Lessons from Soul (2020)

Joe, the main lead in the film, wants to become a jazz musician. He’s so focused on the goal that he missed out on living. He thought, “I’ll be happy when I will finally landed on this big break. My life will finally change forever.”

To make the story short, he finally landed on this “big break”. But after performing, he felt odd because nothing changed in how he perceived his life, he still is him.

On a post entitled, 10 lessons I Learned This Year (2020) I wrote,

When this blog reached 1,000 views, I feel grateful but things just went back to the way it was. I am still reading and writing. When this blog reached 80,000 views, I am still feeling grateful but that’s it. I’m still me. My mindset did not magically change. I am still reading, writing, doing homework, and doing household chores.

And this is why I am thankful that I do not depend my happiness on external outcomes such as “I will be happy once I reached 10k views.” or “I’ll be happy once I passed this project.” because once I achieved any of that, nothing really much changed. I still have more work to do. There are still things to check off in my to-do list.

So with that, I learned to do things just for the sake of doing it because depending my happiness on the things that I do not have control over will make me want “more.”

In other words, I will never be satisfied because I will keep chasing that feeling of “I made it” but the truth is, there never really is that feeling of “I made it.” There will always be another thing to do. So the enjoyment itself is not on the results but on the process of doing it.”

And this is why I love the very last scene of Soul the most, because it shows us a scene wherein Joe, the main character, taking account his environment—feeling the breeze, smelling the wind, and looking at the sky.

Soemtimes, when we rush through life we forgot to live. We missed out on the subtleties of life. Hence, even when there is so many academic works to do (hooray! finals month!), I make time to hangout under the sun, play games and watch movies with my family, reading a book, listening to music, and writing. Because, Now is the only moment I will ever get to have. I want it to be well-lived.

My main takeaway from the film is that your spark or what keeps you going in life doesn’t have to be this big dream of wanting to be a jazz musician or a scientist, or a CEO. Sometimes, it can be sky-watching, walking, talking to other people, teaching/coaching, or even eating.

Life doesn’t start after reaching a goal. Life is today. It is where we all are in right now. In the movie, someone asked Joe what he will do in his life right now and he said “I don’t know. But I’m gonna seize every moment.” (non-verbatim)

Odd Grownups

The Little Prince asked the man to draw him a sheep. The man replied that he does not know how to draw. But the Little Prince said, “That doesn’t matter.” The Little Prince continued, “Draw me a sheep.”

And this is something that we can learn from kids. Kids do not do things for the sake of improvement or praise. They just simply do.

When my cousin was younger and just draws all the time, I used to look at her drawings and compliment her. She just shrugs (eventually, she learned to say her gratitude). And now, I understand why she just shrugs. Because to her (and to almost all kids), what she had done is just normal and something that she just does. Hence, compliments and praises don’t matter to her. At the same time, there is no success or failure, just doing.

Recently, I interviewed a college senior for Spotlight, a weekly article that features students from the College of Architecture and Fine Arts who have art accounts.

I asked her about her teaching experiences from the past year. She taught kids how to draw and paint. And she finds them the best students she had handled. Why?

Because, according to her, kids never complain. Unlike when she teaches older students, she never heard complaints when she was teaching kids.

And I think that is amazing. Again, to kids, it is all just something that they do for the sake of enjoyment and just doing it.

I read of an activity wherein a professor created a program for her graduate students, wherein each of them will be paired up with a kid. And the reason for this is so that her students will re-learn how to do things in a less structured, less rigid, and more enjoyful way.

“Grownups are very, very odd.” The Little Prince said. I found myself thinking that I became an odd grownup myself.

One message from the book is that growing up isn’t the problem, forgetting is.

Re-connecting to that kid inside each one of us is not done overnight. We have to re-learn things again. But at the end of the day, what matters is that we remember.