I am hoping that this message finds you attacking life with a sense of purpose, whether you are at work, at home, on an adventure or quite possibly even recovering from a recent setback.
To kick-off my monthly first Friday newsletter series, I thought I would share some insights that I gained from Disney’s Aladdin. The film itself is truly a parable on personal growth.
Yes! All you super masculine men out there…the same ones who told me I was crazy for watching The Greatest Showman, I am focused on talking to you today because I already know the ladies will appreciate this. I took my children to see Aladdin recently, and it was worth the time and the money for so many reasons. My primary motivation surrounded the fact that my girls really wanted to see it and that it was a great way to celebrate the end of another school year with them. With my cell phone turned off and no work assignments needing attention I was indeed ready for some time to just sit back and enjoy. Something I have been trying quite hard to work on.
But what made the film particularly useful when it comes to “life” is the fact that it brought many of the things we are often afraid to talk about and unwilling to work on, to the forefront.
You see, Aladdin was dealt that hand of cards that was drenched in the blood of adversity and worthlessness. The notion that when born worthless one will die worthless. The sense of being forever trapped into what you were born into. That such an idea of being “that diamond in the rough” cannot possibly happen to you or me.
Unless of course you are that someone who believes that you can indeed overcome all of it and be that diamond.
The film not only allows us to dream for 2-hours of our day, it actually teaches us how to do it so that our dreams can become a reality, and that we must be relentless in our pursuit of those dreams. And it does so in a way not found in a college course, on Facebook, an at home study program, work retreat or expensive specialty conference.
A major theme of the film lies in the idea of having that special inner circle of people to confide in — for Aladdin it was his monkey Abu and the Genie. But you can also have the wrong people at the table (see chapter 4 of my book) as the Sultan found out with his most trusted adviser Jafar who would end up turning on him. Not a single one of us is a self-made man or woman, and thus those we surround ourselves with undeniably have a huge impact.
But the list of learning points goes on and that is why I was particularly compelled to tell you about the insights that were revealed to me:
- Whatever you don’t know you can learn (knowledge is at our fingertips with books, the internet search engines, and yes, sometimes social media)
- There will never be enough money or power on earth to ever be satisfied (you don’t have to look far for this reality to set in)
- You must be the most powerful man in the room or else you are nothing (have you gone to a meeting at work lately? how does that statement make you feel?)
- Something may get you to the door, but you have to open it (does this ring a bell?)
- The more you have the more you want (take a moment to write down your goal; are they mostly material things?)
But the messages don’t stop here. They keep coming. One after another. From the Sultan, the Princess, the Princess’ handmaiden, the guards, Aladdin himself, and especially the big blue guy named Genie.
And Genie is the most important messenger of all because he embodies one of the most important secrets of both life and success:
And what can we do to not only see better, but to be better? Well, the movie tells us this as well:
- Be confident in what you have to offer
- Possess loyalty, honor and integrity
- Let your heart decide
- Give something up
- Have courage and strength
- We all make mistakes — What sets us apart is if and when we learn from them
And something else that struck a particular cord with me:
“Duty is not always honor. We must sometimes defy those in charge and instead do what is right.”
But what got to me the most and woke me up at 0300 in the morning today:
I hope this one piqued your interest and increased your heart rate. Let that one set in. Let that one help you analyze your priorities, your hobbies, and your goals and dreams.
Aladdin did it right — he gave up his last wish so that Genie would be free.
And as the movie clearly states,
“I hope you find what you are looking for.”
Thank you for being exactly who you are and for enjoying this journey with me. May you continue to become better in your daily pursuit of life and may your significance radiate off of the lives that you touch.