I’m a sucker for movies that challenge me to be a better person, ones that help me remember to live each moment to the fullest. If you’re going to spend two hours of your life doing something, you might as well walk away fired up about living a richer life. Here are my top 13 picks that will leave you inspired and excited about living life more abundantly. Let us know which ones I forgot.
1. The Bucket List: Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.
2. Young @ Heart: A story of the Young at Heart Chorus, a group of senior citizens who perform contemporary and classic rock and pop songs.
3. Yes Man: A guy challenges himself to say “yes” to everything for an entire year.
4. Peaceful Warrior: A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of a college gymnast.
5. City of Angels: Seth, an angel watching over Los Angeles, begins finding his job difficult as he falls in love with Maggie, a beautiful heart surgeon.
6. Evan Almighty: God contacts Congressman Evan Baxter and tells him to build an ark in preparation for a great flood.
7. Dead Poets Society: English professor John Keating inspires his students to a love of poetry and to seize the day.
8. Rudy: Rudy has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.
9. Braveheart: William Wallace, a commoner, unites the 13th Century Scots in their battle to overthrow English rule.
10. Mr. Holland’s Opus: A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.
11. Chariots of Fire: The story of two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian who compete in the 1924 Olympics.
12. Rocky: A small time boxer gets a once in a lifetime chance to fight the heavyweight champ in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.
13. Frequency: An accidental cross-time radio link connects father and son across 30 years. The son tries to save his father’s life, but then must fix the consequences.
The lovable neighbor of Jerry Seinfeld has a lot to teach us about living life with less stress and more fun. Loved for his childlike perspective on life, Kramer stole the show week after week for the show’s nine-year run. Although quirky and borderline childish at times, Kramer’s life was filled with a childlike enthusiasm that kept the audience wanting more. Here are the simple lessons we can learn from the life of Kramer…
1. Express yourself. Kids have no problems doing this — just look at the wardrobe of a child who was given permission to pick out his own outfit for the day. If you like wearing big hair and vintage clothing, like Mr. Kramer, go for it! Wear what want! No one else is the boss of you, especially not Stacy and Clinton from “What Not to Wear.” Kramer had no problem with this, often donning crazy patterned shirts with things like lobsters on them!
2. Treat yourself on a regular basis. Kids are always looking for candy. They treasure treats and they know that life is meant to be enjoyed. If that means you buy a meat slicer to cut fresh, ultra thin slices of your favorite meats, then go for it. Same thing with a good Cuban cigar — just try not to burn down any cabins!
3. Treasure people, not things. Kids just get this, you don’t need to explain it to them. Kramer got it too. He spent more time in Jerry’s apartment than his own. He adopted Jerry’s friends and even befriended Newman. He would drop anything to hang out with his friends at the coffee shop.
4. Start bold new adventures. This is a very childlike trait that Kramer mastered almost every single episode. Whether is was starting Kramerica Industries and finding an intern, implementing The Real Peterman Reality Bus Tour, turning his apartment into the set of the Merv Griffin Show, or embarking on the project of creating the “bro” or “mansiere” with George’s dad, Frank Costanza, he was always up for trying something new and not afraid to fail, (unless it involved clowns… yikes!).
5. Be present. Kramer was known for his grand entrance, with his violent bursts through Jerry’s door, sliding in flamboyantly. When Kramer arrived, you knew it. This is the same for kids. Rarely are you unaware that there’s a four-year-old in the room. They make their presence known. Be that kind of presence. Be quirky, or at least be you… to the fullest, whatever that looks like.
Ryan “Cubby” Culbertson is a Navy guy, father of seven, and Club K&J member. He has routinely delighted us with his creative entries in the Thursday Giveaway. A few months back, I wrote an article outlining some important tips for finding your dream job. Ryan commented on the article with a hearty, “Here, here.”
A little while later, his wife Melynda chimed in to tell us that there was more to the story behind the simple comment.
She shared that Ryan was beginning his dream job. For years, he had served in a mind-numbing job that he found boring and redundant. But he was good at it and it paid the bills. Eventually, Ryan decided to step out and go after something he really wanted to do: become a Navy pilot. Said Melynda, “Actually, he wanted to be Superman, but being a pilot is as close as reality can take him. For the first time since he was a teenager he loves his job. For the first time ever he wakes up excited to go to work.”
We wanted to chat with Ryan to hear more about the story in the hopes that it might serve as inspiration for others who have a steady job but yearn for something more. He shares his struggles and successes, as well as his infectious enthusiasm. He also explains what it feels like to fly and reveals one of the main things his family does to deal with Adultitis.
Run Time: 19 minutes, 34 seconds | Subscribe with iTunes
There’s always something inspiring about talking to someone who is passionate about what they do. While touring Europe as a stage carpenter for dance companies, Peter Robertson fell in love — with the food of Italy. He began studying the traditional fresh pasta that was a staple of the Italian food he loved. And ultimately, began making authentic fresh pasta on his own.
Robertson later moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he gave gifts of his fresh pasta to friends and family. One of those friends, proprietor of the award-winning Pasta Per Tutti restaurant in Madison, asked Robertson to supply pasta for the restaurant. Soon after, RP’s Pasta Company opened for business.
We really wanted to hear a firsthand account of how Peter turned his passion for pasta into a business. And we were dying to have him show us the noodle-making process. (Especially Kim, a self-avowed noodle junkie.) Enjoy this webisode about Peter and RP’s Pasta. It will be part of a feature length project about the childlike side of Madison that we’ll be releasing in the Summer of 2009. But you get to watch it right now, because you’re a Club K&J member. And we think you’re cool.
When you were little, were you ever afraid of the dark? I sure was. From horns and hair to scabs and skeletons, thinking about what lurked among the shadows was an all-you-can-eat buffet for my imagination.
In fact, I may not have made it through childhood without that humble but powerful life-saving device known as the night light. Although small in size and wattage, it did a remarkable job of keeping the creepy-crawlies at bay. Without it, I’m sure I’d have long been digested in the belly of a slimy beast from the netherworld known as “Underthebed.”
Many lives have been saved by the simple night light. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been needed if we only believed the advice from our parents: that there really aren’t any monsters under the bed; they’re only in our imagination.
But alas, parents are never very convincing.
Perhaps that is because grown-ups also deal with monsters. They just live in a different place. You see, as we get older and grow up, the monsters take up a different residence. They move out from under our beds, and move up into our…heads.
Think I’m nuts?
How many times have you laid awake at night, worried, scared, or anxious about any number of things? This stuff keeps us up, and it can wreak some terrifying results.
But our parents were on to something when they tucked us into bed and tried to calm our fears about the monsters. You know, the part where they told us that the monsters only exist within our imagination.
That’s the key word to keep in mind: imagination.
Think back to when you were five-years-old. Maybe you had a window in your bedroom. And maybe just outside that window was a tree. By day, that tree looked like an ordinary tree. Harmless. Almost friendly, even.
But at night, that tree cast some weird shadows into your room. Right before your eyes, it somehow transformed into an enormous, ravenous T-Rex, with dagger teeth and jagged claws, ever-reaching in your direction. Ominously, it eyed you, tucked into your sheets and blankets looking a lot like a ravioli-shaped midnight snack.
And yet, looking back with the advantage of years and wisdom, it’s obvious that there really wasn’t a T-Rex lurking just outside your bedroom window. It was just that tree, casting shadows that our imagination ran wild with, concocting spine-chilling possibilities that we couldn’t help but believe. It all seemed so convincing.
Our imaginations are pretty good at what they do.
Here’s the thing. As adults, no matter how creative we think we are (are aren’t), our imaginations don’t shut off. The stuff that keeps you up at night now is still largely the product of a very overactive imagination.
That’s not true, I hear you saying. The stuff I’m worried about is real-world stuff. Things like my job and my mortgage and my kids.
Ok, I hear you. But now hear this: Most of the stuff we worry about never happens.
I’ll say it again. Most of the stuff we worry about never happens.
Think back over the last year and call to mind all of the things you spent time worrying about. I’ll bet you that most of the stuff didn’t amount to anything at all. And the few things that did come to pass were nowhere near as frightening as your imagination led you to believe.
Just as it did with the ominous shadows slithering across our bedroom floors, our imagination takes kernels of doubt and the vast unknown and concocts it into a possible future outcome. An outcome that more times than not gives us the heebie-jeebies.
It is an interesting trait of human nature that when it comes to imagination and our future, we automatically go more toward the negative than the positive. Think about it. You hear rumors about possible layoffs at work. Do you naturally assume that your job will be unaffected and begin expecting a promotion? Or does your train of thought lead to a scenario that has you being the first one cut, resulting in you being unable to pay your mortgage, having your house foreclosed, and living under a bridge eating Spam out of a can?
The negative outcome tends to be where our imagination spends its time, and it’s the one that keeps us up at night. So what’s a person supposed to do about this?
Here’s what I am proposing. First, let us acknowledge the stuff that contributes to our uncertainty and anxiousness is largely attributable to our imagination. Once we can accept that, then let us put our imagination to work for us, instead of against us.
If you are wracked with fear over a particular issue, be it relatively large or small, begin by letting your imagination do what it wants to do anyway: go negative. That’s right, pull out a sheet of paper and write down the absolute worst possible outcome you can imagine. This should come quite easily, as it is the thing that’s been stealing your peace of mind for so long. Don’t leave out any gory details, including instantaneous death by embarrassment or a new career as a bum or bag lady.
Now, once you are scared senseless and ready to pee your pants, take out another sheet of paper and write down the best possible outcome you can dream up. It may take a while for your imagination to kick into high gear, but when it does, reach for the sky. We’re talking fantasy land, pie in the sky, Hollywood-couldn’t-write-it-because-it’s-too-unbelievable type of stuff. Have fun with it.
Okay, now that you’ve balanced things out a bit, take out a third (and final) sheet of paper and write down what you imagine to be the likely outcome to your particular scenario. This will probably fall somewhere in between the first two outcomes. It might be a bit uncomfortable or unpleasant, but it will be nowhere near as terrifying as you first suspected. Take comfort in the knowledge that God never gives us any more than we can handle.
This activity is a simple one, but if you give it a shot, it won’t be long before a sense of peace starts to descend upon you. Writing out the scary stuff that’s in your head is like shining a light on the situation. It clarifies the facts – that tree really is just a tree – and helps us to see just how ridiculous our initial assessment of the situation really was.
A T-Rex?! Phfffft. Those went extinct a million years ago!
The monsters that terrorized you years ago have much in common with the ones that kept you up last night. Our imagination is a powerful tool, and with a little guidance, it can serve as a helpful night light that guides us to a present peace and a future that is better than we ever expected. Sweet dreams!
Are you one of those people who wish your current job was a little more enriching? Perhaps the only thing you’re sure about regarding your career is that you need a new one. Or maybe you know exactly what you want to be doing, but can’t take the leap because you’re facing the reality of a mortgage to pay and a family to feed.
If you fall into any or all of the above scenarios, or if you’ve ever thought that dreaming is a fluffy, pie in the sky time waster, you need to hear this interview with Curt Rosengren!
(P.S. Buy “101 Ways to Get Wild About Work” and read Curt’s blog at www.passioncatalyst.com)
We filmed this episode smack dab in the middle of Times Square in New York City. The topic is time. If you’re stressed out and feel like you never have enough time to just…b r e a t h e…you’ll definitely want to watch this episode and implement the tip we share. Enjoy!
Chasing after a dream requires a lot of passion, preparation, and persistence. But there’s one other “p” word that might be even more important. This episode outlines a crucial strategy you need to be aware of if you want to see your dreams come true.
One of the things all kids do is delight in the little things. They appreciate the stuff that us adults often take for granted. In order to bring a little excitement back into our lives, it’s important that we see the world through new eyes, just like children do.
The following is an audio excerpt (Chapter 1) from my book, Escape Adulthood: 8 Secrets from Childhood for the Stressed-Out Grown-Up. Listen in to learn how you can get back into being excited about the little things. It has a way of making life a lot more fun.
We were recently interviewed by Angee Robertson on Marcia Wieder’s Dream Talk program. Marcia is known as “America’s Dream Coach,” and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show. This hour-long teleconference was recorded live and was only made available to members of Marcia’s Dream Circle. Until now.
Club K&J members can listen to the candid interview about how you might be sabotaging your success and how to keep Adultitis from interfering with your dreams. We had a great time, and even had a chance to field some questions from callers.