5 Life Lessons From "The Greatest Showman"

In our house, we are big fans of the movie “The Greatest Showman”.  The actors, the story line, and oh, the songs!  I have listened to the soundtrack on repeat more times than I am possibly count.  Every time I hear the songs, I can’t help but think about how much I love it!  I love the words, the message of the songs, and the story line too!  As I was watching it one of these most recent times, it occurred to me that there are some amazing life lessons in this movie. 

If you haven’t seen the movie, I won’t give away too many spoilers, but here are 5 Life Lessons from The Greatest Showman:

1.    Don’t get bogged down in circumstances-Have a vision for yourself and where you want to go.  Barnum (the main character) grew up poor, lost his father, and then was homeless and hungry as a young orphan.  Despite this, he maintained his vision for himself.  He was resourceful and did what he needed to push forward.  Even when the father of his love interest didn’t believe in him, he persevered in winning her heart.  You might feel like a failure.  You might be stuck in a job you don’t like or a relationship that doesn’t feel fulfilling.  You might feel afraid to take a chance.  I encourage you to take your eyes off of where you are right now, and raise your eyes to where you’d like to be!  What are YOUR goals for yourself?  Start working today on making that a reality!  Surround yourself with those who support you in your goals and seek therapy if you find that there are things you can’t get past on your own. 

2.    Be yourself-The best part of the movie is the “oddities”, those stars in Barnum’s Circus.  These people begin as hiding from society – they feel they are too short, or too tall, or “odd” looking in other ways.  The mother of one of them even denied having a son because she was so ashamed of him.  They are ashamed of themselves for not fitting in.  Barnum looks at them, and inspires them to not shrink away, but to stand up and be seen!  They end up fully embracing themselves and not be afraid to be different. The song “This is Me” is so powerful:

“I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me”

This song inspires me that we aren’t meant to live as perfect people in our perfect little houses.  Don’t be afraid to be real, to be raw, to be authentically you.  This can mean living your values, but can also mean your hair style, your clothes, your personality!  I challenge you to start accepting yourself.

3.    Look for inspiration anywhere and be willing to shift what you are doing to grow and evolve-The ideas for the circus came from a comment his young daughter made, and from a man he saw at the bank.  And, sometimes you need to be willing to figuratively burn it all down and start again.  So, get started chasing your dream, but be open to other influences.  Evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and then be willing to change based on what you notice.  Sometimes a setback is an opportunity to do things differently this time around.  The more flexible you can be, the more successful you will be!

4.    Don’t listen to the naysayers -  Barnum had to deal with a writer who wrote critically of him and his show.  There were protestors boycotting outside his doors.  People booed his show.  Barnum and those in the circus stayed focused and embraced who they were.  They disregarded the negativity around them.  Don’t let others bring you down. Don’t let others be too influential in your life, especially the ones who are critical of you and what you are accomplishing.  It may take some time and effort to rid yourself of critical and unsupportive people, but replacing those with an encouraging support system will be invaluable!

5.    Keep perspective-Remember why you are fighting or who it’s all for.  Barnum loses track of the most important things in the fight for fame and glory.  When he’s at rock bottom, he remembers those who have been by his side through it all and loved him regardless.  It’s easy to become obsessed with achievement or success; it’s easy to be distracted by the next shiny thing you see.  But, keeping in mind your values and your priorities helps keep you centered in having a balanced life.  Be able to see the blessings in your life in the midst of chaos and that can help you keep your priorities in line.

If you are familiar with the movie, what other life lessons have you noticed in this movie?  Where else have you learned important life lessons from the most surprising place?!