Life-Changing Lessons from ‘Groundhog Day’
Some Gobbler’s Knob wisdom to transform your life today.
I’ve met few people who dislike the 1993 movie Groundhog Day. Even if it’s not on the top of your favorites list, there are quite a few profound life lessons that you can draw from the comedic romp.
Lessons, that when you employ them in your life, have the capability of transforming your life before Punxsutawney Phil goes back to bed.
1. Life lessons repeat until we learn them.
Phil Connors: “What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing that you did mattered?”
The overall message of Groundhog Day isn’t a mystery. The Universe pushes the repeat button on your life until you learn the lesson it is presenting. You will not be able to fully move forward until the lesson is learned.
Have you ever noticed someone who continually chooses the same type of emotionally unavailable partner only to see the relationship fail miserably over and over again? “Why are there no ‘good guys’ left?” They bemoan.
Others may continually get “stuck” in nowhere jobs and have to deal with heaps of workplace abuse without realizing the bevy of choices that lay at their feet.
The Universe is trying to show you those parts of yourself that need to heal and change. This is a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself.
You won’t have better when you believe deep down that you are not worth better. Here’s a little hint. You are worth better and when you start to believe it others will too.
Often, we don’t even see the lesson playing out before our eyes. All we know is that we’re exhausted. When you begin to see the repeating patterns in your life, it’s time to pay attention. What is the Universe trying to teach you?
2. Get away from your digital addictions.
Phil Connors: “This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”
I love paying attention to the crowds of people gathered at Gobbler’s Knob in the wee hours of February 2nd awaiting Punxsutawney Phil to emerge from his cozy den.
I understand the line that Phil Connors uses to describe the situation is awash in sarcasm but he isn’t wrong. Television fails to capture the excitement of the crowd. Watching it on the television compared to being there in person is a completely different experience.
It’s the same way with our entire lives.
I’ve been waking up early to write. Every day this week there’s been an amazing sunrise. I stand outside with my cup of coffee and become mesmerized by the beauty. I’ve noticed that later in the day, others who were up with the groundhogs, post photos of the sunrise on their social media accounts.
They are lovely pictures. But they are nothing like standing there experiencing the real deal. I had the privilege of seeing it first hand with my half-opened eyes.
What are some of your favorite foods, places, or things to do? Stop following the hashtag and go experience it for yourself.
3. The first step is always a doozy.
Ned Ryerson (Needle-nose Ned, Ned the Head): “Watch out for that first step, it’s a doozy.”
I don’t care what it is that you are trying to accomplish but the first step is always the hardest. The first line of that book you want to write. On the first day, you are training at the gym trying to achieve some fitness goals. Your first day on the job that you worked so hard to get. The first time you asked out that one, special person.
The first step can be difficult and it’s often scary. The important thing is that you take that step anyway. It’s okay if you step in a puddle just make certain that you take the next step out of it.
Any goal that you want to accomplish is a series of steps. Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” There is no fast-forwarding to where you want to go.
What is it that you want to accomplish? What big goals do you have for your life? Take one little doozy of a step today. Then tomorrow repeat– just avoid the puddles.
4. Live in the present moment only.
Phil Connors: “Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”
If I had to choose my two favorite tools to help me stay in the present moment and free myself from stress and worry, I would choose gratitude and the art of letting go.
When anxiety and worry begin creeping into my mind, I stop in my tracks and begin practicing gratitude. There are always reasons to be grateful–especially on the bad days. I do my best to practice gratitude even for the crummy stuff.
Gratitude turns what we have into more. Then I take all those things I’m worried about and I let go. The more we try to control things that we have no control over, the more stress and anxiety we will experience.
Phil is driven to the brink of insanity and depression by trying to control things that were out of control. It was only when he became grateful for his moments and let go of his attempt to control that he finally began to move forward. Focus on what you can control in the current moment you are in and then let the rest go.
5. Everything you want is on the other side hard work.
Rita: “This day was perfect. You couldn’t have planned a day like this”.
Phil: “Well, you can. It just takes an awful lot of work.”
Have you ever noticed people whose success looks like it was accomplished with the greatest of ease and then you wonder why it’s always so difficult for you to accomplish anything? Here’s a secret, it wasn’t easy for them. It’s not easy for anyone.
Great relationships, for example, aren’t born. They are created.
Successful careers don’t happen overnight. There is a lot of time, thought, and persistence happening behind the scenes. They only make it look easy.
I have those three words written on a piece of paper and taped to my computer as a reminder.
I once heard the late Eagles’ frontman Glenn Fry use it to describe how he learned to write music from famed songwriter Jackson Browne.
“Time, thought, persistence. That’s how you do it,” he said.
Indeed, that’s exactly how you do it.
6. Be happy, today.
Rita: It’s beautiful. I don’t know what to say.
Phil: I do. Whatever happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I’m happy now…
Yes, you have goals. Yes, you have wants and desires. None of them will make you happy. Happiness is a state of mind and that my fellow traveler is a choice.
A state is not to be confused with your goals. The goal itself may be awesome, but happiness lies with you. It’s not some reward reserved only after you’ve achieved your goal.
Phil’s big lessons led him to let go, become grateful in the moment, and to choose happiness even if he was going to wake up trapped in the same day.
Happiness can be chosen at this very moment. There is magic in choosing happiness with your world exactly as it is. It’s empowering and brings immediate joy. Even if the groundhog sees his shadow and six more weeks of winter are is on the way.