So what exactly is MacGyver Global? Well, for starters it’s the new website about all things MacGyver: past, present and future (macgyverglobal.com). But, as you can see from the website, it’s more than just that.
Because, for all the affection we have for Richard Dean Anderson and the character he so brilliantly brought to life, MacGyver has expanded—if not exploded—beyond just the actor and the character. It now represents not only an addition to the world’s dictionaries (as a noun and a verb!), but a whole new approach to dealing with problems whether they’re personal, professional, national or, in fact, global.
And that approach can be summed up into three key principles, all of which have clearly made MacGyver become such a worldwide phenomenon. Or, to be even more precise, why you all have transformed Mac into what no one can deny is now a global meme.
MacGlobal Principle #1: AVOID CONFLICT!
So anyone who watched even two or three episodes knows that Mac—unlike almost every other action hero– steadfastly refused to use a gun. Why exactly that was is still a hot topic of discussion among many fans and, no doubt, will continue to be so. But the bottom line is, by not using a gun, Mac did his best to avoid violence rather than reach for a tool of deadly force to escalate the conflict.
Granted, a non-violent action hero is something of a paradox, but by trying to outsmart or out-think his way through a crisis, Mac always tried to overcome the situation rather than just dominate it with brute power. Yes, we all know there are times when conflict can’t be avoided. More often than not though, rushing into a tough spot with both barrels blazing usually ends up making things worse rather than better—regardless of which side of the gun you’re on.
And one could reasonably ask: have the astonishing array of immensely destructive weapons our civilization has concocted really made us all safer? Or produced just the opposite effect?
So the next time you—or we—find ourselves in a brewing disagreement, perhaps, like MacGyver, we should take a step back and think about a smarter way to resolve the conflict rather than raising a fist or a gun.
MacGlobal Principle #2: TURN WHAT YOU HAVE INTO WHAT YOU NEED!
Surely one of the most amazing, endearing and ennobling things about Mac was his ability to transform whatever was available into something clever and creative enough to get himself—and usually others—out of a tight spot. You know, a paper clip, some duct tape and his Swiss Army knife and suddenly, anything was possible. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of stretch but the idea of doing that is what grabbed our imaginations and made us always want to come back for more.
And from the thousands—if not millions—of personal stories I’ve heard over the decades since Mac entered the cultural landscape—that idea of using whatever is at hand to fix, escape or transcend a bad situation has actually saved lives and made heroes of even the most seemingly ordinary among us.
Who doesn’t remember that great scene in the movie APOLLO 13 when the astronauts are trapped in a disabled capsule that is running out of air, and the head of Mission Control pounds into a room of engineers, dumps out a bag of disconnected odds and ends that he knows are in the capsule, and demands those techies find a way to build a CO-2 scrubber from those items in a matter of hours with the words, “Failure is NOT AN OPTION.” That’s what we’re talking about.
Ingenuity. Resourcefulness. The ability to really see what’s available to you and how to combine or reconfigure what you have into what you really need is, was, and always will be the very essence of MacGyver.
So for those of us in the 99.9% that are not gillionaires who can have their every whim fulfilled with the swipe of a credit card, on a planet whose population is expanding every second and whose vital resources are shrinking just as fast— like food, water, and energy—it couldn’t hurt to consider this principle. For yourself, your family, your neighborhood, city, country or for all of us: figuring out how to turn what we have into what we need may just be the key to our survival as a civilization—if not a species.
MacGlobal Principle #3: DO IT WITH HUMOR AND HUMILITY!
It seemed like no matter how desperate or life threatening a jam Mac found himself in, he rarely lost his sense of humor or humility. It was almost as if pride and frustration and anger might only make it harder to find a way out.
Well, as it happens, there’s a good deal of scientific and academic research to support that. A light, loose, laughing and open mind set is far more apt to produce creative solutions than a heavy, rigid, anxious or emotionally charged one. And the more threatening the situation– be it personal or global–the more likely we are to get caught up in all that fear, resulting in responses and actions that often compound the problem instead of solving it.
A bit counter-intuitive perhaps, but even if you think about it for a minute, it makes sense, doesn’t it? How many of us have reacted in the heat of the moment only to end up regretting what we did or said?
So the next time things start to get tense or confrontational, instead of puffing up your chest—or the rhetoric that goes with it—maybe a smile, or a joke, or a bit of humility might diffuse the situation enough that you can find a better way to resolve things with a genuinely creative solution that leaves everyone a winner. You know, more like Mac did.
Indeed, all of these principles—or core values—could be easily invoked by simply asking ourselves ‘What would MacGyver do?’ That question alone can’t help but change the course of a difficult, demanding or perplexing situation, don’t you think?
And that question also forms the heart of the recently established MacGyver Foundation, established to give back and encourage efforts across the globe by
organizations and individuals that effect positive change in the very best spirit of MacGyver.
Because, whether we know it or not, there’s a bit of MacGyver in everyone and, given half a chance, any one of us can be a MacGyver. And that, at the end of the day is what MacGyver Global is really all about.
So whether in the graphic novel, or the movie, or the musical, or the apps and games, or any of the other forms of MacGyver that are currently in the works—all of which we hope to be as fun and entertaining as the original series—if you look close, you’ll see that they still reflect these simple but profound values. Because who says these modest approaches can’t be as enjoyable as they are enduring?
Sometimes the most useful things come to us not in textbooks or lectures or even in school or any traditional ‘education’ context but rather in the form of entertainment. And it’s a whole lot easier and enjoyable to pay attention to if not absorb, no?
And if that’s still not Mac enough for you, then stay tuned for The MacGyver Method, a simple but incredibly effective technique for solving any kind of problem by tapping into the vast resources of your own subconscious. Imagine that. Think of it as learning to open the Swiss Army knife of your mind. The book about this technique will be out soon but, if it’s of interest, you can go to macgyvermethod.com to learn more now.
Finally, as the truly humbled creator of this remarkable character, whose worldwide reach and prominence I could never ever have predicted— allow me to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation, not only to the writers, producers, directors, actors and crew that brought Mac to life in the TV series, but to all of you who have embraced MacGyver—and all he stands for. Because you, after all, are the real creators of MacGyver Global.
Now, where did I leave that duct tape?
Lee David Zlotoff