I had the pleasure of being host to my best pal and his family over the Labor Day weekend and along with discussing our latest short story and late-night tennis (if I won I would mention it, but not mentioning it so...) we watched a classic trio of films starring the late-great Robin Williams beginning with Good Morning, Vietnam and finishing with Good Will Hunting. We filled the middle with the 1989 film, Dead Poet's Society.
In the scene above, Mr. Keating is writing a quote from W.W. (no, not Walter White, but rather Walt Whitman). The quote is as follows: "I sound my barbaric YAWP over the rooftops of the world." Here, the inspirational, free-thinking and anti-conformist (hmmm...something to be said about that) is attempting to extract something vital, something so important, it literally is life-altering. And with every life-altering moment we become closer to a world that puts us at ease and inspires true and unique ideas causing cataclysmic change not only within ourselves, but in our social circles and families and it spreads like a contagious disease. But it's not a disease. It's a blessing, mirroring the Grace of the Almighty. How does this happen? Simple. We let our YAWP knock down our walls - the barriers that have us on a tether - and prevent us from prevailing and acheiving our life altering moment.
So what is it the Mr. Keating is trying to remove from his student, Todd? In a nutshell? Self-confidence. Todd is introverted. Full of inhibitions. So much so, he abhors talking in front of people. Todd couldn't even muster up enough confidence to finish his poem. But is Todd really lacking in self-confidence? Yes. Is Todd really an introvert? No. He has walls so high and wide that even thought of trying overlook them or climb over them conjures up so much self-doubt he soaks himself in a shower of skepticism. He is simply playing the part of an introvert...not able to realize, it's not his part to play. Todd's skepticism of himself is what builds the walls higher and wider every time an opportunity arises that could very well begin to bring down the wall. Todd needs a YAWP!
Mr.Keating sees this wall and knows that he can't tear down barriers of his students, but rather inspire them to realize they can do themselves. Todd's first couple YAWPs are pathetic and weak. But his teacher sees more in him and before you know it, Todd shouts out his YAWP and what once was inconceivable to Todd is know happening right in front him. Bricks begin to crumble. The wall begins to fall and we find Todd spouting off a descriptive poem off the top of his head while Mr. Keating covers his eyes. Because the truth of the matter is, not only does our YAWP bring down the walls, but there's always someone there along with us. They are not physically helping to knock down the bricks, but they (or He) is there evoking the right mind-set (and heart-set) within you so you can knock down those barriers on your own.
Todd's YAWP was a life-altering moment. If it wasn't for his shout from the rooftops of the world, Todd would never have spoken up for his teacher against the school's administration. He also wouldn't have had the courage to start the most dramatic scene in the film when standing up on his desk, stripping away every last ounce of inhibitions, and calling out, "Oh, Captain, My Captain!"
What is it that your YAWP will do for you? What walls have you been building that are preventing you from your life-altering moment? The world is need of dreams fulfilled. Your walls do one thing and that's hold you back. Your YAWP, your barbaric YAWP, needs to be heard. A true YAWP is shouted from the rooftops of the world. If upon the roof you stand, many will hear, some will listen and few may do, but it just takes a spark. It takes one to inspire many. I encourage you to reach deep down within you and shout out -YAWP at the top of your lungs - and fulfill that life-altering moment. If it's life-altering, it's empowered by the Hands of God. So what are you waiting for?
And as always, please share. I want to hear about your walls and the moment that's hiding behind them.
Dream Out Loud,