Lessons from the movie: UP

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I caught the show during a flight. Even though it is an animation movie, I was able to relate to reality of life and I would like to share my thoughts on them.

Leaving life goals and dreams to lower priorities

The movie is about a boy, Carl Fredrickson, who has a common idol with childhood sweetheart, Ellie. The idol is Charlie Muntz and he is an adventurer/explorer who went away to Paradise Falls. Ellie has a life dream of having a house on Paradise Falls which she made Carl to promise to fulfil the dream. They got married and life gets pretty much like ordinary folks – life revolves around work. Carl manned a balloon stall while Ellie worked as a zookeeper. They made it a point to save money so that they can fulfil the dream to go to Paradise Falls. However, they had to use their savings time and time again for unforseen events in life. This carried on until one day, Ellie was ill and eventually passed away. She left without having fulfilled her dream.

Do you have dreams that you want to do but kept postponing them?

During my recent travel, I saw majority of the travellers are elderlies. I was wondering is it true that you will only have time and money to travel and see the world when you are old and have retired. But will an elderly be able to enjoy as much as when he/she is more energetic during his/her youth? There are bound to be places where elderlies will have difficulties to go to, like diving, hiking or mountain scaling. To put it crudely, it is like leaving sex for old age. As adults, we centered our life around work and we put off everything else to the back of our minds. Do we work to live? That is the reason why achieving financial freedom is important to me. I do not want to exchange my life for money. I want to live my life.

Forced to get out of comfort zone

After Ellie passed away, Carl was devastated. He had nothing to live for except for the unfulfilled promise he made with Ellie. However, he did not went ahead to work on the promise. Instead, he was just staying home and mulling with sadness. It just takes too much courage and effort to embark on the journey to Paradise Falls. It was only when he was forced to move to old folks’ home that he decided to escape.

Most of us are always in our comfort zone. The fact is we need to get out of our comfort zone in order to grow as a person or to achieve things in life. But it is easy to say, most of us will not be able to get out of comfort zone just by ourselves. Like Carl, he took the first step to leave for Paradise Falls only when he was forced by external pressure. Thus, find someone who will hold you responsible for your goals. He/she should be able to check on you and give constant reminder to make sure you make progress towards your goals.

Burning the bridge behind you

Once Carl went to Paradise Falls, there was no looking back. He encountered many misfortunes and even his idol, Charlie Muntz, was not who Carl thought he was. Despite all these problems, he pressed on to fight his way out. He survived and managed to place the house on Paradise Falls (coincidentally) and fulfilling Ellie’s dream.

Maybe this is what “burning the bridge behind you” is all about. When you know at the back of your mind that retreating to your comfort zone is no longer an option, you can only move on with the best of your abilities. Destroying your retreat option may be a good option if you have problem persevering towards your goals.

Staying happy always

Despite not able to travel to Paradise Falls, Ellie was not disappointed. She had a happy life with Carl and she sticked their pictures of happy moments in her adventure book, that was reserved for Paradise Falls. It sounds a little confusing now – you may be thinking if she is happy with her life, she will not be able to leave the comfort zone and go for her dream. To an extent, it is true. But this is because she was dying and she knew it is no longer possible to realise her dream ever. Knowing that, she probably had lowered her expectations in life, and while looking back in time, she was contented and thankful with what she had experienced.

The point is to look for things to be happy about. Do not always look for imperfection and be unhappy about it. There are bound to be things to be happy around you, just that you did not realise and tend to pay more attention on negative issues. Positiveness is necessary to propel you towards your goal. Even if you fail to reach the stars, you enjoyed happiness. Stay happy always.

  • Thanks for the heads up.
    Just watch the show. It was entertaining and sadden that it is a typical life of all human beings to be tied down by everyday needs then wants. I too am being slave to renovation loans, monthly installments and wants.

    However the ending about their goal and the actual reality seems so vague care to enlighten me?

  • Great to hear that you watched the show!

    Do you mean the last 2 para of what I wrote? If you can remember that Carl flipped Ellie’s adventure book in the end and discovered that she had pasted all the photos of their happy moments. To her, the life journey with Carl was an adventure itself. Even if she had not gone to Paradise Falls, she left the world with contentment.

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