Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Free Guy

A Reel Leadership Article

This weekend saw the release of Free Guy, a new Ryan Reynolds movie. Free Guy’s premise is that an NPC (non-playable character in video game speak) suddenly becomes self-aware. He no longer follows the programming he was given.

This leads to hilarity as Guy discovers he can choose to do what he wants to do. Instead of choosing a life of crime, Guy chooses to help people. He quickly levels up in his pursuit of the beautiful Millie/Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer).

Ryan Reynolds as Guy in Free Guy. Chaos reigning in background

Free Guy leads us on quite the tale. It’s funny, suspenseful, and even includes a bit of a love story for the ladies.

As usual, Free Guy is not only those things. Free Guy is more than entertainment. Free Guy is full of leadership lessons.

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Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Free Guy

1. You can idolize the wrong people:

The movie opened with Guy talking about the heroes of Free City, the virtual city where Guy lives. He is fixated on the guys with sunglasses.

The guys with sunglasses were heroes. Or so Guy said.

We soon discover that the guys in sunglasses are real-world players who rob, kill, and destroy. They’re not heroes, they’re criminals.

The world is full of people you can look up to. Many of these people you respect and want to be like are great people. They’re ones you should follow.

However, we have to be careful of who we look up to. We can easily follow the wrong people.

I love the story Zig Ziglar told about a young man looking to be successful. The young man idolized his boss. However, when he looked deeper, the boss wasn’t successful. Instead, the boss lived a pretty miserable life.

Make sure you’re looking up to the right people.

2. Breaking routines can freak people out:

The NPC characters in Free City all had a pre-programmed routine. Everyone asked for the same drink, said the same lines, etc… Guy broke out of the routine.

He asked the barista at the coffee shop for a cappuccino. Everyone in the coffee shop freaked out.

The program had been broken. The routine was no longer routine.

We all have routines. We all subconsciously recognize the routines of others.

When people begin breaking free of their routines, people freak out. Routines give us a sense of normality. They help us understand what to expect.

Be careful when breaking out of a routine. Be ready for people to be scared, afraid, or upset. This is a normal response.

What can you do about this? Help them understand the reasoning behind breaking the routine. The more you help people understand, the less freaked out they will be.

3. Figure out what you’re missing:

Guy interrupted a bank robbery at the bank he worked at. He wanted to do something different. When he interrupted the robbery, he took the sunglasses off of the robber.

He put the sunglasses on. The world looked different. There were dollar signs floating, translucent cases with a health symbol, and more. There were so many things Guy and the rest of the NPCs missed out on.

We miss out on so much as well. We miss the world around us because we’re wearing glasses that blind us to the important things in our lives.

For us, I think we miss out on the people around us. We forget about our families. Our friends are neglected. Our neighbors have no clue who we are.

We’re missing out on a lot of important things. Figure it out and start focusing on those important things in your life.

4. Go God-Mode on your organization:

Mouser (Utkarsh Ambudkar) and Keys (Joe Keery) were employees at Soonami, a video game developer. When Guy broke free from his programming, they went into the game to take him out.

Mouser had a trick up his sleeve. He went God-mode in the game.

God-mode allowed Mouser to rearrange the gaming world. He added stairs, twisted the environment, and more to try to capture Guy.

I don’t want you to use God-mode in the real world for your advantage. I want you to use it to your organization’s advantage.

You have the power to rearrange your organization. Look at the way things are going. See if there are things that could be rearranged.

Maybe this is moving employees around. It could be restructuring departments. It could even be shutting down poorly performing satellite locations.

Go God-mode to rearrange the organization to be a better functioning unit.

5. Mille:

He’s clueless about his own genius.

Millie knew that Keys was smart. Keys always doubted his own skills. He didn’t think he was smart.

This held him back. It kept him somewhere he shouldn’t have been.

Leaders struggle with this as well. We often call it the imposter syndrome.

We think we’re not good enough. We think we’ve faked our way through.

We don’t know how smart we are.

6. Guy:

How do I get to a higher level?

Guy was an NPC. He had no clue about leveling up in a game. That was typically a thing real-world players got to do.

Millie told Guy he needed to level up. This got him thinking. He then asked a question that could have been considered stupid or dumb.

Guy asked how to get to a higher level in the game.

We have to be willing to ask dumb or stupid questions. Sometimes we may think the question we need to ask is too basic.

Ask anyway.

You cannot level up your leadership if you’re not willing to ask questions. These questions will help you improve.

7. Leaders can level up by doing good:

Guy did something strange in the world of Free City. Guy leveled up by doing good.

He chose to help people. He stopped crime. He was a good guy.

All of the other controlled characters leveled up through criminal activities. They robbed, killed, and beat up others.

Guy did something different. He was good.

We’ve all seen bad leaders level up. They swindle their way to the top.

It can be tempting to think that is the way you level up your leadership.

It is not.

You can level up your leadership by doing good. By doing what is right.

8. Guy:

Life doesn’t have to be something that just happens to us.

Guy was talking to his friend, Buddy (Lil Rel Howery). Buddy was a security guard at the bank. He was content to continue living out his days doing what he always did.

Guy wanted to help him understand that there was freedom to not follow the programming. Guy wanted Buddy to experience the freedom he was experiencing.

When you experience something great, what do you do with it? You share it with others.

As a leader, you get to experience some really powerful experiences. These experiences are rarely shared with the people you lead.

I want to encourage you to invite your employees into these experiences. Help them to understand there is more to life than what they’re doing.

Give them an invitation like Guy gave Buddy.

9. Bad leaders are deceptive:

Antoine (Taika Waititi) was the owner of Soonami. He was also a horrible leader.

Soonami had made a promise to fans that Free City 2 would be backward compatible. This meant the achievements, in-game purchases, skins, and more would transfer to the new game.

Antoine revealed this was a lie. He knew this and still ran a commercial promoting the new game with lies.

We have to be careful when we talk to our teams and our customers. We have to make sure that what we’re saying is the truth.

We cannot purposely lie or mislead them.

10. Your views can change:

There were interviews with players of the Free City game. As they saw Guy’s actions, their viewpoints began to change.

The interviewees began to shift their views on violence. They saw that doing good could be fun. Even beneficial.

We think that our views are set in stone. That we cannot change the way we think about or view the world.

You can change your views. You can change the way you think about things.

Be willing to change.

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