No matter what happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I’m happy now . . .
Phil Connors, Groundhog Day
The Wisdom of Groundhog Day
What if I were to tell you that you already have everything you need to be happy today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life? That you can improve the quality of your momentto-moment experience significantly, whenever you want, wherever you are, whoever you are with and whatever you are doing. And that you don’t need more money, status or achievements to do this. All you need is to unlock the natural resources that you already possess.
And what if I were to tell you that you can find the key in an unexpected place: in the film Groundhog Day? This deceptively simple comedy delivers a life-changing lesson in how to turn a terrible day into a wonderful one. I call this the wisdom of Groundhog Day, and it will help you to lead a life full of joy and fulfilment whatever your circumstances.
With its intense focus on one day in a small town, Groundhog Day celebrates the extraordinary gift of ordinary life: it helps you to appreciate simple pleasures that you may have previously taken for granted; it affirms your amazing, innate capacity for happiness, which you may have lost sight of; and it highlights those remarkable natural resources such as resilience and resourcefulness, which you may formerly have ignored. Above all, it lays out a clear path for making better choices, getting out of a rut and creating a brighter future.
On the one hand, Groundhog Day is science fiction – a fantasy about being trapped for ever in the same recurring day. Yet at a deeper level, it presents a compelling, timeless vision of how to live in the real world. It offers powerful strategies for the same universal challenges that we all face: how to deal with setbacks, rejection and loss; how to handle boredom, uncertainty and disappointment; and how to manage change, power and intimacy. Whether they are negative or positive experiences, we all manage them differently and it is clear that some people do so better than others. The question is whether there is an ideal approach to working through life’s great challenges – one that is available to all of us.
Groundhog Day suggests that there might well be, through understanding the transformation of the main character, Phil Connors, a cynical, ambitious TV weatherman. Over the course of the film, Phil has the opportunity to test and evalu ate a limitless number of different approaches to managing universal challenges. He shows us the way forward by proving that if you are agile, resourceful and tough you will succeed.
He demonstrates that if you keep on experimenting, you will eventually find the most rewarding way to live each day to the full. And we can all do the same. We can discover a practical wisdom that will help us expertly navigate the hazards, detours and wrong turns we all experience, and also ensure that we enjoy and appreciate every moment of the journey.
Paul Hannam – Author of the Book