Wisdom from Children’s Books & Movies IV
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
– Nelson Mandela
Point to Ponder:
Which area of optimism do you struggle the most with:
1. Never giving up on your dream?
2. Believing in and building up others?
3. Seeing obstacles as opportunities?
Choose to be optimistic about something you have struggled with recently
choose to express your belief in someone who needs it now more than ever before.
If you had read the title of this journal twenty years ago, you may have thought I was referring to one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan. I was a giant fan of his and as you probably know, during his record-breaking career there was a Gatorade commercial titled “Be Like Mike.” If I were asked to sing the jingle today, I could easily do it — it was simple, catchy and very popular. But today, twenty years later, the Mike I think we should all strive to be like is Mike Wazowski, the green eyeball from Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University. In the event you haven’t seen either of these great films, the original movie, Monsters Inc. came to the big screen in 2001. Then, just this summer Monsters University was released. While MI was good, MU is off-the-charts excellent and my all time favorite Disney Pixar movie. It is visually stimulating, extremely funny and layered with life lessons which of course are great for kids, but as always, necessary for us, adults, to be reminded of.
To give some insight into MU, it tells the story of how Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) and Sully, the turquoise big-toothed monster (voice of John Goodman) went from arch rivals to best friends to becoming the top “scaring team” in Monsters, Inc. But, more than anything, it showcases Mike Wazowski’s optimistic winning attitude and characteristics that we should all strive to possess. While I do not want to spoil the movie — because you really do need to see it — here is what I consider to be “Mike Wasowski’s winning ways:”
1. Never Give Up On Your Dreams
Since grade school, Mike was always the smallest and least scary of all of his monster classmates, but always dreamt of being a “scarer.” Despite his physical limitations and being told he would never be a scarer, Mike did not listen to the naysayers. He never took “no” for an answer and worked harder than everyone else to achieve his dream.
2. Believe In and Build-Up Others
Because Mike was always small, not scary and even considered “nerdy,” he was a bit of a misfit. As a result, he was empathetic and compassionate. He was also a constant source of encouragement, breathed confidence into others and helped everyone around him see and reach their fullest potential.
3. Obstacles are Opportunities
Even though Mike only had one eyeball, he might as well had twenty — because his view on life was large! He was fearless, enthusiastic and even after being kicked out of Monsters University (his dream school) he saw the silver lining and created an opportunity for himself and Sully.
I realize that Mike Wazowski is a one-eyed green fictional character, though I can’t help but think that the writers of this brilliant flick may have felt like misfits at some point in their lives. Just imagine all of the people who must have told them that their idea about a one-eyed green monster and a furry bear-like monster with polka-dots would never make it?
Or, what about Tom Dempsey, the former NFL kicker who in 1970 kicked a record breaking 63-yard field goal? What if he would have listened to all of the naysayers who told him that because he was handicapped (born without toes on his right foot and without a right hand) his dream of playing football, much less holding a 43-year NFL KICKING RECORD, was impossible?! Of course their dreams were ridiculed and they experienced tremendous obstacles, but I think it’s safe to say that they, like Mike Wazowski, were inherently optimistic and never gave up on themselves or others — a great example for all of us!