I have always enjoyed the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.
But I haven’t ever really thought about it except for the entertaining surface aspects of living the same day over and over, and perhaps how I would do the same thing in Phil Connor’s shoes.
Watching this movie again recently, I see a much different, more philosophical aspect to the movie that we can all take something from. As I’m wont to do, I expect I’ll do a piss poor job of explaining my thoughts, which are, for the TL;DR crowd are:
You make your own happiness, and surrendering and accepting your life situation instead of resisting it will allow you to be happy in the current situation. While at the same time, this positive energy (instead of the negative energy that comes from resisting or being unhappy in the situation, like hating your job) leaves your mind open to the possibilities of the Universe which may result in improvement of your situation (without consciously trying).
All of us have things in our life that we don’t like. We wish we were making more money. We hate our job. Our wife is getting fat and is a ball buster. Our kids don’t respect us. We are getting fat. In general, we hate something, or multiple things, about our life. HATE them. Unfortunately for many, this current situation, this hate and negative thought, the discomfort and life patterns has become so ingrained in our lives that we simply accept them as normal. We allow this negative energy to seep into our consciousness, as we resist and fight against perceived unfairness and injustices. We allow ourselves to be unhappy. When an opportunity comes to improve that situation, we usually resist it. Think about that for a moment…
We. Resist. Change. Change is hard. It’s hard to make those small steps to a better life. To get up early to workout. To start learning new skills for a different career trajectory. To start saving more instead of spending.
Phil Connors hated his life situation in the movie. He hated being in small town Pennsylvania. He was unhappy despite being very well off. He did not appreciate what his life, and Punxsutawney had to offer. He did not want to change himself, and wanted the situation to change so he could be happy. Resisting against the world is like pushing against a mountain. The mountain will not move. You will stay static and unhappy until you decide to stop resisting.
Just like Phil Connors, we resist and fight against change of the situation. We usually, as a society, simply accept the situation (the job we have. the wife we have. the children we have) and the unhappiness we allow our mind to feel. As a result, we A) do not make any attempt to change the situation (instead, acceptance of the situation, even a cancerous one, is better than the perceived hardships incurred to try and change it) or B) fight against our lot in life, making us very, very unhappy and mad about our slave-masters – even lashing out at those we love or lust.
That was what most of what Groundhog Day was all about – Phil wrestling with his discontinuity of what he wanted his life to be and what it was (life in the moment in Punxsutawney). Instead of simply being happy with what he has, he wants more, even creating cheat codes to get to what he thought he wanted (transient goals, ultimately unfulfilling). He tricks women to sleeping with him and learns so much about his crush (Andie Macdowell) that it is nearly the same as tricking her – some women’s lock just take longer to be picked and figured out according to this movie.
It wasn’t until he intimately started making small changes to better himself, and really give in did he finally find happiness in his situation that he previously thought entirely shitty. He found within himself the ability to turn the page and be happy. He surrendered. He accepted that his resisting actions weren’t going to change his local world, nor get to even the next day on the calendar. He finally accepted his fate, stopped resisting, cleared his mind of the hate. Only then did he leave his mind as an empty vessel to be filled with new skills and happiness.
And once he accepted that fully and completely, did fate allow him to turn the page on the next chapter of his life. He went from selfish to selfless, and saw positives instead of negatives in the same life events just from changing perspective. We can too.
Happy Sunday Funday.