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31 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Robin Williams’ Movies

31 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Robin Williams’ Movies

Robin Williams lived out loud as a messenger. Robin’s movies are filled with life lessons and profound wisdom. They made our hearts skip a few beats. They made us think. And even though he was just an actor playing his part, each one of us felt as if he was speaking directly to us when he delivered his lines. His words came from the depths of his soul, jumped out of the screen and went straight into our souls. His roles were unforgettable like memories from a family scrapbook. Although he was here on this planet for too short a time, he was here to teach us. Why was he so powerful making us cry from laughing so hard or crying so hard? Maybe it’s because we knew that he wasn’t acting at all.

1. Popeye

popeye gif

    “Even though you’re bigger than me, you can’t win, ’cause you’re bad, and the good always wins over the bad.” Lesson: Believe in goodness. It can conquer over anything.

    2. The World According to Garp

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      Remember, Helen.

      What, my love?

      Everything.

      Lesson: Too often, you focus only on the bad and forget the good times. Remember everything.

      3. Moscow on the Hudson

       

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        “This is a free country, welcome to almost anyone. Yes, in America almost anything is possible.

        ” Lesson: Appreciate your freedom.

        4. Awakenings

        awakenings image

          “What we do know is that, as the chemical window closed, another awakening took place; that the human spirit is more powerful than any drug – and THAT is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. THESE are the things that matter. This is what we’d forgotten – the simplest things.

          Lesson: The human spirit should not be forgotten. Simple things matter the most.

          5. Good Morning Vietnam

          GoodMorningVietnam_image

            Good Morning Vietnam: Goooooood morning, Vietnam! Hey, this is not a test. This is rock and roll. Time to rock it from the delta to the DMZ.

            Lesson: In the midst of scariest times (even war); a positive attitude, humor, and sharing laughter can get you through the day.

            6. The Adventures of Baron Munchausan

            021-the-adventures-of-baron-munchausen-theredlist

              “Because I’m tired of the world and the world is evidently tired of me. Why! Because it’s all logic and reason now. Science, progress, laws of hydraulics, laws of social dynamics, laws of this, that, and the other. No place for three-legged cyclops in the South Seas. No place for cucumber trees and oceans of wine. No place for me.”

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              Lesson: Everyone doesn’t fit into the same mold. You must find a place for your creativity to run free.

              7. Dead Poet’s Society (This entire movie is one huge life lesson.)

              dead poet image

                “They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you…. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” And the human race is filled with passion… O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

                Lesson: Every person has the potential for greatness. Be extraordinary. Make an impact on the world. Do something meaningful. Leave your mark.

                8. Good Will Hunting

                good will hunting 2 image

                  “But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes. Feelin’ like God put an angel on Earth just for you, who could rescue you from the depths of hell. —And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her there forever. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself.

                  Lesson: True love is being vulnerable enough to love someone more than you love yourself. 

                  9. Dead Again

                  DeadAgain image

                    “You take what you’ve learned from this life and use it in the next. That’s karma.”

                    Lesson: Learn from your mistakes. What you give out, comes back to you.

                    10. Aladdin

                    Aladdin-aladdin-16708450-958-602

                      “But oh, to be free. Not to have to go “Poof! What do you need, “Poof! What do you need?” To be my own master. Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world.

                      Lesson: Freedom comes from living your truth. Be your own master.

                      11. The Fisher King

                      the-fisher-king

                        One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a simple-minded fool, he didn’t see a king. He only saw a man alone in pain. He asked the king, “What ails you friend?” The king replied, “I’m thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat”. So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king. As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the Holy Grail which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement, “How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?” The fool replied, “I don’t know. I only knew that you were thirsty.”

                        Lesson: See a person as another human being without judgment. Do not treat people according to their job or role in life.

                        12. Hook

                        hook-1991-movie-review-peter-pan-tinker-bell-robin-williams-julia-roberts

                          Granny Wendy: So… your adventures are over. Peter: Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.

                          Lesson: Life is an adventure. Live it to the fullest.

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                          13. Toys

                          FILM 'TOYS' BY BARRY LEVINSON

                            In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “We are toys of tolerance, but there’s only so much that a toy can tolerate.”

                            Lesson: Accept that life becomes intolerable sometimes but continue to push through it.

                            14. Mrs. Doubtfire

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                              There are all sorts of different families, Katie. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever. All my love to you, poppet, you’re going to be all right… bye-bye.

                              Lesson: No matter what type of family you come from as long as there is love, everything will eventually turn out alright.

                              15. Being Human

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                                There’s never enough time. No time to stop and think, “What have I learned?” Try to stay in control. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Is this the same for everyone? Are we all doing this to one another? This bickering and mocking? Can it be better than this? We’re all in it together, making the same mistakes, getting into the same jams, having lousy Fridays over and over and over and over and over…

                                Lesson: Everyone is struggling to get through life. Become compassionate. Stop fighting and start learning how to make life better.

                                16. Jumanji

                                jumanji gif

                                  “Twenty-six years buried in the deepest darkest jungle, and I still became my father.”

                                  Lesson: Free yourself from the pain of your past or you may become a person you don’t want to be.

                                  17. The Birdcage

                                   

                                  birdcage gif

                                    “Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I’m a middle-aged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took me twenty years to get here, and I’m not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that.”

                                    Lesson: Be yourself and don’t let anyone take that from you.

                                    18. Jack

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                                      “Have you ever seen a shooting star, Jack? It’s wonderful. It passes quickly, but while it’s here it just lights up the whole sky – it’s the most beautiful thing you’d ever want to see. So beautiful that the other stars stop and watch. You almost never see one. Because they’re very rare. But I saw one. I did. Jack: I just want to be a regular star. Lawrence: Jack, you’ll never be regular. You’re spectacular. Jack: What do I want to be when I grow up? Alive.”

                                      Lesson: Light up the sky. Be your spectacular self. Live your life to the fullest.

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                                      19. Father’s Day

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                                        “For years I’ve thought about killing myself. It’s the only thing that kept me going.”

                                        Lesson:  Sometimes you become attached to your sadness, that it becomes all you think about.

                                        20. Deconstructing Harry

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                                          “All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we choose to distort it.”

                                          Lesson: You have the power to choose your perspective.

                                          21. What Dreams May Come

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                                            “That’s when I realized I’m part of the problem. Not because I remind you. But because I couldn’t join you. So I left you alone. Don’t give up, okay?”

                                            Lesson: It’s easy to become part of someone else’s problems, fearing that if you leave them, they might give up.

                                            22. Patch Adams

                                            Robin Williams In 'Patch Adams'
                                              “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome 

                                              Lesson: If you treat a person as a human being and not focus on their problems, flaws, burdens, or illness, even if things don’t turn out great, you made an impact on someone else’s soul.

                                              23. Jakob the Liar

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                                                “Hunger for hope may be worse than hunger for food.”

                                                Lesson: There is nothing worse than living without hope.

                                                24. Bicentennial Man

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                                                  “I try to make sense of things. Which is why, I guess, I believe in destiny. There must be a reason that I am as I am. There must be.”

                                                  Lesson: Every person has a purpose. Find yours.

                                                  25. A.I.

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                                                    “Come away O human child / To the waters and the wild / With a fairy hand in hand / For the world’s more full of weeping / Than you can understand.”

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                                                    Lesson: Don’t be afraid to experience all of life. Lessons, clarity and understanding come from pain.

                                                    26. One Hour Photo

                                                    one hour photo

                                                      “The shutter is clicked. The flash goes off and they’ve stopped time, as if just for the blink of an eye.” Lesson: Memories stop the clock. In a split second, moments last a lifetime.

                                                      27. Insomnia

                                                      Insomnia-robin-williams-23618425-2560-1697

                                                        “You’re a good man. I know that. Even if you’ve forgotten it.”

                                                        Lesson: Other people can see the good that you can not see in yourself.

                                                        28. Night at the Museum

                                                        Night-at-the-Museum-robin-williams-23589979-852-480

                                                          “Some men are born great; others have greatness thrust upon them.”

                                                          Lesson: Some people are born with special talents, gifts, and abilities. Even if you are not born with greatness, great things can happen to you.

                                                          29. Death to Smoochy

                                                          death to smoochy image

                                                            Friends come in all sizes/ One might say grasp while the other says snatch/Size doesn’t matter/ When you want some friendly patter/ From a pal who is true/ And will lift you up when you’re blue/ You can count on him/ He can count on you/ It’s true/Friends come in all sizes!/Yes, they do!

                                                            Lesson: A true friend is someone you can count on. Nothing else matters.

                                                            30. August Rush

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                                                              “What do you want to be in the world? I mean the whole world. What do you want to be? Close your eyes and think about that.”

                                                              Lesson: What do you want to be? Think about that. Become it.

                                                              31. World’s Greatest Dad

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                                                                “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”

                                                                Lesson: Reach deeper into someone’s soul. Connect with them. Let them feel your presence. Tell them you love them and show them how much you care.

                                                                Not only were there profound lessons in his roles but ironically, they were all too prophetic. Robin Williams left us with messages, memories, and movies that will live on. He will be there for us whenever we feel dark and alone. All we have to do is just turn on movie and listen to the lessons he wanted us to learn.

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                                                                June Silny

                                                                ADHD Coach, Writer, ADDitude Magazine featured contributor

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                                                                Published on May 18, 2021

                                                                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                                                                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                                                                We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

                                                                The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

                                                                Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

                                                                Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

                                                                Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

                                                                There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

                                                                Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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                                                                Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

                                                                We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

                                                                Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

                                                                A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

                                                                The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

                                                                Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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                                                                Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

                                                                Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

                                                                Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

                                                                While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

                                                                Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

                                                                These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

                                                                Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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                                                                Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

                                                                Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

                                                                Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

                                                                Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

                                                                Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

                                                                Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

                                                                As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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                                                                This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

                                                                Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

                                                                Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

                                                                These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

                                                                Actions Speak Louder Than Words

                                                                Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

                                                                Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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                                                                Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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                                                                Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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