I was watching Finding Nemo with my kiddos the other night, in my opinion one of the best animated films of all time, and it occurred to me that you can learn a whole lot about life from a fish. If you’ve never seen the film, I highly recommend it. If you have seen it, you might want to watch it again.
Here are the top 7 life lessons I learned from Finding Nemo:
1. It’s hard to let go. Sometimes you have to let go anyway. In the movie, Nemo’s dad, Marlin, was an overprotective clownfish who needed to learn to trust in his son and have enough confidence to let him go. Whether it’s a child, a relationship, or a job, as hard as it may be, sometimes we just have to let go. In this case Nemo’s dad needed to let go for a positive reason. In life, it’s not always that simple. Whether it’s a toxic relationship, a bad boss, a dead-end job, or a kiddo leaving the nest, sometimes you just have to let go and trust that things will be ok.
2. A gimpy fin doesn’t have to stop you. Nemo has one “normal” fin and one gimpy fin. He’s self conscious about it and worries that he won’t fit in, yet he manages to overcome all of the obstacles placed in his way. We all have our own version of a gimpy fin. Rather than use it as an excuse, embrace it and find ways to excel because of it.
3. Even if you’re shark bait, carry on as if you’re a shark. Nemo makes a group of new friends who lovingly refer to him as “shark bait”. Nemo works past his fear and makes the decision to escape and find his dad. Even if it feels a bit forced, have confidence in yourself and know you CAN do anything. It will help you get more comfortable with being uncomfortable, and it might bring you some adventure along the way.
5. Lighten up! Along their journey, Dory tries to help Marlin lighten up. I’m not sure where along the way most of us have become so serious. I meet so many people who are completely uptight and stressed all of the time. Life is too short! If you’re one of those people who find things to worry about…STOP. Make a conscious decision to lighten up and relax. What’s going to happen will happen whether you’re uptight or not.
6. Relationships matter. Take time to call a friend this week, or even better, have lunch with some friends. Nemo is supported by all of his buddies in the tank, Marlin becomes “saved” by Dory, and even Bruce the shark becomes a pal. All of us need friends. People who build relationships are happier, healthier, and more successful.
7. Just keep swimming. Ah Dory. You might be a forgetful little fish, but you are a genius. Never underestimate the power of resilience and persistence. While my mantra for many years now has been “it is what it is” when dealing with my fears and sadness about Evan, I’m going to add a new one. Every time I feel overwhelmed or frustrated, I’m going to follow Dory’s lead and “just keep swimming…swimming…swimming, just keep swimming…”
It’s funny how much we can learn from a kid’s movie.
Make it a great week and just keep swimming!