Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

How Have You Improved?

I watched back-to-back Tron the other night–the 1982 original and the new, Tron: Legacy. I have strong memories of being very impressed with every aspect of the original and thought it would be fun to see “Part Two”.  What a revelation to compare them!

It’s not surprising that the original Tron was much less technically sophisticated–29 years will do that. (It almost looked like a 1950s space invader set, in spite of how advanced we thought it was then.)

The big surprise was the tremendous improvement in the appearance, stage presence and performance of  Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges. (Both who had already established themselves as excellent actors.)

At first I thought the difference might have been because of the director or simply the script. However, David Warner did his usual superb job, so it couldn’t have been that completely. I’m also quick to say that I don’t watch many movies (as opposed to cinema, film or talkies), so I’m only an audience member, not a critic that counts. However, I am capable of comparison and there was an obvious difference. 

I recall reading that Harrison Ford won’t watch Star Wars because he doesn’t want to see his looks and acting then. I read an interview in which someone asked Cary Grant what he thought when he watched himself in his classic performances and he said he never did, to avoid embarrassment about the way he delivered lines in his younger acting days. I guess we all can spot our imperfections–and actors are likely more aware of them and sensitive to them than most.

It’s a shame you don’t have video of yourself doing routine work over a period of several days, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or thirty years ago. I wish you did, because you would see how much you have improved and in how many ways. You look older now and maybe less fit or more wrinkled. You may have looked more energized then. Nevertheless, I’ll bet that now you have many more insights and much more confidence, knowledge and skills. If you are still young you may think back a fewer number of years, but you may notice an even more dramatic difference in your approach to work and life.

No matter how far back you are thinking, situations that seemed very challenging to you then would seem easy to deal with now. Things that were confusing, frightening, stressful or angering then, would seem like minor issues now, because you know the background and you know how to respond. If you could see yourself at work years ago you would probably cringe at your youthful poor judgment, your inexperienced errors and your ill-informed perspectives. You’ve grown, matured and improved. Good for you!

Now, use that awareness to give you patience and empathy for newer employees. Talk to older or more-tenured employees and encourage them to relive some of their glory days and what they remember as good times for the organization. Smile at the reality that if you’re still around, you’ll be even better in five more years or ten years. Seriously, you will keep getting better as long as you are mentally and emotionally active and wanting to improve.

I’ll be anxious to see how much more impressive Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges are in Tron: To The Tenth Power.

June 1st, 2011 Posted by | Keeping On!, Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 11 comments


  1. Tina, this was a very timely article, because I was just talking with my manager about this very thing. She and I have both worked for our organization for almost 20 years, and we each feel like we have gained a lot of maturity and judgement in dealing with both internal and external customers and situations over the years. It’s easy to forget, when you work with others in your organization who are much younger, that it did take those years of work experience to get where we are now. Thanks for the reminder to be patient with those who are still learning how to deal with others in a skillful and mature way.

    Comment by Lisa M. | June 2, 2011

  2. My dad kept saying he remembered the original Tron being better, so I’m going to send this to him and show him he was right. I liked the new one a lot better than the old one and will be waiting for the sequel. They have an animated one coming out next year, so I hope that isn’t all they have planned.

    As far as looking back goes, I’m glad I can’t see myself ten years ago because I would be embarrassed about the ignorant opinions I had when I first started my job. The sad thing is that for everything I improve I have new things to be dumb about!!!

    Comment by S.O. | June 2, 2011

  3. Memories, memories! This made me stop and think about what I used to be like as a newbie supervisor and manager. You mentioned in one of your classes about experimenting on people and that is what I did. I was determined to change everyone to my way of doing things so I had everyone in an uproar all the time. I don’t know when I started settling down, but I’m glad I did and I’m sure they were too. This article reminds me to not assume I’m close to perfect now!

    Comment by Oldtimer | June 2, 2011

  4. Both Trons at one time? I’m impressed! Jeff Bridges is probably the best actor of our time, maybe of any time. As a young actor he worked at acting natural in all of his roles and I think it showed in sort of a forced naturalness. Now he has played so many roles that they tend to merge and he has a complexity that no other actor can match. You can hear it in is interviews too. Watch him in The Last Picture Show then in Crazy Heart and you’ll really get how he has improved, even though he was outstanding then. Thanks for the nod to David Warner (Sark) a great actor in his own right.

    Comment by Sark | June 2, 2011

  5. I hope I’ve improved, but I wonder if I really have or if I’ve just learned how to work the system. Looking back I know that I was wrong about many of the people at the top. Some of the ones I was scared to death of would have been happy to talk to me, I just didn’t know it. As a result of that, I keep track of newly hired employees and I personally visit each of them to welcome them to the business.

    I was about 5 years old when the first Tron came out (sorry!)so I don’t remember it. I’ll have to watch it to see what I think. Thanks for your work.

    Comment by Todd L. | June 2, 2011

  6. I LOVE both Trons! Mike said he had all the Tron toys when he was little but he lost them or threw them away. Bummer!

    I listened to an evidence tape from about ten years ago and I sounded like I was fifteen and pretending to dispatch!I was so embarrassed in court! 🙂

    Comment by denisek | June 2, 2011

  7. Call me before you watch a favorite old movie and I’ll warn you not to do it. It’s nearly always a disappointment. I didn’t remember liking Tron so seeing it this time was actually kind of a pleasant surprise.

    Comment by Clu2 | June 2, 2011

  8. Great post Tina! You should have had my coffee from about 12 years ago. NOT the same. Not the same at all. We live and we learn! Hope to see you next time you’re in KC.

    Comment by Duck | June 2, 2011

  9. Tina says: Thanks to all for your comments. I enjoy hearing from everyone! Lisa, your thoughts were very, very well expressed! And yours too, S.O., Old Timer, Sark and Clu2. Denise, as always thanks for checking in. Todd, the remark about being 5 was completely uncalled for!

    I’m reserving a special comment for Duck! Hey, sometime I’d love to have you write a post about how you changed your approach to creating great coffee beverages. I can’t push much business your way from here in Colorado, but I find your transition in the business to be fascinating!

    Comment by TLR | June 2, 2011

  10. I haven’t commented for the last few weeks because I didn’t have anything brilliant to say but if it’s about talkies I have some opinions. The original Tron wasn’t all that good when it came out. The idea was creative but no one ever said Cindy Morgan or Bruce B. were great actors. Jeff Bridges and David Warner were the only good actors in the show.

    Now we come to Tron: Legacy. Two incredible actresses, Beau Garrett and Olivia Wilde. Academy Award quality, for sure, for Best Skin-Tight Clothes. I don’t remember if there were any other actors in the movie or who they were but I do remember those two.

    Also, speaking of improvements…I’ve improved a lot just by being in your classes. I had no class until then but I have a lot of it now, obviously.

    Ciao and see you at the movies!

    Comment by wiseacre | June 3, 2011

  11. I look back on my career and wonder how I managed to not get fired! I never did anything unethical but I did a few dangerous things just to be funny. I guess God looks out for dumb animals and dumb people.

    Comment by C. J. W. | June 3, 2011

Leave a comment