Forrest Gump is making the rounds on cable again . It has been awhile since I’ve seen the film, and I found myself mesmerized and pulled into its cinematic vortex. Around the house, I start talking like him to my family, and it cracks them up. Later, I realized as I imitated his words that I wished that I could embody more of his attitude and spirit.
It got me to think that if Forrest could sum up his rules for life, what would they be?
1. … Life is Like a Box of Chocolates: You Never Know What You’re Going to Get – This is the essential quote from the movie and explains the core belief system that Forrest lives by. You take what’s given in life and do your best. If you’re like me, then anything chocolate is good. I know that some choices in the box may be better than others, but hey, it’s all chocolate.
2. Keep your Eye on the Ball – To succeed in ping-pong or the shrimping business, Forrest knew to never take his eye of the proverbial ball. His channeled an obsessed focus on what he enjoyed or believed, and in return it allowed him to transcend his mental shortcomings.
3. Love Your Family – Forrest loved his mother dearly. She was the guiding force that drove him to see that life had some truly beautiful things to offer. He realized that he was her whole world. When Forrest met his son for the first time, he openly cried. He asked if his son was smart. Forrest’s limitations were clear to him and he did his best, but his love for family was paramount.
4. Be Loyal to Your Friends – This one come through loud and clear. Forrest was fiercely loyal to those people in his life that he determined were his friends. He ran out into an active battlefield to retrieve his best friend, Bubba. When called upon to help his fellow comrades, he couldn’t let their cries for help go unheard. Then later after Forrest established himself in his shrimping business, his friend, Bubba, was only a spiritual partner, and yet, Forrest took care of Bubba’s mother by giving her half of his share of the business.
5. Be Friendly No Matter How Disagreeable Those Around You May Be. ( See the Good in People Unless they Hurt the Love of Your Life, then You Pound Them ) – Forrest showed this best with Lieutenant Dan. He saw beyond the pain and depressed spirit of the broken soldier that was his commander. He allowed Lieutenant Dan to be angry and upset, but did not let his irascible behavior dull his dedication to him. Forrest was his secret friend until Lieutenant Dan understood Forrest actually was his best friend. But refer to rules number 2 and 3 if you decide slap Jenny, your Black Panther Party will get ruined.
6. Never Give up on Love – Forrest had his heart broke by Jenny time after time. He knew his limitations in life, but his capacity for love was unflagging and unlimited. In the end Jenny saw that quality and realized that he was the right man for her.
Conclusion: Regardless of the curve balls that life or fate handed him, Forrest took them in stride and endured certain difficult moments to arrive at those times in his life he could enjoy. He fiercely held the promises he made to friends, the love for his family, and his undying dedication to his childhood sweetheart. It wouldn’t hurt for all of us to live like Forrest Gump.