Five years after the original Pacific Rim released, the world is treated to the second Pacific Rim film, Pacific Rim: Uprising. Starring John Boyega (Finn in the new Star Wars films) as Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), the hero of the first Pacific Rim. Jake is a troubled young adult.
He’s been in trouble with the law. He’s tried to go his own way. Only to be arrested by the police and forced to train and lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots.
When all hell breaks loose because of a new threat, Jake has to truly step up and lead the way. Much like his father did.
Hang onto your hats kids, Pacific Rim: Uprising brings you action, adventure, and a lot of fun. You’ll also find plenty of leadership lessons in Pacific Rim: Uprising.
Caution: Pacific Rim: Uprising spoilers below
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Pacific Rim: Uprising
1. Jake Pentecost:
I am not my father.
Early in Pacific Rim: Uprising, Jake tells the world he is not his father’s son. He’s his own person. And he’d prefer it that way.
As a leader, you have to realize you’re not the same as the leader who came before you. You’re not the leader who’s coming after you. You are you.
Lead in your own unique way. Be you.
2. People place different values on things:
Jake had become a trader. You see him trading different items to obtain things he wanted. Sometimes, you had to wonder what the heck he was doing.
He trades valuable objects for something silly. Jake trades an Oscar for a box of cereal. A car for some cookies.
Jake didn’t value objects the same way you or I may have. He wanted what he wanted and would make poor trades in the process.
This is a great reminder as you’re trying to think of ways to show appreciation to your team. Not everyone values the same things or objects you do. You have to be aware of what they value and what motivates them.
Money may not motivate Sally but John could be all about it because it would help him pay his house off early. Time off may not get Jim to work harder but May would be ecstatic because it allows her extra time with her kids.
Don’t think everyone on your team values the same things. They don’t. And you need to be wise enough to discover what they value.
3. There are hungry leaders out there. Be one:
One of the things Jake had begun to do was steal Jaeger parts and sell those to people looking to build or repair them. He’d taken a group of people into an old Jaeger production factory looking for a power core. Only the power core wasn’t where it was supposed to be.
He looked at his tracker. Something odd was happening. The power core was moving.
Another person was in the facility and had taken the power core!
This person had a desire. A desire to obtain the power core. They were as hungry, or more hungry, than Jake had been to get it.
Leaders can’t slack. They have to stay on their game. Or else someone else may come along and try to take over the leadership mantle.
Stay hungry as you lead. Keep up to date on the latest happenings in the leadership world. You have to or someone else will pass you.
4. Bigger isn’t always better:
In Pacific Rim, Jaegers required two or three people to control them through a neural bridge. This bridge allowed the Jaeger pilots to control every movement of the Jaeger.
If the Jaeger lost a pilot, the remaining pilot couldn’t control the Jaeger. At least not without major neurological stress and damage, often resulting in death.
In Pacific Rim: Uprising, you’re introduced to a young girl named Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny). She’s the other thief who had stolen the power core and was fleeing Jake.
She needed the power core to power the Jaeger she’d built. But this Jaeger was different. It was a smaller robot and could be controlled by a single person.
The smaller size of the Jaeger, who Amara called Scrapper, allowed for quicker movements and one user. While Scrapper was smaller, Scrapper had its advantages.
You may think you need to double the revenue of your organization within 5 years. Or you need to bring on 20 more employees to keep things running smoothly.
Yet with these additions, challenges come. Growth requires more leaders and employees. This growth can slow down an organization.
While bigger may result in more revenue or income, it also weighs an organization down. Weigh the two options and make your choice.
5. Anticipate the future:
Amara built Scrapper because she had a strong feeling the Kaiju (the invaders from the first Pacific Rim movie) would return. She anticipated an attack and began working on a solution.
While no one can predict the future, you can anticipate what could happen. And you can act on those suspicions.
You may be right. You may be wrong. But you’re at least looking at the future and preparing for what could come.
Whether you’re right or you’re wrong, you will at least be more prepared.
6. Jake Pentecost:
It’s just a name.
Jake was able to catch up to Amara after she had stolen the power core. In the process of tracking down Amara, the police were able to arrest both of them.
During their time in jail, Amara found out Jake’s name. Jake’s last name of Pentecost stunned Amara.
Jake’s father, Stacker, had been a hero. He’d saved the world. And Amara got to meet his son!
But Jake brushed off the awe Amara had. Jake believed a name is just a name.
While I believe names are important. They can tell someone who you are or where you came from, I see this relating more to titles.
Titles are just titles. They mean as much as you give them.
If you have the title of a leader, you can live out a life worthy of being called a leader. Or you can be someone who is a leader by title only.
A title is only as good as the person behind it.
7. Nate Lambert:
Jake, these kids look up to us. We have to work together.
Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) was Jake’s Jaeger co-pilot of Gipsy Avenger. But Jake walked out on the Pan Pacific Defense Corps. due to the heavy burden of living up to his fathers legacy.
Now, Jake and Nate were back in the Pan Pacific Defense Corps. together. Nate realized the two of them would have to work together regardless of their past differences (Nate didn’t think too highly of Jake walking away from his responsibilities).
Yet Nate knew they had to put those differences aside. The new Jaeger pilot recruits required a cohesive leadership to lead them.
Leaders, you’re going to be paired up with people who are difficult to work with. You may not want to work with them. However, you have to put aside your differences and work together.
Your willing to put aside differences to get the job done will show your team the mission is important. You are the one setting the example. Set it.
8. Great leaders notice the potential of others:
Nate saw something in Jake. He knew Jake could have been a great pilot. Yet Jake was fronting.
Jake screwed around. He was a jerk. And he chose to leave when he could have done something great with his life.
You have a responsibility as a leader. You need to be able to notice the potential of others.
Then you need to call out the potential you see.
9. Great leaders look for solutions:
Returning from Pacific Rim are actors Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb and Charlie Day as Dr. Netwon Geiszler. Dr. Gottlieb was showing Dr. Geiszler a problem he had with there being no power source for rocket boosters on Jaegers.
Talking with Dr. Geiszler, the pair theorized they could create an energy source through the Kaiju blood. Their blood contained power that could be harnessed to power the rocket boosters.
When you see a problem, do you see a problem or a possible solution? Great leaders look for solutions to their problems.
They look for ways to solve issues when they arise. They also keep a positive outlook when problems are presented.
This is the way to get things done and find solutions.
10. Be willing to honor past leaders:
Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) was Jake’s adopted sister. She was flying in a helicopter to the reveal of new drones that would be replacing manned Jaegers. However, the reveal was interrupted when an unregistered Jaeger made its presence known.
When the others return to the base, a memorial can be seen honoring Mako… And other fallen Jaeger pilots. Their service and deaths are not forgotten.
Neither should you forget the leaders who have gone before you. The ones who laid the groundwork for what you are about to do.
Make sure to honor and respect the leaders who have come before you.
11. Jake Pentecost:
The stronger your connection, the better you fight.
Jake was explaining to Amara about the neural connection Jaeger pilots must have. They have to be mentally in sync to fight well. The stronger the connection, the better they can control the Jaeger.
The same can be applied to leadership and those you lead.
When leaders are in sync and on the same page, they can get things done. When team members and organizational leaders are in sync, the organization can get things done.
Get people on the same page. Help get them connected to the mission, to the vision, and to what’s ahead.
12. Jake Pentecost:
Don’t let what other people think of you define who you are.
Amara was having trouble adjusting to some of the other Jaeger cadets on the base. One was especially harsh to her by believing Amara didn’t belong in the Corps.
This threw Amara off her game. She doubted herself and got into trouble.
Jake knew you can’t let others define who you are. You have to choose your own path.
Do you allow what others think to bother you? Do you let others define you?
As a leader, you can’t let others opinions define you. You are the one leading the charge. You have the responsibility to set the tone.
Be willing to believe in yourself. Stop the doubt and be who you were created to be.
13. The details matter:
Obsidian Fury was the Jaeger that brought down Mako’s helicopter. The Jaeger was defeated and quarantined. No one was supposed to enter the downed Jaeger.
This didn’t stop Amara and the rest of the new recruits. They went inside and snooped around.
Amara found something interesting. Obsidian Fury looked to be linked to Shao Industries, led by Liwen Shao (Tian Jiang), a company launching the new unmanned drones.
What led Amara to this conclusion? The cables used in the Jaeger wound counter-clockwise. Shao Industries was the only company to make their cables this way.
The details mattered to Amara. She noticed what was different.
Great leaders know the details matter.
Leaders like Steve Jobs made sure everything worked the way they were supposed to. Even going above and beyond and making the components that were never seen look good.
Another thing that happens when the details matter is that leaders can notice when something isn’t right. They can easily see what’s going wrong.
Be a leader who pays attention to the details.
14. Great leaders accept responsibility:
Amara was kicked out of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps. She was sad but she wasn’t mad at the decision.
She realized she’d made bad choices. Those choices led to her being kicked out. And she accepted the responsibility for her actions.
When leaders screw up, they don’t place blame. They accept their actions were incorrect or their decisions were bad. They don’t lay the blame at the feet of others.
Be willing to accept responsibility when things don’t go right.
15. Jake Hamilton:
I’m kicking you back in.
When the Shao Industries drones were revealed to be a hybrid drone/Kaiju, things go crazy. And then three Kaiju are brought through a breach in the Pacific Ocean.
Jake and Nate needed Jaeger pilots. They were short and Jake knew what he had to do. He called Amara back into the Corps.
Leaders have the option to reverse previous decisions. Or, think of it this way, past decisions are never permanent.
You can choose to change direction or rehire a former employee. Leaders are able to make these decisions and should when they make sense.
16. Great leaders step up:
As the world was being attacked by the Kaiju, Jake was rallying the troops. But he wasn’t wanting to share a rousing speech. He wanted the team to get out there and kick some Kaiju butt.
Jake found himself giving an encouraging speech to motivate his team, though he didn’t feel he was worthy of leading them. He found himself stepping up and into a leadership position.
You have to be ready to step into your role as a leader when the time comes. Even if you think you’re not ready or worthy.
The time will come when you have to be ready. You will have to step up and into leadership. Be ready.
17. Stop running from your responsibilities:
Jake had been running from his responsibilities for a long time. When he finally stopped running, he became an excellent leader.
If you’ve been running from your responsibilities, you need to stop and repent. Then you need to accept those responsibilities.
When you do, you’ll discover you can handle the weight of those responsibilities.
18. You will be replaced:
Nate and Jake were battling a combined Kaiju when Nate was injured. He could no longer pilot the Jaeger. And Jake couldn’t pilot the Jaeger by himself.
This is when Amara comes to the rescue. She jumps for the Jaeger and Jake catches her in the Jaeger’s hand.
Amara then takes over for Nate. She replaces his neural connection for hers. She then helps Jake defeat the Kaiju.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Leadership is a temporary position. There will come a time when you have to move on. Someone else will come along and replace you.
It’s okay. It’s part of life and leadership. Know you’ll be replaced.
19. You have to accept what you are called to:
Jake struggled with where he belonged in the world. He rebelled against the Pan Pacific Defense Corps and the law. He struggled to accept the respect his name came with. Overall, he thought he was worthless.
By the end of Pacific Rim: Uprising, he realizes he was wrong. He wasn’t worthless. He had a valuable part to play in the Kaiju War. Without him, the cadets wouldn’t have been ready to fight, the Kaiju wouldn’t have been stopped, and they couldn’t have taken the fight to the Kaiju’s dimension.
You may doubt yourself. You may think you’re not worthy to lead.
I think you’d be wrong. You’re more than capable. You just have to accept what you’ve been called to.
By accepting this calling, you can live out your true power. The power you were created to wield.
There’s a purpose for you. Find it. Live it. Be alive.