What the film “Kill Bill” teaches us about goal setting and change

What the film “Kill Bill” teaches us about goal setting and change

A quick note: If you are a regular reader to my blog, you may know I believe the arts have the ability to awaken, inspire, and unlock qualities within us in a way no text book (or in this case post) ever can.  Today I’ll be talking about one of my favorite films, Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 revenge/samurai/spaghetti western film Kill Bill.  If you haven’t had a chance to see the picture yet, be warned I will be examining the film, in other words SPOILER ALERT.  Further be warned: the film (particularly volume one) is known to be extremely violent and bloody.  If you are sensitive to such imagery, you may want to consider skipping this post entirely.  If you are familiar with the film, please note I consider volume one and volume two as one movie and will address it as such.

To say life can be unpredictable is an understatement.  The unexpected can happen and often does, hopefully not in the same fashion as the opening scene of the film Kill Bill, as shown above nevertheless we can learn how to readjust and re-purpose ourselves after being thrown off course.

1. Recover 

When the unexpected happens and one finds them self thrown off course, its essential the issue its identified so we can move on. In the film, after waking from a four and a half year long coma the main character, referred to only as the Bride at this point in our story, has one thing on her mind: revenge.  Before she could even start to plan her mission, she needed to literally learn how to walk again.  Years in a hospital bed left her legs and feet in a stage of atrophy.  In a matter of hours she uses pure will power to correct what months of physical therapy would correct.

2. Focus on new goals and create an action plan


In the film, Uma Thurman’s character created the “death list five”, a list of the names of her former gang members and their nicknames.  This is The Bride’s action plan, who does she have to go through to reach her goal of revenge on her would be assailants.  The death list dictated her actions as she moved closer and closer to her ultimate goal.  Your action plan should do the same, keep you on course and focused on your goals.

3.  Share your goals with others, the right people will help you

Whenever I decide to adopt a new goal, once my action plan is polished to be clear and concise (including dates I want to hit my targets) I share it online using social media.  Friends and associates not only give me tremendous support, which helps hold myself accountable, but they also offer assistance. For example, in January of 2013 I wrote my first fleshed out action plan and shared it with my friends and family.  I had three goals 1.) lose weight, 2.) get in a good romantic relationship 3.) pay down credit card debt. Almost immediately I had words and text messages of encouragement from my Facebook friends and a few private messages for workout sessions.  I also had a few messages from friends and families asking if they would like to meet one of their single friends. Its amazing how many people want to help you when you let it be known you need help.

One of my favorite scenes in volume one of Kill Bill is when The Bride convinces the retired swordsman, Hatturo Hanzo (played by Sonny Chiba) to craft a sword for her to use.  Hanzo swords are known for being the finest quality of weapons available but Hanzo, known as the man from Okinawa, had swore he would never make another weapon.  When he heard The Bride’s goals and saw her dedication to the outcome,he had a change of heart and agreed to craft a blade for her.  People are want to help driven people on the way to their goals, in a way they can share in your struggle and your success.

4.  When obstacles come, you must overcome

Hiccups are going to happen.  It’s inevitable.  But if you remain focused on your goals they’ll be more like speed bumps than barricades.  In volume 2 one of The Bride’s targets, Bud (played by Michael Madsen) manages to get the drop on her and bury her alive.  Little did he know, he’s not going to let a little thing like being bound and trapped in a pine coffin under six feet of dirt stop her from getting to Bill. She’s able to overcome this seemingly impossible situation by recounting her training and putting those lessons into action.

5.  Don’t let surprises get you off track 

The ultimate twist in the film comes towards the end when Uma’s character, now known to be Beatrice Kiddo, enter’s Bill’s villa for the final confrontation only to be shocked when she learns her daughter is still alive and has been raised by Bill.  In that moment when she sees her baby girl, whom she thought she had lost in the womb during the massacre at the beginning of the film, her demeanor changes from a revenge driven women to a caring and loving mother. She does not keep this from her goal, she does not allow herself to grow complacent.  On your way to reaching your goal you will hit bouts of success, which are great.  Don’t let these little victories become plateaus you hang your hat on, keep going going.

Malagueña Salerosa

Hopefully your goals don’t involve bloody gory revenge or a gang of assassins but I hope some of the tips I’ve shed some light on get you closer to accomplishing your goals.  Speaking of which, what are some of your goals?  Are their films you feel you can drawn an allegory from?

Philip A. Maenza aka “Philtastic Phil” is an internet entrepreneur and consumer behavior professional whose interests include art, film, music, stand up comedy, fitness, and comic books. Phil is also a dedicated community volunteer and always open to connecting with like minded optimists.  Now that you’ve read all of this, its time to wiggle your pinky toe. 

1 thought on “What the film “Kill Bill” teaches us about goal setting and change

  1. Hi Phil! Great post relating and pulling comparisons from a classic Tarantino film! I totally get it, thanks! I appreciate you being so relatable and sharing golden nuggets of wisdom.

    I also like your new blog look and feel man!



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