If you had told me that we could learn valuable life lessons from animated monsters, I would have smirked, and smirked big. But when the monsters in question are Sulley and Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, well then I’ll totally sit down and let them teach me.
Both Disney and Pixar have a knack for cramming meaningful moments into beautiful animated packages and delivering valuable life lessons in such a subtle way. It’s a big part of what makes these films so powerful and poignant.
In honor of the new film Monsters University, here are 10 life lessons that we can learn from monsters:
1. The Importance Of Friendship
One of the most poignant things about Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University is the theme of friendship. I think Randy Newman said it best in his lyrics from the theme song from the first film:
“You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me
If you’ve got troubles, I’ve got ’em too
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you
We stick together and can see it through
Cause you’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me”
You never know what you are capable of unless you try and while Oozma Kappa of Monsters University may seem like a ragtag team of misfits, they all have gifts that make them special. Everyone has some kind of capability that can be tapped into and allowed to let flourish.
3. New Friends
You never know when someone truly special will come into your life and change it forever. In Monsters, Inc. Sulley and Mike became very close with little Boo. In Monsters University, we witness the friendship being built — a partnership that will last a lifetime — between Mike and Sulley. We should all be open to new relationships.
4. Be Unique
Each of the monsters in Monsters University is unique in their own way, and each one celebrates their differences. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, be true to who you are, always.
5. You Don’t Always Need To Be The Focus
We all don’t need to be the center of attention or the star of the show. We all need supporters and to be supporters. Mike Wazowski understands that all too well. As you may recall in the TV spot and the magazine cover of Monsters, Inc., Mike was covered up. But he didn’t mind, he was still thrilled just to be part of the action.
6. Creative Thinking
Creative thinking can be a game changer and a life saver. In both Monsters, Inc.and Monsters University, Mike and Sulley come up with creative solutions to the problems they face be it trying to hide Boo to trying to stay in MU’s Scare program. In life you must always be ready to find answers to those bumps in the road, even if they may not be conventional.
7. Find Your Own Path
You may have inherited a lofty family name that you have to live up to (it turns out Sulley’s dad was a famous scarer), or you may not have what it takes to become your dream (you have to admit it, Mike Wazowski is not at all scary and he wanted nothing more than to become a scarer). Sometimes you just have to forget the path you think has been laid out for you and follow your own.
8. Always Have Their Back
You should always have your friend’s back, no matter what. When Sulley brings Boo into the monster world in Monsters, Inc. , Mike is there to help. When Mike needs help in Monsters University, Sulley is there to risk everything for him. True friends will always have your back and you should always have theirs.
9. New Opportunities
The old adage of, “when one door closes, another one opens,” is true in both Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University. And it’s very apt that the subject of the saying is a “door.”
In Monsters, Inc., Mike and Sulley are responsible for the factory closing, but they find that it isn’t scream energy that is the most effective but rather laughter. And in Monsters University, the monsters are met with a road block that they must overcome.
10. It’s Not Easy Being Green
We all have our own set of challenges, and it’s something we work hard at overcoming be it a lisp, a fear of heights, or in Mike Wazowski’s, being a cute green monster with no chance of being scary ever – which is not ideal in the monster world.