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Takeaways from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ for Go-Getters

“Bohemian Rhapsody” may have had the critics and fans split between its value as a film based on the musical institution that is Queen, but it’s undeniable that it strikes a powerful chord within the audience. With the movie and Rami Malek – who stars as Freddie Mercury – currently getting nominations and wins during this year’s awards season, now is the best time to talk about what value “Bohemian Rhapsody” provides to the regular moviegoer.

Like any biographical adaptation, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has its inaccuracies and considerations for drama. But the movie’s core messages about ambition, talent, trust, and success ring true whether you find yourself on a stage performing for a crowd or sealing that sales deal that will make your career.

If you’re driven, desire something so bad, and feel like you’re starting out on the biggest journey of your life, the takeaways from “Bohemian Rhapsody” below are perfect for you.

The movie quartet recording the backing vocals for Bohemian Rhapsody (Image Credits: 20th Century Fox)
The movie quartet recording the backing vocals for Bohemian Rhapsody (Image Credits: 20th Century Fox)

Your goals will define what hard work means

Before you actually start doing any kind of work, you need to clarify what it is you are working towards – a goal. Your goal will give you a better idea of where you need to invest your hard work because it gives you actionable steps with clear expectations of results.

Hard work is not an infinite pool of energy which you can draw from over and over again. Burnout is real and it happens to both the best and the worst of people in any industry and practice which is why you need to focus your energy on the activities that matter to your goals.

Like Freddy at the start of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” write your songs while waiting for the bus. Make time for what you need to study to excel. Connect with the people you need to hone and grow your craft and network to create opportunities. Each and every goal involves doing things that may not make sense in pursuit of another goal, so pursue your dreams with a realistic expectation of what you need to put into them.

You need to understand what you’re working with

Once you’ve got a goal in mind and you see the steps you need to take to get there, you can’t simply dive into it blindly. Understanding what you are capable of doing and how much self-improvement you need is just as important as knowing where you want to go.

You need to be prepared for the long journey ahead of you, not just excited. This means having the skills necessary to overcome the challenges you’ve identified or unexpectedly encounter when working towards your goal.

You’re not the only one capable of making magic happen

There’s a difference between believing in yourself – your skills and your work – and believing that no one can hold a candle to you. Talent is everywhere and its best when you’re surrounded by it with the people on your team, and even your competition.

One of the best scenes in “Bohemian Rhapsody” is when Freddie apologizes to Brian, John, and Roger about his self-absorption when he (fictionally) broke up with the band. One of the key takeaways here is his realization that it was their combined talent, personalities, and insights that made it possible for Queen to achieve their success over the years – not their individual efforts.

You will make flops

Not everyone who does everything right makes it to the top. For every Bill Gates, there’s a university drop out wanting to make it big with what he thinks is a game changer. It’s the reason why Silicon Valley has garnered a reputation for luring undergraduates from students to direct hires.

But the fact that a lot of people fail is not an excuse to stop working towards your goals – it actually gives you an opportunity to learn from others’ failures while making your own mistakes. You’ll never know if your risks will pay off or turn into flops until you do it. Like what Freddie tells Brian when they start talking about the operatic voices Freddie wanted to record for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “What have you got to lose?”

A scene where the members of Queen supposedly throw a rock through a fictional EMI execs window for not believing in Bohemian Rhapsody's success (Image Credits: 20th Century Fox)
A scene where the members of Queen supposedly throw a rock through a fictional EMI execs window for not believing in Bohemian Rhapsody’s success (Image Credits: 20th Century Fox)

You choose your hills to die on

Considering that you’ve defined your goals. That you’ve given serious thoughts about the challenges that you face. That you’ve reflected on your doubts and continue to hone your craft. This makes you, and those who choose to journey with you towards your goals, the perfect people to make your professional decisions.

When Queen defended “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Mike Myers’ fictional EMI executive, Ray Foster, they could just as easily have succumbed to his desires to make “I’m In Love with My Car” the band’s single. But the band did not capitulate, choosing to leave the record label to give their hard work the recognition it needs someplace else.

Fortune favored Queen in that despite the caustic reviews of critics during “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” release, they were vindicated by the song’s timelessness. While the exact opposite of their success could have happened, the important aspect of the situation they found themselves in with their passion for “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the fact that they made the full decision to place their bets on the song.

While success due to another person’s decision is a comfy ride, failure due to decisions you did not make, that you had no say in, or that you allowed others to make for you, is the worst kind of failure you could ever experience. So make sure you get to choose which hills you die on.

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