We watched Forest Gump again last night. I get a kick out of it because some parts of the movie were filmed right here in Savannah. I was shocked to see that the movie originally came out 12 years ago. Holy smokes! Where did that time go?
Watching the movie again got me to thinking. What are some of the things about Forest that made him so successful? Even though the movie was pure fiction, could some of those same things apply to us?
Here are some of the things I came up with:
- Forest was intensely loyal to his friends. He did some really crazy things for his friends Jenny, Bubba, and Lt. Dan. And a lot of the time he was doing good things for them in spite of the way they treated him back, not because of it. Especially where Jenny and Lt. Dan were concerned, Forest helped them in the face of abuse and even after they repeatedly told him they didn’t want his help. They didn’t deserve his friendship, but he gave it selflessly anyway. Often times that same loyalty to his friends paid unexpected dividends that made him more successful than he would have been with out it.
- Forest was incredibly focused in the moment. He didn’t worry about what might happen if things went badly. He didn’t often let himself get distracted by the why’s behind what was going on around him. Forest just stayed wholly in the moment and did the best he could where he was right then.
- Forest assumed the best in people he met. Whether it was a drill sergeant, folks at the Black Panther party, the guy who liked to use the f-word a lot, or the girls he met with Lt. Dan, Forest always gave people the benefit of the doubt, and treated them with respect. And he only ever got aggressive or challenged folks if they actually physically assaulted him or one of his friends.
- Forest accepted the reality of the world around him. Forest knew he wasn’t smart. He knew Lt. Dan lost his legs. Even so, he never let those things get in the way. He never felt sorry for himself because of his own weakness. He just accepted it and pressed on doing the best he could. Forest treated people’s weaknesses as matter of fact, not as something to be glossed over and hidden. Contrast that with Lt. Dan going on a multi-year pity party.
- Forest invested time and effort into his endeavors. Forest talks about spending years in the army, playing ping-pong, shrimping, and running. Some things he was naturally good at it like running, ping-pong, or the army. Others, like shrimping, he was a miserable failure at initially. But that didn’t matter to Forest. He invested the time and effort it took to get good at the things he knew he was supposed to do.
I know there are tons of other things about Forest that could help us get more out of life if we adopted them into our lives too. But that should be enough to get most of us started.
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