“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get” – Forrest Gump
(editors note: orginally published on 2/01/2009)
Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
One of my favorite movies of all time is “Forrest Gump”, not because it’s a great story and very well made film, but because it teaches us a lot as well. Tom Hank’s character Forrest I feel displays some of the attitudes that would allow us to accomplish a whole lot and lead a fulfilling life.
If you have not watched the movie, “Forrest Gump” tells the story of a man and his epic journey through life. Along the way Forrest gets to mingle with historical figures, influences popular culture, and experiences first-hand historic events while being largely unaware of their significance, due to his borderline mental retardation.
Because of Forrest’s mental retardation and his mom’s sage advice, Forrest approaches life without being aware of his limitations, he simply takes action and figures it out along the way.
“My momma always said that Miracles happen everyday, some people don’t think so, but they do” – Forrest Gump
Some of Forrest’s Accomplishments:
- All American football Player (Even though he started his life with leg braces)
- Graduated College
- Joined The Army and Got A Medal of Honor
- Ping Pong Champion
- Started a Successful Shrimp Company
- Ran Across America for Three Years
“Make sure you do your best Forrest, I sure will momma”
What we can learn from Forrest Gump:
- Being Grateful: Forrest did not concern himself with the past or dream about the future, he was fully present in his life, and therefore was able to be grateful for whatever he had going on.
- Learning To Let Go: Life is a roller coaster with many up’s and downs, when things got tough Forrest always chose to see the brighter side of things, he made opportunities where others only saw defeat or failure. Forrest would put all his energy into one goal at a time, taking it to completion then moving with life to the next destination.
- Impeccable with his Word: He kept his promises. Forrest made a promise to his friend Bubba from the army, that he would help him start his shrimp company when the war was over. Bubba did not make it back home, but Forrest still kept his promise and went 50/50 and gave Bubba’s share to his family.
- Accepted Others: Forrest did not judge people he loved, he accepted them for who they are, complete with strengths and weaknesses.
- Was not greedy: Forrest only used what he needed then gave away the rest. Because of his generosity the more Forrest gave the more he got in return.
- Taking Action: Forrest did not really think about things too much, an opportunity would present itself and he would take action putting wholehearted effort into what ever he has doing.
How To Be like Forrest Gump:
There’s no doubt that we can all accomplish many great things like Forrest Gump, but we must be able to have a plan in place to accomplish our goals. We need to learn how to manage our activities (tasks) and stress along the way to get the most return from the actions we take.
The reality is that most people routinely put off doing things they hate to do. A lot of the time these activities are also the ones that must be done if they are to progress and grow in their lives. The flipside is that because of our modern day society we also put off things that we love to do. The mantra is usually that there is not enough time in the day.
Today the challenge is how we make time for the things we enjoy when you are overworked, over scheduled, and overwhelmed.
With so many things competing for our attention like our job, cell phone, email, kids, TV, Internet, Twitter, Facebook, etc. our goal should be to be productive and efficient without burning out. We need to have the energy to pursue the things that will add value and meaning to our lives.
It’s not really about time management more than its managing meaningful activities. If you are not able to manage all the activities you want to complete, you will get stressed out and have your mind zooming in a million different directions.
When you observe our modern society you will notice that we get caught up in being productive, efficient, and stressed out that we slowly accept burnout as a normal way of life.
Manage Your Stress:
Being Busy all the time with out making room for the things you enjoy like yoga, cooking, reading, writing, and spending time with the family will lead to overwhelming stress. Not being able to manage your stress can lead to many health risks because of the overwhelming stress hormones that your body secretes like cortisol.
Balance is Key:
We just have to realize that we don’t have enough time in the day to do everything we would like to get done. We need to indentify the most critical things and work until they are complete, then move on to less important tasks.
Learning To Let Go:
We only become stressed about the things we respond to. How you respond and react to all the things that demand your attention is how you will learn to control your stress.
Typical modern day demands:
- Being able to manage: email, internet, text messages, PDA’s, facebook, myspace, twitter.
- Fear of loosing job
- Multi Tasking several demanding activities
- Taking supplements for sleeping, energy, and mood
- Lack of boundaries
“My mom always said theres an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes, where they go, where they’ve been, I’ve worn lot’s of shoes” – Forrest Gump
Activities to help you cope with stress:
- Joining a sport or club
- Good nutrition
- Outdoor activities
- Meeting up with old friends for good conversation and coffee.
Think of your energy like being a bank, you need to manage your credit (activities that give you energy) and debits (demands that take away energy). If you are making to0 many debits you won’t have enough money (energy) in your account and will only burn yourself out.
Make a list of all the things that take away energy and the things that you are doing to add energy. If there is not a good balance start figuring out how you can achieve that balance by taking on activities that will add energy.
Whenever you feel the stress building up become aware of it, face it and think about the best way to respond to it. When you get rid of things that you did just to stay busy what will you do with the extra time?
Making Things Happen:
- Valuable: Identify the things that are truly valuable in your life.
- Acceptance: Love and accept who you are right now, and use as stepping stone to next level of growth.
- Realistic: Make sure you pursue things that with proper effort and planning will be a reality. Try and take on goals that will take 3-12 months, anything longer than that and it will be difficult in finding the motivation to keep doing. Start in baby steps accomplishing things that are manageable and will give you confidence.
- Trivial: Identity all the things that are not adding value to your life and eliminate them.
- Define: Define a structure or daily routine that will with one step and a time get you close to the big picture goal.
- Growth: Make the time to evaluate key areas of your life like your finances, relationships, health, and spiritual health and make time to do activities that focus on your growth.
“We either make ourselves miserable or make ourselves strong, either way; the amount of work is the same” Carlos Castaneda
Where Does Your Stress Stem From: Physically, intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually. Identify where there stress is coming from and respond with an activity that counteracts it.
When you identify what’s valuable think of ways to integrate it into your daily life.
- Put the situation into proper perspective
- Decide what you are going to do
- Start small
- Set Deadlines
- Do to most important tasks first than reward yourself
Hope you found this article helpful, I really believe that once we begin to strip away our self imposed limitations,we to can accomplish many worthwhile things like Forrest Gump.
I wish you best, keep growing, keep evolving, and keep shining my friend- Ivan Campuzano
If you find my site valuable please pass it along to your friends and family. I really appreciate you helping me in my personal mission to empower as many people as I can.
“Run Forrest Run…..from that day forward if I was going anywhere I was running” – Forrest Gump