Three Invaluable Lessons From Caine’s Arcade

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OK – I’ll admit it. I nearly cried multiple times while watching the short film Caine’s Arcade. I’m a sucker for the beauty of pure, passionate pursuit. I’m especially prone to leap for joy when I see someone unexpectedly rewarded for their effort. I love a good underdog story.

All of that said, I think that this short film is much more than just a feel-good story. I pulled at least three solid, valuable lessons from this film that I plan to immediately apply to my work.

1. Boredom is more of a statement about the person than the situation. “Hey Caine…want to come spend the summer with me in the back of my barely-trafficked auto parts store?” For most kids this would be summer vacation equivalent of the kiss of death. There was no gaming system. No swimming pool. No television. A perfect excuse for “I’m booooooorrrred.”

But NO. Caine looked around and saw opportunity. Everywhere. Cardboard boxes, packing tape, gadgets and doo-dads. He chose not to be bored. It’s totally a state of mind.

My lesson: If I am bored with my work it is my problem, not the work’s. It is my responsibility to stay interested and forward-looking. Stop whining. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

2. Keep working while the world ignores you. How long was it before Caine had customer #1? How many entrepreneurs or artists would have given up by then, or stopped working at their craft and improving their skills? Caine approached his arcade with craftsmanship and fervor, and that’s what I aspire to do too.

My lesson: Attention is a secondary luxury to the artist focused on craft. It may come, and it may not, but devotion to craft is the one thing I can control.

3. Your craft will cost you something. Did you notice the prizes in the arcade? Caine’s own toys. His vision for his arcade required (demanded!) that he use all of his resources to make it work, and this meant forfeiting his own stuff for the sake of his vision.

My lesson: Ask frequently and answer honestly “am I really putting all of myself into this?” I need to make sure I’m fully backing that which I’m asking others to believe in.

These are just a few things I pulled from this gem of a film. What lesson would you add? Please let us know in the comments.

* This article originally appeared on ToddHenry.com.

Todd Henry

Todd Henry

Positioning himself as an “arms dealer for the creative revolution”, Todd Henry teaches leaders and organizations how to establish practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of five books (The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Louder Than Words, Herding Tigers, The Motivation Code) which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he speaks and consults across dozens of industries on creativity, leadership, and passion for work.

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