Powerful lessons from The Maze Runner

A scene from <i>The Maze Runner</i> - Photo credit: Filepic A scene from The Maze Runner - Photo credit: Filepic

**Warning: Spoilers ahead!!!**

A few days ago, I walked into the cinema to watch a movie I knew nothing about, The Maze Runner. Having not looked up anything about the movie as I usually would beforehand, you could say I ended up having the full clueless, adrenaline-pumping experience that Thomas did throughout the movie.

Here’s a recap of the story (spoilers ahead!): Years back, boys began appearing one by one in a bare field they’ve coined the Glade, with their memories wiped off everything but their names.

The Glade is completely surrounded by sky-high cement walls that make up a maze. Any hopes of escape depended on the maze runners, who would run the maze and map it during the day time when a doorway would mysteriously open.

They would then have to return by sundown when the doorway would mysteriously shut, or be prepared for almost-certain death by unearthly monsters that roam the maze at night.

As the movie unfolded, it told a thrilling tale of how this group of boys (and one girl) start splitting into two groups: Thomas’ group that is willing to risk their lives to leave the Glade, and Gally’s group who’d rather stay put and continue surviving as they’ve done so far.

Through its plot, The Maze Runner delivered rather powerful and progressive messages that can be applied in leadership and self-development. Here are some of them:

Growth has no room for complacency

Thomas believes that they can’t stay put in the Glade forever, while Gally believes that they should to survive.

While your comfort zone may lull you with a false sense of security, you are not going to progress or go anywhere if you refuse to challenge yourself to make certain changes.

There will be an occasion in your career where you’ll have to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk. It may be in the form of a new job role, a leadership opportunity, or a new marketing technique. Don’t be afraid to do so. If you fail, look at it as another valuable learning opportunity.

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Conviction is needed in decision-making

Thomas made a last-minute, brash decision to throw himself into the maze to save Minho and Alby. Facing the possibility of death, Thomas did not once regret his decision, nor did he look back at the wall, and from then on continued to make other challenging decisions right up to the end.

In life and in work, there are times when you’ll have to make tough decisions and stick with it. That decision might lead you to more challenging situations, but what is important is that you keep to it. Don’t look back and wish otherwise – it will only be counterintuitive to your situation, and stray your focus from dealing with the now.

Past outcomes don’t predict future ones

No one who spent a night in the maze survived – until Thomas came into the picture. He not only survived the night, but managed to defeat one of the Grievers hunting him down.

While you may have been told that doing things a certain way would lead you to failure, don’t always accept others’ word for it. Depending on the situation, things aren’t always black and white and there could be an exception to the rule. Your job is to find that exception and work it to your advantage.

Curiousity doesn’t necessarily kill the cat

When Thomas first appeared in the Glade, he was immensely curious about everything that was going on around him. He would be full of rookie questions, much to his peers’ annoyance.

But this questioning had a purpose, for Thomas was able to gather information on what strategies have been tried before, what lessons were learnt from the past, and what he should avoid doing in the future. It allowed him to make more informed decisions as he led the group towards their escape from the Glade.

To move forward, you should constantly be curious. Ask all sorts of questions, even if it may seem dumb – you never know what you’ll find out till you ask. In doing this, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions which cut your risks down significantly and let you lead with more confidence. So, ask away.


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