Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Adam Driver And 65 Movie

My latest book, Reel Leadership, is now available on Amazon. If you love movies and leadership, you will love this book.

65 is the new science-fiction movie starring Adam Driver as Mills, a pilot whose ship crash lands on an alien world (which turns out to be Earth). The plot thickens as he discovers he’s not alone on the planet. One passenger survived. The survivor is a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt).

The movie is an interesting film. The cast is small. Looking at IMDB, they have a total of five, yes five, cast members listed. This may be one of the smallest cast of actors since Will Smith’s I Am Legend. While there are five cast members listed, a majority of the film focuses on two, Mills and Koa.

There are also a couple of twists and turns. You think the film is going to be a dinosaur movie. To an extent, that’s true. However, the threat in the movie turns from dinosaurs to an impending asteroid strike.

Adam Driver as Mills in the movie 65. Standing in front of a dinosaur skeleton

If you’re a fan of popcorn sci-fi movies, there’s a lot to like. You get alien ships, dinosaurs, and a natural disaster all tidied up in one film.


I know you’re Reel Leaders. That means you’re looking for leadership lessons in 65. You won’t be disappointed. A keen leader will find plenty of leadership lessons in this film.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From 65

1. Mills:

It’s easy. You just have to know how to do it.

Mills sees his sick daughter, Nevine (Chloe Coleman), as she struggles to whistle through her hands. Nevine is standing in a body of water, cupping her hands, and blowing into them. The more she tries, the more she gets frustrated.

Mills walks out to her, leaving his wife (Nika King) on the beach. He approaches his daughter gently. He demonstrates how to whistle with his hands.

Nevine gets frustrated again. She sees her dad do something, and it appears to be sooooo easy. Nevine wonders why things are so easy for Mills.

Mills explains that what he’s doing is easy because he knows how to do it. Things aren’t always easy until you know how.

Leading is about know how. The more you know about leadership, the easier you can make it look.

This doesn’t make leadership easy, but it does make leadership easier.

As GI Joe used to say, Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Keep learning. The more you learn and know, the easier things will be.

2. The feedback we need may hurt us:

Mills is piloting a ship that is transporting people to a new place. The passengers are all in cryogenic chambers.

As he’s piloting the ship, the ship is torn apart by an asteroid field. Mills puts the ship down on Earth. In the process of doing so, Mills has shrapnel pierce his stomach.

Mills awakens from the crash. He sees the shrapnel. He knows what he has to do and removes the shrapnel from his stomach. He then stumbles to the medical cabinet, where he finds a device.

Using the device, he presses it to his stomach. A flash of extreme cold releases from the device, freezing the wound.

You can see Mills grimace. The extreme cold didn’t feel good. In fact, I’d say the cold hurt him. Yet, the cold also cauterized the wound and allowed him to recover.

I liken this to the times we have to hear feedback from our coworkers, employees, family members, or friends. We need to hear the feedback. But the feedback is painful.

You may hear things you didn’t know about yourself that hurt those you lead. You may begin to understand your words are harsher than you think, you have a face that tells people to buzz off, or that you don’t listen.

Accept the feedback you receive. Allow the pain to change you.

3. Purpose will drive you on:

Mills was ready to commit suicide (by the way, suicide is no laughing matter. If you are struggling with thoughts of depression or suicide, contact someone. Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline to talk with someone that can help you get through this time, 1-800-273-8255). He lost his ship and passengers. There was nothing left to live for.

This is when Mills has a flashback of his daughter. The thoughts and memories of his young girl brought him back from the brink of death.

What’s your purpose? Why do you do what you’re doing?

Your purpose will inspire you and push you on when you have nothing left to give. Dig into the reason you’re leading, working, or creating a family. This purpose is the lifeblood of what you do.

4. You don’t speak the same language as those you lead:

Koa, the only surviving passenger on the ship, followed Mills when he left the ship. Mills didn’t know the young girl had awakened and was shocked when he discovered her following him.

Mills got Koa back to the ship. There, he realized they didn’t speak the same language. Koa came from a different part of the planet than Mills.

Mills had to draw a map with a red powder from the ship. He created an upside-down V to represent a mountain. This helped the girl to understand where they had to go.

Don’t get frustrated with the people you lead. They don’t understand you. Truth be told, you don’t understand them half the time.

Leaders of people have to find a way to bridge the communication gap between the leader and those they lead. Without clear communication, there is no understanding.

5. Leaders are emulated:

A nasty-looking bug landed on Mills’ neck. He took a good swat at the bug. He smacked it, and the bug exploded on his hand.

Pulling his hand back, there was goo and guts. Mills dropped a curse word.

So did Koa.

Koa emulated what Mills said. She was learning what to do by watching him.

Your people watch you. They see what you do, and they emulate your words and actions. You set the tone and direction of your people.

Be aware that what you do will be repeated.

6. You can only help so much:

Koa saw a baby dinosaur trapped in a pit of oil. She rushed to help pull the dinosaur out. Mills was hesitant, but once he saw that he couldn’t stop her, he helped.

Once they got the dinosaur out of the oil pit, the dinosaur stumbled away… only to be attacked by other dinosaurs.

Koa and Mills helped. Yet, their help didn’t save the dinosaur.

We have a heart to serve. To help. We do what we can for those we lead.

Sometimes, we go above and beyond. We have such high hopes. Then those hopes are dashed when the person we’re helping does something that sets them back.

You can only help so much. The other person has to do something too.

Do what you can but don’t kill yourself over their failure.

7. Mills:

I’m tired. I’m just tired.

Mills and Koa are sitting by a stream. He talks to her and tells her that he’s tired.

I would be, too, if I were Mills. Mills had faced a lot in a very short period of time. Leaving his wife and child, crashing his ship, and then learning that his daughter had passed away.

Mills is understandably tired.

Recognize when you’re tired. There’s no badge of shame when you’re tired. Tiredness is a sign that you’re overdoing things.

When you recognize that you’re tired, take a break. Find a way to rest, restore yourself.

If you don’t, you’ll find yourself at the end of burnout. That’s never a good thing.

8. Find creative means:

Koa and Mills went into a cave. There, they felt trapped because there was no way out.

Mills had tried to dig his way out using the tools that he had. He made a small bit of progress but couldn’t go any further. He was done.

Then a creative way of excavating the rock came to him. He had these tiny bombs that he could place in the rock. They would explode, removing the rocks.


He found a creative means to get out.

You must use creativity to get things done when you’ve hit a roadblock. Look at the resources you have on hand. What could be used in a way that the item was never intended? Could you use it in a way that benefits you?

There are so many things that you could use. Figure out new ways to use and do things. You’ll be amazed at how much can be done with so little.

9. There’s always a bigger danger ahead:

The previews for 65 positioned it as a sci-fi movie where the stars would be confronted with dinosaurs. This would set up a challenge for the stars because how do you deal with dinosaurs?

Toward the end of the movie, things shifted. Dinosaurs were no longer the main danger. Instead, the impending asteroid crash became the clear and present danger.

You may see the current issue as the biggest issue you’ll face. It is not.

There’s always something coming around the corner to surprise you. Once you’ve gotten through the current issue, another will pop up.

Don’t rest on your laurels when you’ve overcome something. Be ready for the next issue.

10. Watch your orientation:

Koa and Mills were able to get to the rescue ship. It had been separated from the main ship by over 15 kilometers.

The rescue ship was knocked off the cliff by a dinosaur. It tumbled down the cliff with Koa and Mills inside.

Koa went to hit the launch button. As she pressed the button, a message stated that the launch was inoperable due to the ship’s orientation.

The ship wasn’t in a position to launch. They had to shift the way the ship was orientated to get it to blast off.

You have an orientation too. The direction that you’re going is going to be dependant on the orientation you’re facing right now.

Make sure you’re orientated in a direction that can take off, or launch you.

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