Advertising
Advertising

Run, Forrest, Run! 16 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Forrest Gump

Run, Forrest, Run! 16 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Forrest Gump

Just a few weeks ago was the 20th anniversary of one of America’s most beloved films: Forrest Gump. (When did we all get so old?!)

This fabulous film is equal parts funny, inspiring, and downright heart-wrenching. In fact, there are quite a few life lessons that can be learned from this fabulous movie—and not just about chocolates and running (although that’s definitely included).

Listen up, and prepare to have the intense urge to open up Netflix and start re-watching. (Yes, it’s on Netflix. You’re welcome.)

Life Lessons We Can Learn From Forrest Gump

1. Don’t be afraid to be honest…

Forrest always blurts out everything that’s on his mind, and it cracks everyone up—or helps them realize something huge about themselves. Sometimes it can be mildly offensive…but no one really minds, because he always means well.

sea legs2

    2. …no matter who you’re talking to

    Whether it’s the lady at the bus stop or the president of the United States, Forrest treats everyone exactly the same – with equal respect, but also with equal honesty. Brown-nosing doesn’t exist in Forrest’s world, because no matter the status, a person’s a person.

    pee

      3. Always tell those you care about how you feel

      Forrest never hesitates to demonstrate and express his affections for those he cares about. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and everyone who matters to Forrest knows that they matter to Forrest.

      Advertising

      forrest gump

        4. Don’t be afraid to love…

        youremyiglr

          Just like he isn’t afraid to express his care for others, he isn’t afraid to love deeply, from the bottom of his soul. He’s not afraid of getting hurt, and he doesn’t overthink – he just loves. A lot of people could learn from this simplicity.

          5. …and don’t be afraid to lose

          Forrest experiences multiple deaths of those he cares about. Just like all other emotions, he feels his grief strongly and purely. He doesn’t shut anyone out, but rather faces it head-on: by visiting their graves and speaking to them like he always did. He faces death with his mother’s advice:

          mama

            6. Always try new things, because you might be great at them…

            Someone asks Forrest to play ping pong. He takes the paddle and does it – and he lets his natural talents kick in. After all, who knows what you’re good at if you don’t try?

            ping pong

              7. …but if you’re not, that’s okay

              Well, at least you tried.

              Advertising

              gospel

                8. Sometimes, you just have to do the right thing, even when everyone tells you not to

                Lieutenant Dan may have wanted to die on the battlefield, but Forrest wasn’t about to let that happen.

                Your heart may be pulling you in one direction, while others are telling you to go the opposite route. Always trust your gut instinct. It may just save somebody’s life.

                lt dan

                  9. Don’t ever let anyone tell you they’re better than you

                  Never. Mama knows best.

                  mama2

                    10. Because seriously, what does normal mean, anyway?

                    mama3

                      As the awesome Mama notes, society dictates what “normal” is. It doesn’t really have a true definition – it’s all relative. Don’t ever feel like you have to be “normal.” Let your freak flag fly.

                      Advertising

                      11. You never know whose lives you’ll change

                      elvis

                        Forrest doesn’t give a hoot about “normal,” and look what happened: he made The King famous and helped someone come up with the smiley face and a clever bumper sticker. And he had absolutely no idea. Be yourself, and remember that your actions matter in more ways than you know…

                        elvis2

                          12. Be careful what you say, because you can’t take it back

                          In my personal opinion, one of the most heartbreaking moments in the movie was when Jenny rejects Forrest’s marriage proposal, and he brings up a particularly cruel insult that she had thrown at him years and years ago.

                          love is

                            Think before you speak. Words can wound—and those wounds take a long time to heal.

                            13. Never take true friendships for granted

                            Casual friendships come and go, but when Forrest finds people he truly clicks with, he knows how special it is—and he doesn’t let that go.

                            Advertising

                            friend

                              bubba

                                14. Appreciate—and share—the little things

                                Firstly, ice cream is awesome. Always remember how awesome ice cream is.

                                Secondly, always share with a friend or loved one in need—even if that particular person dumps your offerings in a bedpan.

                                ice cream

                                  15. Do what you love

                                  Live your life how you want to. Participate in activities simply because you want to.

                                  running

                                    Not everything has to have a deeper meaning—but when you start doing what you love, it will develop a deeper meaning on its own.

                                    16. Finally, always remember…

                                    chocolates

                                      Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/76791138@N07/9129073984/sizes/l via Bel Zamarbide

                                      More by this author

                                      22 Common Words You’re Probably Pronouncing Wrong 17 Signs You Have The Coolest Mom In The World 10 Benefits of Lemon Juice You Never Knew 15 Relationship Lessons That Ted Mosby Taught Us 10 Quotes That Will Surely Motivate You When Facing Huge Challenges

                                      Trending in Communication

                                      1 When Should You Trust Your Gut and How? 2 What Is Life About? 9 Ways to Find Your Meaning in Life 3 7 Things To Remember When You Feel Broken Inside 4 Focus On Yourself, Because Most Of The Time No One Really Cares 5 10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life

                                      Read Next

                                      Advertising
                                      Advertising
                                      Advertising

                                      Last Updated on August 12, 2020

                                      When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

                                      When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

                                      Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

                                      In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

                                      How to Listen to Your Gut

                                      The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

                                      Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

                                      1. Tune Into Your Body

                                      Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

                                      However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

                                      Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

                                      Advertising

                                      Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

                                      In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

                                      2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

                                      Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

                                      There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

                                      3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

                                      Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

                                      As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

                                      This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

                                      Advertising

                                      4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

                                      As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

                                      Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

                                      5. Challenge Your Assumptions

                                      When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

                                      In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

                                      A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

                                      6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

                                      Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

                                      There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

                                      Advertising

                                      Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

                                      Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

                                      Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

                                      We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

                                      The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

                                      We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

                                      7. Trust Yourself

                                      It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

                                      Advertising

                                      Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

                                      If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

                                      The Bottom Line

                                      The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

                                      Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

                                      More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

                                      Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

                                      Reference

                                      [1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
                                      [2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
                                      [3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

                                      Read Next