I love silly movies, so it should be no surprise that What About Bob? is one of my all time favorites.
It's now been twenty years since it comes out, but it can still draw more than a few laughs out of me every time I see it.
Looking past the laughs, there are a few lessons that I took away from the movie that bear reminding:
1) “Take a vacation from your problems” – One piece of advice that a neurotic Bob (Bill Murray) receives is to take a break from all that worries him. Simply put it aside. This is pretty good advice. I remember another movie (can't remember what it was) where the lead character, before entering his home every day, ‘hung his problems' on a tree outside the door. When his kid asked him why, he said that he hung them there and when he left in the morning the next day, there were always less there than he had left. Everybody has problems, but they can't be allowed to take over our life.
2) Baby steps – Many things in life for Bob were simply too daunting (often to hilarious results). The advice was to break big tasks down to baby steps. This is so true. If you're trying to lose weight, I say break your overall goal into ten mini-goals that are 10% each of your total goal. Making these achievements will keep you focused on the bigger picture. The same holds for personal finance goals. If you want to save a large sum money or pay down debt, don't make your goal the end number, set mini-goals along the way so that you can feel accomplished and stay motivated.
3) Pass along what you've learned – As the movie goes on, Bob is able to conquer some of his fears. He then passes along his new knowledge to a child who is afraid to dive into the lake. He's eventually able to help the kid along with the knowledge he learned. If you are able to make progress in your goals, help others who might be looking for help.
Have you ever taken away lessons from a silly movie?