“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” – Ben Stiller, as Walter Mitty (reciting the Life Magazine Tagline), in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
I love the movie Walter Mitty. I watched it again the other day because I enjoy it so much. Most movies don’t really leave much of an impression on me but this always does. The last time I was this moved by a movie it was Up In The Air with George Clooney. I made the decision shortly after seeing that movie to quit my job in Missouri and move back to Kentucky. So having this irrepressible thought pattern about Walter Mitty made me a little concerned. I figured that maybe writing out my thoughts would be a much better alternative this time around.
As I watched the movie I really felt that there were 4 underlying themes that ran throughout. The more I’ve thought about them the more compelled I felt to write this newsletter.
Don’t Wait to Do the Things You Want to Do
The first theme is one that I consider to be standard in many movies, books, TV shows, and songs. It is simple: Don’t put off til tomorrow the things that you want to do today. Walter lived a very simple life. Actually, I would go so far as to call it a boring life. At one point in the movie Walter is struggling to set up his online dating profile. When the eHarmony Representative asks him where he has been in his life Walter replies that he really hadn’t been anywhere. As the movie continues though we learn that Walter wasn’t always so mundane. He had dreams and aspirations to see the world. To travel. To do amazing things. But the circumstances of life and his father’s untimely death led Walter down a different path. He never took the time to do the things that he longed to do. And I got the feeling that Walter felt very empty inside at times because he hadn’t done those things. Don’t put the things off that you want to do in your life. Life is too short. Seize the opportunities that present themselves and live your life to its fullest.
It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life
Inspired by his friend’s work and the desire to see a project through to its completion, Walter sets out on what will become an incredible journey that takes him to Greeneland, Iceland, into the depths of the ocean, and to the edge of a volcano. This part of the movie leads me to the second theme and that is that it’s never too late to change your life. Yes, Walter lived a rather boring life, but he was able to change that. And that life lesson is applicable to all of us. I was able to change my health at the age of 42. A 91 year old woman just ran a marathon setting a new age group record. The amazing thing is that she didn’t start running until she was in her 70’s. It is NEVER too late to change any aspect of your life.
Surround Yourself with People Who Inspire You
Walter’s decision to undertake this courageous and incredible journey was inspired by the work of his friend and photographer, Sean O’Connell. Walter’s job was Negative Assets Manager for Life Magazine. In other words, his job was to be responsible for all of the film negatives that were sent in by the photographers who shot for Life. Although he had never met Sean, he was truly inspired by his work. And it was this inspiration that led Walter on his quest. And that leads me to third theme of the movie which is to surround yourself with people who inspire you. Find the people around you who live life with a passion. Find those people who breathe positivity into your being. Once you start surrounding yourself with those people you will notice that you begin to change. The inspiration that you draw from others through what they do will inspire you to be the best that you can be.
Be an Inspiration to Others
The fourth and final theme is that by doing the best you can you will be an inspiration for others. As I said before, Walter’s life was boring. His job was very boring. But yet, Walter fulfilled his role with Life with such an uncompromising enthusiasm that he, in turn, inspired Sean to be the photographer that he was. It’s sometimes easy to forget that we can have an impact on others through our words and actions, but we do. Every day. And by striving to be the best that you can be, at whatever it may be, you will inspire others.
If you’ve not seen the movie I highly encourage you to check it out. It instantly became a favorite for me and I’m sure that I will watch it many more times.
This week I want to challenge you to do several things. Think about the things that you’ve put off in life that you’ve wanted to do. Start thinking of ways to make those dreams your reality. Remember, it’s never too late to change. Also, look for people who you come into contact with who inspire you. Make a conscious effort to involve those people in your life more. And last, whatever it is that you do in life, be willing to go the extra mile. You never know who you may be inspiring.
Live the life that you were meant to live!