Forrest Gump’s Life Lesson

Decades after watching the hit movie Forrest Gump for the first time I`m ever wiser to have learned about the power of being loyal and living a simple life

“Life is like a box of chocolates…”

is the start of a well-known phrase from the 1990s. It came from the movie Forrest Gump.

Photo by Sarah Penney on Unsplash

When I look back now decades later I remember the movies of that time and how they were so innocent. There seemed to have less violence, minimum special effects, and better storylines. But many of them gave great life lessons.

And Forrest Gump epitomized this.

I loved the movie.

I was in my mid-teens when it came out and I can recall going to the cinema and excitedly queuing for my popcorn and cola before I got my seat in front of the big screen.

Life was good then.

I was young and my biggest worry was getting into the movie on time whilst balancing all my popcorn before they dropped from the bucket onto my knees to soil my new jeans.

Because when you`re growing up although you do spare thoughts for your future and what you`ll do once you`re allowed to leave school you don’t worry about anything else until you get to the next phase of life.

Rather everything is all exciting.

Everything is new.

After all, every time you experience something it’s usually the first time you`ve done anything like that before.

In the case of going to the cinema, of course, I`d done it lots of times but going into seeing the chart topper and being able to tell all my friends was something new and inviting.

Yet Forrest Gump was never invited to many places.

Photo by Mattia Bericchia on Unsplash

When he was young he lived with his single mother. She took on the role of both parents. Caring and nurturing as a woman and protective as a fathering figure.

But often her roles got confused in her head.

Although she explained to Forrest there was no limitations in life for him her actions showed she believed there were. Because to give him opportunities she felt other children had she slept with powerful people. And her young son knew nothing about her nocturnal habits.

Why would he?

After all, Forrest wasn’t the most intellectual of children.

He learned things in a different way. Gump was anything but traditional and so those around him decided to make fun of his different ways of thinking. They did this so they could look good around others.

But Forrest wasn’t like them.

Nor was he like his mother.

He never felt he had to live up to others’ ideals or tried to win over more powerful people so he could get what he wanted.

Instead, he lived a simple life. Because he was a simple guy. And he kept his focus clear and did everything he knew best to hit the target he had in life.

Photo by Tran Phu on Unsplash

And this focus concerned his best friend.

Her name was Jenny. Once he met her on the school bus and she allowed him to sit by her he was smitten. He felt respected when others never gave him a chance to be himself.

From there he returned her favor and showed her a lifetime of loyalty.

And although Gump was not the shiniest penny in the piggybank he achieved more than any of his peers in life. Because, he had a clear vision, respect, and loyalty to those around him.

After leaving school he was given an opportunity to play football in college.

From there he honored his coach and did what they wanted him to do. He used the athletic ability he had for the good of others on his team. He saw it as his duty and he kept consistent in helping others win as many games as he could.

Then later on, in life, he had to go to the army.

From there he met his friend Bubba. Bubba liked Forrest and as Forrest hadn’t many genuine friends he showed him extreme loyalty by staying by his side throughout the war and honoring his name in later business endeavors he turned his hand on.

Then there was Lieutenant Dan Taylor.

Although he talked tough in the army it turned out he had a deep respect for Gump. And Forrest helped him as best he could. Again he showed honor and never forgot those that gave him a chance.

And when his mother became ill he nursed her.

He made sure she was looked after and was there for her in her final days. He may not have had the medical knowledge but he knew his presence would make her feel better if he stayed by her side.

It was the same for Jenny.

From the start to the end he was there. He did what she wanted him to do but always turned up and offered to help if he thought she may have needed it.

Although she had the world at her feet she stepped on the wrong path in life.

Like many people she was consumed by her past and was unable to let go. Yet Forrest had a tough upbringing but he never let it drag him down. Rather he made sure it pushed him along in the right direction.

And that’s the thing with life you can let it pull you back or use what has happened to propel you forward. If you can be loyal to those who are around you as you climb then it’s up to them to trust you in return.

Because life is erratic and irregular and as Forrest’s mother said:

“’…You never know what you`re gonna get!”

So make sure you do the best with what you’ve got and honor all those around you when you do it.

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Dr. Conor Hogan Ph.D.

Dr. Conor Hogan Ph.D.


Forbes, INC. & Entrepreneur Magazines, CBS, & NBC Featured, Dr. Conor Is The World’s Leading High-Performance Neuro Socio-Psychologist & Co-Authored 4 Books