A friend and I were wandering down memory lane and she started talking about how she had looooved the show McGyver (starring Richard Dean Anderson). I had only seen the show once or twice, so although I knew the concept I wasn’t all that sure why it had been such a big hit with her or all the other viewers.
She told me it was the cleverness of the character, how he always found a way to overcome a bad situation. That no matter what, he could use his roll of duct tape, his Swiss Army knife, and a few other odds and ends that he would find (such as a ball point pen, a tube of toothpaste, or the excrement from a bug) and create some fantastic yet believable method of escape. On top of that, she said, he was cute.
Over the past few weeks, I found my thoughts wandering back to what she had said and I realized I was rather intrigued. There had to be more to it then just the tricks and the fact that he was cute. Millions of people around the world had loved the show enough to keep it on the air for seven years. In fact, it had been so popular that it had even sparked a new dictionary term: the McGyverism — a novel solution to a difficult problem usually involving common household items used in unique ways. (How many TV shows can claim that?)
I spent the next few months working McGyver into conversations, trying to see what other people remembered about the show and about their reasons for watching it. In talking to some folks, I found that even their kids loved watching the show, which is now shown on the Sleuth channel on cable. They, like their parents, found the “never say never” spirit of the character endearing and inspiring.
That was it, I realized…that spirit. It was that unflagging spirit, that consistent message of hope that the main character always projected that people loved. This was a guy that no matter how dire the circumstances, no matter how badly injured (physically, mentally, or emotionally), he never gave up his hope. And this wasn’t the wishy-washy type of hope that “Gee, maybe someone will come along and rescue us.” This was the true meaning of hope, which is the confident expectation of completing or fulfilling a wish or desire.
In other words, self-confidence. McGyver was filled with self-confidence and he expressed it in each episode as an overarching feeling of hope. When others around him were feeling defeated, he’d always have that hope. But while that’s a big part of it, there was more. He also had the ability to look outside the usual boundaries. We all place boundaries on ourselves, but was able to look beyond those boundaries and see opportunities. He was able to see other uses for common things. Granted, in his reality he was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge (mechanic, engineer, chemist), which few of us are, but how often are we going to be caught in a life and death situation (certainly not once a week like him;-).
Yet, we could all take a page from McGyver’s book and learn to cultivate that hope, that well of self-confidence, which could help us view our own lives from a different and unique perspective. Take a look at your life: is it really a problem with the boss or is it an opportunity to change the way you relate to each other? Are there medical issues that you just don’t know how to cope with? Maybe it’s a chance to learn more about your own condition so that you can focus the direction of your own treatment instead of relying on others.
Most of us look at the pitfalls of our lives and we stop. We feel as if we’re facing a canyon or a wall as huge as the Great Wall of China. But we need to be more like McGyver. We need to learn to have hope. We then need to use that hope, that self-confidence, to find other options. Remind yourself daily, that you can do this–after all, you have more than just a roll of duct tape and a Swiss Army knife, you have hope.