Five Life Lessons From The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

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Warning: this post contains some serious spoilers, so if you haven’t seen Walter Mitty, stop reading right now + watch it. Seriously. You’re missing out.

The first time I saw the trailer for The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, I knew I would love it.

So when Mike and I finally went to see it last week, I was excited. And not only did I absolutely love every second, it instantly became one of my all-time favourite films.

It blew me away.

I haven’t been this touched by a movie since Silver Linings Playbook. Everything about it was stunning. The story, the characters, the locations, the cinematography, direction {by Ben Stiller}, acting, visuals, soundtrack {which I’m listening to as I write this!}… it really is a masterpiece of movie magic.

With Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Shirley MacLaine, Patton Oswalt and more starring in this film, you can tell it’s going to be a mix of funny one-liners and heartfelt moments.

Walter Mitty is everything I love about life.

Love, family, travel, adventure, friendship, inspiration, living life to the full, courage, these are all themes explored in this story.

It’s a reminder of what life is really about. And when something comes along that has such a profound affect on me and the way I look at the world, I just have to write about it.

5 Life Lessons From The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty:

1. Stop Dreaming. Start Living.

 Don’t get me wrong, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with being a dreamer. I’ve always been a dreamer, I even have the words ‘daydream believer’ in my social media bios.
 
But the real magic happens when you start taking action, when you start living the life of your dreams.

2. Live in the moment.

Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?

Sean O’Connell: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.

Walter Mitty: Stay in it?

Sean O’Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.

The above dialogue is from a scene with Walter {Ben Stiller} + Sean O’Connell {Sean Penn}, and it’s a scene that gave me goosebumps.

It’s a reminder to live in the moment as much as possible. To stop, open your eyes to the beautiful world around you, and breath it all in.

Try it right now. Get out of your mind and into your body. Look around you, Feel your aliveness. Just be right where you are.

Just be. Here.

3. Be Courageous.

“{Life} is about courage and going into the unknown.”

~ Cheryl {Kristen Wiig}

Throughout the film, Walter steps into different levels of courage. In the opening scene, he finds the courage to send a virtual wink to Cheryl on eHarmony.

Later that day, he finds the courage to actually go and talk to her in the office.

Then, he takes it up a notch and jumps on a plane to Greenland, in search of bohemian photographer Sean.

In a scene that send chills down my spine and brings tears to my eyes, he imagines Cheryl singing Space Oddity by David Bowie.

The line “Ground Control to Major Tom” is used throughout the film as a reference to Walter’s frequent daydreaming. First it is used by Ted {Adam Scott}, a bearded executive who plays the villain to Walter’s hero, as a way to make fun of him.

But Cheryl tells Walter that Space Oddity “is about courage and going into the unknown.”

This comes into play when Walter is sitting in a bar in Greenland, having turned down an offer from a drunk helicopter pilot to fly him to the last known location of Sean. Mitty daydreams about Cheryl, strumming a guitar and singing Space Oddity as she leads him out of the bar and towards the helicopter, reminding him to be courageous. He leaps into the helicopter just as it is taking off, and marvels at his own bravery as he soars into the sky.

And by the end of the film, he’s been more courageous than he ever knew he could; jumping out of the helicopter into the ocean, fighting a shark, long boarding down a winding road in Iceland towards an erupting volcano, scouring the Himalayas… the list goes on.

Whether you want to introduce yourself to that person who catches your eye or you want to sell everything you own and embark on a year-long adventure in the unknown in hopes of finding yourself…

All the courage you need is already within you. You find it by going after what you want, no matter how much it scares you.

4. See The World.

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

~ Life Magazine Motto in Walter Mitty

I love going on adventures, traveling to new countries, exploring new cultures. It’s one of my favorite things to do. It always teaches me so much about the world, and myself.

One of the most eye-opening, heart-opening, life-enriching experiences of my life was spending a year living in far north China from 2010-2011. I learned more about myself and life in that year than I’d learned in my 23 years leading up to it.

That’s what travel does. It makes you realize that there’s a whole world in there and so many ways to live life, infinite ways to spend your days on this earth. What you grew up thinking, believing, seeing, is only a tiny drop in the possibilities of life.

On his adventures, Walter discovers new places, new people, and new parts of himself – all of which have always been there, just waiting for him to open his eyes and see them.

5. You Already Have What You’re Looking For

 A more subtle message of this film is this; you already have everything you seek.

You don’t have to just daydream about doing incredible, heroic things, – you can actually do them.

You don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike – you have to strike to awaken the inspiration.

You don’t have to convince yourself that you’re not courageous enough to live a bold, wild life – just start living a bold, wild life and you’ll spark the courage that’s already inside you.

Inspiration, courage, happiness, love… none of these ever come from an outside source.

Yes, sometimes things happen that bring these feelings to the surface, but they still come from within you.

Start living the life of your daydreams.

And whenever fear or doubt creeps in, come back and read this post. It will remind you of what you already have.

And, again, if you haven’t seen The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, go see it.

Like, right now.

xox

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