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3 Things Aladdin Teaches Us About Being More Honest – With Ourselves and With Others

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Aladdin first became popularized in the United States in the 1990s by Disney’s animated musical of the same name. But the story is not original. In fact, the story of Aladdin is actually several hundred years old and is only 1 of over 1,000 original stories published in a book called Arabian Nights in the 18th Century. 

Despite there being different versions, let’s stick with Disney’s take for our purposes here. In the film, Aladdin is a street-wise orphan who hustles and steals to try to get by. But after a series of events leads him to discover a magic lamp with a Genie who will grant him 3 wishes, he completely transforms himself. But this comes at a cost.

Aladdin wishes to be a rich prince so that he can win the heart of Princess Jasmine, who he met and lied to about his identity when he lived in the streets. The problem is, even though Aladdin becomes a rich prince, Princess Jasmine recognizes him which causes Aladdin to lie to her for a second time. Throughout the course of the film, Aladdin continues to lie and lie until it not only almost costs him the love of the Princess, but almost costs him his life. 

What can you and I learn from Aladdin specifically as it relates to honesty and dishonesty in our own lives? 

  1. When in potential trouble, dishonesty seems more convenient. Aladdin found himself in trouble all throughout the film. While some of this trouble wasn’t his own fault, some of it was. When Princess Jasmine confronted him about his identity (she did recognize him from the streets when he became a fake prince) he chose to deceive her. But why? He did so because he thought the princess would never accept the real him so he became something else to try to win her over. In our lives, we might also experience potential troubling or inconvenient situations and we too will have to choose between whether we will be honest with others or trick them into believing we’re something (and somebody) other than who we are. Have you ever been less than forthright with people because you wanted their acceptance?
  1. Dishonesty jeopardizes our relationships. Even though Aladdin thought he was trying to maintain his relationship with Princess Jasmine by lying to her, he was actually jeopardizing it because he was manipulating her for his own purposes. It’s not that he meant her harm, but he still disrespected her by taking her for a fool. Instead of being brave himself, he chose to act cowardly so that he could make her his girl by any means necessary. For you and me, when we tell fabrications or half-truths we are manipulating others even if our intentions are good and very much disrespecting them. For our own sakes, we should be completely straight with people so that we don’t potentially lose important relationships.
  1. Dishonesty makes us postpone our own growth and development. One of Aladdin’s biggest flaws was that he was less than truthful and had a tendency to cover things up, especially as they related to Princess Jasmine. Each time he covered up, he was delaying growing into the person he was meant to be – an honest and courageous man who was strong enough to tell himself the truth so that he could tell others the truth too. For us, we must choose honesty if we are to stop lying to ourselves and others – and if we are to overcome our biggest flaws and grow into the people we’re meant to be.

Ultimately Aladdin teaches us great lessons about honesty and dishonesty. It shows us that we should always be honest even when it seems less convenient; that we should not risk our relationships for lack of honesty; and that by being honest with ourselves and others we are choosing to accelerate our own growth and development as people. 

Dr. Rob Carpenter - known simply as “Dr. Rob” - is a transformational author, filmmaker, and CEO whose mission is to entertain, empower, and uplift people and humanity.

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Disney

5 Things Beauty & The Beast Teaches Adults About Not Fitting In

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5 Things Beauty & The Beast Teaches Adults About Not Fitting In

One reason why so many Disney movies are timeless is because of the truths they teach us. Beauty & The Beast is no exception.

The film follows a booksmart daughter (“Belle”) of a local inventor who gets lost in the woods and is taken as a prisoner in a castle by a mysterious Beast. To find her missing father, Belle searches the woods and discovers the castle herself – before being taken prisoner by the Beast too. The Beast, who must get Belle to fall in love with him by his 21st birthday to break a curse over his life, tries to force her to but she escapes because he is too rigid and controlling – he is trying to force her to be something she is not through lots of rules and regulations. Eventually, though, Belle returns to the Beast after the local townspeople discover the castle and attempt to destroy it (Belle realizes that she does love Beast and wants to be with him the rest of her life).

While there is a lot to unpack to this film – about love, prejudice, and other things – one of the biggest lessons Beauty & The Beast imparts is on how to be okay with not ‘fitting in.’ This is important because regardless of whether we’re children or adults, not fitting in is something we will continuously struggle with so having more inspiration in this area of our lives is important. Here are 5 things the movie teaches us.

  1. We will fit in some places, but not in other places. Belle was seen as weird in her hometown because she read a lot, didn’t date, and seemed to keep to herself. As a result, she didn’t really fit in there because the townspeople thought women shouldn’t read and should just get married. On the other hand – unlike in her hometown – once Belle entered the castle with the Beast, she was more accepted and valued by the people there (the servants of the house) then she was by the people in her hometown. Likewise for us, some places and groups we will just not fit into (no matter who we are), but other ones we will (no matter who we are). Instead of us trying to be chameleons and change just to fit into a group we want acceptance from, we should simply find people and groups that will accept us no questions asked.
  1. Other people will always try to mold us into their image. Both the Beast (and Gaston, the local arrogant townsman who was smitten for Belle) tried to make her into something she wasn’t: their version of what an acceptable wife should be. The Beast, for example, wanted her to follow his rules (without seeking her input or perspective) and Gaston wanted Belle to just blindly follow him (to make her his trophy housewife). For you and me, other people will also try to get us to become what they want us to be according to their rules and dictates. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes this is bad. We have to recognize the difference between when changing as a result of others’ influence is in our best interest and when it isn’t. 
  1. Some people will go to war with the identities we’ve chosen for ourselves. Gaston could not stand that Belle chose Beast over him, so he decided to go to war against the Beast. But, in a way, he also decided to go to war against the identity and choices Belle made for herself too (that she chose to identify with everything that Gaston wasn’t – namely the Beast). In our own lives, some people will question, challenge, belittle, dismiss, and sometimes attempt to cancel the identities and groups we choose for ourselves because they don’t think they’re good for us. This will happen over and over in our lives, no matter who we are.
  1. Those who attempt to change us will often be changed by us. The ironic thing is that even though Beast tried to change Belle through his rules, he ended up being changed by her through her influence. She was able to get him to see that his assumptions and approach to her were all wrong and he transformed into a better person as a result. When people attempt to change you and me, they will likewise be in a position to be changed by us. Not all of these people will change, but many of them will – whether they know it or not (and whether we know they change or not). Our influence in their lives will be profound and it may lead them to adopt different mindsets, approaches, and behaviors toward us (and toward others in their lives) even if just subconsciously.
  1. Our happiness is defined by who we are – not who others are trying to make us to be. Belle was completely happy to be the weird booksmart daughter of an inventor and she never tried to be anything else. Even though Beast and Gaston tried to make her into one thing, she wanted to be something entirely different. And she stood firm. For us, this can be tough to do but it is possible. If we find happiness in ourselves (and not because we’re trying to make others happy or become who they want us to be) we will be better for it.

Ultimately, Beauty and The Beast is a phenomenal film we can learn many lessons from, especially around not having to fit in. When we recognize these lessons not only will we be in better positions to carry them out in our own lives, but we just might help influence others to carry them out in their own lives as well.

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Celebrities

The Top 5 Life Lessons of Reese Witherspoon

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The Top 5 Life Lessons of Reese Witherspoon 

Reese Witherspoon is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. She is the recipient of an Oscar, Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, and many other awards. And she is an outspoken activist and big-time producer.

Reese was raised in the South and made her breakthrough debut in the smash teen-hit Cruel Intentions and has since then acted in many other beloved hits like Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere

Given all of her success, what can you and I learn from her so that we can be more successful in our own lives? 

  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should leave our comfort zones. Reese strongly believes that we need to step outside of the familiar, easy, and comfortable in order to stretch ourselves to be more and do more. If we don’t, we will never know if we can truly fly like eagles. 
  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should connect with other talented people. The quality of the people around us are more responsible for our success or failure than we might realize. Reese feels her ability to befriend and develop deep working relationships with the best people she can find has helped her not only reach her dreams but exceed them. We should do the same. 
  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should be prepared. Although this might seem like a given, it is often very surprising how infrequently people are prepared for meetings or getting the job done. In my own experience in Hollywood, for example, I’ve found that many people are not prepared and it has led to unnecessary inefficiencies and obstacles that could have been avoided had everyone been ready. This is why Reese believes we should do our research so we can hit the ground running on Day 1.
  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should think creatively. Reese feels that just because things have always been done a certain way doesn’t mean they have to continue to be done that way. Instead, new ideas or approaches can be pitched and experimented with to see if they could be better. Too often in life, though, many people like to think inside the box because it is safer – but we should never be like them (we should adopt the mottos of “creativity or bust”).
  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should prove naysayers wrong. Being from the South herself, Reese had a lot of doubters from both her hometown AND Hollywood who questioned whether a country girl could make it in the big city. Nevertheless, she proved their doubts wrong by not only succeeding but succeeding big. You and I can do the same thing. We don’t have to argue with people, we just have to let our work speak for us.

Of course, there are other life lessons from Reese Witherspoon but these are some of my favorites. If we can learn to leave our comfort zones; connect deeply with other talented people; be prepared for every meeting and occasion; think creativity; and prove naysayers wrong we can be well on our way to being more successful like Reese Witherspoon.

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Disney

4 Things The Lion King Teaches Us About Being Brave

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4 Things The Lion King Teaches Us About Being Brave

Growing up, The Lion King was one of my favorite movies. I thought of myself as “young Simba” and watched the film over and over again. Perhaps you did too. 

For me, what I identified with the most was not that Simba was African royalty or had really cool friends like Timon and Pubma. What I identified with the most was Simba’s bravery. 

It wasn’t that I thought of myself as brave. It wasn’t even that I wanted to be brave. It’s just that I admired that trait in him so much because even as a kid I believed it to be such an honorable quality. I believed that princes – and future kings – should be brave. I think we all do.

But as I got older, I no longer believed bravery should just be the province of royalty. I also started to believe that it should be a trait that all leaders should possess. Heck, I started to believe it should be a trait that all of us should possess really. 

I think I came to this conclusion because of the lack of bravery I saw in my own life – and in the lives of others, especially leaders. I thought if only we had more courage we could be in much different places in our lives, families, and communities. I just thought if only the world was braver it could be better.

Ultimately, The Lion King – which is about Simba losing his father and his homeland and fighting to reclaim it – can teach us much about how to be braver in our own lives. Below are 4 ways the film does just that:

  1. Bravery will require us to choose between confronting wrongs and staying comfortable. Although Simba was in a forced exile from his homeland, he found new friends and a very cushy existence with Timon and Pumba in the wilderness. Life was good and his catchphrase became Hakuna Matata (“no worries”). But when Simba’s old friend Nala from the kingdom comes to tell him about the wicked cruelty now taking place there, Simba’s no worries lifestyle is immediately challenged. He has to choose between going back to his homeland and taking on the wicked king (his uncle Scar) or living the good life with his friends. Likewise, for us to be brave we will have to choose between standing up for our beliefs so that we can right wrongs or being timid by remaining in our status quo existence.
  1. Bravery will require us to confort fierce opposition. For Simba to stop the wicked oppression going on, it meant that he not only had to take on his uncle but that he had to take on his uncle’s entire army. But how was he going to do it? After all, he only had a couple of friends who were his allies and no resources. Yet, Simba still decided to. In our own lives, if we want to be brave we will have to fight people, organizations, or systems that might have more power than us. We will have to fight our fear of being excluded, bad-mouthed, messed with, and even “cancelled.”
  1. Bravery will require us to accept that the outcome is not always guaranteed. In retrospect, it’s easy to believe Simba was going to be successful in stopping Scar from continuing to oppress the people (or animals in the movie’s case). But when Simba was fighting Scar and his forces, he didn’t know if he would fail. He didn’t know if he would lose his life. He didn’t know if his friends would lose their lives. For you and me, when we are called to be brave we won’t always know if we’ll succeed. We won’t always know if we will win or lose. 
  1. Bravery will require us to pursue victory for more people than just ourselves. Even though Simba was fighting to regain his legitimate right to be the king, his victory was for more than just himself. His victory was to redeem the loss of his father and to save his people/animals. Likewise for us, when we’re in situations that require bravery the stakes will not just be for us. No matter what we’re going through, there will always be other people who will win or lose if we win or lose even if we don’t know that.

Ultimately, the lessons from The Lion King are timeless. Choosing between staying comfortable and confronting wrongs, standing up to fierce opposition, accepting unknown outcomes, and fighting for more than ourselves are just a few of the things the movie teaches us about how you and I can become braver in our own lives. 

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