Maša and I recently watched the Christopher Robin movie.
I didn’t expect much from this film—it’s Winnie-the-Pooh after all. He was always a “meh” character for me as a child.
I mean, he was cute and all, but I found his obsession with honey to be a bit much.
However, as an adult, I was blown away with the depth and relevancy of this movie.
It touches on many of the issues we face in the modern world. I don’t want to go into any detail of the actual movie because I think you should watch it 🙂
As it turns out, the silly old bear, which I found boring as a child, has a black belt in mindfulness!
No seriously, Winnie-the-Pooh’s wisdom rivals that of Yoda’s. It’s remarkable!
So in this post, I’m going to share five simple life lessons we can all learn from Winnie-the-Pooh by breaking down my favourite quotes from the film.
1. What day is it?
Is it Sunday? Thursday? Friday?
The correct answer is today.
It’s fascinating how we’re always processing time.
We plan to ensure we’re not missing deadlines with work, family, recreation, school.
Often each day of the week represents some sort of important routine in our lives. A routine we’ve become dependant on to function.
The more we focus on routines, schedules and deadlines, the further away we move from today.
Not only that, it’s overwhelming to think about what today represents in our plans.
Winnie expressed the problem beautifully in the film.
“Yesterday, when it was tomorrow, it was too much day for me.”
Thinking about the future was too much to process in one day for Winnie. He only has the capacity for today. Brilliant!
Since watching the film, Maša and I have been practising this lesson with each other. We ask what day is it to see if we can catch the other person out.
So what day is it then? Today. And as Pooh bear puts it, “Today is my favourite day”.
2. Doing nothing often leads to the very best something.
This quote represented a running debate throughout the film and actually, throughout society.
On one side of the spectrum, you had the humans ambitiously believing that nothing comes from nothing.
I’ve spent my whole life living this way. I’ve never been one to sit back and wait for things to happen.
It made me uncomfortable writing that last sentence. That’s how deep this belief is ingrained in me.
Our culture is riddled with quotes and motivational speakers telling us to be proactive.
Take life by the horns.
Aggressively go after what you want.
Eat or be eaten.
Work when everyone is sleeping.
I bought into this philosophy because I got results. I’ve found that good things happen when you take massive action.
But what I realise now is doing something is not always the answer. That’s because doing something often results in doing too much. We end up forcing life which ironically works against us.
I can’t tell you how many times where I’ve tried to do more, and I regressed. I burnt out, or I sabotaged what I was trying to accomplish by over-engineering, over-thinking and over-doing.
Doing something all the time creates unnecessary complexity.Doing something all the time creates unnecessary complexity. Click To Tweet
Then you have zen master Winnie-the-Pooh who wholeheartedly believes that doing nothing often leads to the very best something.
His counter-culture approach is about intentionally doing nothing while remaining open to whatever the future may hold.
It’s a balance between patience, contentment, and openness. Sounds good in theory, but much harder to embody.
So here’s what I suggest.
Let’s start slowly integrating the power of nothing into our lives in the moments where we’re trying to do too much.
If you’re having an argument with your spouse, instead of trying to problem solve and make your point, step away and do nothing for a while.
If you’re hitting your head against the wall trying to progress your career but not getting the results you want, practice doing nothing.
This practically means removing your expectations of progression and being open to whatever new opportunities that may present themselves.
These are just a few examples of applying Pooh’s philosophy of nothing when all we want to do is something.
3. Sometimes when I’m going somewhere, I wait. And then somewhere comes to me.
If Pooh’s last quote is about openness, this quote is about patience.
The idea of waiting for things to come to us seems rather crazy.
It takes a special type of character to exercise this level of patience, seemingly on demand.
If you think about it, society as a whole is impatient. We all want the shortcut to the lives we want.
So what do we do? We get into debt, we cut corners in the process, we give up when we’re met with adversity, we take pills, we drive when we can walk, we belittle others for our gain.
These are the actions of someone who’s impatient.
Do we have the courage to wait? It’s incredibly hard to delay gratification.
Because when you break down Pooh’s statement, he implies that sometimes somewhere comes to him.
“Somewhere” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what you expected. When we wait and be patient, unexpected things happen to us all the time. We need to be patient enough to let those situations occur.
4. I always get where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been.
Humans are creatures of habit, and we’re always looking for ways to create certainty in our lives. Our desire for certainty manifests in going where we’ve been.
Take the same route home from work.
Go to the same coffee shop.
Take your kids to the same park every Saturday morning.
But what happens if we always go where we’ve been? We get stagnant, fixed, bored, predictable, closed.
Even though this quote in the movie was used in the context of navigating, it applies to the traps of certainty we all face daily.
By walking away from where we’ve been in the past, we embrace the uncertain journey of life.
Life shouldn’t be stuck in groundhog day. It’s about challenging your comfort zone and seeking adventure and growth.
By taking a different path, you’ll get where you’re going, wherever that may be.
So let’s change it up. Break the pattern of rigid routine and certainly.
Go a different route home. Explore every inch of your town.
Never go to the same cafe, park, club two times in a row.
By walking away from where you’ve been, you’ll get to where you’re going.
5. I suppose it’s right where it needs to be.
Call it fate, destiny, god, the universe. There’s unexplainable energy that ensures things are where they need to be.
It’s not always positive. But even behind the most unfortunate circumstances, we can derive some meaning from the situation.
Winnie-the-Pooh is a master in acceptance.
When a door magically appears on an oak tree in London, he instantly accepts that the door is where it needed to be.
He doesn’t waste time questioning why or how the door appeared. He accepts it and moves on. To cement this point, when the door disappears, Winnie says, “Oh we must not need it anymore”.
How many times does something unexpected happen in our lives, and we desperately need to understand it? So much precious time is wasted on understanding and dwelling on the past.
Your kid knocks over an open bottle of red wine. Accept.
An unexpected thunderstorm ruins your adventurous hike. Accept.
Lunchtime foot traffic is down in your cafe. Accept.
All these situations are right where they need to be. The more quickly we accept the situation, the faster we’ll be able to move on and enjoy life.
Life lessons from Winnie-the-Pooh
I hope you enjoyed this summary of life lessons from Winnie-the-Pooh. I know I’m late to the party, but I suppose my participation is where it needs to be 🙂
Which quote resonated with you the most? Let me know in the comments below.