Life Lessons from La La Land

This is soooo late. I actually got the idea for this on a flight I took in April.

I. LOVE. LA LA LAND. This movie made me laugh, cry, and most importantly smile - I cannot tell you the last time I went to the movies and I enjoyed myself as much as I did during this film. Yes, Ryan Gosling may have something to do with that. No, I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Ryan Gosling shirtless in Crazy, Stupid Love.


I digress.

Now, it has been a long time since this movie came out, but I still want to preface this to say that if you have not seen this yet and don't want to know how it ends, I suggest that you stop reading because THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS. Go watch it and come back and read it when you're ready.

Ok, here we go.

I first watched La La Land a few months prior to when the idea for this post came about. I loved the music, I loved the dancing, the pushing of your love to be better, plus the feeling of Singin' in the Rain got me feeling nostalgic. I was not happy with the ending, maybe because I am an idealist, but I honestly think they could have made it work. Anyway, I was thinking about this when I saw that the movie was available on my seat back TV, the idea that success more often than not, comes with a price (in this case, a relationship with Ryan Gosling).

Sigh. Giiiiiirrrrrrlllllll.

Anyway, here is my rundown of life lessons from La La Land. No particular order.

Lesson #1: Passion is a double-edged sword.

In our society, there is a lot of focus on passion. Finding your passion and never letting it go. I try to stay away from that word, because one of the definitions is rooted in anger, which just doesn't resonate with me (I prefer to use ecstatic, but that's another post for another day). In the movie, Sebastian was so passionate about jazz that in some instances it drew people in as he was educating them. In other situations he became so inflexible and shut off that he wasn't able to see opportunities right in front of his nose, not to mention his tendency to look down on other people that didn't agree with his views. Watch your impact on others. If you're looking for people to fall in love with what you love you have to watch for the openness on their side. Passion can be a great tool for bringing people into and along with your vision - until it's not.

Lesson #2: Take a chance and show up.

I loved that Sebastian showed up to meet Mia at the coffee shop that she casually mentioned she worked at. It takes courage to take a chance on something that is scary and potentially full of rejection. It takes even more courage to show up and be present when you're there. Trust your intuition and follow it where it leads. Your life may change for the better. And if you do end up getting rejected, know that your confidence is building every time you put yourself out there.

Lesson #3: Don't give up on your dreams.

Mia worked so hard on her play and it appeared that it was not a success with the turnout and her debt. Turns out that the play Sebastian encouraged her to do was the stepping stone to her becoming a huge star. If you know what you want and you are taking steps to get there, you've got nothing to be ashamed of with progress. It's ok to have a pity party when things appear sucky, just don't let it last too long. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get going to the next thing. This requires a strong growth mindset.

Side note - just because your return on investment doesn't kick in right away, doesn't mean that what you did was a waste of time or energy.

Lesson #4: Do what you need to do while you pursue your dreams.

Both Mia and Sebastian were in jobs that they didn't enjoy while they were on the road to where they wanted to go. There is nothing shameful in not keeping up with the Joneses while you keep your eyes on the prize. We all gotta do what we gotta do - and it's even more important when your vision is super clear. Please don't misunderstand me - I really hope that what you've got to do is not negatively impacting others, or bringing harm to yourself.

Lesson #5: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Sebastian was walking the pier after he saw Mia wondering if the potential of the relationship would be another thing that failed in his life. He was used to things going wrong and he was jaded and standoffish. It affected all his relationships and his ability to hold down a job. You have got to trust your gut, get your strength, count 5,4,3,2,1 and then do it.

Side note - Don't care about the opinions of others. They are projecting their fears on to you. Ignore them. You can listen to advice (of those you trust and respect), but don't feel bad if you don't take it. Intrinsic self-worth - it's got to come from inside.

Lesson #6: Let your vision & values run the show.

Sebastian and Mia had a big fight once it became clear that they were not on the same page. In this case, the thing they were fighting about was a vision and values issue. I always start with the vision and values that my clients have for their lives so I know what drives them. Mia saw a different life and called Sebastian out when he was not honouring the values she thought he had.

Side note: A big part of this is asking for what you need. Sebastian could have left the photo shoot early if he has worked out his part to finish earlier instead of not saying a word about where he needed to be. When is enough enough? Healthy boundaries are key.

Lesson #7: Be obnoxious sometimes.

I loved when Sebastian beeped his horn from the car to let Mia know he was out front. I especially loved it when he showed up unannounced at her parents place and didn't know which house was theirs. He knew in his bones that Mia had to be at that audition, and he didn't care that he was going to annoy some neighbours. You've gotta be bold and unapologetic when it comes to living a life of no regrets.

Lesson #8: Pay attention to the little things.

Be present with your people. Sebastian showed up to the coffee shop when Mia mentioned it once. He showed up to her place after mentioning a random fact about her hometown and how she lived across the street from a library. When you pay attention to and act on the details to make someone else feel special, it's just being an awesome human being! Do onto others as you'd have them do onto you, right?

Lesson #9: Happy endings are what you make them.

The movie didn't end up the way I wanted it to. Blame it on my extensive romantic comedy and Disney movie love. However, they both had wonderful lives that they had chosen. The mutually parted ways. In an ideal world they could have ended up together and been happy. But they didn't. Choose your happy ending and then show up and keep it happy. Make the conscious choice to stick it out, unless abuse or threat of safety (and the like) threatens you. You are here, be here. Don't stay in the past. Look upon those moments fondly and move forward. Progress is key.

Lesson #10: Believe in someone.

They believed in each other when they didn't believe in themselves. They pushed each other to be more than they thought they could be on their own. We all need people like that in our lives. The type of positive impact that teachers have when they actively are engaged and support their students. It impacts self-worth, confidence and health. Is there someone you believe in so much? Be their cheerleader and let them know you believe in them. I suspect it will make you feel good too.

BONUS LESSON: Incorporate joy into your life. Now.

I enjoyed the random dance sequences, wonderful songs, the bright yellow dresses and the 80s cover bands (pretty much all my favourite things in one place). I felt pure joy when I watched this movie. I was engaged the whole time. Basically, find things that you love and incorporate them into your life. Life is too short to not include things that make you joyful. Start living with joy in all things. Take that perspective and ask yourself, "If I was being joyful right now, how would I act?"

Well, that's my post! I'm curious, do these resonate with you? Which one would you say is your non-negotiable? Which one would you like to add to your playbook? Anything I'm missing?