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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

6 Lessons From Slumdog Millionaire

Let me start by saying that Slumdog Millionaire is outstanding; I can say this with conviction after I had the opportunity to see Slumdog Millionaire over the weekend. Being in Hong Kong the movies are not available on the same time frame as in the US and when Slumdog millionaire walked away with a whole heap of academy awards it was time to go see a movie. The story telling was well done and because it was so well done I waled away with several messages:

Persistence...Always
One of the first scenes of the movie that introduces the main character, Jamal, has him jumping through the latrine to get an autograph, something, most of us would never do but he did and it got him the autograph. The entire movie is a demonstration of persistence and overcoming life's challenges. As long as you persist you will achieve. Things may not always go the way you want them to but never giving up even when it all goes in a direction you had not wished for.

Others will Take Advantage of You
Right after Jamal got the autograph and while his mom cleaned him up his brother took the autograph and sold it for a "good price." As the movie progresses we learn that beggars who are blind singers get double the handouts; so the orphanage intentionally blinds them. Finally watch as Jamal's girlfriend is taken from him. Jamal does not let this hold back what he seeks for that matter it is core to the storyline. But each of us has felt that others have taken advantage of us. Unfortunately , this is part of what happens in life it is not a matter of if you will be taken but when. Thus there is no reason to be angered but rather learn from the lesson and the lesson of others. Which brings up the third point I learned.

Hold no grudge
I mentioned above that it is not a matter of if you will be taken but when and that this is part of life. When I watched Slumdog I struggled as I watched the pain and suffering of so many; but what stayed with me afterward was that being angry at the life you have will not help you. If you harbor hatred and a grudge you cannot move forward toward your goals but also you cannot appreciate the wonders of this life. Individuals will always act in their own self interest. This action may result in bad things happening to you, sometimes they will do things intentionally because there is a desire to pull others down. In each instance Jamal did not let a grudge or anger toward his persecutors hold him back from his desire, yes I am sure he had doubt but he did not give up.

Sometimes You Must Work with People you Don't Agree With
Jamal chose to stay with his brother even though he could never forgive him for what he had done. I agree his brother was not one worthy of forgiveness, however, Jamal wanted to find Latika. This desire necessitated staying with his brother. The Game show host lied and attempted to set Jamal up for failure, Jamal stayed on the show. Again he had a mission

This one I found the most interesting and difficult to deal with personally but the lesson is very important. There are times that you must swallow your principals and your pride so that you can accomplish what it is that you truly seek. Yes principals are important but do not let your principals be an excuse for failing to accomplish your goals.

Money is Not a Pure Motivator
While Jamal was on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" he was presented with more money than he had seen in his lifetime. But he chose to continue the competition. He chose to continue because he was not there for the money but for the hope that Latika would see him and they would find each other. Yes, money is important however we all know from experience even if you are paid well it is not enough to put up with being miserable. For Jamal winning or losing the money was not his motive. We should look carefully at what it is we are doing and ask what are our motives?

You Make Your Own Happiness
Jamal grew up in the slums and overcame many difficulties: the torture, beatings, hunger, loss of love, and death of his mother. Wherever you are in life right now is exactly were you are supposed to be. It may not feel good to be there but you are. When you are dealing with difficulty you learn quickly that there is little that you can control. The question is what do you do now? Do you choose to be unhappy or will you choose to be happy. After all it is a choice within your control.

You are the sum total of your life experiences. These experiences are neither good nor bad they are just experiences. How you react to these experiences make you who you are. Jamal and his brother had many of the same experiences but they both responded differently to them. Jamal, as the movie depicts, chooses a path of non-violence; His brother, one of violence, that ultimately consumes him. I believe people can experience the same event differently and that is what makes us unique.

To conclude I recommend seeing the movie, "Slumdog Millionaire". The story telling is well done and the message of hope is there. I look forward to hearing of your Slumdog experience.

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