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10 TV Shows that Teach You Invaluable Lessons about Life

10 TV Shows that Teach You Invaluable Lessons about Life

Most of my childhood consisted of watching sitcoms and eating ice cream. In fact, during times of trouble, I often hear the voice of James Avery (Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) before my own father’s, and my first memory of Ted Danson was behind a bar, not a police desk.

While the wisdom of the ‘80s and ‘90s lives on in our hearts, there is still a wealth of great life advice in more recent TV shows. Here are 10 shows that teach you invaluable lessons about life. Included are quotes that sum up a great philosophy learned from each television series.

1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

“You can stand anything for 10 seconds… Then you just start on a new 10 seconds.”

Netflix’s favorite Indiana Mole Woman a.k.a. Kimmy (portrayed by Ellie Kemper) survived 15 years of imprisonment by the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm — yes, John Hamm) with her unending optimism and reliance on this quote. Kimmy retains her sanity by breaking down her daily struggles underground into manageable, ten-second bits. No matter if you’re turning a crank-operated generator or stuck on a horrible blind date, just take it “ten seconds at a time.”

2. Arrested Development

“She thinks I’m too critical. That’s another fault of hers.”

Lucille Bluth always tells it like it is. Any Arrested Development fan knows that she is no stranger to giving advice. Mother Bluth is brutally honest and knows she’s awesome – and so should you. Lucille has never once apologized for being herself. Put another olive in your martini, while perfecting your winky face, and celebrate you.

3. Friends

“She’s your lobster.”

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Besides the obvious lessons that we all need a solid group of friends in our life who accept us for you we are, one of the most touching lines in Friends is about find your lobster (a.k.a. the one you are meant to be with). So if you are still single at 30, don’t give up because your true love is out there. Note: After ten seasons, there are bound to be more examples, but so many episodes over the years means lots of content to go through. At least you can binge watch this on Netflix.

4. Grey’s Anatomy

“Just put one foot in front of the other. Just get through the day.”

Granted, this is probably the most generic piece of life advice there is, but that doesn’t make it any less true. No matter what kind of day you’re having, good or bad, tomorrow is a new one. Of course, these words seem to carry more weight when coming from a (TV) doctor.

5. Doctor Who

“There’s a considerable difference between courage and reckless stupidity.”

By all means, be brave. But before taking that stance whether physically or verbally—think it through!!

Bonus: “You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world!”

Read! Never stop learning no matter how old or smart you get. Learning from other people’s mistakes, wisdom and experiences will be one of the best things you do for your life.

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6. Parks and Recreation

“Never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing.”

Ron Swanson is not only master of meat and mustache, but also the wisest individual in all of Pawnee, Indiana. This particular quoted gem is at the foundation of his character. When Ron starts something, he finishes it; moreover, he puts all his energy into completing a given task. Even though taking on multiple responsibilities will make you seem more valuable to those around you, for most people the quality of the work is diminished – unless you’re Leslie Knope.

Ron Swanson is proof that there is still a point to be made for quality over quantity. As is a common saying in sports, “Go hard or go home.”

Bonus: “Treat yo’ self.”

This is less of a quote and more of a holiday frame of mind. On October 13, 2011, Parks and Rec aired an episode in which Donna and Tom spent the day “treating themselves” with lots of clothes, jewelry and food. Let’s face it, the stress work is unavoidable and sometimes you need a pick me up to get you through the day. Everyone “treats themselves” differently; some take days off, others buy things. Whatever you do, the point is to realize there are more important things in life than your job and to relax once in a while.

7. Smallville

“Clark, you’re so focused on what’s ahead that you’re starting to cut out the parts of your past that made you who you are.”

Martha Kent, adopted mother of Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman, is another example of the important role supporting (non-super-powered) characters play in any superhero TV show or movie. Characters like Alfred in Batman and Uncle Ben Parker Spider-man serve as the connection to the “normal” world for their respective heroes.

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In addition to keeping them grounded, these individuals act as a support system. They are often the people the heroes treasure the most and are fighting to protect. The mere presence of Martha, Chloe and others like them are proof we are nothing without our friends and family.

In regards to the quote itself, planning for the future is a great practice, but it often results in tunnel-vision. Imagine the life of almost every famous actor, athlete or musician: humble beginnings, a brush with fame, followed by a whirlwind of drugs and overindulgence in the finer things, ending with rehab and a reality show. I don’t think Martha was referring to the price of fame, but rather to the larger point of holding fast to one’s foundational beliefs.

When we are given a new challenge, our first instinct is to “rise to the occasion.” Oftentimes, our core values are twisted to justify certain actions in order to meet a particular end, especially if it is through questionable means. Martha reminds us never to forget where we came from and be true to ourselves, because everyone has battles to fight – not just superheroes.

8. New Girl

“You can run away from your problems, but you’re just going to find new ones that pop up.”

Living is not for the weak.  The fact is life is hard and, more often than not, things will not go your way. Problems are daily, mostly unavoidable occurrences that need to be resolved. Unfortunately, running away from issues doesn’t make them go away. If anything, it makes them worse.  You can catch New Girl on FOX.

9. Game of Thrones

“Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

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No one is perfect. We all have are flaws and downfalls, but it’s what we do with those flaws and our attitude towards them that will make us into who we are. Tyrion is my favorite character; not just because of his witty comments, but also because he owns who he is. So if you are trying to be someone else, stop it. Just be yourself and embrace your flaws and use them to your advantage.

10. The IT Crowd

“Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

Obviously, this isn’t the best advice … or is it? Restarting your computer will fix 99% of day-to-day computing issues and save you hours of time in the process. Seriously, when in doubt, restart.

You might recognize Chris O’Dowd from his roles in Bridesmaids and Dinner for Shmucks, but his breakout role was as Roy Trenneman on the BBC series The IT Crowd, a workplace comedy focused around the IT department at Reynholm Industries.

Featured photo credit: Global Panorama via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive

9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive

It’s common to be struck with a bout of pessimism, or to naturally be more towards the pessimistic end of the perspective spectrum. It’s hard to see the positives in life and become an optimist when you’re lost in the murky waters of negative thinking.

However, Henrik Edberg, the founder of The Positivity Blog is here to share nine ways we can create a more optimistic outlook and positive perspective:

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” — Maria Robinson

When I was younger — in my teens and early 20s — I was trapped. Not physically, but mentally: by the destructive thought pattern called pessimism. This negative thinking poisoned what might have been a pretty good and opportunity-filled childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. This pessimism created ceilings and walls where there really were none.

Throughout the period when I was ridden by pessimism, my life and I mostly stood still. Looking back, it was a terrible waste. If you are in pessimistic place, you don’t have to stay there for the rest of your life. I didn’t, for I learned to replace my negative thinking with optimism.

In this article I’ll explore nine positivity habits that have helped me to go from someone who was pessimistic most of the time to someone who is now optimistic almost all the time. I recommend to not try to add all the habits at one go but to choose one habit and to practice it for 30 days so it becomes a habit, before adding the next.

1. Ask Yourself the Right Questions

This is the simplest but perhaps also the most important habit I have discovered in adopting an optimistic mindset. The questions we ask ourselves day in and day out when we wind up in negative, difficult or uncertain situations make all the difference in our life.

A pessimist might ask him/herself questions like:

  • “Why did this happen to me?”
  • “Why do bad things happen to me all the time?”

But an optimist asks him/herself the questions that open up the mind to new viewpoints and possibilities. A few of my favorite questions for finding the optimistic perspective are:

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  • “What is one good thing about this situation?”
  • “What can I learn from this situation?”
  • “What is one small step I can take today to start solving this situation?”

2. Create a Positive Environment to Live In

The people you spend your time with and the information you let influence your mind will have a huge effect on your attitude and how you think about things.

Watch this YouTube video and learn the power of a positive environment:

So choose to:

  • Spend more time with the people who lift you up. And less time – or no time – with people who just bring you down by being negative and critical. Read: You are the Average of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
  • Let in the information that supports you. Spend less time on negative and self-esteem damaging media sources and spend more time reading positive and constructive blogs and books, watching motivating movies, listening to inspirational songs, and listening to audio books and podcasts created by optimistic people. Check out 12 Inspirational Movies With Important Life Lessons To Learn and 25 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time.

3. Be Grateful for What You Have (Don’t Forget About Yourself Too)

A very simple and quick way to boost the positive energy in your life is to tap into gratitude.

I usually do it by asking one or more of these questions:

  1. What can I be grateful for in my life today?
  2. Who are 3 people that I can be grateful to have in my life and why?
  3. What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?

Just spend 60 seconds or a few minutes during your day with answering one of these questions to reap the wonderful benefits.

4. Don’t Forget About Your Physical Self

Being an optimist isn’t just about thinking in a different way. It is also about caring for the physical part of ourselves.

I have found that working out a couple of times a week, enough quality sleep each night and eating healthy food has a huge effect on my mindset.

If I mismanage those very basic things then negative thoughts pop up far more often and I become more pessimistic and shut down about the possibilities in my life.

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So don’t neglect these basic fundamentals. Just caring for your physical self the right way can minimize a whole bunch of problems in life.

5. Start Your Day in an Optimistic Way

The way you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. For example, a stress-free morning often leads to less stress during the rest of the day.

So how can you set an optimistic tone for your day?

A three-step combination that has worked very well for me is to ask myself a gratitude question during breakfast, read some positive information online or in a book very early in the morning and then follow that up with exercising.

This sets my mind on the right path and fills me up with energy for my day.

6. Focus on Solutions

A sure way to feel more negative about a situation is to sit around and do nothing about it. Instead, use the questions I shared in step one and open up your mind to the possibilities of the situation you are in.

If you have trouble to get started with taking action, ask yourself:

What is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling?

Then take that small step forward. However small this step is, it can have a big effect in your mood and thoughts. If the step feels too big or it just makes you procrastinate, then ask yourself:

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What is an even smaller step I can take to move forward today?

The most important thing is to move forward, even if it’s a tiny baby step.

7. Reduce Your Worries

The worrying habit is a powerful and destructive one and can take over anyone’s thinking. It used to be one of my biggest obstacles to optimism and to moving forward in life.

Two effective steps that have helped me and still help me to this day to minimize the worries are:

  1. Ask yourself: how many of my worries ever happened in reality? If you are like me you will find that the answer is: very few. Most of the things you fear throughout your life will never happen. They are just nightmares or monsters in your own mind. This question can help you to do a reality check, to calm down and to realize that you have most likely just been building another imaginary nightmare.
  2. Focus on solutions and the action you can take. The worries grow stronger in a foggy mind and an inactive body. So use the questions in Steps 1 and 6 to move out of your worries and into resolution.

8. Don’t Let Ideals Ruin Things

A common mistake people make when making a shift in their attitudes is that they think that they have be perfect and do things perfectly all the time. This traps them from being positive.

Changing to a positive attitude can be gradual. While you may slip and stumble, continuing this way over time will strengthen your positive viewpoint more and more.

But if you set an inhuman standard for yourself and think you have to go from being a pessimist to always being an optimist, then you may find it hard to live up to that. And so you may feel like a failure. You get angry with yourself. And you may even give up on changing this habit and fall back into negative thinking.

So instead, focus on gradual change. If you are optimistic 40% of the time right now, try to improve this to being optimistic 60% of the time. Then, increase that to 80% when you are used to the new standard, then subsequently 100% if you can.

This focus on gradual improvement is far more sustainable and likely to bring long-term success than trying to reach an inhuman standard grounded in perfection.

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9. Finally, a Reminder to Help You to Not Give Up

I would like to end this article with a simple but powerful and timeless thought that comforted and encouraged me to continue on when things looked bleak.

That thought is: It is always darkest before the dawn.

This thought has helped me to hold on and keep going when my social skills and dating life was just plain bad. It has helped me to continue on in my online business when things looked like they would never pick up. It has helped me to put one foot over another even when things looked dark.

I have found this thought to be very true. Why? Because when things seemed to be at the lowest for my blog, business, dating life or life in general, something positive would always happened. That’s probably because being at a low point forced me to change how I did things.

But maybe also because life has a way of evening itself out when I go on. By taking action rather than give up, something good will always happens.

Seeing this thought live itself out has strengthened my belief in staying optimistic, in taking action and to keep going even when going through rough patches.

Re-syndicated 9 Simple Habits to Stay Positive in Life | Personal Excellence

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Featured photo credit: Allie Smith via unsplash.com

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