Stop Chasing, Lessons from Soul on Disney Plus

I turned on the movie Soul thinking it was a movie about jazz piano. Little did i know that I was in for a deep movie. Here are some takeaways

Joe Gardner the protagonist, has been waiting all his life to realize his dreams of being a jazz pianist, and playing music gigs. One day he realises his dream, but to his surprise, it leaves him feeling disappointed! This is very well done in the movie. When you chase things and get them, most times it does not satisfy you. In turn it leaves you empty and you start questioning if it was worth it. (I wish I hadn't worked so hard, is one of the top 5 regrets of the dying) Nothing can give you permanent satisfaction and happiness. Thats the problem side of the movie.

Now to the solution side. During this journey, the protagonist meets soul (#22), who only gets to live on earth, if she finds a spark. By a chance of events, soul gets into the body of Joe and really likes life on earth. She loves the “small” things in life. Making friends, appreciating moms care, enjoying the walk on the beautiful planet, she finds her sparks in all these small things. To me it looked like she liked the entire package of life. She couldn't single out a specific passion. And because she doesn't have any particular passion, Joe convinces her that she is not qualified for life yet. Later when Joe realizes that attaining one's passion leaves you empty, he realizes that Soul #22 is more fit for life than Joe. And then Joe resolves to enjoy every piece of life, not just the piano playing parts.

Most of us are running behind a goal. Scoring high marks -> good university -> high paying job -> house -> family. This running behind goals makes us anxious and obsessed, and we get disconnected from life. Then we hit our goals, it doesn't live up to our expectations. Ultimately we end up with a full stomach and an empty soul like the hedge fund manager in the movie.

Every now and then it's worth reminding ourselves that no goal will make us ever happy. Having no goals might.

The question then becomes what will motivate you. Life will. That's the beauty of it. Just like soul #22 who even enjoyed walking. Once we stop running, we will even enjoy walking. And when we enjoy everything, we will fly! There is inspiration everywhere, from playing roadside cricket, to the musician next door, to the local businessman who runs a dhoti business. Life is magic. You got to experience it to believe it.

Written by
Anand Narayan
Posted in
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