1994 was an incredible year with all things considered. The same year that South Africa elects Nelson Mandela as their president, O.J. Simpson flees police custody in a white Ford Bronco. It was also an incredible year for film and movies. We finally got to see what life inside of prison was like with Andy Dufresne in “The Shawshank Redemption,” and we all laughed right before and after we cried during “Forrest Gump.” But my favorite thing to come out of 1994 was “The Lion King.” The recent remake (which I am ABSOLUTELY going to be seeing) got me thinking about the original and what it must have been like to see Simba’s incredible transformation on the big screen. From his normal life, to life with Timon and Pumbaa, to the return with some inspiration from Rafiki, we got to see what it looks like to exert an influence on our world from a young age.
This film that has inspired us to be the hero of our own story actually follows a model known as “The Hero’s Journey” very well. This journey includes things like “The Call to Adventure,” “Meeting the Mentor,” and “Supernatural Aid” that we can spot in quite a few stories throughout time, and we can even spot it in our own lives if we look hard enough. Just like Simba needed Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, and Nala, we need people in our lives to mentor us and give us the tools we need to exert an influence in our world as well.
Most of us probably aren’t best friends with a meerkat and a warthog (unfortunately), but we can look to other places for mentors that can have just as big of an impact on our lives and Timon and Pumbaa did for Simba! Throughout the country there are incredible opportunities to attend conferences like Washington Leadership conference, State Governor’s School, Boy’s and Girl’s State, and State 4-H Conference. These places have the potential to change our lives and equip us with the tools to change the world. But these places will only ever have potential, and never impact, if we don’t go into them with the right mindset. Here are three things that will help us get the most out of some of our upcoming conferences:
- Open mindedness.
- Attitude of improvement
- Remembering where we came from
Okay, we need to talk about something real quick: in this movie a lion eats bugs… and Simba learned it from a meerkat and a warthog. That’s really weird. Some of the things that we see and hear are going to be totally foreign and brand new to us. It’s totally natural for our first instinct to be to shy away from these things. Don’t. Just like it took some growing pains for Simba to learn to eat bugs, no growth can happen inside of our comfort zone. These mentors that we encounter on the journey have something worth hearing and experiencing, but we won’t get anything out of it if we refuse to experience something new.
One of the most pivotal scenes in the movie is when Simba chases Rafiki through the forest and sees his reflection turn into Mufasa’s (spoiler alert!) This changes everything for Simba, because he realizes what he has to do. We can be the same way. If we go into the conference (which can seem like a jungle at times) thinking that we are just going to validate everything that we already know instead of going in with an attitude of improvement, then we may miss the biggest turning point for ourselves.
Nala and Simba reunite after years of being apart and having tons of separate life experiences, and they don’t even skip a beat. Their relationship is honestly goals. It does hit a snag, however, when they disagree about Simba coming back to Pride Rock to claim his rightful place on the throne. Simba is happy in this new place with his new mentors and doesn’t want to risk losing them for his people. Eventually, though, he does come around and realizes that these experiences have changed him into somebody that would make a strong and caring leader for his people. Conferences can be like that for us sometimes too. We get so caught up in the excitement, and the camaraderie that we create that we forget that the whole reason we are having these experiences is to take what we have learned back to the people that helped us get there. We may not be returning to Pride Rock and frees our people from our tyrant uncle, but we need to remember where we came from during these conferences.
Conferences are a great opportunity to grow as a person and learn some truly life changing things, and going into it with an open mind, an attitude of improvement, and remembering where we came from will only improve our experience. We should periodically ask ourselves if we have been stepping outside our comfort zone, seeking growth and improvement, and asking ourselves how we can use what we’re learning to improve our homes and communities. We may not be a lion king on a big screen somewhere, but we can all be the hero of our story if we follow the right journey.
Author: Brice Boyd, Texas
Ziglar Youth Certified Trainer