Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The main lesson I learned from Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is still in my top 5 favorite movies of all time. Classic. If you have never seen it, get it now. The story of two people really, Forrest and Jenny. Forrest is "not a smart man" by his own account. He ends up with a very remarkable life, pretty much by accident. Jenny, however, is determined to have a significant life of fame and fortune. Jenny hates her past, constantly struggles with bad memories and ends up in one bad place after another. Forrest just does what he is told and great things happen. 
Now, don't even think that. I am not suggesting we all be good little robots and do everything we are told. I am suggesting that Forrest Gump was a lot smarter than anyone thought because he understood and lived by a simple principle......
Be where you are. 
That thought has tormented me. Mainly because it's really difficult for me to focus all my energy and attention on any one thing. But, he understood the power and value of being able to be completely involved in whatever he did. He was not driven by ambition. He had no hidden agendas. He didn't pretend to like people. He didn't waste time with people who didn't care about him. He was completely loyal to the people who mattered. Jenny was the only girl for him. 
Throughout the story, Jenny comes and goes constantly. She can never stay still for very long. She feels she has to keep moving. The life she wants is out there, somewhere. If one place isn't perfect, she keep moving. Never satisfied. Never committed. Craving freedom, but trapped in a life she doesn't want. She is always surrounded by losers and leeches. People who have her around for their amusement or benefit, not for her. Nobody is there for her... Except Forrest. He never gives up on her. No matter what she does, where she goes, who she gives herself to; he is still waiting for her. She is always his girl. 
Forrest gets attacked by bullies when he is a kid, Jenny tells him to run. He takes off, breaks loose of the braces on his legs and finds out he can REALLY run. He is fast. But the doctor had crammed him into leg braces to "fix" him. Because Jenny gave him that push to run, he found out he was capable of something even he though he couldn't do. That push to run ends up being a huge part of his life, taking him to college, keeping him and others alive during a war and crossing the country about three times. He just listened to someone who mattered, took their advice and did it. 
He is not afraid to fight. If something is wrong or Jenny is in trouble, he is all in. Not taking a lot of time to consider it or pray about it. Jump to action immediately. He can take criticism and adjust. He doesn't go into depression every time his life takes a turn. He isn't constantly looking for that bigger and better deal. He understands that this is his life. Right now. He is living it. It's not coming tomorrow. It's not about waiting on something to happen before he can be content. He is living every day of his life. He knows who he is he knows how people see him. He knows they talk about him. He knows that he has limitations. He is not spending his life trying to become "somebody" or prove himself. Not bad for someone who is "not a smart man."
This is the lesson I learned from that movie. Be where you are. Be involved in your life. Commit yourself to the life you have and the family you have. Stop waiting for your life to show up. You have your life. If it is bad, adjust where you have to. Don't live in misery, but understand if it's misery you are bringing on yourself. Constantly chasing money or bigger homes or faster cars is not going to make your life good. It just steals precious time you could be spending with people you love and doing good stuff. The number one deathbed regret is working too much, not enjoying life. Seriously. This is your life. Stay connected to family and friends. Spend time with your wife and kids. Quantity time finds quality time. Be involved in your life. Be here today. Stop chasing or waiting for something that doesn't matter. 
Be where you are. 

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