Have you noticed this in Ridley Scott's Gladiator?

. 2 min read

So I watched Ridley Scott's Gladiator. For the first time. Yeah, I know! The movie's been out for eighteen years and I'm only watching it now?!

I'm usually quite on top of old movies (I absolutely love Dr. Strangelove for example), and even movies from the 90's (The Shawshank Redemption is my all time favourite movie), but millennium movies? I seem to have skipped them altogether.

That is until last Saturday, when after a long and disciplined week I indulged in keto treats (like I said I would) and decided to watch a movie to go with it. So I decided to give Scott's alleged masterpiece a shot.

While loving the intro scene with Maximus feeling the crops with his palm and disliking the fact that Hans Zimmer used part of the score unaltered for Pirates of the Caribbean movies later, I couldn't help but notice two things:

  1. The plot is absolutely flawless, and
  2. Maximus rubs soil into his hands every time before battle.

Which got me thinking - crouching down and rubbing dirt into his hands has to have some sort of significance for Maximus, since he does it so many times in the movie. Perhaps it's a psychological significance. Perhaps it's what allows him to win every battle. Perhaps it's the way he triggers his brain into victorious battle mood.

Whatever it is, it obviously works.

So my guess is that Maximus has conditioned his mind into thinking that if (and only if) he rubs dirt into his hands before battle, he will be unstoppable against the enemy. That's why he does it every time. It's as if a switch is turned in his mind from regular setting to victorious battle setting. And rubbing the dirt is the switch.

So what's your switch? You may not be a gladiator, forced to fight to the death every day, but you have other tasks that require you to be at your peak state. If you're a student, you have exams. If you're a soldier, you have missions. If you're a CEO, you have speeches. If you're a surgeon, you have operations.

All of these require a state of mind similar to that of Maximus - the knowledge that you're at your best and that nothing can stop you from performing perfectly.

So if you don't have a pre-battle ritual yet, develop one, and start doing it every time before an important task. Actively think of the ritual as something that allows you to be unstoppable and to operate at the highest level.

It will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.