When the countdown ends, run. Don’t grab a bow. Don’t go for a backpack. It’s all a death trap. Just run. If you want to survive, you head for the woods, you plan, you plot, you face only what comes at you, and you gain ground one inch at a time.
That’s how Katniss Everdeen changed the game: a single battle at a time.
The powerful. The privileged. They never saw the innocuous Katniss as a threat, which proves the underdog still has an unspeakable force.
When the time came, patient-like and tempered, Katniss risked everything to go up against the biggest Goliath, aka their government, the people of Panem had ever faced, and Goliath accepted defeat.
And that’s how a revolution begins.
Are you a difference maker?
In The Hunger Games series, the concept of the powerless overcoming the powerful returns to the big screen. It’s the bully against the nerd. The princess against the wicked witch. The sheep herder against the giant.
And we love it.
The Hunger Games broke opening night records. Its sequel, Catching Fire, broke The Hunger Games’ records. And in November, when Mockingjay, the third installment, hits theaters, the crowds will, too.
What does that say about us as a culture? It says we love the underdog. In fact, it says we believe we are the underdog. And, deep down, each of us, with our braided ponytail and all, want to start a revolution. We want to leave our mark. We want the winds to shift at the point they cross our path.
We want to matter.
But, here’s the question we struggle to answer: How?
Let’s ask the underdog.
Step one: know your dream
Katniss had one objective in mind: survive for her sister. If living had only been for herself or for money or for fame, she may have given up after the second yellowjacket sting. Instead, she kept her mind focused on something bigger – the love for her sister. Every decision made, every path chosen, had to be weighed against how the choice supported that objective.
Do you have an objective? A goal in mind? A wrong you want righted? A less you want to make more?
Define it. Put it on paper. Write it on a card and stick it in your back pocket. Tape it to your mirror. Tell your friends and family that this is what you’re about. This is your ultimate goal. Make it so dominant you can’t ignore it when the obstacles arise, like Katniss who was surrounded by death at every moment. Clarification of our goal gives us guidance when we’re faced with choices.
Step two: learn your battlefield
Haymitch Abernathy drank too much of everything and talked too much about nothing. He seemed to care about little and know even less. He, however, was the only source of information Katniss had. So she hung on, weathered his issues, and put up with his temperament, all to gain insight she couldn’t get without him.
Life, at times, can be a lot like Haymitch. It’s obnoxious and smelly. It seems to always be suffering from a hangover and, only sporadically, has an endearing charm. You want it to change, to act differently, to be something else before you accept it as-is, but acceptance may be your only choice.
And once you do, you learn that life, with its disheveled appearance and detached concern, is a great teacher.
Wherever you are, even if you are far from your goal and still facing an impossible battle ahead, dig in and gather whatever knowledge you can. Haymitch might surprise you.
Step three: set your pace
Winning wasn’t going to happen within the first hour. Or first day. Katniss had to pace herself. She learned her surroundings, found a place of safety, and moved out from there. When it was time to come out of hiding, she did so with a clear objective, with knowledge of the battlefield, and with patience.
Don’t get in a hurry. Timing, they say, is everything. And “they” seem to know about these things.
Step four: go all in
There will be a time to run as hard as you can out in the open. It will come. Know that it’s coming. Prepare yourself for the areas you’ll need to defend, for the energy you’ll need to burn, and don’t look back.
Just run. Just fight. Just attack whatever obstacles are in your path.
It’s this moment that all of your preparation has been working toward. This is why you need information on the battlefield, why you observe your surroundings and conserve your energy. Starting a revolution in your life won’t come quietly. At one point, it will be time to make some noise.
Step five: rewrite the rules
Katniss changed the rules of the game because she refused to accept them. Her entire world – government, society, friends, family – had accepted that only one tribute was allowed to survive.
But she knew something they didn’t: she had no intention of accepting those rules.
If you want to make a shift, you must be willing to question conventional wisdom when that wisdom goes against what is right, good, or productive. Katniss had her goal, but it came from a larger desire. She wanted to survive for her sister, yes. But even more so, she wanted her sister safe. She wanted a world where her community was free, food wasn’t scarce, and her sister would never face the possibility of being a tribute. To achieve this, she risked everything.
But it was a calculated risk.
She knew what she was up against. She knew her villains and her obstacles. And she intentionally pushed her objective against their rules. Her strategy won. And a revolution began.
So, what about you? Do you really want a revolution? Maybe the better question is, how badly do you want it?