9 Inspiring Lessons from the School of Life

A few years ago, I found myself sitting on my couch at home watching a movie that would fundamentally alter the course of my life. Below I’ve included a speech from that movie – School of Life – that reminds me of my purpose when can’t find it in myself to to keep going.

[Editor’s note: unfortunately the video may be blocked in your country on copyright grounds.]

1. Life is a Hero’s Journey

Whether you realize it or not, you are the hero of your story. At the end of your life all you’re going to be left with is a story made up of events and experiences. The most important thing you can do is to make that story epic. That is why I suggest that you always choose a life made up of experiences instead of one made of possesions.

2. Your Potential is Unlimited

Somewhere along the way we started to get this ridiculous idea that our potential is limited. It might have been a bad grade or somebody critcizing us that caused to believe in limits. Eventually our belief in limits becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The truth is that your potential is unlimited. Once you start approaching every situation with this in mind, a world beyond your wildest dreams will open up to you. If you ask yourself what’s possible, you’ll see far beyond what you know today.

3. You’re Perfect

Self improvement is an interesting concept that is inherently flawed because the underlying premise is that there is something wrong with you and something you need to change. You’re actually amazing just the way you are. When you start to walk through the world with that in mind, you will soar to new heights and shine so bright that you’ll light up every room you walk into.

4. Take Your Shot

I’ve said before that your tolerance for risk will impact your potential for success. The idea that risk is a bad thing is somewhat of a virus that spreads through society limiting what people are really capable of. But it’s only when you’re willing to take some big risks that you get an opportunity to find out what you’re really made of. Why walk on to the field if you’re not going to play in the game?

5. Celebrate Success

You’d think it’d be easy to celebrate success right? Sometimes we gloss over our success because we’re so busy chasing it. It’s important to celebrate your small victories because they are what give you the drive to keep going. Don’t undervalue your small victories just because they are small.

6. Celebrate Failure

The other night I was watching a documentary about the creation of Pixar. You might know John Lasseter as the genius behind Toy Story, the world’s first feature length animated film. What you might not know about his story is that he was fired from Disney in the earlier part of his career. Getting fired from Disney was what connected him to the team that would eventually become known as Pixar. At the time it happens, failure is one of those things we can’t seem to understand. It tends to demoralize, destroy and defeat us. The wisest thing my dad has ever said to me is that everything happens for a reason. What he failed to tell me is that the reason may not be clear for quite some time.

7. We Don’t have That Much Time

Eckhart Tolle said that the present moment is all we have. The average life expectancy is 78 years. Every single moment is precious and it should be treated like gold in the palm of your hand. If there are things you want to do before you die, don’t wait another day to get started. Make the decision that today is the day. Take the first step in the direction of a dream and watch it unfold.

8. It Takes Less Than Death to Kill Us

Just because you are breathing, it doesn’t mean you’re alive. People die on the inside everyday and their wasted potential is the saddest thing in life. Emotion is what makes us human and alive. In any life there will be days that push our limits well beyond our breaking point. But, every one of us has the capability to bounce back built into us. The miracles in our lives emerge when we find it in ourselves to bounce back and show the world that we’re not down for the count.

9. Worry about Who You Are Being Not What You’re Doing

The amount of money you made, the jobs you’ve held, your performance at those jobs, the number of subscribers to your blog, the number of followers you have on twitter, and your Klout score won’t be on your tombstone (hopefully we never reach a point where they are). Arbitrary external measures of success drive so many of our actions, and so much of our behavior, yet ultimately they’re completely meaningless. People will tend to remember you for the person you’ve been not what you’ve done.

Make a choice to be remarkable, unforgettable, and amazing. After all that’s who you are when you overcome the fear of who you really are.

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