Hacksaw Ridge: A Testament To The Power Of Intentional Living

This is one of those movies that present something so amazing that it’s difficult to believe it was based on historical events.

Yes, there is some art in how the story is told but that doesn’t change the core facts of the movie.

Before I begin, I’d like set aside the religious context of the movie and simply focus on the actions of Desmond T. Doss.

Here are the facts I noted the most:

  • He consciously chose to serve in the army while staying true to his beliefs.
  • He stayed committed to expressing his purpose regardless of the consequences and what anyone else thought.
  • He saved over 70 individuals overnight.
  • Everyone around him thought he was crazy and a coward.

Allow my to share how I connect these facts to leadership and personal development.

This Is A YES-AND Universe

I have imagined myself going to fight in a war to defend my country or freedom. But let me tell, I never thought about not taking a weapon even though I’m a catholic that consider killing a sin.

Yet, that’s exactly what Desmond chose to do and did.

He chose to pursue his purpose as a medic, fulfill his duty to serve in the military, and also stay committed to his beliefs. Against all odds, everything worked out.

When I place myself in that position, I think I would have been able to avoid killing unless it was absolutely necessary but I would have definitely carried a weapon and trained for combat.

My point is that it is very common for me to think of the universe as an EITHER-OR world.

  • I either become a millionaire or be a good person.
  • I either do keep my job or do what’s right.
  • I either have a beach body or eat whatever I want.
  • I either pursue my dreams or make money.

What I’m learning and experience today is the contrary to what I believed. In many ways,

  • I can be a millionaire and keep my humility and willingness to help others.
  • I can keep my job and do the right thing.
  • I can have a beach body and strategically eat whatever I want.
  • I can pursue my dreams and make money doing what I love.

This has happened and it is happening to me. I can see it. I feel it. I am achieving it.

Which leads me to the second point.

The Journey Is Always Uphill

My friend John Maxwell likes to say, “Everything worthwhile in life is uphill.

Here are a few of the things Desmond had to deal with.

  • He was considered a coward.
  • He was mistreated and disdained by almost everyone in his infantry.
  • He was insulted and bullied frequently.
  • He was taken to court by his commanding officers.

What’s most impressive about it all, is that Desmond never held a grudge against any of them. Would you be able to do the same? I think I would have given up or fought back.

How high of a price are you willing to pay for living with purpose?

Ultimately, it took years for Desmond to show the world what he was made of. Against all opposition, Desmond kept moving towards his dream and succeeded.

It’s About Taking One Step At A Time Towards A Singular Destination

If you think running behind enemy lines to rescue a wounded soldier, carry him/her back to the edge of the cliff, and winch him/her down 30 feet is a daunting task; think about doing it 70 more times for 12 hours?

This feat exhibits the power of the human body and, also, the power of staying focused on one goal while taking one step at a time.

…please help me get one more.. is the only line I remember from the movie and the one that impacted me the most.

Here’s an individual in the middle of extreme chaos, danger, and opposition; and all he can think about is his purposeful goal and the next step to get him there.

When i bring this picture back to my life, there’s a clear contrast.

  • I let opposition get the best of my emotions.
  • The chaos of my surroundings distracts me from the goal.
  • I let the need to know every step stop me from taking action.

All that worrying ends with a big dream turned into wishful thinking

Let us allow Desmond’s action serve as an example that…



What are you ready to do to leave your mark in the world?


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