In The Magnificent Seven, a few brave cowboys volunteer to protect a small town from the gruesome exploitations of a predatory industrialist. Hopelessly outnumbered, they stare at the village they’ve vowed to defend and muse about their minuscule chances of victory. One gang member asks Josh Faraday, a skilled gunman, what he thinks about their odds. Faraday responds with a story:
Reminds me of this fella I used to know. Fell off a five-story building. As he passed each floor on the way down, people inside heard him say: “So far, so good!“
He’s dead now.
The scene makes for a good chuckle among the rest of the gang and the audience, but it also holds a piece of advice that’s much deeper than a grim sense of humor: As the saying goes, hope dies last – but it must not die before you do. It is the last thing to enter the picture, but once it does, it must never, never run out – right until the very, true, actual end.
Sometimes, life will push you into unwinnable battles. No one likes the prospect of losing, but we mustn’t let prospects become prophesies. Many a foregone conclusion has been turned around, and while, yes, hope is what you do at the end, that does not mean you get to stop hoping before you hit the ground.
Considering his impending doom, Faraday checks in with Sam, a friend he is indebted to. “Have I made good on my horse yet, Sam?” Keeping his eyes on the horizon, Sam simply says: “So far, so good.” And off into battle they ride.