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Miles Dyson Hero

Why Miles Dyson from Terminator 2 is my Role Model -Chou Musings

(This blogpost has been updated 13 years after the original posting to become part of the manuscript of my 2nd book, “10,000 Hours of Play.” If you like this post, you’ll love my book.)

Myles Bennett Dyson is my Hero

One of my own fictional Role Models is from the popular classic movie *Terminator 2*. If you haven’t seen it, feel free to jump to the next section to avoid spoilers (it’s one of the all-time best action movies to watch despite its age), but if you have seen it, my Role Model is likely not a character you would have guessed. Most of the time, a person’s role model or hero from a movie is the main character, his/her master, or the loyal supporting character (and on occasions, the villain). But my Role Model is a seemingly unimportant side character, Director of Special Projects of Cyberdyne Systems Corporation: Miles Bennett Dyson.

You might be a bit surprised why I chose Miles Dyson as my Role Model. It’s true, in a film that is action packed with robots killing each other with epic weapons, Miles Dyson does play the role of the wimpy scientist that is powerless and humiliated. But if you looked deeper into his character, you’ll find that he is actually one of the most respectable people you may know if he were a real person.

Miles Dyson is one of the smartest and richest men with a heart

To start off, Miles Dyson is one of the smartest people on the planet. He is the one that would create the super computer that would later become Skynet and the Terminators. He has ultimate science authority in Cyberdyne, is extremely wealthy with a big pool mansion by the beach, and is completely passionate about what he’s working on, much like most entrepreneurs.

Besides the brains and wealth, he is a man with a heart. In one of the scenes, his wife and kids wanted him to take them to the theme park, Raging Waters. However, he was glued onto his computer because he was “this close” to making the biggest technological breakthrough for mankind. After some patient nudging from his wife, he was willing to stop working on it and take them out to play.

Now I know for most people out there, what’s so special about taking a break from work and hanging out with your family on a weekend? However, some of you may know that when you are working on a project/problem/startup that you are completely obsessed about (basically your favorite Game), it absorbs you into a totally different world that makes you think about it 24/7, and it’s difficult to keep your hands off the project. Miles Dyson was able to take a break from it because he truly loves his family. He is a package of brains and heart, wealth and respect. When he was first introduced in the movie, his life almost couldn’t get any better.

Yea he’s a cool guy. So what?

Here’s the real story that makes me respect him. In the movie, Sarah Connor tries to kill him because she wants to prevent him from inventing Skynet in the future and destroying much of mankind. After being convinced of what she said was true (by seeing a real terminator), he IMMEDIATELY makes the determination that they must destroy his work. He tells them that they can’t just destroy his work at his house, they must go to the Cyberdyne headquarters and destroy everything there. He instantly makes a decision to drop his high status in society and become a criminal in order to save the future.

This ability to drop EVERYTHING and do what is right…THAT is respectable. He was just about to prove himself to be the top influential genius in the world with this thing he’s been working on day and night for over a decade, and once he realizes that this “could” destroy the future of mankind, he instantly decides to abandon all of it, including his life. That’s character right there.

In the movie, after being shot at and explained why they wanted to kill him, he said, “I feel like I’m gonna throw up. You’re judging me on things I haven’t even done yet. How were we supposed to know?” as if in this moment the biggest concern of his is that his character has been personally insulted.

And to back up that pride about his character, he immediately jumps to the conclusion: “There’s no way I’m going to finish the new processor now. Forget it. I’m out of it. I’ll quit Cyberdyne tomorrow…We’ll have to destroy all the stuff at the lab, the files, the disk drives and everything here. Everything. I don’t care.”

Being smart or attractive is not based on your own merit, but doing what is right is

If I have been working on a truly world-changing company for over ten years – was on the verge of finally finishing it – and suddenly a crazy woman tries to shoot me and tell me that it will destroy the future of mankind, even if I was convinced, I don’t know if I would be able to just drop everything and destroy it like Miles Dyson did.

Yes, a gun is pointing at me, but I might just pay lip service, or try to secretly keep a backup file for myself to use after this crazy encounter. If anything, I would try to reason with myself, “the future was destroyed not because I invented this, but because it was put to wrong use. We can just stop the government from making the stupid decision on putting Skynet in charge of all the computers! Since I am the lead on this, I would be able to directly influence how it is used.”

Whatever it is, I don’t know if I could do it as thoroughly as Miles Bennett Dyson. I might still end up destroying everything, but it will take me much longer to get to that conclusion, especially when it involves potentially risking my life.

Toward the end of the movie, when the Terminator was destroying everything, Miles Dyson asked the Terminator to pass up the axe (that was pretty much his only demand to the intimidating Terminator in the whole movie) because he wanted to destroy the main processor himself. Holding the axe, he says, “I spent so much time on this…” And then he goes full force into destroying it. You could see his hardened heart shatter to pieces while he is doing it, like a person who is killing his baby knowing the baby will grow up to destroy the world. How many people can do that?
Because I have such a strong Role Model like Miles Bennett Dyson, I could consider my Life Game as, “Create world-changing inventions and companies while maintaining my heart and integrity to always do the right thing.”

If you can identify what about these Role Models that inspires you the most, you can possibly align your Life Game with their trajectory before you break out and find your own unique path.

What about you?

Do you have heroes that are non-intuitive and whom might surprise people? I’d love to hear about them. Please share them in the comment section!

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