Tears rolled down my cheek a few minutes after the movie, Soul, ended. When my friends asked me what happened, my complex feelings were mixed into one sentence, “this movie hit home hard.”
This year was hard. In the year of 2020, many of us are still mourning and trying to wrap our heads around what happened. Soul came out on Christmas day and was a much needed movie in 2020.
Soul tugged my heartstrings like no other Disney movie has. It filled the emptiness that I didn’t know how to use words to describe. It calmed the agitated self that I tried hard to suppress. It gave me permission to just sit for a while and gather my thoughts.
For those who’ve watched it, you may learn different things from me. Here’s my three “P” to share with you. (Spoiler alerts ahead)
- Life isn’t just about finding passion and purpose; it’s about living it to its fullest everyday. You can give 100% to pursue your dream, but you may not reach it. And that’s okay. Your life is still worth living. When Joe wasn’t able to become the musician he wanted to, he still came out on the other side, ready to live, “I’m going to live every minute of it.” 22 ended up losing herself because she didn’t think she had a purpose or spark in life, but she didn’t know that life on earth is about the process of finding the spark. Forgive ourselves if we don’t have the spark yet. We live to find it!
- For those who end up finding the spark, it’s even more important to know what keeps them there and what makes them fulfilled. Joe reached his high point in life, playing piano for the legendary Dorothea Williams quartet. But after a great performance, Joe said, “It’s just I’ve been waiting on this day for my entire life. I thought I’d feel different.” He was the fish longing to be in the ocean, but once he was in, he wasn’t satisfied. The hairdresser, on the other hand, seems to be the happiest of all, “I may not have invented blood transfusions, but I am most definitely savin’ lives.” He found what makes him happy and fulfilled, and stayed with it every day.
- Your passions can cross the line into obsessions, and instead of becoming a source of joy they turn into a source of misery. When passion is overdone, it could bleed into the dark end of obsession and we may lose what truly makes us who we are. 22 eventually became a ‘lost soul’ – a soul which is distracted by something that sees them become disconnected from life. Her self-deprecation and imposter syndrome quickly became her labels and fleeting self-worth. When we feel trapped by dark thoughts in our pursuit, we should stop and ask for help. Answer the important questions of “why” – why we feel that way, why we care, and why we do what we do.
- Remember to take a pause and enjoy the little things in life. It took Joe a few lifetimes to appreciate the taste of a pizza, a piece of the bagel, the feel of a leaf, and that autumn scene in front of his eyes. Life is a lot more beautiful than we give it credit for, if we just take a pause.
- Everyone has their story; take a moment, ask, and care. It’s not that others don’t want to share. It’s us that didn’t proactively reach out, or — honestly — bother to care. The interchange between Joe and the hairdresser reminded us that sometimes a bit more curiosity and caring could shed light on what’s important.
- Defining key value systems requires critical thinking. The “Great Before” zone has a set way to mentor fresh souls so they find sparks on earth. Isn’t it ironic that two-dimensional, shape-shifting Cubist figures get to determine what happens to you by shoving you around? When we have someone like 22 who figures out the loopholes and fights the system, she is labeled as an outcast. In this age of self promotion, short-cuts, extreme impatience, and instant gratification, we often blindly follow what the “influencers” tell us or what society labels as success, or what the right path is. Stop and think for ourselves, please. We are all different from each other. Valuing different things doesn’t make any of us losers.
- “Confirmation bias is the most effective way to go on living a lie.” (Chriss Jami, Healology) Confirmation bias is defined as the tendency of people to favor information that confirms their existing beliefs or hypotheses. Why is it that we need another person to tell us and confirm for us what we already know, before we can commit to something ourselves. Whose permission are we trying to get? Society’s? Our parents’? Ourselves? When Connie went to Joe to quit playing trombone, she didn’t end up quitting. She somehow needed Joe to give her permission or to remind her what she is good at. How many times have we done what Connie did? How many times were we paralyzed because of peer pressure and society standards? How many times did we look for the confirmation bias that we needed to move forward? How many times did we lie to ourselves that our decision is sound because of the bubbles we are in?
2020 was hard. Once we hit rock bottom, it can only get better from here. Live your best self in 2021!
Join us in our next Toastmasters meeting on Jan 6th and learn about many others’ new beginnings.
Written By Renee Yao, Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters President