I have watched lion king so many times, I’ve lost count. Over the weekend, it was playing for the umpteenth time, and I sort of got drawn to it yet again. This time, I wasn’t following the story; for some reason, other things stood out to me – life lessons I never thought were there. I wondered if the story would have played out differently if Mufasa did not die. What would have become of Simba if he did not run away? Could the hyenas have pulled off a coup without Scar’s help? All these questions prompted me to get a pen and write down the lessons I learned from the movie as it played (yes, I’m weird and deep like that).
#1 Don’t let ‘hyenas’ into your life: Mufasa was very protective of pride rock; he didn’t want hyenas thinking they could roam in and out as they please, and destroy what he had worked hard as king to preserve. Same way, you should be careful about who you let into your life. Hyenas are opportunistic feeders, and will often attack what they consider to be easy prey. In other words, if you present yourself as easy prey, be ready to be used, abused, and abandoned in destitution. Be very careful about who you let into your life. When a mole reported to Zazu that hyenas have invaded the pride lands, Mufasa took action ASAP!
#2 Don’t let anyone taunt you into doing what you are uncomfortable with: Scar taunted Simba by telling him only brave lions could dare go to the dark place beyond the pride lands. Simba being an impressionable child jumped at the opportunity to prove a point and ended up in danger. As an individual, know your limits and be secure in the standards you have set for yourself. Your life is not about proving a point to other people. It is about being the best version of yourself! Don’t let the taunts of other people push you beyond your limit into danger. Some of the people taunting you know danger awaits you! Once you jump in, none of them will stick around to save you, so do what’s best for you! You don’t have to prove a point to anyone.
#3 “Being brave does not mean you go looking for trouble”- Mufasa: This really goes without saying. Learn to pick your battles; don’t be boastful in your abilities. Your intelligence does not mean you must challenge everyone to a debate. Your strength does not mean you must always seek out people to embarrass. Your supremacy does not mean you must trample on others. Don’t go seeking trouble, else you might find more than you bargained for.
#4 Be careful of those close to you who move with hyenas: You might not have hyenas in your life but be careful of those friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and sometimes even family members who might. Keep a watchful eye and be on guard where such people are concerned. Remember, “if there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can do you no harm.”
#5 Good friends and laughter can make you forget your problems: Sometimes, when times are dark and it seems the universe is conspiring against us, friends are very few. Some friends find good reasons to disappear; some friends highlight they have their own problems too, but there are those friends who make an effort to check if you are still breathing, and take their time to leave an encouraging word devoid of judgment, and filled with laughter. Everyone needs at least two good friends who make every problem seem smaller than it actually is. Keep those friends close, they are the real MVPs.
#6 Guilt is a heavy burden. Anything seems suggestive when you are guilty: Even Scar as ruthless as he was could not handle his guilt. Zazu’s song “It’s a small world afterall” drove him up the wall, and any mention of Mufasa’s name had him screaming bloody murder. It is easier to do the right thing from the beginning. Guilt can take away the joy of victory, so why bother engaging in activities that will invite it?
#7 You can always go back and start over: This is difficult for everyone, and even for Simba a lion it was hard. How do you start over when you don’t know what to expect? How do you start rebuilding a relationship or friendship when it seems you are the reason everything broke down in the first place? By sincerely accepting that you were at fault and are willing to take responsibility. Take responsibility for the bad choices that have affected how your life has turned out. Acknowledge your mistakes, and be ready to move on! You cannot start over if you do not acknowledge where you failed.
#8 “The past will hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it”- Rafiki. The monkey was dead on with this. Your past might be hurtful, and it can haunt you only for as long as you want it to. If you decide to run away from it, you’re not doing yourself any good. You’ll soon discover you’ve come full circle to find it awaiting you. Rather learn from it. Learn your lessons from your past mistakes; write them down if you have to. Internalize the lessons, and once you are done, move on. Yes, people will make reference to your past mistakes; they will try to imprison you with their obsolete perceptions of who you are. Don’t fall victim to their wiles. No one is infallible, so learn your lessons from your past and keep walking.
#9 Some friends are overcome by the urgency of the moment. Don’t judge their disposition during such times: When grown up Simba had some sense knocked into him by Rafiki, he set off for pride rock immediately. Yeah, I just noticed for the first time that he did not stop to say goodbye to Pumbaa and Timon; heck not even Nala got a goodbye, and he was already in love with her. In spite of this, his friends set off to help him out. Now, I know the chances of that happening in real life are slim to none. Many of us would rather hope something goes terribly wrong just to justify our self-importance in a situation that has little or nothing to do with us. Be a supportive friend. Offer your help even when you are not asked. Drop a message to say hello even if you did not get a goodbye. Some people are dealing with things you cannot feel no matter how close you are to them. So instead of thinking about what they failed to do for you, be that friend who reaches out in sincerity.
#10 Don’t ever forget who you are: Never ever forget who you are. Never forget where you’re from. You might detest it, but don’t forget it. Channel your past negative experiences into positive energy to drive your ambitions. Be well-grounded in your vision for your life. Be strong; be of good character. You are not your mistakes; you are not your past. You are not your many shortcomings. Simba forgot he was a king. He became content with mediocrity. He hoped to escape his real identity but it eventually found him. You might not be so lucky to find a Nala who knows who you are. But if you do have a Nala as a friend, don’t break that bond. Who you believe you are translates into what you actually become. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
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