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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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