offensive and never did it. You see, it’s cool to be a hard working mechanism as Eric Thomas says, and work your socks off for your dream, however, you sgould take care of yourself first and do no let burn yourself out. There’s no need to have an article every single day, as it’s not a race, and if you don’t feel like it, better not push it. Otherwise, you may stuble in a daily routine and feel it like a chore, also the quality may not be the same, and is it no the most important thing about motivation, the quality of the content you give the life? After many working hours and pushing through I realized I want to make a peace with myself first and if I need a rest a healthy life I will pursuit it. Working hard may be very negative, and actually, I really like the word ‘grind’ (like really!) I feel like it has lost it meanings and now is the synonym of a boring routine. Yes, let’s make the grind and do it daily, but do so with a sense, with purpose and with healthy attittude. We don’t need to die on a tredmill really, as WIll Smith said, because what good will that does? You should always take your time, your speed doesn’t matter, forward is forward. I’m not talking about being lazy, rather be productive instead of busy every time. Sometimes you need to slow down and enjoy the walk, the view, and that perspcetive. Everything will come in place when it’s time. No need to rush, remember? It was you who told me that 😉

    Now, back to your article, some beautiful points to take.

    The underdog mind is really a winner. I started to believe in my ability to believe 🙂 I started to motivate myself daily, few times per day, to make sure I am the one who can rule my day. The quote I always liked: ‘People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily’. And that you have to believe in your ability. I feel like underdog quite often and now I feel more confidence, that I can and I will if my desire and motivation will be in place.

    It is also beautiful to be different. I like that message of yours. I don’t remember who said that, but it is better to fail in originality than succeed at copying others. Or something like that, hope you got the idea. And this is so true. It is not so hard to be authentic, but it requires time and dedication to recognize your inner self.

    Oh. and another theme – ‘only you can tell yourself what to do and what feels right’, this is exactly how I feel. Only you can help yourself at the end of the day if you really want to. Only you can realize what to do, when and why is so important for you and yeah, that it feels right. I spoke with a new girl at my job recently, was trying to motivate her as she really struggles and just cannot beat her anxiety, and told her exactly what you described. She even read some of the articles from a2s as I usually print them and left on the desk (fortunately she can read English) for everyone’s access.

    And you’re enough already, I like that very much. It goes with everything in life, with your partner, with your job, with your daily activities – with basically everything! You have to feel as a whole in order to find another whole. It is amazing.

    Thank you so much for the article Tim and for your honesty, keep yourself high and motivated, take the time to rest and enjoy the journey, it’s about that, right? Stay well and healthy, and so you can have the beautiful energy to inspire all of us!

    Peace and much love, man~

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 4, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Toño sorry for the slow reply I have had a few days off sick but thanks for welcoming me back. Never be afraid my friend to speak your mind. I’m a pretty hard person to offend and I always love your honest feedback both good and bad 🙂

      It’s funny that you love the word grind cause it’s also one of my favourites….haha. Thanks for the quote too. I am a big believer in being original as much as possible and not playing the copy game. Toño you have also reminded me of a few things I had forgotten and thanks for that so much. Take care mate!

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