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I’ll admit it openly: I rarely see a movie in the year it came out. I just don’t make the time. Recently I watched Slumdog Millionaire for the first time, and I really enjoyed it. It stayed with me for days, and I’ve been turning over some of the lessons in the movie.
1. Sometimes you just have to go for it.
In the movie, Jamal is locked in an outhouse as his celebrity hero lands nearby. He holds up his precious picture, and jumps into the excrement, then tracks down the star for an autograph.
Sometimes you just have to go for what you want. Even if it means jumping into the filth.
2. Sometimes you how do you know is not important.
One of the story lines of the movie is how Jamal knows the answers to the questions on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. His acquisition of knowledge is not one of education, but parts of his past.
A friend of mine has a degree in music education, and works really hard at his programming. He is by far the most talented and innovative programmer I have ever met. He is a much better programmer than some I have worked with who hold advanced degrees in computer science.
There is a lot to be said to having the ability to put things together. And while I’m not knocking higher education, I believe the most important skills is knowing how to learn and extrapolate. I don’t put much stock in regurgitation of the lessons.
(But I may be biased, because with a degree in electrical engineering, I also have no formal education in my field. )
3. There will be those who believe you cannot do it.
In the movie, Jamal was constantly being told to let things go. Let the girl who had come with them from the slums stay behind. Let her go with his brother. Stay in his place as tea-maker. The presenter telling Jamal he couldn’t know the answers.
There will always be those who believe whatever you are going to do can’t be done, whether because of education, age, sex, societal beliefs or the drive to preserve the “norm”. We must realize that these are true for the speaker, but may not be the truth for us. Often when people speak it is more about them than us.
4. Go with your instincts on what to trust.
At one point, Jamal is offered “the” answer to a question by the presenter. He doesn’t take it, and answers the question correctly.
Trust is a tricky thing. Misplaced trust can bring you down. However, we should never lose touch with the inner voice that gives us a hint.
Most of us have been trained to ignore this sense, but it should be cultivated as another way to judge what is going on.
5. Long-term goals may have setbacks. You must pursue anyway.
The whole reason Jamal ended up on the game show is that he was searching for his first and only love. No matter what life threw at him (and there was a lot of stuff thrown), he sought her.
The path to live is never smooth. If something is truly worth having, you must be prepared to have setbacks, and find other ways, no matter how outlandish, to get to the goal.
Have you been inspired by Slumdog Millionaire? Or another movie? Share below.
Photo by Louwuselchen