The Indiana Jones Guide to Achieving Your Goals

Indiana Jones

I grew up watching a lot of movies, and some of my favorites were ones with Indiana Jones, the famed archaeologist and adventurer.

Indiana spent his days fighting enemies and trekking through wild and uncharted territories in pursuit of precious artifacts (or to keep them out of the wrong hands). He gave everything to his mission.

By the end of the story, Indiana is the hero. His name is synonymous with a hero overcoming (seemingly) impossible obstacles and accomplishing his goal.

Think overcoming tough challenges only happens in movies? Indiana Jones’ story follows a series of steps that can help you achieve your goals if you’re willing to try.

And they don’t require whips, snakes, or iconic hats, either. Just a shift in mindset and the willingness to challenge yourself to give it your all.

First, you’ve got to have a plan (and want it).

Indiana Jones: “Meet me at Omar’s. Be ready for me. I’m going after that truck.”

Indiana always had a goal in mind, but needed a way to get there. Before any one of his missions he would think about what needed to be done and ten devise a plan to do it.

Most of the time his missions seemed impossible. It was a long shot. He got captured by enemies, caught up in fights, and involved in seemingly every possible obstacle along the way.

But he was determined, and wanting it that badly, whether or not your life is at risk, gets you a long way in pursuit of your goals.

If you want to beat the Nazis to getting to the Holy Grail and find your missing father on the way, you’ve got to have a plan, and want it.

You’ve got to face your challenges head on (but you don’t have to do it alone).

Indiana Jones: (Passing a torch) “Take this. Wave it at anything that slithers.”
Marion: “Thanks. Oh, my God! This whole place is slithering!”

Indiana hated snakes. Yet, along the way he would find himself face to face with them. He could have run away. He could have quit. He could have let himself be paralyzed by fear. But one way or another, he faced his challenges and ultimately overcame them.

In “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Indiana pulled together his resources to overcome the snakes with the help of Marion and a torch. He had few resources, but it was the help he needed to overcome the challenges.

When pursuing your goals, your greatest challenge may crop up unexpectedly and you may find yourself in your own pit of snakes, but you may not have to do it alone.

What resources do you have to overcome your challenges? Find your own Marion to help you and your own torch to get you through.

Never give up.

Indiana: “I’m gonna blow up the Ark, Rene.”
Belloq: “Your persistence surprises even me. You’re going to give mercenaries a bad name.”

Despite all challenges, Indiana never gave up. He could have quit many times, but didn’t.

If he hadn’t kept going, he never would have achieved his goal (of gotten the girl at the end). He persisted, and he was resilient in the face of adversity.

In order to achieve your goals, you have to never give up, even when there are setbacks.

It starts with believing in your goals and in yourself. Resiliency is key.

What’s your Indiana Jones story going to be?

You may be ready to tackle your goals and achieve your goals.

In order to get on your way, you’ve got to have a plan and really want to achieve your goal. Even if it is just a few steps ahead, plan what you should do next to accomplish what you want.

You’ll need to face your challenges head on and overcome them. Even the best heros have them. And it’s okay to ask for help.

And most of all, in order to achieve your goals you should never give up. Ever.

If you do all of these things the achievement of your goals will have an Indiana Jones story. I can’t promise you’ll get the girl in the end (unless that is your goal), but at least you’ll have progress on achieving your goals. And isn’t that what’s most important?

29 thoughts on “The Indiana Jones Guide to Achieving Your Goals”

  1. Hi Harley,

    I have always been a fan of Indiana Jones, having watched the movies while I was growing up. I suppose it also helped that I am a huge history buff and I loved following Indy on his journeys to exotic places to discover new things. As you say, Indy did overcome a lot of seemingly impossible obstacles, but when we examine it more closely, he did have a series of steps to help him do so. I love how you sum them up as a shift in mindset and the willingness to challenge yourself to give it your all.

    Of the points you mention, having a plan and a few backup ones is the most important. If you don’t know where you are going or how to get there, chances are you will end up nowhere. While things rarely go as planned, having a plan helps us to manage unexpected changes better than if we had none at all.

    Never giving up is also important. The moment we give up, all is lost. There is no more chance of turning things around. But as long as we persist as Indy always did, there is always a chance to turn things around and reach our goals.

    One more point I would like to add is Indy’s love for learning. As an academic, he had to keep up to date with his research and learning. Knowing more than his enemies did helped him to stay ahead of them. If he knew nothing about the Sivalinga stone, he would not have known what they could achieve or how to use that knowledge to his advantage. If he knew nothing about the Thuggee cult he would not have known what he was up against either.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

    1. Thanks, Irving!

      I think you make an excellent point about the importance of love of learning. It’s true, Indy would not have gotten nearly as far had he not kept up with his research. Spot on.


  2. Thank you, Irving!

    I think you make a great point on the importance on having a love of learning as well. It is true that Indiana’s knowledge got him a long way. Just keeping an open mind can open new and unexpected doors. :-)

  3. I love this comparison, particuarly the part about not doing it alone. From the people who do lan and set goals, I find few of them plan any help, prefering to go it alone. I think getting help from others can make a huge difference to how far we go.

    1. Kate,

      You’re right, too many people try to go it alone. I’ve struggled with that myself many times. It really can make a huge difference when others are there to help.


  4. Awesome article Harley! I loved Indiana Jones (I also wanted to be an archaeologist for a long time …) These comparisions are great and at least we wont have to fight real snakes along the way to achieving our goals (hopefully.)

  5. That means I am about to download the movie and watch it right now. Though, I have always learned something or more from almost all the movies I’ve watched. They are all about teaching us how to be more of what we don’t think we can be. Utterly nice topic to discuses in a blog.

    1. Thanks, Jaky.

      I was tempted to go watch the movies again myself. They are so good! It’s funny how there are so many lessons to learn from movies (other than entertainment value). Good to have you around.


  6. Thanks for the fun article. Another great thing about Indiana Jones is his use of tools. The movie wouldn’t have been the same without his whip.

    Likewise we have tools like LinkedIn, our blogs, etc that help us to establish us as specialists in the internet world.

  7. what a brilliant article!! i like your departure from the boring “this is how to achieve your goals” articles. Plus I’ve never been a big Indiana Jones fan, but you have shed a new light on him ;)
    thank you!

  8. Hi Harley,
    I really like the use of analogies (particularly popular and well known films) to make a point. I’ve believed for some while now that the reason a ficticious story is so successful is because there is often a subliminal message in there. It make the book/story/film so much more interesting when we spot the message. Thank you.

    1. Hi Marty,

      You’re right. It’s funny how many stories like that have much more to them than what we see at face value. Off to decipher the next one! ;-)

  9. Laura Schrader

    I agree about the fear factor that anyone, even seemingly Hollywood actors, must confront.
    It took me a long time to realize just how many layers of fear obstacles that there were in my life.
    I can even be described as fearless by some, yet learned in the past few years thru much self reflection that there is always fear present. Then, I adopted the philosophy that courage is not the absence of fear, yet courage is persisting despite fear.
    Once I identified that there were deeper levels of fears in control of most of my decisions, I had to identify them. It wasn’t as easy as seeing a snake (like Indiana Jones) in my path.
    It all came as a result of me identifying patterns in my life. These patterns were formed at the moment I was faced with a decision with any degree of fear involved. Since it was on such deep levels that it was undetectable to myself even, it was overwhelming to make these discoveries.
    Since then, my main objective has been identifying these deep unseen fears, and making different decisions.
    As a result, I am realizing my potential.
    It is a grand experience!

  10. I also like Indiana Jones movies, and I can only recall one with the complete title (LOL) “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.” I enjoyed it immensely. I love a movie with adventure and light humor on the side.

    It’s good thing you remembered all those quotable quotes from the movies. It’s full of persistence amd it’s related to this blog.

  11. Hi Harley!

    I am not a big fan of Indiana Jones. I’ve only watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This is an interesting post though. I love anything to do with persistence or anything which inspires me to work harder.

    1. Hi Kelly!

      Thanks for contributing. :-D

      Also, I agree with you on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Not very good. But if you ever find yourself with extra time- The Last Crusade is the best of all of them. ;-)

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