3 Things Back To The Future Teaches Us About Fighting For Our Destinies
Great Scott! It’s time for us to talk about Back to the Future, one of my favorite films and one of the greatest movies of all time. It’s hard to believe it debuted over 35 years ago, and it’s even harder to believe that many of its technologies are now either with us or coming into fruition – except for, of course, the flying cars. (And speaking of flying cars, I’m not sure if we would actually want this as people have a tough time driving on physical roads, so having them flying thousands of feet in the air might be a little tough – plus what happens if they run out of gas mid flight? These are some pretty serious things we need to think about. But I digress.)
The story of Back to the Future follows everyday teen Marty McFly – played by Michael J. Fox – when he gets unexpectedly presented with an opportunity to travel back in time – and travel ahead in the future – by Doc Brown so that he can prevent some terrible things from happening to himself and his family.
What can you and I learn from this iconic movie as it relates to how we can also fight to secure our own destinies (and perhaps the destinies of others too)?
- When securing our own destinies, we will almost always be presented with a choice. When scientist Doc Brown showed up on the scene, Marty was presented with a choice: either stay where he was and lose the future he desperately wanted (of peace, love, and prosperity) or go back in time to fight to make sure he would secure this future. Of course, Marty chose to fight to save himself, his love, and his family – and the rest is history. Likewise in our own lives, when it comes to our destinies – our dreams, our goals, the reasons we were put on God’s green earth – we will have a choice to make as well. We can either let our fates play out as third party bystanders to them (potentially missing out on the futures we hope for without our input or control) or we can choose to influence and change those fates just like Marty did – in our favor. We can positively influence our futures by making wise decisions, listening to the right people, and making small amounts of progress each and every day.
- When securing our own destinies, we must act when we have the chance to. The ironic – and fun and scary – part about Marty’s chance to go back to the future, was that he only had a very limited time to act. He only had a very limited time to make a decision. He only had a short window of opportunity to fight for his destiny. He wasn’t given a weekend or a day or an hour, he just had to make a quick decision when the opportunity demanded it. For you and me, we will also have to make quick decisions at appropriate times so that we can fight to secure our destinies. We may not have to make one big singular decision like Marty, but we will often have to make many smaller ones – each of which could positively or negatively impact our futures. If we don’t make these decisions – or if we don’t make these decisions when we have the chance – it may be too late. These decisions could come in the form of choosing to educate ourselves when we can, picking the right spouse when the time is right, and taking all of the steps we need to live our professional dreams. But again, we will have to act fast at the right times to do these things – otherwise we might have to wait a very long time for another shot at these things or we could miss out on them all together.
- When securing our own destinies, we must always keep in mind we have more power over them than we realize. Although Marty was just a teenager, he didn’t necessarily think he had a lot of power to influence his life – or his future. After all, what skills did he have to do this? What skills did he have to beat his opponent in doing this, Biff Tanner? Despite not completely believing in himself, Marty still believed in his future which gave him a kind of power – almost a kind of superpower – which helped him be successful in deciding his own fate. All he needed was a small kernel of belief and his whole future was secure. In our own lives, we might not always feel like we have the type of power we need to influence our futures. We might not always feel we have the type of talent or money or connections or [insert the blank] but if we just believe in our futures we can gain a kind of power that gives us strength to secure our destinies. All we have to do is believe – even if that belief in ourselves and our futures is only the size of a small seed.
Ultimately, Back to the Future teaches us many great life lessons. But the lessons it shares on fighting to secure our own destinies are some of its most important. When we realize that we will almost always have a choice, that we must act quickly to make that choice, and that we have more power than we think, we will be well on our way to securing the futures we have always dreamed about.
3 Things Black Panther Teaches Us About Royalty
3 Things Black Panther Teaches Us About Royalty
Not only was Disney’s Black Panther a cultural and financial juggernaut, but it was a film that teaches us about how we can all operate more like royalty. But before we get into how we can do that, here’s a quick recap of the movie.
As a child, a little boy’s dad is accidentally killed in Oakland at the hands of his visiting uncle during a dispute over their African Kingdom, “Wakanda.” Consequently, this little boy (Erik Killmonger) makes it his life’s mission to take revenge to kill not only his uncle (the King of Wakanda), but to take over his uncle’s Kingdom. And he succeeds – temporarily. When Killmonger grows up he assassinates his uncle at the United Nations and then travels to Wakanda to wrestle the throne away from his cousin T’challa (the Black Panther and son of the deceased King who is now King himself) before ultimately being defeated himself- and killed.
What can you and I learn about how to be more royal from this phenomenal story?
- Royalty is a behavior not a bloodline. Although Killmonger was technically a rightful heir to the throne of Wakanda – any royal family member could challenge a newly installed king in Wakanda to become king himself – he did not behave like royalty. Killmonger lied, cheated, and manipulated his way to temporarily seizing the throne from King T’challa but to no avail. But why didn’t his efforts work in the long-term? Because the same behaviors Killmonger used to get the throne were exactly the OPPOSITE behaviors he needed to keep the throne. To be royal, we must be honest, full of integrity, and inspire people out of good will – everything T’challa did that Killmonger didn’t. As a result, even though Killmonger had royal blood, he did not have royal (or noble) behavior necessary to rule. For you and me, we can become more royal if we realize that royalty is a noble behavior we have, not a bloodline we inherit from others.
- Royalty will always challenge us to make us better. T’challa by all intents and purposes was a kind and caring king. He loved his people, oversaw a peaceful nation, and kept his country out of war. However, given his Kingdom’s vast resources, he did little to help blacks outside of Wakanda which infuriated Killmonger. By not recognizing the pain of people outside of his own borders, T’challa opened himself up for criticism and conflict – which, in the end, made him better because T’challa realized he should be doing more to help more people. Likewise for us, if we are to operate like royalty some may challenge us (with their words, articles, videos, music, or movies) to be more empathetic to the plight of other people around us.
- Royalty always does what is right – with the right methods. The biggest difference between Killmonger and T’challa is that the former wanted to use the WRONG methods to do what is right and the latter wanted to use the RIGHT methods to do what is right. Killmonger and T’challa eventually had the same goal – to make Wakanda great and help oppressed black people around the world – but they had different ways of going about it. Killmonger wanted to kill people to do it whereas T’challa wanted to use peaceful diplomacy and commerce to do it. Even though they had the same goal, T’challa was acting like royalty because he wanted to pursue the goal with dignity while Killmonger didn’t. In our own lives, for us to operate like royalty we should pursue good goals with good means. In other words, we shouldn’t take shortcuts or do bad things to justify reaching the good results we deserve in our lives.
Ultimately, Black Panther has many lessons it can teach us about how we can operate like royalty. By understanding that royalty is a noble behavior and not an inherited bloodline; that royalty will challenge us to improve what we’re doing and who we’re helping; and that royalty will always require us to do what is right (using the right methods) we can begin to see how we can all be more royal ourselves.
5 Things Beauty & The Beast Teaches Adults About Not Fitting In
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The Top 5 Life Lessons of Reese Witherspoon
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”).
- 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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