The Inside Out of the Win Within

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Inside Out, the most recent film in the Disney/Pixar line-up debuted this summer and as is often the case with box-office hits from this franchise – has resonated strongly with adults as well as the younger audiences we often think such films are intended for. The reasons for this are many but each of them interestingly enough, have a lot in common with how we utilize our emotions to discover, capture and use The Win Within.

Without spoiling the movie for those who haven't yet seen it, Inside Out invites us inside the workings of an 11-year-old girl's brain, endeavoring to show how her emotions help her navigate a particularly difficult time in her young life – her family's move from the Midwest to San Francisco. These emotions are the stars of the film: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. At first glance, we assume that this is the story of one prevailingly "positive" emotion – Joy and her attempt to overcome the seemingly negative Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. What we learn however, is that nothing could be further from the truth. The predominant theme throughout the movie, especially as it relates to Sadness, is that ALL of our emotions serve an important, vital even, purpose in shaping our lives, our choices and our relationships with others and the world around us.

This notion that each of our emotions serves an important purpose got me thinking about The Win Within and how difficult it can be for some people to find it while others seem to have always been able to tap into it – at will. So many examples of emotional responses to life situations spring to mind as I make these comparisons – in myself, in the athletes I've treated and the many fascinating people I encounter in day-to-day life. And you know what the common denominator is? When it comes to emotions – all are welcome.

I can think of countless examples of situations where people faced their deepest fears to emerge Victorious. Of situations when anger and disgust fueled great change in the course of someone's life direction. Or times when sadness helped people connect with one another to triumph in unimagined ways. And yes, Joy is there too – at the finish line, the goal line, during touchdowns and homeruns. Perhaps that triumphant Joy, that Win Within is so sweet for so many because we welcome it with a subconscious understanding and respect for the other emotions that helped us get there. Inside and Out – we are all in it together.

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