One of my favourite all time movies is American Beauty. I just happened to come across it on sky movies the other day and wanted to watch it as hadn't seen it in ages :)!Whilst watching it me and my husband realised there are so many amazing life and career lessons you can learn from this movie. For anyone who hasn't seen the movie sorry be ready for spoiler alerts and if you haven't go watch it now.
Lesson 1 happiness at work and life is important
I help amazing women go out there and find their dream job and build a life they want. If we relate this to the character of Lester Burnam a middle aged man who isn't happily married hates his job and lives for the sake of doing things. Until one day something and someone changes who he is. If you like his character, had the opportunity to just quit your job and work in a job that actually made you happy would you do it? Yes it is only a movie and some parts are a tad unrealistic and over the top for dramatic effect lol. However I really want you to think about if you really are unhappy in your life. Do you want to end up as he phrases it to his wife "Soulless".
Lesson 2 You could die tomorrow so do something now
All of us need to work for money, mortgage, kids etc. but how many of us question and take the time to think what if we actually die tomorrow? This is exactly what happened to his character he dies at the end but weirdly he died happy. Wouldn't it be better to live a life on your terms and die happy then die miserably. Japan is known for having one of the worst work cultures there have been many incidents of people dying there due to overworking. The term used for this in Japanese is know as "HARA-KIRI" which means "death by overwork".
Lesson 3 Quitting your job may not be the answer
You may think you don't have the confidence or luxury to do what Lester Burnam did by quitting his cooperate job to go work in a Burger place and yes this isn't realistic for most people. However what is realistic for you and is going to make you happy?Quitting your job is often a last resort for many of you. If you know you can't quit your job due to financial reasons that's OK but make sure what you do changes your current working situation. Taking action sooner rather then later is the answer to this. Whether this be finding a new job, changing your career or even taking some leave from work to help you figure things out.
Lesson 4 Do you really want to turn into a bitter angry person who only cares about money?
Lester's wife is a very interesting character in the film She has her own real estate company which isn't doing very well and is very unhappy. The main difference between the two characters is she sees money as being important to her. Whilst he stops caring so much about money and what makes him happy. They say money is root of all evil. Its important to have money but sometimes just sometimes I see so many people so focused on it so much it effects their relationships and everything else. This sometimes leads them to becoming bitter and very unhappy is that really what you want? If you have money concerns right now talk to someone who can help you because being angry will lead you no where. Do you want to make your life just about money? If the answer to this is a big no, why not take some time to think about all the things and people who make you happy in your life and start reaping the benefits of that. Enjoy your life now,don't not let small incidents be a set back.
Lesson 5 Live a life on your terms.
The characters of Lester Burnam and Ricky Fitts in this movie both starting living life on their terms. They were both in charge of their destiny. It may sound clichéd they are only movie characters lol. However how many people do you know who live their life on their terms and do it their way, probably not many. For the few people who do you may think they are rebels or black sheep . You will see these people are probably a lot more happier then those who have tried to conform and please other people. If you live life to please others you will never be happy. Do what you want to before its too late.
So these are the five lessons you can learn from this very powerful movie. Be happy in your life and career. If right now, if you aren't you can always change this. Just believe that you are your own master and commander no one else. You can do anything you want to do. Just remember to do it before its too late. We are all born ,live life and die so if you know you need to change something do it sooner rather then later. So before that happens make sure you start living the life you want to right now.
Wishing you all the best