4 Lessons from the movie “Groundhog Day”

There are movies which are good, then there are movies which are wonderful, and there are a few movies which touch and move your soul. You can watch these movies any number of times and find something new each time. These are movies which aren’t just movies, they have deep lessons buried in them, only for the viewer to find out. Some of such movies (on my list) are Groundhog Day, Pursuit of Happyness, Rocky, Peaceful Warrior, etc. Today, let me share with you four lessons I got from watching Groundhog Day. But first, lets recap what happens in the movie.

In the movie, the main character, Phil Connors is trapped in a recurring day — a freezing February day in Punxsutawney. The town never changes; the events and the people never change. Only Phil can change. It is impossible for Phil to have any control over the external world. Every morning he wakes up and it’s the same day again. He is compelled to find how best to survive and prosper, and decide if this is a curse or maybe a blessing. Now for the lessons –

Living in the Moment
This movie, more than anything else, shows us how to live ‘every‘ moment of our lives. Living every moment means not worried by what happened in the past neither by what is going to happen in the future. Living in the moment means giving yourself totally to ‘this‘ moment, the ‘only‘ moment you actually have, whether you are doing your job, playing with your kid, or washing dishes. And this movie shows that the same moment keeps repeating unless he totally surrenders to it. In a way, that is true in everybody’s life. Same experiences, of repeating moments kind of get stuck with us unless we surrender to them and “get it“. Totally living every moment of our lives is the ultimate act which will lead us to beyond anything we have ever imagined.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Unconditional love and compassion for ourself and others
When Phil ‘got it‘ and started to live his never-ending day as the best he can, he starts giving his unconditional love and compassion to himself and to others around him. He didn’t bother to see people as friends or strangers, good or bad, and so on. What he realizes that while whatever he ‘actually’ wanted and have been striving for all these years have never given him the kind of happiness living one day out of compassion and love has given him. Similarly, in life, we too often tie our efforts with results. We say “I will put in more effort if you pay me more”, “I will help you if you help me” or “I don’t trust you because you don’t deserve it”. All our actions are driven by some past results or future expectations. When we learn to give our love unconditionally to others “now“, without waiting for the right moment, we will realize, like Phil did, that the life we were waiting for all this time will actually come and knock at our doors.

You have to change your view about the world, not the world itself
What has been shown so beautifully in this movie is that every day, the world is exactly the same. The only difference that is there is because of Phil’s own actions, because his own actions are the only thing he has control over. If we pause to look at our lives, every day is not ‘literally’ the same, but it is almost the same day after day. The only thing that can change is our views about the world, how we look at it and how we act. Groundhog Day shows how we can all change the world outside into a wonderful one, by just changing our thoughts and attitudes. Inner change is the key to happiness and personal growth and this movie is the best example of this.

We all live like Phil’s first Groundhog Day
In the movie, when Phil lived through his first Groundhog Day, he was just waiting for the day to get over. He was tired, indifferent, angry, and bored at different times. If we look at our lives, that is how we live. We wait for something to happen, a new job, or an important milestone or goal in work, thinking at after that life will be happy and fulfilling. But in doing so, we miss the current moment. Any happiness we tie to some goal or moment will give us some satisfaction for a few days at best, then we come again to the same phase, busy for the next goal. Going from destination to destination but missing the journey in the process.