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3 Things I Learnt About Life From The Secret life of Walter Mitty

Updated on July 2, 2016
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Stop dreaming, start living
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Stop dreaming, start living

The Secret life of Walter Mitty movie (2013) is one of those feel good movies that you won't mind watching again & again because it touches your heart in so many different levels and gives you that rush of 'inspirational energy' when you are done.

The movie centers around Walter Mitty, a meek, mild, hardworking man who works at Life magazine as a negative asset manager when it was transiting from a paper to an online version (which resulted in the company downsizing). Walter was searching for a missing photo negative, which was to be on the cover of the last printed Life issue.

Walter is a man with vivid imagination, often zoning out from the real world when he daydreams about being or doing something else - from an adventurous mountain explorer, a superhuman with amazing powers to simply being brave enough to stand up for himself.

Despite the humorous/lighthearted tone to the movie, there are several key life lessons depicted in the movie that I think are worth sharing- and here I have picked 3 of them.

(Warning: content below may contain some movie spoilers!)

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1. Make bold and unexpected decisions

Occasionally, you have to make bold and unexpected decisions to uncover amazing things in life. In the show, Walter, in his desperation to locate the photographer (Sean) to find the negative, decides to venture to Iceland on his own to look for Sean (without much thought or planning). As a result of that one bold unexpected move, he managed to free himself from his own limitations and experienced an adventure of a lifetime - from jumping onto a helicopter, skateboarding down a hill to hiking up a real mountain.

So don't wait for life to happen. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and see what's out there for you.

2. Practice empathy

In the movie, there was a mean corporate transition director who was responsible for basically deciding who can stay & who needs to be let go from the company. He was insensitive about it and went around making fun of people.

Towards the end of the movie, Walter, after being subjected to his nastiness numerous times, boldly walked up to him and told him off, pointing out how his actions had belittled the efforts and dedication that people working at Life had put in to make it the magazine that it was.

In life, you may be given roles that may be unpleasant or be in a position of power - but remember to take a moment and step into the other individual's shoes to see things from their point of view. Practice empathy, be patient and learn to be nice to everyone around you.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Walter with Sean waiting for a snow leopard
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Walter with Sean waiting for a snow leopard

3. Enjoy the moment

My favorite scene in the movie was when Walter was waiting with Sean to take a photo of a snow leopard. Sean was waiting for a long time and when one finally appeared, Walter noticed that Sean was not taking any photos. The dialogue was as such:

Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?

Sean O’Connell: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.

Walter Mitty: Stay in it?

Sean O’Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.

What Sean is trying to say is that we should learn to take time and enjoy beautiful moments in life. If you taste something delicious, don't just gobble it down, if you see a beautiful sunset, don't just keep taking photos, if you are lying down on your bed next to your spouse, don't look at your phone and miss out on human interactions, if you see a beautiful park, go seat somewhere and enjoy people watching!

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Life Magazine's motto - To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.


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