On Thanksgiving day, My wife and I went to see the Mr. Rogers film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
This is one of those rare films that can create a shift in one’s perspective about life.
In many movies, we experience a hero or heroine and feel inspired by who they are. We might even feel like that superhero for a day or two. But it rarely lasts very long. Hence the addiction to movies that make us feel inspired!
Not a bad addiction to have as far as addictions go! “Give your world outlook an uplifting shot in the arm. Only $8 (for seniors).”
I don’t have to tell you about Mr. Rogers, most of you know about his TV show, at least in passing.
But the Mr. Rogers movie is a little different than the average movie or superhero movie. In fact, it’s hard to recall anything quite like it. On the surface, it’s a biopic of a famous children’s TV personality.
What makes it unusual is the uniqueness of the character himself. As Tom Hanks portrays him, he comes across as warm, calm, collected, humorous, content, creative, thoughtful, humble, considerate, caring, loving, understanding, and genuinely happy.
You know, your basic “saintly character” without the sanctimoniousness.
Now, who wouldn’t want to be like that, to live a life with such an expansive, perspective?
We often think of a person like this as a weak person, a soft person. Yes, we often see such traits as loving-kindness as naive. This is a tough, hard, mean world after all.
But Mr. Rogers was no idealist or dreamer. Over the course of his career, he wrote, produced and acted in 895 shows. He sparked joy, wonder, kindness, curiosity, creativity, and caring into the lives of countless millions of children who watched his show over its 31 remarkable years.
Here are some of his quotes that reflect his outlook on life:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like “struggle.” To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is (or is not), right here and now.
If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of.
There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.
It’s not so much what we have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have.
The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.
We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.”
Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.
And even though no human being is perfect, we always have the chance to bring what’s unique about us to live in a redeeming way.
There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.
So what if we brought those ideas into our businesses every day? Kindness, appreciation, responsibility, acceptance, inclusion, helping, worthiness.
These are clearly not the only ideas we engage with in business, but if we aren’t first guided by ideas that uplift us and enable us and inspire us and move us to meaningful and caring expression and action and service, then aren’t we missing the point of this whole Human Enterprise?
As self-employed professionals, we bring support, insight, inspiration, perspective, and life-energy to our clients (no matter what actual service we offer).
And we are all capable, in our own special way, of bringing that and assisting in whatever way makes the biggest difference, given our unique talents and capabilities.
And we can do that in a spirit of fun, passion, and adventure.
If you’d like to reinforce Mr.Rogers’ ideas for yourself, you might want to check out this book:
Publishers Weekly had this to say about it:
Every message is infused with a simplicity and sincerity that any child could understand. But ultimately, the book isn’t for kids, it’s for adults who watched the show as children—and reminds readers that before we learned “everything we needed to know in kindergarten”, or had our first taste of “chicken soup for the soul,” Rogers taught valuable lessons about playing make-believe, keeping one’s promises, finding strength through helping others and not being afraid to cry.
Next week, I’ll return this newsletter to talking about how to make some real friends on LinkedIn. You know, like people you actually care about and want to make a difference with.