The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 20

Failure and Opportunity

It’s like I always tell ya kid, you gotta fight when you think it’s the right thing to do. Otherwise, you feel like your gut’s full of puss. Even if you get the Hell beat outta ya, if ya fight, you feel ok about it.

John Wilson | White Hunter, Black Heart

Failure is an opportunity.
If you blame someone else,
There is no end to the blame.

Therefore the Master
Fulfills her own obligations
And corrects her own mistakes.
She does what she needs to do
And demands nothing of others.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 79

“Failure is an opportunity.” An opportunity to look inside yourself for the reason you lost. It is a chance for self-examination.

You will never be moved to improve by making excuses and finding cause to your shortfalls on the outside. The better person always uses a failure as a way to find the Way.

In White Hunter, Black Heart, the eccentric artist and film maker, Mr. Wilson, is mired in debt and half fulfilled obligations. Yet he never hesitates. He is aware that the pressure to finish his movie is all on him and seems to rather like it that way.

When he finally completes what he has set out to do, it is either an epic loss or a magnificent triumph. Wilson finds wisdom in both.

Like Bronco Billy, there is a lot of Clint Eastwood to be found in the John Wilson character (though he was in reality based on the famous director/actor John Huston). Eastwood doesn’t play it straight like Bronco Billy, but Wilson has that same cool, plain- talking attitude as Eastwood. The competent, compassionate detachment that is relatable to Lao Tzu’s often referenced “Master”.