Movie theatre filled with people


It has been 30 years since one of the greatest movies of my lifetime first rolled into a movie theatre near me. Not that I lost myself in this masterpiece in a real, live actual cinema.

Almost no one witnessed this prison drama enveloped in surround sound on the large screen. For one, competition in 1994 included Forrest Gump, Mrs. Doubtfire, Schindler’s List, Speed, True Lies, and The Lion King.

Way down the list, coming in domestically at #95, below movies such as House Party 3, Blank Check and Little Giants, was this film grossing a mere 15 million. For context, Interview With The Vampire, the #10 movie on the 1994 list, grossed $100 million dollars.

The film I’m teasing was adapted from a short story called, “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”. The author of that adapted parable was Stephen King. Fear lead the studio to omit King’s name off the marketing because his name was synonymous with horror. This turned out to be a horrific choice.

Of course, over time Shawshank Redemption had their box office reception. As I think back to Shawshank, the profound line that comes to mind is delivered by both Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding:

“Get busy living, or get busy dying”.

Get busy living or get busy dying.

A year after its box office bomb, thanks to 7 Academy Award nominations, Shawshank Redemption became a VHS rental sensation. And if you would have tuned in to those 1995 Academy Awards, you might have also stumbled into a hilarious new ad that would soon become a decade long staple found during commercial breaks. Though it very well could have been a slogan for the “Procrastinators Club Of America”, it was a new catch line for Snickers:

“Not going anywhere for a while?”

Now, for a second, allow your eyes to dance across the subject title of this “weekly dose”.

Then study these two italic bold lines above.

I find one of the two lines to be fascinatingly true while the other is only true when you continue to treat yourself like a “WIP”.

As I tell my kids regularly on the way to school, the more you know, the more you grow. Sure, eating healthy, exercising and sleeping well are behaviors known to improve health quality. However, studies suggest one unexpected factor that can predict how long people will roam the planet: education.

A study released earlier this January revealed that each additional year of education reduced the risk of death by 2%. In another, “The Effect of Education Life Expectancy”, education attainment surpassed both race and gender as a profound predictor of length of life.”

While these studies are referring to formal education, the outcome of education is clear: learning is a form of health insurance. Learning is your path to vitality.

It reminds me of another Shawshank gem profoundly spouted by Red: “I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright.”

When you’re a life long learner, you fly. When you stop pushing, you die.

So how might you remain a “WIP” in the hopes of avoiding “RIP”?

Here’s three possible “the more you know, the more you grow” ways to never stop learning:

1.Be Bravely a Beginner. A few months back my bad ass Action Team partner Nicole Miller wrote about the importance of being a beginner. That means we have to be ok with the uncomfortable suckiness of starting. You can check her wise words here where she vulnerably shares how hard it is to not be good at something. And yet she reminds us that beginner’s don’t stay a beginner for very long!

2. Get Social. Join a Club. The loneliness epidemic is real. Getting back out there to connect with others is a great way to exchange ideas, meet new people, and be intellectually stimulated. Whether it’s a weekly gathering, a book club or a sports league, being a social creature and engaging with others is the definition of, get busy living. Close your eyes. Time machine back to yourself as a little boy or girl. What activity do you see yourself doing? If you have a wry little smile, find a club that takes you back to that happy place.

3. Ink/Do That Bucket List. Many go through life without ever declaring or doing what their heart desires. Maybe we think we’ll have time later? Maybe we think it’s too expensive? Maybe we think we need to put our families first? I’m here to tell. you to BE SELFISH. Don’t wait. You’ll figure out the rest later. Not only is important to knock out your list, but throw “Bucket List Adventure” annually on your calendar. We’re only doing this life once. So before you kick the bucket, maximize what matters most to you by knocking out that Bucket List.

Ryan Berman
Ryan Berman
Ryan is an author, keynote speaker, and the founder of Courageous. His book, Return on Courage, shows how during these courage deficient times, courage is a competitive advantage for those leaders who choose to unlock it.
Twitter @ryanberman | LinkedIn @ryanberman

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