The Princess Bride Guide to Never Giving Up. ~ Eka Joti

Via Eka Joti
on Jul 20, 2012
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If you’re like me (and I’m willing to bet a few of you are), The Princess Bride has been a movie that’s captured your imagination over and over again throughout the years.

There are so many reasons that the film is awesome—but as I watched it again the other day (just ‘cuz), I realized the thing that has grabbed me most in the story is the ability to stay focused and fully committed to a purpose…even against overwhelming odds.

I watched, point-for-point, how Westley, the main character, won back his true love and I became intensely inspired to share just what principles he followed to arrive at his ultimate victory—overcoming all evil to win true love.

So, come with me to sail the high seas, brave the fire-swamp, come back from the (mostly) dead and ultimately overcome all obstacles to win your destiny!

Courtesy of Ashleigh Michelle

1. As you wish…

The first lesson the young farm boy imparts on us is this: believe in something bigger than yourself.

The young Westley believes in true love. How do we know he does not simply lust after Buttercup as many a young man would?

Because he is content to simply serve her and make her life sweeter through his service—whether she knows it or not.

When we believe in something bigger than just our immediate personal needs and desires, our whole life takes on a unified purpose. As you wish was Westley’s way of saying yes—again and again—to that in which he believed. For him, it was true love.

The first step for you is exploring what it is you could truly commit your whole self to; something that inspires and compels you to grow beyond your current size…and serve with your whole heart.

Truly, all great lives through history were motivated by their own great why; their great purpose.

So, what’s yours?

Courtesy of Segomichoco

2. This is true love. You think this happens every day?

The second lesson we receive from Westley is a natural development from the first: find a simple focus for your big purpose.

It’s all well and good to believe in true love but as humans occupying physical bodies we work best when we have a simple and tangible focus anchoring our lofty purpose. For Westley, the embodiment of his big purpose was the sweet Buttercup.

Here is another example: I believe in empowerment; that we are powerful beyond belief and truly capable of consciously creating a life and world that is deeply fulfilling and abundant.

This belief inspires and compels me—but I get out of bed each morning because I have a clear sense of practical actions that I am going to take—today—to actualize that belief. Maintaining the League of Awesomeness is a big part of that practical focus.

I have seen many people get stuck after finding their big purpose, because they don’t know how to channel it into a clear and manageable goal. It is worth it to find simple, immediate and doable tasks to feel that—even today—you are making good on your life purpose.

So, epic adventurer, this is your next exploration: what is the simple focus that will anchor and guide your destiny?

Courtesy of Ghostely

3. No one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley.

After a seemingly cruel twist of fate at the start of the movie, Westley returns to regain his true love Buttercup.

But, he is not the same Westley as when he left. He has taken on a new identity: the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Not only that but during his time away, he leveled up every attribute of himself: sailing, sword fighting, charisma and leadership, poison immunity…even his lip-stache!

In this way, Westley demonstrates the third lesson in attaining our destiny: let your purpose transform you.

There is an old saying: as we build the road, so the road builds us. As we commit ourselves to a purpose, inevitably we are changed in the process. This is another way of appreciating the observer effect in physics, which says that ‘the act of observation will affect the phenomenon being observed’.

It’s just the other way around: by observing some phenomenon, we are changed. Simply put, don’t be attached to the current version of yourself

Be ready to change as your walk your path. Each challenge, each victory, each defeat will transform and refine you. Often this means letting go of your old stories to make room for new ones. And when you are coming from a place of higher purpose and clear goals, this transformation is a very good thing.

Ultimately, you will become the sharpened sword necessary to pierce through to your destiny, just as Westley had to become the Dread Pirate Roberts to overcome the obstacles between himself and his true love.

Given your destiny and focused purpose, how are you transforming to become what you must be?

Courtesy of Gwendolaine

4. No man in a century will suffer as greatly as you will.

We can’t get around it. The more we step into our destiny, the more life will challenge us—this can be seen as the symbolic whet stone for the sharpening our knife.

It is a very necessary process but that doesn’t mean it’s not challenging as hell sometimes—not to mention overwhelming.

Enter the cliffs of insanity and the pit of despair.

The cliffs and the pit are symbols of the ultimate challenge and suffering, respectively, in the movie. They teach us a great lesson about commitment to high purpose: you must be willing to endure great hardship to achieve your destiny.

It doesn’t mean that the universe is sadistic, as is Count Rugen. Rather, our commitment to something bigger than ourselves necessitates that we also become bigger than ourselves along the way—and one of the most powerful ways to do that is to have our perceived limitations tested, again and again (and again).

We must prove our skill, our strength and our wit—even when it involves Sicilians. We must face our personally tailored flame spurts, lightening sands, and R.O.U.S’s (although personally, I don’t think they exist.)

Such challenges will shake us to our very core; they will strip us down…and build us back up. This is why believing in something bigger than yourself is so important—it creates the inner strength necessary to face overwhelming challenges.

How will you face the hardships that stand between you and your destiny?

5. Your brains, Fezzik’s strength, my steel.

One of the best answers to the question above is to league up with other awesome adventurers.

Westley would not have come close to succeeding if not for Inigo and Fezzik. And remember, he only had their help because he chose not to kill them when he had the chance.

Why? Because he respected their sense of morality and justice.

Courtesy of devination

Success studies, as well as the biographies of the truly fulfilled, reveal a trend: successful people do not lock themselves away in ivory towers—but rather intentionally surround themselves with noble companions that hold complementary values and purposes. Collaborators, masterminds, work-out buddies. These relationships help you to see more clearly, act more boldly and stay on course when the shrieking eels show up.

Who are the people in your life that you can begin to create more empowering relationships with? 

And if you don’t currently have any, how and where can you begin to find such worthy companions?

This one left them all behind.

Remember, when you decide to do something, to really see it through fully, you embark on an adventure that will fundamentally change you. You will be tested in many ways, in preparation to receive the fruits of your efforts. And, your story will feel like the greatest ever told, as you are its protagonist.

Courtesy of Ashleigh Michelle

Let’s review once more the life lessons the courageous Westley displayed on his quest to win true love:

1. Believe in something bigger than yourself.
2. Find a simple focus for your big purpose.
3. Let your purpose transform you.
4. Be willing to endure great hardship.
5. League up with other awesome adventurers.

Though we can glean much wisdom from this movie, it is also important to remember that your quest is not a once-and-done Hollywood affair; it happens again and again, in large and small ways, ever evolving as you do.

Get ready to begin, once again, your neverending story (ha!).

In unmasked awesomeness,

Eka aka SuperSpark

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

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About Eka Joti

Eka Joti is a modern-day superhero-in-training, on a mission to provide epic content and heroic community for other real-life superheroes seeking to level up their wellness, fulfillment, performance and leadership superpowers. He runs the League of Awesomeness, the East Bay Superhero Bootcamp, and offers private coaching work through The Hero’s Training. His developmental influences include Buddha, Yoda, Napoleon Hill, Gandalf, Patanjali, Totoro, Ramana Maharshi, Masanobu Fukuoka and Link (for the last time, his name is not Zelda).

Check out his offerings at The League of Awesomeness or on Facebook.


27 Responses to “The Princess Bride Guide to Never Giving Up. ~ Eka Joti”

  1. […] as I watched it again the other day (just ‘cuz), I realized the thing that grabbed […] Source RELATED NEWSCouple Plans Unusual Honeymoon Taking Strangers to Breakfast Across AmericaCurtseygate […]

  2. Snowflake says:

    I so enjoyed and needed this timely inspiration!

  3. […] Neediness is part of the hero’s journey. […]

  4. Lori says:

    Dear Eka,

    I will admit from the onset, this comment is hard for me to make, because I really, really, appreciate your points here, and the video moments were spot on!

    Nevertheless, I feel compelled to address one idea here that I have actually addressed many, many, times before with men and young men I have come into contact with over the course of my probably now about half lived life: Never make a relationship with a woman the Focus of Your Life Purpose.

    I appreciate the distinction you make between the idea of "True Love" being Westley's goal, and Buttercup being the "focus" of that goal…but, No Human Being should be so Objectified. Buttercup is Not and object to be possessed. She is a Human Being with a consciousness and a will of her own, a "moving target", if you will. What if the story of a person's life in relationship to such a one does NOT follow the "script"…? Then what?

    From my point of view, men and women DO need to figure out their Life Purpose, as an Individuals, first and foremost. And they DO need to have tangible goals towards which they strive in all the ways you describe here. But, achieving that Life Purpose should NOT depend on the life and choices of another human being. When that becomes the case, they actually Give Up Their Power, Their "Fate" to that person.

    I, for one, do not want that power over anyone. Consequently, I do not want any man to make me the "focus of his life purpose." That is far, far, too great a burden for me to bear.

    However, to the degree a man Is On Purpose with his life, and I can bring my own life into alignment with his, my own life purpose into alignment with his, and he welcomes the company, then I'm there. Simple as that. : )

    I've done quite a bit of writing on the topic of love and relationships here: I would encourage you to take a look sometime, and I whole heartedly welcome your feedback.



  5. Eka says:

    Thank you Bob. Means a lot =)

  6. Eka says:

    Yay! I'm happy this has contributed some support in a real and meaningful way. That's always my goal =)

  7. Eka says:

    Hey Lori.

    Thanks for your appreciations, and for your thoughts and hard-won wisdoms. Since you have spoken transparently, and for the good of all here, I want to offer the same transparency.

    I understand this article touches a point in you that is very important. My first response is honestly that I assume my readers are intelligent and discerning, and can understand that the article is a deeper read of the symbols and archetypes touched on by this film. Ultimately, this is a Hollywood film, with a beginning and end, and a pretty one-dimensional plot. As discerning humans, we must read wise dimensionality into it.

    My second response is this: the stark truth is that all human beings are objectifying other human beings. That's what the linear mind attempts all day long- making objects out of the infinite. We both know we are beyond any labels we or others could put on us. But when we take up a purpose, we better believe we are objectifying *something*, and often that involves other people.

    Instead of saying 'never objectify a woman', I would suggest approaches that acknowledge this will inevitably happen, and how to dance gracefully with that. Though I agree with the point made, the way it's made feels naive- assuming the mind will not do this. This is why I am drawn to modalities that both acknowledge this level of objectifying, and use it skillfully to get beyond it.

    I agree that Buttercup is a moving target; but no more so than any other aspect of dynamic experience. Our purposes, no matter how noble and enlightened, are in constant conversation with the moving targets that surround us. Again, I am not disagreeing with the point you raise, but do disagree with hyper-focusing on the 'woman as an object' part.

    My intuition is that ultimately, you got my point. You understood from the first read-through what I was trying to say. And then, you found a hole in the absoluteness of the article. Believe me Lori, I can find more than one hole =)

    If I had to hand-hold each reader through each point raised, this article would never be finished, and would lose it's concentrated potency. I must believe in the awake intelligence of the people reading this, and in their ability to apply it appropriately to their lives.

    But given that you have raised this point, and given that it touches on something very true about healthy approaches to living on purpose, I offer this note to all readers:

    The world is not a place of objects, but of infinite potentials. Do not be tricked by your mind when it puts labels and values on things, be it yourself, another person or anything else. Your life purpose will not arise from these labels and values, nor will your real fulfillment, but rather through a raw and intimate experiencing of the world as immeasurable and ungraspable. The true inner power to never giving up will arise from your plugging in, again and again, to this raw and mysterious source of aliveness and awareness that is at your core. Oh, and make sure to add a lot of humor and play to the whole thing, otherwise, it might get a little too serious =)

  8. Eka says:

    Oh, and as far as useable wisdom that both acknowledges this truth of objectification *and* helps us to get beyond it, I feel this is the most powerful statement you make:

    'However, to the degree a man Is On Purpose with his life, and I can bring my own life into alignment with his, my own life purpose into alignment with his, and he welcomes the company, then I'm there. Simple as that. : )'

    I have also found this to be a sane and fun approach =)

  9. elephantjournal says:

    Brilliant video. Love this. You should share this up on Reddit or sumpin!

  10. Eka,

    I love the energy of your article and your focus on following something that is mysterious and immutable. I especially felt comforted by the section on traversing hardships along the way to transformation. There are several parts of my purpose that I have been intentionally pursuing for the past twelve years and each obstacle (and there have been many) has deepened my understanding of myself and my commitment to my purpose while also at times, made me question the purpose altogether. It's a dance, one that I feel grateful to have chosen, and I appreciate so much your take on the process!

    Warmest wishes,

    Sarah Shellow

  11. Eka says:

    Hmmm….. that is definitely a new horizon for me. I've been a reddit lurker for the last few months. Maybe it's time! THanks for the invitation ele!

  12. Eka says:

    Oh, and as far as useable wisdom that both acknowledges this truth of objectification *and* helps us to get beyond it, I feel this is the most powerful statement you make:

  13. Eka says:

    I see and respect your journey of fierce grace- aho! I believe many of us are doing very intense 'house cleaning' in a very short amount of time- and this can sometimes be near-maddening.

    I am glad you resonated with that particular part- my own journey has had a lot of suffering in it, and indeed the inner gift of the suffering is the deepening of understanding of self and personal purpose.

    Hazrat Inayat Khan (a Sufi master) was known to say 'shatter your ideals on the rock of truth'. I love him for this; no matter what you think you are or your purpose is, rip it open, put it in the fire, smash it on the ground… the *true* in it will survive, while the unnecessary will fall away. Not an easy task for certain, but one that is real and alive and meaningful.

    I am grateful to elephant and to this technology that enables us kindred adventurers to find each other =)

  14. Eka says:

    derp. error post…

  15. Mika says:

    Hey Eka! I was thoroughly enjoying this article and was pleasantly surprised that YOU wrote this article:) This is one of my favorite movies and I loved how you connected it to the trials and tribulation of life and perseverance.

  16. Lori says:

    Hi, Eka.

    Kind of funny…I am writing to you now from a Peace Leadership Workshop I am attending in Santa Barbara, CA. The instructor for the workshop is Paul K. Chappell ( We have had some pretty intensive training on how "tone of voice" has so much to do with the impact of what we communicate…unfortunately, that is something that is not so easy to perceive via the Internet and written communication.

    Before I go on though, I will also add, from Duke University Rhetoric professor, George Gopen: Any unit of discourse can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways! : ))

    For the record, I, too, appreciate the need for humor…and if I came across sounding like an "angry feminist" with my emphasis on Buttercup not being objectified, I apologize…I am Not that, not by a long shot! : ) Furthermore, if you look closely, I actually stated that No Human Being should be so objectified…not just women.

    I will accept your commentary with regards to objectification being an ongoing habit, with respect to everything, including animate beings, and that we would do well to simply be aware and try to mediate the effects as much as possible.

    I hope you will consider reading my blogs as I suggested above, as they may give more context to my earlier communication. It really is the whole "romantic myth of love" that I am challenging, and my blog posts are fairly explicit as to why and, yes, I'm pretty passionate about raising consciousness in this area. I will also apologize again if the way I communicated here in writing came across as a bit to adamant about that. : )

    Respectfully and Peacefully Yours,


  17. Eka says:

    haha! Awesome. Synchronicity through following passion, FTW!

    I have another article coming out in the next few days here- keep an eye out for it =)

    Keep following the passion…

  18. […] Love is the subject of countless tales of the imagination and fantasy. In relationships, love develops as a bond between people. When does it overstep the mark of feeling (love) and doing (love) and become something more nefarious? […]

  19. Brian culkin says:

    I love this on many levels. Thank you!

  20. Eka says:

    Glad you connected to it.

    I would love to hear what parts you particularly enjoyed…


  21. […] So you see, you just never know when it’s going to turn around. […]

  22. […] stopping where I was and putting up my tent. However, I am also extremely stubborn, and was still determined to prove Boromir up there wrong. I cursed the wind. I cursed the sky. I cursed my own foolishness […]

  23. […] integrity, intensity and intention that took? Or, did you stumble, fall, splash or belly flop!? And, in your life, can you ‘stick the landing’? When you are finishing something, do you do it all the way, or peter out, or blow it off? Just […]

  24. Millie Wyatt says:

    That scene is quite iconic. The Princess bride is something so lovely that makes you want to fall in love with prince charming all over again.

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