“The Hunger Games-Catching Fire:” Life’s Little Instruction Manual

Peg Breen: December 02, 201325 Comments

Thanksgiving was lovely.  The Ina Garten recipe I used to make the turkey and stuffing turned out beautifully, the weather was gorgeous and I had the chance to indulge in one of my favorite past times – watching a great story told on film.  The Hunger Games Catching Fire box office sales reportedly topped $200 million in its first six days, and nine of those dollars were mine.

At first I was caught up in the real story.  Katniss Everdeen, who had survived the Hunger Games in book one is now suffering posttraumatic stress syndrome.  In a twist of fate, she must join her faux love interest Peeta, to go back into the game and kill or be killed.  When I replayed the movie in my head on the drive home, it came to me that her survival skills could work just as well in our everyday work lives.

It’s difficult to kill people once you know them: Woody Harrelson plays Haymitch Abernathy, a hard-liquor drinking, yoda-like mentor who tells Katniss that she better form an alliance with a couple of the other more experienced players or she’ll surely be killed.  This is smart advice right?  The world runs on relationships. What if we employed Katniss’s strategy at work, by sharing more of our authentic self with the people with whom we work.  Or giving compassion to people we know are struggling to avoid the poison fog. It would cause people to pause. There might be better teamwork, less blaming, more fun and less stress.  If you had to choose someone to get to know better at work, who would it be?

Prepare to fight but refuse to shoot first:  In one scene, Katniss draws her bow and arrow on a fellow fighter who pleads with her not to shoot him by saying, “Remember who the real enemy is.”   She had honed her skills and could take him down, but instead lowers her bow.  Showing restraint and emotional intelligence when things are tense is one of the most sought after skills in business.  Are you as empowered and confident as Katniss?  If not, whom can you trust to help you develop this skill?

Beware of the baboons:  I just had to mention the baboons.  At one point I embarrassed myself by screaming like a little girl when one of the raging creatures charged our heroine.   But beyond my fear of angry monkeys, a message is buried here.   Fear is way too common in the workplace.  We fear failure.  We fear the people we report to.  We fear we’re not smart enough. We fear someone will find out we are imposters.  What’s your personal baboon?  What fear is keeping you from peak performance at work, or finding contentment and happiness? 

Remember the lightening strikes at noon and midnight: Toward the end of the movie we discover that the lightening is a signal that a threat is coming. You know, the regular stuff…blood rain, floods, angry baboons.   But our fighters also figure out that there is a pattern – that the lightening strikes at specific intervals of time.  Being able to recognize patterns and respond to them is a skill that helped Katniss survive.   Managing change and having hope, even when times are uncertain, is as necessary for our survival at work as the bow was to Katniss.  How well do you deal with change?  What techniques can you use to better manage stress?

Take time to relax, spend time with friends and family, and take in some entertainment over the holidays.  If you watched the Hunger Games or took in another movie, share your review below along with your name.  Five lucky people will win two tickets each to Edwards Theater at River Park.

25 responses to “The Hunger Games-Catching Fire:” Life’s Little Instruction Manual


Over the Thanksgiving break, I took my 14 year old son to see Ender's Game and Catching Fire. Both movies are about politics and society. It was interesting to have conversations with my son and get his view points. I can only hope that he comes away with the advice to stay true to yourself and your morals. It may be wishful thinking, but I would hope that he would read the books as well. I explained what he missed by not reading the books, little details that can't all fit in a movie. I encourage all to Read! ~Ginger Ring


I recently took my 14 year old to see Ender's Game and Catching Fire. I came out of both movies feeling that the movies sent the message not trust authority. The minute you think you understand the game, the authorities change the rules. So, maybe the theme is not about authorities, but yourself and adapting. We all need to adapt when there are changes in life. I recently came on board with Community and did some major adapting. Unlike the movies, I trust the Community leaders that they are doing the best for this company and the employees. It shows in the the programs, education and gifts they give. They have a vested interest in their employees for long term, not just for the game. On another note, there are more messages/meanings to both movies in my opinion. I am glad to have been able to see both with my son so that we could discuss them and the topics at hand. Now, if I could just get him to read the books instead. So many details are left out when books are made into movies. I encourage all to Read, Read, Read! ~ Ginger Ring


This holiday weekend, I took my 2 year old son to see the new Disney movie "Frozen". This movie was another great Disney Princess movie. The movie is based on a princess that is born with the power to create snow and ice with her bare hands. She has a younger sister that does not posess these same powers and does not understand why she is secluded from her older sister. The movie has some cute comedic characters such as a talking snow man, Olaf, and an adorable pet reindeer, Sven, that acts more like a puppy than a reindeer. It of course has love in the story line, but the kind of love that is touched upon is not the love of a couple, but the love for a sibling. It was a touching cartoon that pulls at your heart strings and makes you want to cry. Although I did want to see Hunger Games, for a 2 year old, this was the best choice for family night out. Christina Lopez - CCMC

A feel good movie!

I didn't get to experience the sequel to Hunger Games bacause all my children and nieces and nephews always like the midnight showing! They are all between the ages of 17 and 26 and loved it! But I was lucky enough to go see Disney's Frozen with them at the more reasonable hour of 7pm and loved every minute of it! A great movie for all ages with laughs (after all the cute guy talks to his pet reindeer!), thrills (the older sister was born with a scary ability!), sadness (they experience loneliness) and a feel good ending! Well worth the price of a movie these days! Karen M. Maggio RN

Fortunate vs. Unfortunate

The Hunger Games is a story which reflects two sides of civilization; the rich and the poor. The rich who seem to be consumed in their own reflection do not take the time to focus on the world as a whole. The lavish dinners which serve mass quantities of food - the characters use concoctions to remedy their full bellies to enhance a “hunger” or emptiness, to lengths of extreme gluttony. The people who live in the Capitol have notably elaborate outfits which I believe, resemble peacocks known for masquerading and showing off their outer appearance rather than inner. The people of the capitol show little or no knowledge regarding the conditions of the environment of the “tributes” such as Katness and Peeta. They care not, that children are hunting and killing each other, pure selfish entertainment. While most of the people in the twelve districts starve to feed their family and must take risks of breaking laws to ensure the minimal necessities are to be had. They even must be enslaved by having their children randomly picked to for the hunger games, merely for entertainment. Katness awakens the souls and also enlightens a “hunger” for freedom. To me this story helps us see how we who are more privileged than others should listen, take our blind folds off and look around us - give back to our community make our world more inclined to be peaceful. Although this story is dramatically entertaining; it does touch close to home regarding the human race and how we look down our noses to the less fortunate instead of giving a hand and helping out. Thanksgiving has just passed and Christmas is upon us, ‘tis the season of giving thanks and helping, let this story remind us of such prejudice between the economically fortunate and unfortunate.

Entry Name

Joni Hasselbring

Hunger Games Catching Fire

My Daughter and I saw the movie together on Sunday. She had flown in from North Carolina for Thanksgiving. Since we only get to visit with each other for a few precious days each year, It made it special that we both waited to see the movie until she got here! I have read all the books portraying a very Dystopian future. She, not an avid reader as I am, is still working on the first novel.I enjoy your anology to real life. We can all use some extra suvival skills to get us through our days at work and home. We both enjoyed the movie and our Thanksgiving tremendously. It made it VERY easy to appreciate the bounty we have both been blessed with. It also reinforces the imperitive of helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

Hunger Games

I have heard that the Hunger Games came out, but was watching Grandchildren so my Daughter and Sonlaw could go. I am patiently wait my turn. Susan CRMC

Hunger Games

Heard this is a great movie. Would love to see it. A night with my honey would be great. Thanks for the chance..Jean CRMC

Movie Tickets

Haven't seen the Hunger Games, but was told it is the best. Would very much like to see it so pick me please for the tickets!

Hunger Games

I was dragged by my 17 year old to watch this one and was NOT looking forward to it! I wanted to watch Frozen again! Much to my surprise; this one seemed less cut throat from the first movie. I just can't wrap my head around killing those that I know. It was however an interesting conversation on our way home. Our young people do think about survival more than we realize, times HAVE changed since I was 17!

Movie Review

I saw Hunger Games, as well, over the Thanksgiving weekend. I absolutely loved the film. The themes of the film that are relevant to my work life would be inclusive of evaluate, analyze and critical thinking. Evaluate the situation or threat from the capital (eg President Snow). In my world, evaluating encounters with physicians, nurses, employees and co-workers. Every encounter could be considered a "perceived threat". It is how we as individuals choose to handle the situation. The easiest one is to begin with a smile; no matter how bad your mood maybe without caffeine. Analyze the players. I find alliances are made fairly easily made with a simple "Hello" or homemade cookies. Analyzing people and their body languages can determine if a discussion is positive or negative. Critical thinking is important to what I do on a daily basis. For Katniss, critical thinking was crucial to her survival. I use critical thinking when I am writing, reading numerous documents and working on various projects. Critical thinking is crucial to what I do in my role. I thoroughly enjoyed the film without thinking about the themes. Thank you for posting and making me analyze the film from this perspective. -Kat Gong

Great Movie, tough Decisions, team work for the greater good

Wonderful Thanksgiving followed by an amazing movie. My entire family loved the movie. I really enjoyed how organized teamwork was formaulated to acheieve a common goal even between uncommon foes. At times we fall into a pattern of "me against the world". Even at work we feel this way as well. We focus on only our part and goals of the game, however it is how we play the game day in a day out that determines our true value. If there was one take away I learned from this movie it would be, even though we are foes or have indifferences we can still unit to over the odds to reach our true rewards. We don't have to do it alone, we have co-workers, managers, leaders and most of all Friends to help us play our Game. Truong Nguyen-CIS

Hunger Games 2

I also saw the movie over the weekend. I gave it 5 stars! Thanks for the inspiring message. Next, can you compare the Twilight moves with the work done at the Blood Bank? (just kidding). Greg S.

LOL! That's a good one!

LOL! That's a good one!

too funny

Your comment made me smile. Peg

Hunger Games

Although I would have loved to take a break and "catch a movie" during Thanksgiving, I stayed home with family who came from out of town for the holiday. My mother and father stayed with us and I thought it more appropriate to spend all the quality time with them that I could as my mother is in the early stages of dementia. Unfortunately, I may have very few holidays with her that she will be "there" for. Now that my father has begun the task of being her full time caretaker instead of just her husband and partner, I can see the toll it has already taken on him. I would love to treat HIM to a movie at Christmas!

Please respond with your name

Thank you for your touching post. I am going through the same thing with my mother Helen. I'm hoping that she hangs in there so that I can spend quality time with her over the Christmas holidays. Hopefully you see this post so that you can respond with your name. Would love to see you win tickets in the drawing. Peg

Hunger Games

Thanksgiving is all about quality time with friends and family. I spent some extra time with my daughter while going to see this fabulous movie. It was great to relax and spend time with the one's dear to me. Anna Castro-CCMC

Hunger Games Catching Fire

This second movie shows a more mature, more savy Katniss Everdeen. She is confident in herself and her skills. Our journey in our careers also bring about these changes. Yet, she is totally unaware of the plans they have for her, and why she survives throughout the second games when others do not! The ending showed her mentally "walking through a door of perception" and setting the attitude for the next film. Our journeys here also walk us through these doors, and we often find others supporting us behind the scenes to further us in our careers and assist us to attain our goals.

My Hunger Games experience

Hi Peg, I've not yet seen the second movie in the series but I've seen the first one and my daughter has not only seen the movies but read the entire book series before they were popular and loves them! Because I'm inpatient and can't seem to find the time to read them myself, I did ask her to tell me the entire story after we watched the first movie. At first I found myself uneasy with the concept of the game and worried about my daughter reading this stuff, but when I got past that initial feeling, I realized (like you) many life lessons people can take away from it. Being fearless when you need to be, having hope in what seems to be a hopeless situation and finding your "wins" in an environment that seems short of them are all lessons I wanted my kids to understand and it also taught me a thing or two about my own life and how to apply these lessons. Needless to say I can't wait to see the second movie and after reading your response I'm even more excited to go. Thanks for sharing! Katie Baca

Movie lessons ~

We decided to go to a less crowed theater. We saw Elysium. It's possible to draw two lessons from this film. At first the hero only thinks of how to save himself. Then he starts thinking of how he could save those close to him instead. And in the end his actions to save those close to him had a ripple action of including everyone on Earth. In our jobs we learn to care for others as if they are family and that in turn affects people we will never meet, in ways we can not imagine. The second lesson is that all along the way the hero needed help from others. He needed help getting from place to place and he needed help from people with skills that he did not have, but which he could not do without. Here we rely on others to help us learn and grow, and we all need to work together so our skills add up to more than what we can do alone. ~ Donna Boone


Thanks for your review of this movie. This is a Matt Damon flick right? I'll be sure to go to this over Christmas!.... Peg


Hello Peg, I recently watched a “new” movie per se during the Thanksgiving break, “Gangster Squad.” The movie has been out of theaters for sometime however the movie was new to my eyes. There was a line in the movie (paraphrasing) were the lead actor claims, “we will not get credit for this nor will anyone know our names, so if you want to leave feel free to do so.” This hit me after reading your post in regards to our nurses and doctors here at CMC, many patients the nurses/doctors assist will not remember names only the services provided to them but that doesn’t deter our nurses/doctors from doing their jobs day in and day out minus the recognition they deserve. Nurses/doctors are CMC’s unsung heroes and are faces in the hallways to many patients but to us they are what makes community a great place to be!!!! -Pedro Martinez Jr :)

Unsung Heroes

Pedro - love the quote! I completely agree with your "unsung heroes" analogy. Peg

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